A poem by Julene Tripp Weaver

The Sarcoma Scourge


There were whispers, “Mediterranean,

​​rare​ regional

​only old men get it.”


Karposi Sarcoma made marks

on gay men’s skin

tagged their torsos, branded their legs

made their face a target like wearing a

pink triangle

​a damn holocaust inside our bodies


disco getting a bad rap

poppers feared


my friend freaked when she heard

a lesbian got the virus.


Conspiracy theories leaked

from party balloons after hours


night clubs dying

friends calling in a panic

each new rash or bump


end of life predictions

angels came out from closets to

Act Up meetings, our new

Community, we had to have a say.


Keith Herring, known for his art,

died. It was 1990 with so many

losses, AZT equaled death


and our government officials

refused to say AIDS.

This filibuster infection activated us


to make noise, create buyers clubs.

We drank blood from organic liver

in an alley from a cooler


anything, to save our lives.





This poem first appeared in Truth Be Bold—Serenading Life & Death in the Age of AIDS (Finishing Line Press.)


Julene Tripp Weaver is a psychotherapist and a writer; she worked in AIDS services for over 21 years. Her third poetry book, Truth Be Bold—Serenading Life & Death in the Age of AIDS, was published this spring by Finishing Line Press. Two prior books are No Father Can Save Her, and Case Walking: An AIDS Case Manager Wails Her Blues. She is widely published in journals and anthologies. Her poems can be found online at: Anti-Heroin Chic, Riverbabble, River & South Review, The Seattle Review of Books, HIV Here & Now, and a creative nonfiction piece is published by Yellow Chair Press, In The Words of Women International 2016 Anthology. Find more of her writing at http://www.julenetrippweaver.com.

Out this spring from Finishing Line Press:  truth be bold—Serenading Life & Death in the Age of AIDS
No Father Can Save Her, Plain View Press
Case Walking: An AIDS Case Manager Wails Her Blues, Finishing Line Press
Available on Amazon.