People who survived HIV and AIDS in the 80s and the early 90s were bemused when we said the closest antecendent to coronavirus and COVID-19 happened more than 100 years ago.
This was March, then April, then May, as we argued about masks and personal responsibility. Then June, and July, and August and the bodies piled up, mostly black and brown bodies, as we argued about whether government and local officials were letting people die.
Another disease presenting a false choice between intimacy and death, connection and destruction.
Shame is not a substitute for community. Punishment is not a substitute for public health.
It is a uniquely exhausting thing to calibrate all your actions, all your words, all your gestures beneath the weight of knowing a miscalculation could be, would likely be, fatal.
For some of us, that’s always been the case. For some of us, this is a new and temporary truth. For all of us, this is an opportunity to decide how we will show up.
tired i count the ways in which it determines my life
permeates everything. it's in the air
lives next door to me in stares of neighbors
meets me each day in the office. its music comes out the radio
drives beside me in my car. strolls along with me
down supermarket aisles
it's on television
and in the streets even when my walk is casual/undefined
it's overhead flashing lights
i find it in my mouth
when i would speak of other things