Na(HIV)PoWriMo ± April 13, 2017

Jason Schneiderman

If there is a statute of limitations on sorrow,
then let me celebrate Freddy Mercury’s mustache,
which any Freudian will tell you, is sex, pure sex,
on the face, though when I delivered the news
of his death in the morning papers, I thought
he looked a little silly and gaunt, and because
there was no one to tell me, I didn’t know that
the riff in “Ice Ice Baby” came from one of his
many masterpieces, “Under Pressure.” I hope
it is apocryphal that he pulled over to the side
of the road and tossed out a passenger for changing
the radio station in his car without asking, but
who doesn’t love sex, on the face, on the chest,
in the armpit, in the crotch, in the butt, any
where, really, it can drip from, and he knew
that sex was always the icing to any cake,
even if he left the party too soon, it was his
party. His mustache. His sex.


Jason Schneiderman is the author of Primary Source (Red Hen Press, 2016), winner of the Benjamin Saltman Award; Striking Surface (Ashland Poetry Press, 2010), winner of the Richard Snyder Prize; and Sublimation Point (Four Way Books, 2004), a Stahlecker Selection. His poetry and essays have appeared in American Poetry Review, The Best American Poetry, Poetry London, Grand Street, The Penguin Book of the Sonnet, and many other journals and anthologies. He has received fellowships from Yaddo, The Fine Arts Work Center, and The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. He was the recipient of the Emily Dickinson Award from the Poetry Society of America in 2004. He is Poetry Editor of the Bellevue Literary Review, Associate Editor at Painted Bride Quarterly, and an associate professor of English at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, part of the City University of New York.

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Here is today’s prompt

(optional as always)

In Jason Schneiderman’s poem “The Disease Collector,” the speaker awaits the result of a test for an unnamed disease. The reader never learns what disease the speaker was tested for, nor do we ever learn whether the culture came back positive or negative. In fact, much of the poem is a meditation on the various meanings of the word “culture.” Write a poem about HIV—risk, testing, prevention, treatment, living with, living in fear of, etc.—without ever identifying the disease as HIV. To help your poetic process on this topic, check out Schneiderman’s “The Disease Collector,” quoted in it’s entirety in this review by Robert Pinsky in the The Washington Post.

One Comment

  1. Lisa Andrews

    Celebrate the moustache! Icing on the cake: YES! (Why is this box, this PC, telling me moustache is misspelled??? Spellcheck as chastity belt???) Moustache!

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