Poem 32 ± December 1, World AIDS Day 2017 – BONUS RIFF

Simply Rob Vassilarakis
Mortality and Legacy

I used to have my whole life ahead of me
Now at best my glass is half full
And I still thirst

I thirst in the desert
Of what I have to show for myself
For the moisture of a purpose yet to be discovered
All I can do is spit

I spit to un-chap lips dehydrated
Because for an addicted
HIV Positive
Of color
In America
There are already too many reasons to feel worthless

I fall back and observe shit
Judging you, judging me
Allowing myself to be taken to the places comparisons can lead

Depression is anger turned inward
So I write myself inside out

I write because it’s easier to express than it is to feel
I spit about my pain so someone else can hold it
For a little while
You see they mess with me
The moments spent dwelling on my past
But I can’t help it
I look back at a life
Full of uncertainty and lowered expectations
Thought out and impulsive choices
I swim in the ocean of my memories
I drown in the indigo of my pain
I am resuscitated by my refusal to die
Without creating a legacy to leave behind
As my virus and I walk hand in hand
Toward the dawn of our sunset years together

I wring my gut out in these poems
I wear my heart on lines refrained
I beat back my demons trying to keep them tame
Because I no longer get high to escape my pain
Writing is all I have to keep me sane
As thoughts in my brain
Grrrrrriiiiiiind against each other
Louder than any subway train
The only way to lower the volume
Is by allowing them to speak through the ink

I’m not really crazy about the shit I’ve been writing these days
So I stab my soul with my pen
I puncture through spiritual dimensions
Rolling my ballpoint against the surface of lives past
Scratching them I dig a little deeper
In hopes that what bleeds
Will leave
A profound sense of connection
For the ones who listen or who read

More than just tales of intrigue
I drop jewels
While claiming my place
Amongst those witches
Word players and speakers of truth
That have come before me
Planting seeds of poet trees
Bearing fruits of inspiration
For the ones who will succeed
My poetry is my legacy


logoRoberto “Simply Rob” Vassilarakis is a founding member of El Grito De Poetas all Latino poetry collective. He has appeared in Charles Rice Gonzalez’s Los Nutcrackers: A Christmas Carajo at the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD). Activist, youth mentor, role model, story teller, actor, poem scriber and weaver of dreams, Vassilarakis works as the Intake/Outreach Specialist for the El Faro Adult Day Health Center in East Harlem, a program that serves people living with HIV/AIDS, many of whom struggle with substance abuse and mental health issues.

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One Comment

  1. All the poems over the past month have been evocative and tender, challenging and sometimes mysterious, and I am glad you posted this one today. It is yet another reminder of where we are and what lies ahead.

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