Don't Follow- Poem About AIDS

Inkblot's picture

Inspired by this video:

Don't Follow

I want to let you in close to me
But you'll see how much my hands shake
Your hands are large and soft and strong
I can't bring myself to cripple them

If you look into my eyes
You could see the horrors in my cells
Like a brand running through my veins
You'll see it behind my eyes and run from me

You should be afraid to love me
Afraid of what I could do to you
Make you like me, shaking and dying
Even in your strong protecting arms

If I let you love me
I will hurt you, corrupt you
You will wither like I do even now
I can't let you throw yourself away

You couldn't love me if you knew
You'd push me away, and leave me here
Shaking and sweating and dying
Alone in the dark that flows in my blood

If you came to love me
I would make you rot away into nothing
You would flee my embrace in shame and fear
And both of us would die alone, like crumpled paper in the gutter

I cannot let you close to me
You will never forgive me
The loss of everything you could be
For one night of melancholy tenderness

I cannot let you love me
I will wither alone
I will have one thought of comfort
In knowing you will not follow me


Toph's picture

Aw, that's so sad. Good

Aw, that's so sad. Good poem.

patnelsonchilds's picture

It is a beautiful poem, however...

It's a beautiful poem, sweetie, and I understand the sentiment behind it. As someone who actually has the virus, however, and has gone from having full-blown AIDS to being nearly virus-free and relatively healthy, I feel compelled to respond and say that the picture it paints is unrealistically bleak. People with HIV can now lead long, healthy lives. The best years of my life have been those in which I was infected, not because of the virus, but despite it. Living in Prague, my writing career and my mentoring of GLBT teens all happened after I had already had the virus in my body for many years, and I've still got my best years ahead of me. As far as dating, it's every HIV-affected person's personal choice whether or not to date non-infected people, but I know many poz/neg couples and not one of these poz guys has, to my knowledge, ever passed the virus along to his partner. By practicing safe sex (as one always should regardless), getting on an appropriate medical regimen to keep the viral load at a minimum and taking great care with things like razors, as well as with cuts or any other open wounds, an HIV+ person stands very little chance of accidentally infecting his partner - be it a long term one or a one-night tryst. Don't get me wrong. That does NOT mean that it's alright to keep the fact one is HIV+ from potential partners, nor do I recommend going out and screwing every joe (or Jane) that can fog a mirror. I just want you all to understand that HIV and AIDS, in this country anyway, is not a death sentence anymore and if the worst happens, and you should somehow become infected, you do not need to view yourself as damaged, dying and desperate (nice alliteration huh?). Yes, some HIV- people will be more likely to reject you, but there are many who won't. There are also many other poz people out there too, hoping to find love. So you need not be alone in the world.

Make no mistake people - the HIV virus does radically alter your life. Some people live for decades with no symptoms. Others get and remain very ill. A few (but only a few in countries where meds are readily available) actually die. But the old days where infection equalled death are long over with. Yes, do everything you can reasonably do to avoid getting it, but don't treat poz people as though they were three-headed monsters, and for heaven's sake, don't live your whole lives in fear of fucking. Life's much too short for that, with or without the virus, and fucking is just too darn much fun to miss out on.

If there's anything else you want to know about this issue, this might be a good time and place to discuss it, what with a new school year coming on and many of you going off to college. I'm here to answer any and all questions. Nothing is out of bounds. If I haven't got an answer, I'll go and find it for you. This is what I'm here for guys, so don't be afraid to chime in if you're curious. I love all of you and I want to do everything I possibly can to help make your lives better and easier than mine was at your age.

*Group hug*


Please visit my Myspace Profile and add me as a friend.

- Pat Nelson Childs
"bringing strong gay characters to Sci-Fi & Fantasy"

wilma wonka's picture

a few questions

can you transmit AIDS or other STDs from girl to girl sex? Also, how do you have safe lesbian sex?

Nice poem but if you're trying to talk about your fear of STDs shouldn't you write a poem from the piont of view of someone who doesn't have AIDS who's dating someone with AIDS? If you write a poem like that post it on here, it would be really intresting.

"gay: cheerful and lighthearted; merry." - The American Heritage Dictionary.

patnelsonchilds's picture

The AIDS virus does live in

The AIDS virus does live in saliva and in vaginal fluid, as well as in blood, of course. That means that basically no one is 100% "safe" from it. I am not an expert in this area, being that I am not a woman and have never even been with a woman, so I found this site for you to check out:

If that doesn't give you the answers you want, let me know and I'll see what else I can come up with.

Btw, the fact that the virus has been found in saliva does NOT mean that you can get it through kissing. I know of no recorded instance of the virus being transmitted via saliva. The principal agents of transmission are still blood and semen, where the virus is most concentrated. Avoid exchanging either or both of these fluids and your chances of infection will plunge.

Please visit my Myspace Profile and add me as a friend.

- Pat Nelson Childs
"bringing strong gay characters to Sci-Fi & Fantasy"

Inkblot's picture


I know it's not as grim as I make it out to be. The poem was grim for the sake of art, as well as trying to reflect my general fear of STDs.

Do I shock you darling?
-Sally Bowles, Cabaret

patnelsonchilds's picture

I understand that. I have no

I understand that. I have no problem with the poem. It does reflect one point of view that's definitely out there among people with AIDS. My reply was really to offer an alternative point of view, largely for the benefit of those who might not know much about HIV or AIDS or those who live with it. Sorry if I seemed to be attacking the poem. That was not my intention at all.

Please visit my Myspace Profile and add me as a friend.

- Pat Nelson Childs
"bringing strong gay characters to Sci-Fi & Fantasy"

Morgan's picture

Awesome piece of work. You

Awesome piece of work. You ought to transfer your later stuff to our other forum.