Liz’s Weekly Poetry Series: Tired
Michael Estok, a canadian writer, succumbed to AIDS in 1989. The last year of his life is captured in a collection of poems titled A Plague Year Journal (Pulp Press Book Publishes, 1989).
In selecting the poem for this week, the looming consequences of the idiotic sequestration deadline was front and center in my thinking. This ThinkProgress piece describes 5 ways The Sequester Could Make You Sick. Here’s number 5:
5. Fewer Americans will get screened and treated for HIV. According to the Department for Health and Human Services, the sequestration cuts will have a serious impact on federal official’s ability to continue combating the nation’s HIV/AIDS epidemic. Since an estimated 20 percent of HIV-positive Americans still don’t know they have the virus, the CDC warns that testing needs to be a top priority — but the cuts to the CDC’s programs would result in about 424,000 fewer HIV tests conducted by state agencies. And an estimated 7,400 fewer patients would have access to their HIV medications through the AIDS Drug Assistance Program.
Fatigue with the crippling dysfunction of Congress is palpable. If either party thinks they have the leverage in this latest manufactured crisis, they are dead wrong. For those who still have the stomach to watch the pathetic posturing of our political class, keeping oneself from being overwhelmed by despair is a daily challenge.
Supporting a scorched earth policy for the entirety of Washington DC seems, at times, not just desirable, but necessary.
This week’s poem is appropriately titled “tired”.
I’m tired of this fight
this pointless argument with a thing
I cannot see—
unless I opened up a vein
and let it run
to patterns on the wall—
and I’m tired
of the whining rhyme I read there
I’m tired of the tasteless jokes
which make the partygoers
safe (they think)
I’m tired of the lies
the racial slurs, the cliques
I’m tired of complaints
I’m tired of the intimate brutality of family
the patronage and secret jealousies of friends
I’m tired of the bullies
that never got beyond the schoolyard
I’m tired of the cons, the smirking jerks
the dung-heap kings and princes
that strut in every hamlet street
and mean little spitpiddle towns
and glass and shitpipe cities
I’m tired of the drugs and dons
of industry and their disgusting mess
the end of all we label civilized
washed up on beaches
I’m tired of starvation
and the rotting piles of food
I’m tired of their tiny territorial pissplots
and their swaggering feuds
their thrown stones that turn to bombs
of scorched flesh
I’m sick and tired
whatever was it made me
fall in love with men?