And I don’t even know her name (a poem on AIDS Day)

***This poem is a true story***

Did you know I used to be a conspiracy theorist?
I’m still a conspiracy theorist
I’ve conspired about everything
From Klan contraceptive pills in
Kentucky Fried “Chickens”
To why so many poor children I’ve taught
Are now on Ridlin

I believe in almost every conspiracy
Designed to assassinate black leaders
From Shaka Zulu to Patrice Lumumba to Dr. King
And up to the present

I also used to opine
About AIDS being a disease,
Created in Western labs
To dispose of Black people around the world
But then I had to realize
That my theories on conspiracies
Won’t change the fact
That my cousin in Zambia is dying of AIDS
…And I don’t even know her name

Thoughts of AIDS
Coming from gays, junkies,
Or Vietnamese Rhesus monkeys
In Western laboratories
Won’t help my cousin see her next birthday
Or the birthday of her child

It’s insane when I think of those slain in vain
By this disease with “unknown origins”
But of course it’s worse now
Because it’s closer to home

I often think about my cousin
And how she lost her husband
To the AIDS Grim Reaper
But then I dug deeper
And found out that he died
Because he had to choose
Between money for expensive AIDS drugs
And financial aid to feed his children

So now that they are going hungry,
He must have died in vain
…And I don’t even know her name

US drug companies
Won’t lower the prices of their medicine
And so now she too waits to die
Impoverished and ashamed
… And I don’t even know her name

No more school for her sons
…And I don’t even know her name

Her daughter might be raped
By a gang of infected men
In a futile search to cure their pain
… And I don’t even know her name

Will her children die too
Because of this damn Western drug game?
… And I don’t even know her name
My cousin is dying of AIDS
…And I don’t even know her name!

And I know this sounds repetitive
But for my entire life
Her existence in my mind was negative

And so now that she’s HIV positive
I feel like I have to make up for lost time
Because there’s too much time lost
Before she’s tossed
Into that statistical group of Africans
That die from AIDS, malaria, TB,
And probably common colds

But since we don’t know their names,
And most Americans believe
That all Africans are the same,
Then unless they died from war or famine
Then they must have died from AIDS!

Not old age, not rabies,
Even the babies,
Let them all die
From that disease we call AIDS,

You know that “AIDS”
Some say it means
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
But it might as well mean
“Africans Impoverished Death Syndrome”
Because no one cares for their names right?
Well wrong!

Because from now on,
I’m gonna sing my cousin’s song
And the songs of the throngs
Of those who are dying
In numbers so large
That rivers form from tears of the crying
And mounting AIDS deaths
Keep these rivers from ever drying

But I’m gonna stand strong for my cousin
And fight the fight for her and her husband

Because inability to pay exorbitant prices
For name-brand drugs
Means my cousin might die in shame
But at least for this one soul
It won’t be in vain
Because by the time you read this testimony
I will have known her name

Her name is not “African statistic #10,000,001”
Or whatever figure
Will get these drug companies more money
And by the way I gotta inform my friends
That joking about AIDS
Never was and still isn’t funny

And if they or you ask why,
I will tell them you that my cousin,
She is dying of AIDS
And though some of you may not give a damn,
For those of you who care,
Please join me for a moment of silence
For Kuishi ‘s prayer…

*Kuishi: “to live” in Swahili


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One Response to “And I don’t even know her name (a poem on AIDS Day)”

  1. yenbere Says:

    wow….!!…,,, very deep…and very sad. .. what i would say is that you may wont to check out the film…/ video…

    we need to know what is really killing our folk. it is not the weak hiv virus but the strong drugs and the like of solid nutritional foods and other things that are quite explainable without a conspiracy theory.

    i have worked with HIV and Aids since 89. when we use to gown up n all to see patients with mask and everythng. but for me it never added up and it never scared me as much as the cdc. center for disease control

    cuz somehow the ancestors led me to a dusty book store in the tendorloin in sf to find a book called the poisonous needle (havent been able to find it since) that explained the formation of the american medical association and vaccines history…

    so i guess i had this in the back of my mind years later when on the hospital floors.

    my advice is overstand the test and testing inconsistancies and the psychological dispositon offered by the test results. the mind is everything especially with the heart backing it.

    population control is being offered by drugs (that were previously taken off the shelf for toxicity), psychological manslaughter, and assault to the most sacred of unions amongst Black people globally (sacred act of love making, breast feeding and mother to child inside the womb, have all been said to be leading to our death..???@$@#%%).

    if you have any questions i am open. you may go to to have some simple explainations of this situation.
    if so
    rethinking aids
    questioning the test
    african in perspective
    the bigger picture

    ok more blessings to you and thank you for sharing from your heart.
    rehema (yenbere) (our time)

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