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Author Topic: why i am an activist: notes for alex on aidsmeds.com  (Read 6707 times)

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Offline rk@aids-write.org

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    • aids-write.org
why i am an activist: notes for alex on aidsmeds.com
« on: June 26, 2006, 03:02:10 PM »
alex—

i am still thinking about the elements in me and in my environment that have led to my being an activist. thought i would start a new discussion thread.

[i don't know how to indent on this thing]



two activist bruthas on the street in la yesterday morning

“hey man, you gamble?”

“i do a little in the stoick market every now and then.”

“i ask you because if you gamble, you can get you a free drink in there.”

“i don’t drink, man”




there are two activists, so to speak in the above conversation. or an activist and a de-activist. i wonder if there is really any neutral ground—i think the bump-on-a-log theory of someone else will do the activism is an illusion. either you’re sinking or rising in being actively involved with the issues in your own life.

i talked with dave chapelle this weekend, who puts out a la-area local weekly events calendar. “i went to a big meeting—a medical up date—once,” he told me. “they must have had food for a hundred people, and flew in an expert from hawaii to talk. maybe eight people showed up. nobody knew about the meeting.”


local events calendar
To Subscribe or submit events: send email request to mailto:events@charter.net
Sent weekly for Los Angeles, Long Beach, Orange County, Palm Springs


chapelle said, ‘i looked around and saw there was a need that nobody was addressing. i didn’t see anyone else ready to take on the work. there was nobody but me, so i felt i had to do it. if i didn't, it wouldn't happen.”

i saw nobody else but me would do the work. if i didn't do it, it wouldn't get done.

that’s part of why i am an activist.

i am also an activist because i am a writer and an artist. i’ll get into that later. just wanted to check in here.

how are things with you?

--richard kearns
rk@aids-write.org
http://aids-write.org

« Last Edit: June 26, 2006, 03:42:35 PM by rk@aids-write.org »
dark and bright
deep and clouded
sinister and resilient
sung and un
piece by piece
picture the truth

http://aids-write.org

Offline allopathicholistic

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Re: why i am an activist: notes for alex on aidsmeds.com
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2006, 04:15:08 PM »
i'm okay... could be better. it's the low energy thing that really gets me down.  :-[ anyway, i read about dina's time in cambodia and i posted comments. here's the link:
http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=1172.msg12652#msg12652

Offline rk@aids-write.org

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Re: why i am an activist: notes for alex on aidsmeds.com
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2006, 12:33:21 AM »
alex--

this is mlking's retelling of the parable of the good samaritan. it is an issue of life activism. i try to think about it when deciding whether or not to engage in action over an issue that faces me. there are other things i think about too; but let's nail this one down.



one day jesus told a parable. You will remember that parable [–the good samaritan —rk]. . . . (oh yeah) and that parable ends up saying that this good samaritan was a great man; he was a good man because he was concerned about more than himself. (oh yeah) . . .

i say to you this morning that the first question that the . . . levite asked was, ‘if i stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” (that’s right) but the good samaritan came by and he reversed the question. not “what will happen to me if i stop to help this man?” but “what will happen to this man if i do not stop to help him?” this was why that man was good and great. he was great because he was willing to take a risk for humanity; he was willing to ask, “what will happen to this man?” not “what will happen to me?” (all right) . . .


martin--“three dimensions of a complete life.”



activism is in the choice of questions we ask ourselves. do we ask enabling or disabling questions?

are we activists or de-activists? what am i?

who is the de-activist within?

--lyr

dark and bright
deep and clouded
sinister and resilient
sung and un
piece by piece
picture the truth

http://aids-write.org

Offline rk@aids-write.org

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    • aids-write.org
Re: why i am an activist: notes for alex on aidsmeds.com
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2006, 12:45:01 AM »
alex--

another set of decision-making questions:

1. what is the truth?

2. what am i going to do about it?

not just #1. the truth sets you free to take action, #2. the truth requires action (which sometimes becomes inaction) in response. that's part of how you know you've spotted the truth.

