Negative, but (A poem for World AIDS Day)

Sunday 01st, December 2013 / 21:52 Written by


©  FreePride Foundation Project

© FreePride Foundation Project

Red comes from pink comes from white

It oozes; no, it seeps,


The open air. No longer shameful

My secret out.

At least I know I will live,

but no longer with shame,

no longer with guilt,


Red comes from pink comes from white

Why am I even here?

Here come the thoughts

precipitated by anger , regret and


of the mind and the room.

Messages and morals look down

at me in two dimensions and colour

but the only colour I see now is

Red comes from pink comes from white

She tells me how her partner

also had others.

She was also at risk

He also lied

“It’s so easy for them nuh!

Tells me a secret, confidentiality breached.

I know, it’s our secret. I smile.

I’m back in the room,

dropped back in this box with

its table and bed

and the cold, so cold.

I am truly here.

“Cold today nuh, you don’t have any blood”

the nurse tries to joke .It is well worn,

like I feel.

The prick is fast, just fast enough.

The cold is cold, but not cold enough.

She squeezes and gets

the red to come from pink to come from the white of my arm.

It goes down, to white and blue.

It spreads.

The nurse comes back,

the room seems different.

The posters have lost their colour.

TB kills, get tested,

health and vitality is possible,

life is your right.

She gives me that look,

reassuring, but not enough to erase the

“what if you are? What would you do?”

I watch and wait

I wait and wait

I pray and wait

I hope and wait

to never have to see again

Red come from pink come from white.

This peom was first published on the author’s Blog Jawonthefloor

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About the author

Jerome Cornelius is a writer based in Cape Town. His interests include gender, sexuality, entertainment and politics. He is currently completing his Master's degree in Creative Writing and hopes to always speak back to power, and find the stories.

View all articles by Jerome Cornelius

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