Poem 9 ± World AIDS Day 2017

Robin Gorsline
A Seminary AIDS Quartet

First, there was Mike,
young, skinny, creating wonders
of liturgical truth,
not ever accepting
even the existence of a box
into which the chapel worship had to

And then Kevin
Roman Catholic theologian
who talked and wrote
openly, honestly,
about that which the Vatican fears most,

Stephen came to seminary
to untangle the mystery—at least to him, an atheist—
of why HIV/AIDS,
the virus he knew he carried,
freaked out so many good Christian

Finally, it was Norman,
later-in-life clergy student
keeping his sexual life
a secret until the virus
invaded, took him home

These four, among the finest men
I have known, part of an army
of men-loving-men New Yorkers
dying as so many
struggled to get the world
just to notice.

I see yet how it might have been,
the world graced by their gifts—
Mike hanging blue bunting
across the globe for all to know
Christ is not only dead, risen, coming again,
but already and always here;
Kevin leading papal panels
on sex, gender justice;
Stephen publishing the poems
bursting from his strong, hallowed hands and soul;
Norman preaching God’s truths
to a flock, a city, nation even,
hungry for different lives and world.

What might have been
can only be
what we carry of them
beyond our tears—
In vows to end the pandemic
still striking too many
good women and men, especially
Black men kept back and down—
in prayers of gratitude
for these four and so many more
whose too brief sojourns among us
leave us yearning for more.


logoRobin Gorsline is a late-in-life writer, claiming his passion after a varied career in public office and service, non-profit administration, religious leadership, and LGBTQIA and anti-racism activism. He writes several blogs, including SexBodiesSpirit and The Naked Theologian. He is a father of three and grandfather of two, lives in Greenbelt, MD, with his husband of 20 years and their standard poodle.

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One Comment

  1. Jackie Lois

    what might have been…
    so clearly you have painted a picture that makes their Light still shine ever so brightly. they are remembered and so unapologetically loved…

    whose shoulders we stand…

    seeds planted. thank you..

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