Try not to be selfish
Leavings are losses,
leaving vacuum-sealed and empty spaces—timeless void.
There is no
One learns to live.
One learns to live with holes in the heart.
“In the last six months, I’ve had three more friends die of HIV/AIDS. ‘All Relationships Are Time-Limited’ is a response to that. The poem is a universal theme, as is HIV/AIDS. I feel poetry is a tool in the fight against HIV/AIDS, because you can say things in poetry and people will hear it in a way they may not be able to in a lecture or educational forum. With poetry, people are more receptive.
“Throughout my life, I’ve always written and loved poetry. I came into full-gear with it in 1996. At that time, I was home recuperating and I had a lot to say about my history and life circumstances and I needed a way to say it. So I wrote—prolifically. At first, the poems were written just for me. But in time I shared some of the poems with friends and they asked for copies and shared the copies with other people. When I saw how my thoughts were affecting others, it made me see writing as a gift, a tool for working for humanity. I had a lot to say and a lot of questions to ask. Communication is the key, and poetry is certainly communication.
“I started coming to ASC’s Creative Writing Workshop in April 2005. I was impressed that an agency like ASC would have a writing workshop and think that was an important thing to offer. Thursdays—when the workshop meets—is homecoming time with likeminded, like-spirited people. I view it as my oasis. And on top of the workshop, there’s the exciting opportunity for participants to publish our work in Situations and to perform our work at Barnes & Noble/Union Square each spring. That’s affirming, but it’s also a great educational outreach tool for carrying out ASC’s mission of educating people about the HIV/AIDS pandemic. So the ASC Creative Writing Workshop provides a great deal of pleasure for me. It’s educational, therapeutic, and just plain fun.”
— Chardelle Imani Lassiter