--lyr
dark and bright
deep and clouded
sinister and resilient
sung and un
piece by piece
picture the truth

http://aids-write.org

Offline rk@aids-write.org

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Re: why i am an activist: notes for alex on aidsmeds.com
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2006, 12:30:28 PM »
alex--

this, from the advocate, broke my heart and belongs in this discussion.

am preparing it as an excerpt with a link from aids-write.org



But we get older, and friends don't ask us to hold their hand when they stop breathing, and the fear fades and I bought new leather loafers and the White Party is coming.
 
The truth is simply this, and no one will convince me otherwise: My most courageous self, the best man that I'll ever be, lived two decades ago during the first years of a horrific plague.
 
He worked relentlessly alongside a million others who had no choice but to act. He secretly prayed to survive, even above the lives of others, and his horrible prayer was answered with the death of nearly everyone close to him.
 
To say I miss that brutal decade would only be partially true. I miss the man I was forced to become, when an entire community abandoned tea dances for town hall meetings, when I learned to offer help to those facing what terrified me most.
 
Today, the lives of those of us who witnessed the horror have become relatively normal again, perhaps mundane. We prefer it. We have new lives in a world that isn't choking on disease.
 
But once, there was a time when we were heroes.
 
Mark King is a longtime activist and writer living in Fort Lauderdale. He can be reached at marksking@aol.com.
 
This article is a part of the publication The Advocate.

Our thanks to Mark King, which provided this article to The Body.
 
<http://www.thebody.com/markking/heroes.html?m156h>


dark and bright
deep and clouded
sinister and resilient
sung and un
piece by piece
picture the truth

http://aids-write.org

Offline rk@aids-write.org

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Re: why i am an activist: notes for alex on aidsmeds.com
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2006, 10:01:41 AM »
new on aids-write.org: an open poem to mark king  “once when we were heroes”: a failure of pronouns in the walled city (347)

http://aids-write.org/?p=184

mark—

i wept at your profound and articulate statement, and am moved by your anguish and loss. and gain.

as a hero, however, i am a terrifying and formidible self-critic, and the standard i am offering to you is a standard for heroes (which is also a standard for writers). not for everyone. not for people who don’t want it. i am not being critical. i am saying you are exceptional. i am speaking to the greatnesses in you. (in me too, ‘cause i don’t always measure up)

an open poem to mark king from the timelessness of the net, in response to your june 2006 advocate article, “once when we were heroes”: a failure of pronouns in the walled city

mark—

i would suggest a more careful statement of your final paragraphs:



today, after witnessing the horror, i view my life as relatively normal again. perhaps mundane. i prefer it. i have a new life in a world that isn’t choking on disease.

but i was once a hero.




rk’s questions:

is that enough?
who is it i deny
when i deny
the hero in me?
whom do i lose?
where did he go?
are you today his
absence or presence?
whose? the world chokes,
though you won’t this day.
you live in a walled city
under seige. when you cared,
when you dared, when you wept,
did they break in,
or you break out?
do you weep still?
in stillness? when
did you cease
to be a hero? [never!] who
captured you? is your
inner weariness less
in your grave? in your cell
with martin? composing?
praying? posing? meditating?
medicating? waiting? stating?
decomposing? bursting free?
what can you do but?
did lazarus re-rise?
or was he a one-night re-stand?
is life a long-term sentence?
how many times can you fall in love?

loafers. hm. might you
be resting & preparing &
waiting for the call? the fire
on the mountaintop says:
now.

tell me another,
your tale, your song,
i am listening along
for you.

hail the fallen

–rk
rk@aids-write.org
http://aids-write.org
310-488-1328
dark and bright
deep and clouded
sinister and resilient
sung and un
piece by piece
picture the truth

http://aids-write.org

Offline allopathicholistic

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Re: why i am an activist: notes for alex on aidsmeds.com
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2006, 06:47:06 PM »
The truth is simply this, and no one will convince me otherwise: My most courageous self, the best man that I'll ever be, lived two decades ago during the first years of a horrific plague.
 
He worked relentlessly alongside a million others who had no choice but to act. He secretly prayed to survive, even above the lives of others, and his horrible prayer was answered with the death of nearly everyone close to him.
 
