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POETRYETC  January 2010

POETRYETC January 2010

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Subject:

Re: ...I need a kick up the butt! Living with AIDS in rural Australia.

From:

Lawrence Upton <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Poetryetc: poetry and poetics

Date:

Fri, 8 Jan 2010 16:11:18 -0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (103 lines)

Dear Chris

I was greatly moved by your posting; and have been wondering since what to
say, whether to say it...

You have been given good advice by others here

The problem is unlikely to go away. It is unlikely in the extreme to
resolve itself; but you need to know how serious the problem is as a
matter of urgency.

Last year I had been feeling unwell and hesitating to make the time to
have it looked at - what i believe is a common male attitude of burying
the head.

I recall being checked out; and a doctor saying he wasn't quite sure then
what was wrong with me but it wasn't cancer, it wasn't heart disease and
so on; and I realised that I had been fearful of all the things he was
ruling out. Now I am ok, with defined problems that I work at

I recall clearly, even before I had a full diagnosis, how much weight
lifted from me having had fears lifted from me... I *know it's nothing
like what you face; but I think my experience is relevant.

And you are worth so much more the narrow minds around you

Better by far to take personal control and be inherently defiant with
pride. And you can be proud

I have been thinking of my friend Alaric Sumner -- there's a retrospective
in _Masthead_ -- who moved from London to West Cornwall partly to avoid,
he thought, prejudice against gays; and met attitudes that make
_prejudice_ an inadequate word.

I mention him to show that I have learned to have some idea what you are
up against. To give the advice is easy enough for me, maybe. But I know
too that *he learned to accept himself in new ways; and to resist without
being apologetic

Bollocks to them, Chris. It's your LIFE. It's YOUR life. Take steps to
preserve it; and prepare to dance on the graves of the fools. It won't be
easy; and I know that I do not really know how difficult it will be; but
please do assert and stand up for yourself. Choose your moment yourself.
And choose it soon

very best



Lawrence





On Fri, January 8, 2010 09:38, Chris Jones wrote:
> Some time ago, when I was working in the area, I said I understood the
> problems of gay men living in isolated rural areas when it came to living
> with HIV/AIDS.
>
> There are purple splotches growing over my right ankle and some spots
> are beginning to grow on my left ankle and foot. Having seen it before this
> looks like KS. While I can go to my doctor for narcotics and will happily
> admit I am opiate dependant, I cannot bring myself to ask for a HIV test.
> Even going to the local hospital would be too much, as I would
> know the nurse who takes my blood and send it off for a test. Even if it
> does not come back positive everyone in the town and local area will know
> I had a HIV test. Due to my chronic ill health, it is already
> suspected that I have AIDS.
>
> I will admit to having great and wild unsafe sex with an actor, around
> my own age. But still, locally, I cannot bring myself to ask for a HIV
> anti-body test. The purple splotches on my ankles continue to grow. Severe
> disabling muscle pain, disabling fatigue, I have seen this before in
> others. This is how I feel.
>
> And still I cannot bring myself to ask for the test. I would have
> married him if the time was right, the sex was that good, but this could
> not be. (The eldest of an old and respected grazier family cannot shack up
> with a male actor, at his whim. This is simply not done. Patrick White,
> how I envy you.)
>
> I said I understood the plight of gay men living in isolated rural areas
> with HIV/AIDS. How wrong was I. How wrong. And still I cannot ask for the
> test.
>


-- 

‘a song and a film’ by Lawrence Upton -- Veer Publications / Writers Forum
ISBN: 978-1-907088-05-6 A5 84 pages. 2009. £6.00

"water lines and other poems" by Lawrence Upton  - Pdf_16x16 111 pages
free download http://chalkeditions.co.cc

‘snap shots and video’ by Lawrence Upton -- Writers Forum
ISBN: 978-1-84254-113-5 A5 52 pages. £6.00

Lawrence Upton
AHRC Creative Research Fellow
Dept of Music
Goldsmiths, University of London

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