Poem 18 ± World AIDS Day 2017

Jasper Wirtshafter
Love letter to the negative space

of our queer elders.
An entire generation
of martyrs, known
only for their death rattles
only ashes, hazmat suit
funerals full of empty
seats, friends
already in the ground.

They refused to bury you
with dignity; our culture
is built from your bones.

Now, we take pills and forget
our ancestor’s names. Who
is left to teach us our history?

I hope to build a future
of anything but granite
and sand. I hope our children
remember us as more
than martyrs.


logoJasper Wirtshafter is a trans spoken word poet from Athens Ohio. His work has been appeared in A Quiet Courage and is forthcoming in the journal Drunk in a Midnight Choir and in the anthology Not My President anthology (Thoughtcrime Press) and elsewhere. He performed with F Word Performers, a queer feminist art collective, for four years. He hold a BA from the Ohio University Honors Tutorial College and is currently studying for a Master of Public Affairs degree at the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

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