To say I miss that brutal decade would only be partially true. I miss the man I was forced to become, when an entire community abandoned tea dances for town hall meetings, when I learned to offer help to those facing what terrified me most.

This pre-HAART era must never be forgotten. I will do my part. How, I'm not sure yet - but I do know this: I won't ever look at it as merely history.

Offline rk@aids-write.org

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    • aids-write.org
Re: why i am an activist: notes for alex on aidsmeds.com
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2006, 07:44:05 AM »
alex--

i believe you have touched the activist inside. activism is a passion. sometimes it's fury. sometiimes it's calm strength. sometimes it's love.

namaste

--rk
dark and bright
deep and clouded
sinister and resilient
sung and un
piece by piece
picture the truth

http://aids-write.org

Offline zephyr

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    • Zephyr L.T.N.P. Foundation, Inc.
Re: why i am an activist: notes for alex on aidsmeds.com
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2006, 01:32:10 PM »
And truer words were never spoken.

Regards to you,

Zephyr
"It is character that communicates most eloquently."

Offline rk@aids-write.org

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Re: why i am an activist: notes for alex on aidsmeds.com
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2006, 12:44:24 AM »
thank you, zephyr. but the proof remains in the pudding: our actions, not our words, need to be truer.

while silence = death,

i have often found

activism = life

arise and struggle to build a livable life.

--lyr
dark and bright
deep and clouded
sinister and resilient
sung and un
piece by piece
picture the truth

http://aids-write.org

Offline rk@aids-write.org

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    • aids-write.org
Re: why i am an activist: notes for alex on aidsmeds.com
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2006, 01:07:54 PM »
alex--

are you still there? i have a plan . . .

--lyr
dark and bright
deep and clouded
sinister and resilient
sung and un
piece by piece
picture the truth

http://aids-write.org

Offline allopathicholistic

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Re: why i am an activist: notes for alex on aidsmeds.com
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2006, 03:40:03 PM »
yes. whats up.

by the way, who is the target audience for your collection? still not clear on that

thanks

Offline rk@aids-write.org

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Re: why i am an activist: notes for alex on aidsmeds.com
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2006, 12:32:32 AM »
whom aids claims as an audience, i claim also.

--lyr
dark and bright
deep and clouded
sinister and resilient
sung and un
piece by piece
picture the truth

http://aids-write.org

Offline rk@aids-write.org

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    • aids-write.org
Re: why i am an activist: notes for alex on aidsmeds.com
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2006, 08:52:47 AM »
alex--

audience is a big question. there are all sorts of ways i think about audience, and i'm not sure if it's a question that can be handled shooting from the hip.

i think there is an unformed gay-hiver cultural body/body politic out there. we behave in manners that can be described as "cultural," or "political," and we are learning new ways to discuss and debate and seek out and act in the best interests of the combination hiv / aids/ gay community. and i think "our" community has the potential to assist the planetary culture that will come to exist, as much out of catastrophe as out of design.

but i don't expect to live more than five or ten years, which simplifies my participation quite a bit.

so partly my audience is myself, as it must be for any artist, as it must be for any person using language.

part of my audience is growing. i am a journalist as well as a poet. both mythologize  the events in our environment to form a "story" where we fit in. roy peter clark at the poynter institute calls journalism an "american conversation," and this islike having conversations with sleepwalkers sometimes. but there is a conversation going on. rpc says the form of journalism is more like a conversation, more like a story than it would be like expository prose.

you are my audience.

look at our conversation.

look at the people who have been listening to our conversation.

and there is an hiver blogosphere that's coming together, which is also an interesting audience & community.

i hope i answered our question. i'm not sure if i've answered mine, but i've started.

and i'm "grassroots los angeles" if that's not an oxymoron.

good morning. catch you later.

--lyr
dark and bright
deep and clouded
sinister and resilient
sung and un
piece by piece
picture the truth

http://aids-write.org

Offline allopathicholistic

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Re: why i am an activist: notes for alex on aidsmeds.com
« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2006, 11:34:16 AM »
Richard: Yes that does help answer my question

Wishing you the best of all possible worlds

Post soon

Alex

 


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