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All the Young Cannibalized

by Karl Waldbauer

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So many gone, simply gone away


All the smart and laughing men
See them drive their cars, feed pigeons, pay taxes.
Hear them talk, murmur, some loud, some quiet.
So alive, so in the moment.
The doctors, the artists, the man who fixed your car,
The boys who danced all night like it would never end
Not thinking for a moment they would soon face a very different dawn.

The missing people
Gone these many years
Some forgotten
Some immortalized on a quilt
And for the life of me I can’t stop thinking about them.

05/25/2006

Author's Note: June 5, 2006 will be the 25th anniversary of the Center for Disease Control report on a "rare pneumonia" affecting five gay men in Los Angeles. The U.S. AIDS epidemic was born. Since that day, more than 559,000 Americans have died from AIDS. This is the number of people who live in Tuscon, Arizona and considerably more than the populations of Miami, Atlanta, or Minneapolis. Currently over 1,000,000 Americans are believed to be infected with HIV.

Posted on 05/26/2006
Copyright © 2022 Karl Waldbauer

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Joan Serratelli on 05/26/06 at 11:08 AM

So sad, so heartbreaking. These people live on; not only on a quilt, but in the hearts and minds of caring people. I wish this poem was a fantasy, but it isn't.

Posted by Joan Serratelli on 05/26/06 at 11:08 AM

So sad, so heartbreaking. These people live on; not only on a quilt, but in the hearts and minds of caring people. I wish this poem was a fantasy, but it isn't.

Posted by Leslie Ann Eisenberg on 05/26/06 at 03:17 PM

i recognize this picture of you, but the way you present it here is very effective. your passion and heart drive this poem to tough places. i am touched by the every dayness of the face of AIDS -- The doctors, the artists, the man who fixed your car - my favorite line. after reading scott's comments, i'd like to see him write a follow up...perhaps you two could do a collab....thank you, again, for piercing the dark with the truth. i dig your style.... PK

Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 05/27/06 at 04:52 PM

Heavy duty stuff, and right on the mark. As I read through this, despite the title, I got more of a universal feel from this, as if you were talking about celebrities, and then I read the Author's Note. Cool poem, that can stand as an athem to the issue.

Posted by Vere Mantratriad on 05/28/06 at 07:11 PM

Thank you for this. It's so easy to get wrapped up in day to day nonsense and forget - as we've been taught to - the truly important things.

Posted by Ashok Sharda on 05/30/06 at 01:39 AM

yes, those missing people who suffered and died premature. And there seems a long line. Its painful, watching them waiting for their turn, out of turns.

Posted by Rula Shin on 05/30/06 at 02:46 AM

Yes, in so many ways it is true they are "canabalized" by a human system that is inhumane. This is so heartfelt, so painfully genuine...thanks for the reminder, we must not forget.

Posted by Quentin S Clingerman on 07/18/07 at 01:34 PM

A poignant reminder of the devastation of the HIV epidemic. I have known some who have died of AIDS. One man I knew really, by faith especially, outlived most of his friends by a few years. Since I lost touch with him I assume he has died. It is terribly, terribly sad.

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