Na(HIV)PoWriMo ± April 6, 2017

Roger Ian Rosen
Gary, I Don’t Remember

He was so thin. No, skinny.
Too skinny.
Funny. And wonderful in a way that I didn’t understand
That I understood.
Then he was gone.
Replaced by a fat guy.
They were very different.
But then not.

I have written his death with
Wisps of cancerred glitter.
Disco balls, decapitated and lying in
Slivers at his bare feet.
I have seen him pulled under,
Drowned in a sequin of shimmering quicksand.

What happened? I don’t know.
My fictions are likely kinder
Than the splintery hands and serrated fingers
That reached through him,
Ripping him away in chunks.
1981…2? wasn’t kind.
But I don’t know.

I never knew
Why he disappeared.
I remember him
Sitting. Head down. Conserving.
Or maybe that’s another fiction. I don’t know. Maybe I don’t remember.

I know I didn’t know.
But he was wonderful in a way that
I didn’t understand
That I understood.

It wasn’t until high school.
I asked my mother,
“What ever happened to xxxx?”
I didn’t remember his name. I had to look it up. Had to find the program from the show from a
theater long gone. Age-burnt and separating at the creases. Visible fibers stretched thin.
Too thin.
I didn’t remember.

He got sick.
They’d never told me.
He was wonderful in a way that
I didn’t understand
That I understood.


Roger Ian Rosen writes so that his husband might ever experience silence. He is author of Backdoor Bingo (a melding of gay pulp fiction and social media ~ over-the-top camp, sex, and silliness…with audience participation!), which is unfurling on Instagram #backdoorbingo (_roger0nimo_ on Instagram and @Rogeronimo_com on Twitter) even as we speak. Roger is currently working towards a Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts at Goddard College in Vermont. (Editor’s note: I could not help myself from posting a link to this video of Roger at work/play.)

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Here is today’s prompt

(optional as always)

Write a poem about being on PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis against HIV infection) in 2017, either from your actual first-person perspective, the perspective of a first-person persona, or in the second or third person. For some information that might help your poetic process on this topic, check out this page on PrEP.