I had spent years adjusting to the idea of dying. I made piece with dying as I sat beside my dying lover’s bed and gave him permission to go. When I was dying and everyone around me was dying I had a purpose. My crisis came I realized that I might live another 25 or 35 years. It also felt like we were being swept under the rug. People wanted to forget about AIDS and we survivors were reminders. But I took a handful of pills everyday to keep alive. AIDS was and is a daily fact of life for me. Most mental health professionals treat depression, anxiety, sleep disorders as unrelated and not the natural response to a long, sustained trauma. Living with so much death while preparing to die young for a quarter of century fucks with your head. I remember the day that saw a piece on TV about vets and PTSD. I couldn’t stop crying. Could my reactions be post traumatic stress-related? After years of feeling out of control things began to make sense. My therapist thought I might be on to something. It was not until I began sharing my story that I realized that I wasn’t the only one stumped by survival…. spencer cox
late october some 29 years ago, i was a very different guy. i had just spent a couple of years helping a group of friends open an after hours club in chicago and had on of the biggest rides of my life. within this framework, i also spent a year witnessing one of my best friends get sucked into the void by the omnipresent eradicator of our generation.
melancholy sweeps over this guy every year at this time because there was a reckoning. a tsuname. a volcano eruption. an earthquake. the aids holocaust is well documented and there seems no need to duplicate that here.
besides, i am not well-equipped nor prepared to discuss any facts or data because i was in the middle of them all and way too close to be impartial. what i can be sure of is my ongoing surprise and humility at survival. also what remains is a braided tapestry of emotion, memory, impression, and broken dreams.
beyond the idea that “life is what happens while you’re busy making plans”, there is the “alice in wonderland” metaphor. once one makes a decision to go down the rabbit hole, i am now convinced that one can never go back. not really.
i continue to struggle with survival and success. partially i resent even struggling at all, and at the same time have grown an outer shell that whittles “average” struggle into grist for the mill. i may have felt the heat of dante’s inferno and developed a thicker skin.
let’s acknowledge here that we have all survived- certainly not just me. mine is merely one tale. it is only one dot within the enirity of the work of george seraut. all of this rambling reinforces for me the idea that we don’t know where we are going at all. we think we know so much when we are younger. we are damn sure that life is just as we see it and as we understand it. but life has a way of revealing to us in its own time that what we know is dwarfed by what we don’t know. the revelation of what i didn’t know is what brought me to my knees in this life. it woke me up and invited me to feel again.
late october some 29 years ago, i fainted in the middle of an aerobics class. in my heart, i understood that the plague had entered my life. i thought i knew what the outcome would be. but i had no idea.
I look at you all see the love there that’s sleeping While my guitar gently weeps I look at the floor and I see it needs sweeping Still my guitar gently weeps I don’t know why nobody told you how to unfold your love I don’t know how someone controlled you They bought and sold you.
I look at the world and I notice it’s turning While my guitar gently weeps With every mistake we must surely be learning Still my guitar gently weeps I don’t know how you were diverted You were perverted too I don’t know how you were inverted No one alerted you.
I look at you all see the love there that’s sleeping While my guitar gently weeps Look at you all . . . Still my guitar gently weeps.