Nooj

Between my shadow and my soul

Mind My Language

Do you feel Aids?

It feels soft, like a thin blanket that is the only source of comfort for an infected child in a nasty smelling hospital,
It feels hard like the erection he just couldn't help satisfying with whomever, whenever
It feels wet like the newborn baby's head, born with a halo of stigma
It feel dry like the mouth sores on the B Com graduate's lips that refuse to be cured,
It feels callous like the stale bread that was all a 15 year old could feed her toddler brother,
It feels smooth like the legs of a seasoned hillbrow hour of guilty pleasure away from your wife,
It feels like nothing, like the thoughts a youthful brain riddled with dementia can produce,
It feels like everything, like the future parents take away when they die prematurely

And yet it is only when we change what Aids feels like
That it can stop being the bitch of Death

8 shared ideas:

Khadija October 17, 2008 at 11:12 AM  

An ugly truth is easily denied.

Zahera October 17, 2008 at 12:20 PM  

wow! very powerful. This is a topic youre quite passionate about isnt it Nooj? :-)

Nooj October 17, 2008 at 2:39 PM  

khadija- true and denial is the greatest enemy to progress. although there are versions of the truth that are not as ugly as what i paint here. this was a very biased painting with a very worn out brush.

zahera- thanks lol yes you've caught my emotional achilles heel. and it's not only because it's related to the morals of society and interaction, but also to basic attachments. if parents nurtured their children according to basic emotional needs and we all lived in a system that promoted equal opportunity these symptoms would not arise in our society. so although i find the symptoms absolutely abhorrent, i try to focus my energies on the underlying maggots that fester disease and hide behind the filth...

Parasputin October 17, 2008 at 10:20 PM  

Easily your best work, Noojie.

Like I said to you, this was written from a place of anger and pain, and therefore comes across raw and unfettered.

Safiyyah October 18, 2008 at 1:38 PM  

this is so vivid...very powerful mashallah 3laiki

when I was newly-wed, I had a lovely lady who used to help me at home, she was the craziest women, always bubbly and energetic and laughing...
anyways as the months went by, she became thinner and thinner, lost all her energy, and seemed to have aged a decade in just months...
it was obvious she had aids...
she contracted it from her husband, who had slept around.
she had two young children in zimbabwe.
I took her to the hospital, they wouldnt treat her, she was too advanced in the aids already
i took her to another hospital, sae thing.
all she could do was go home and wait to die.
She was from zimbabwe, so she wanted to go there and be with her kids, all i could do was give her money and things...
i got the news a few months ago that she passes away.
her story is so normal in todays aids ridden southern africa...she is but a statistic, and maybe not even that.
i was traumatized by the effects of this disease, what it did to her, what she became.
what incense me more, is that people in my family/neughbourhood coudnt understand how devastated i was, or that we actually took her to hospital and cared for her...she was only the "maid" to them...!

this piece has reawakened all those feelings i had..
thank you

KimyaShafinaaz October 19, 2008 at 12:53 PM  

this is an incredible piece of work nooj! beauty felt in anger and indignation. at the risk of repeating myself, this work should be making a noise in the world! we hear everyday of someone die, someone lose a loved one, someone be diagnosed with this killer... the reality is that state healthcare denies the severity in denying real on-demand needed care. last year, i spoke to someone about a mutual friend who refused to stand in the queue at a state hospital because he didnt have the energy for that many hours, and said that sometimes, you reached the front of the queue to hear that doctors time was up and had to leave the rest of the 'workload' for the next day. He didnt have the energy to go through that again. His condition deteriorated swiftly over the next two months until he finally gave in to the disease.

What more can be said at a comment box. Words can awaken us to action. Or does it take being face-to-face with the actual killer??? I believe we are...

Nooj October 19, 2008 at 6:24 PM  

Para- I remember R saying something about how you enjoy exploring the darker dingier corners of the human soul- a reason why this appealed to you perhaps? ah a way to make anger constructive :)

safiyyah- wow thanks for such a heart rendering story. your point at the end is exactly what i was trying to get at- if aids feels like it happens to those "other" than "us" or if "maids" are seen as not going through the tumult of human emotions aren't we feeding into the jaws of Death? your feelings demonstrate that you are able to overcome such petty foolishness and reach out to another human being and I salute you for that. Like I said to Khadija there are milestones in the fight against this illness. Your perceptions are one such milestone. Another would be the changing gender roles in patriarchal cultures that give women more freedom to say "no" to risky/undesirable sexual encounters.

Shafs- what a coincidence! The poem was inspired by a random imagined conversation I had with Aids where I asked it did it enjoy being a killer? And it replied that humans allow it to be the killer that it is and I realised that demonising Aids took away the responsibility from us. Which is why my last stanza emphasizes our capacity to change our perceptions, behaviours, resources, capacities. May we all fight for justice and resist oppression in all their forms insha Allah

Azra October 19, 2008 at 7:11 PM  

When I first learned about the staggaring statistics in 2002(700 deaths A DAY in South Africa alone) I was Petrified!

I hear its up to 1000 deaths a day with 1500 people becoming infected EVERY SINGLE DAY. This is no longer a myth...

It worries me that some sex-starved guys out there (and there are lots in this specific Society) are so Promiscuous and that they think they can just drop their actions like a bad habit, without there being a possibility of devastating repercussions. And what about the poor innocent females that marry these bastards out of ignorance.

It makes me sick that people think they are exempt from it.