HIV/AIDS

I have been there upon “The Road Not Taken” most of my life. And perhaps I should say it began with meeting Robert Frost when I was about 15 and then ended with turning my life around through many acts of traveling those roads that few others will take. Those roads have always been exceptionally rewarding. Too many fear the road not taken. Their lives meanwhile stifle. Oh, I always feared that road, but I also always plunged right in holding my nose so as not to drown. So not quite knowing if I am doing the right thing regarding the poetry prompt, I shall use for my allusion Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken. C.K. Williams often uses two lines repeated to create his poetry. It is a form I enjoy.

The Oxygen Concentrator

One evening I got a frantic call from Chicago, the boss said
The drivers had refused oxygen delivery to an AIDS patient

It was 1986 HIV/AIDS was “a road not taken” by many
But I could not refuse this fork in the road

I was incensed by the refusal of care to anyone
Everyone who is ill deserves proper care

I carried the heavy equipment
Barely managing it up the steep stairs

I knocked upon the door was greeted by a frantic mother
Horrified that no one would come to the aid of her son

No one would touch him no one seemed to care
What is this world made of I thought to myself

I had heard the stories and I understood
The need for impeccable and sanitary care

I went to the bedroom to greet her son
He was under a tent clutching tissues sobbing

I opened the tent removing the sides
I administered the equipment and gave my instructions

I provided education
I spoke of sanitary habits and their necessity

When done I sat upon his bed and we had a long hug
I feared nothing knowing that the contact allayed his fears

His fears were lessened for someone cared
I knew at that moment what my future held

Days later I became immersed in the world of AIDS/HIV
I would do this for thirteen years with a few off for burnout

This aspect of my career gave me significant reward
It was nothing less that a career of love

Robert Frost died in 1963. He was the first poet whom I have ever met. He sat down next to me on the tail gate of our dark green station wagon once the horse trailer had been unhitched and started speaking to me. It was a hot Vermont August day in 1961 and we were rooting around in boxes for bottles of water for ourselves after a long ride on the horses. We found nothing but warm soda. Yuck! I was so thirsty. Robert Frost has many famous poems however, where I hail from “The Road Not Taken” is perhaps his most famous and the poem that inspired me today.

I was introduced to C.K. Williams in 2008 when I came to university to finish my masters degree. I am very fond of his work and I love his manner of writing two lines together. I had been assured that I was up to date on all of my credits in 1998 when I had finished them. By 2008 when I returned to do my thesis that had changed and I was required to take 9 more. I chose to take them all in Creative Writing. What fun that was!

Placed at Into The Bardo relating to “Allusion.” It is also placed at dVerse as a subject not to discuss.

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