Since finishing the British TV show It’s a Sin a couple days ago, I’ve imagined myself wheezing on a hospital bed like my uncle, dying from the petri dish of horribles to which AIDS exposes the immune system, kept functional for the sake of an EKG reading by hatred for the stricken faces blinking atContinue reading “How to live through a plague”
The era of the red bow created lasting art borne of misery. Coinciding with the end of the Reagan-Bush era, the AIDS epidemic cracked its knuckles to do real damage at the dawn of the 1990s.
The boy spent hours bouncing a rubber ball against a wall. The boy had problems.
An elegist of concision, Mark Doty came of age poetically as a generation realized HIV/AIDS would not permit them the free hand their forefathers had enjoyed. His 1996 memoir Heaven’s Coast, a ruthless accounting of a lover’s decline and fall, remains one of the decade’s best. I’ve dipped into his poetry once in a while;Continue reading “‘Without thinking you were alive again’ — A World AIDS Day poem”
Watching 1985, the first year of Ronald Reagan’s second term disassembling the federal government, I remembered that my uncle Lelio, who changed his name to Andrew but whom we knew as Tata, joined the Army as a grunt and was sent to Korea, a move kicking off a cycle of peripatetic travel during which heContinue reading “Period piece ‘1985’ shows how the art of losing is hard to master. “
I noted last weekend that George Herbert Walker Bush died hours before World AIDS Day.
A couple of items stood out this Sunday morning. First, prompted by a friend, I checked out the Trump administration’s national AIDS policy. Thorough and impressive, right? As thorough and impressive as seeing the categories of victims in Trump’s World AIDS Day proclamation. Not a single mention of gays, lesbians, and intravenous drug users. It’sContinue reading “Regarding belief in the rule of law”
From the director of How To Survive a Plague comes a booklength narrative about AIDS. Andrew Sullivan’s review: This was not a long, steady march toward success. It was a contentious, sprawling, roller coaster of dashed hopes and false dawns — a mini-series where major characters suddenly die and plot twists shock. Nine years intoContinue reading “How to cope past the plague years”
Despite the progress, so millions dead, including my uncle. Thom Gunn, one of the twentieth century’s great elegists, wrote some of the sharpest and most shattering poems about AIDS, many collected in the epochal The Man with Night Sweats. Here’s “Still Life”: I shall not soon forget The greyish-yellow skin To which the face hadContinue reading “‘An obscure knack – commemorating World AIDS Day”
The Reagan White House, reports Steve Weisman as quoted by Charles Keiser, “was definitely a place where you would hear one staff member call another staff member ‘a fag’ behind his back.” he Reagans came from a Hollywood milieu that had always embraced discreet homosexuals; that was probably the reason for their occasional displays ofContinue reading “Homosexuality in the Reagan administration”
Only James Merrill rivaled Thom Gunn as a chronicler of male gay life in the late twentieth century. In 1992, the British poet published a slim, remarkable volume called The Man with Night Sweats about living with HIV. I love “The Missing” because it acts as an envoi to the long gay summer of livingContinue reading “‘Their deaths have left me less defined’”
Buzzfeed’s well-sourced account of how the Reagan administration rejected a dying Rock Hudson’s request for a transfer to a military hospital in France hoping to get better treatment is better as a record, complete with documents from the Reagan Library and NSC of how an administration idled as long as possible; it’s also further proofContinue reading “The Ron ‘n’ Rock Show”