S is for Stigma

Welcome to a tour of my blogs written for the A-Z challenge.

Today is April 22nd   and the Social   letter S

A poem based on someone I met at the aids committee where I volunteered.

Google Image

*A Place Set Apart is the English translation for the native name of the summer camp

A Place Set Apart

His name is Peter. And, probably, in the darkest recesses deep down in the cellar of his being, he feels as if he has died.

But he trudges through his existence burdened with his affliction.

And he carries on as a volunteer at the Aids organization.  A lonely man, just him and his disease for company.

Not truly alone in the world. Yet, depression fills his mind with the knowledge that real meaning to his life is beyond his grasp and  the hours spent at the bathhouse cannot replace one true love.

He had been married once and has a son he rarely sees. Peter’s family considers him an embarrassment; no invites for family dinners. Or, if invited, out of obligation, stick him alone in the kitchen to eat his festive dinner. His daughter, the only family who accepts him and his stigma, is still in his life, together with two wonderful grand children who do bring him joy.  See, he has not been abandoned, entirely.

But his heart stands alone, a solitary figure, in a place set apart.

Without someone to love him, he may as well be encased in a bubble and truly hidden from the view of the world.

He did work years ago and loved it so. The stories he still tells. The factory was sold and he had to quit anyway. His illness caught up to him, tapped him on the shoulder, and said, “No more work for you, my boy.”

The meds are good. Miracles do happen. No doubt he will live to be an old man.

Together with the memories of those dead and the plague in his heart, it is difficult to accept his tormented wrath and over-whelming guilt  that he has been spared.

In his small apartment he reaches out to the other virtual  lonelies.

During one week in August he goes to the camp for special people. People like him. He works in the kitchen and enjoys the great food; food he cannot afford at home. Hunger, the constant itch.. His body’s hunger and his soul’s. Food feeds his body but what can sate his soul?

Camp: Swimming in the lake, sitting in the sunshine, conversations face to face with real people,  not through an electronic  keyboard.  And the friends who are just like him. No one is different there.  Their solace cements their bonds as one.

His poetry – couplets in style – flows out of his heart and onto the page rhyming his misery and perceived disgrace with thankfulness for A  Place Set Apart.

In A Place Set Apart his heart beats as one with his brethren. Their stigma SHOUTS to the world:

“We are here in spite of you, standing tall and proud with the will to fight. And someday we will win!”


Surely looking forward to reading your Snippets

This entry was posted in A-to-Z Challenge 2013, Poetry, Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to S is for Stigma

  1. Mae Clair says:

    So sad. But such a powerful message. The photo you chose to complement it is perfection.

  2. susanroebuck says:

    That is such a heart-wrenching post, Sue. Beautifully written and thought-provoking.

  3. Such turmoil! My heart goes out to him.

  4. Enid says:

    So sad but beautifully written… my heart breaks for him.
    A month of Blog…

  5. Beautiful! I do like how you finished it.

  6. Elin Gregory says:

    Super yet tragic post Sue.

  7. VR Barkowski says:

    Poignant, lovely, and heartfelt. Thanks for sharing this, Sue.

  8. Sherrey Meyer says:

    Sue, beautifully written, poignant and heart wrenching piece. The photo was such a complement to your words. Thanks for sharing this poem with us.

  9. So sad, but beautifully written!

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