FEELINGS | SUMMER ’20
WORDS by ANTHONY WASH ROSADO
COVER PHOTO by TIMOTHY ROSADO + SELF PORTRAIT
Literature is the only part of my life that Miss Rona hasn’t quaked, until now. How can anyone know the actual truth when capitalism sinks its fangs into every media-frenzy that blinds and brainwashes U.S. citizens? Has history not taught us that she repeats herself? If we look back to 1918, in celebration of World War I’s end, impatient people around the world cancelled their quarantine early. They immediately returned to business as usual, as if a virus was not plaguing the globe. Those who did not heed warnings against social interactions were killed by the Spanish Flu, which totaled to four times more people than were murdered in WW I. Doesn’t this advise us that social distancing for the entirety of 2020 is the way to avoid Darwinism’s inevitable filtering? Isn’t it enough of a sign that people walk NYC’s overpopulated streets with masks under their chins, hands without protection, and gloves strewn across sidewalks before quarantine’s end? How can we envision a future when so many people are trying to return to a “normal” that no longer and will never again exist?
Excuse me if my passion is aggressive. I am here with nothing but affection. There is a hark in me begging to reach sisters and brothers across the African and American diasporas. This rant is a deep sigh outward, releasing tension from my upper back and trapeziums. Hear me, my loves: “God is change.”* Shape God to your needs. Adapt in and with this epoch. Trust the process. Find purpose and pursue it relentlessly.
Didn’t you notice that the local and federal governments moved with urgency until they realized Covid-19 has been impacting Black and Brown people at a higher rate than whites? Nicole Sirotek, a nurse from Nevada who travelled to New York in response to Covid-19, whistelblew the genocide of Black and Brown people in NYC hospitals at the hands of racist medical care professionals. She is one of two nurses who have exposed doctors using defibrillators and ventilators on patients who have pulses and could breath on their own. This is the world we live in. Know the facts. Refrain from large group gatherings and anonymous sex. Engender your Self and Body with unconditional love and respect. As a positive man I know first-hand all the revolutionary mentors we lost due to HIV/AIDS stigmas. We who are immuno-deficient, healthy, clean, and persevering; it is up to us to educate our community upon the many ways to interact with the world while keeping our Self and Body safe. We will not be amongst the numerous victims of Covid-19 during winter 2020/2021.
This shit is not Voldemort. Speak its name with your voice: Corona Virus. Covid-19. How do you feel when you say it aloud? Uttering “HIV” used to terrify me. For the longest time I only referred to myself as “Positive.” In effort to assist my sisters in understanding that I am as healthy as a negative individual, I told them that my HIV is a cute and sleeping Gizmo. I reminded them what happens when you don’t follow the rules, gremlins can multiply from Gizmo and wreak havoc. I assured them that routine of antivirals, vitamins, water, diet, and exercise ensure my Gizmo stays sound asleep for the rest of my long life. I have used this story to inform many people, yet this analogy was useless while touring Brazil between 2017 and 2020. “Positivo” is not the Brazilian-Portuguese translation for Positive, when referencing someone with HIV. The word is “Portador,” or carrier. Upon getting tested in February 2020, the nurse asked me if I am a “Portador.” I exclaimed, “No, I am Positive. I am not a carrier.” It is logical, but also heart-wrenchingly demonizing.
(I am a Pisces, so stick with me as we hop from lake to lake. I promise this will all make sense.) At two years of age each developing child starts to move toward their desires and far away from their fears. This is why HIV knowledge is foreign to gay men from New York City to Salvador—in 2020. It is also why so many people are DTF before there is a mutual sharing of either party’s status. How does the saying go, ignorance is bliss? If Black and Brown gay men in our communities have a general idea of HIV yet are still disproportionately infected by it, then how do we ward off Covid-19 misinformation (or lack thereof)? True, intimacy is essential to human survival. Touch is crucial. I challenge you: Is steady growth between two or more individuals possible in the virtual world? Can you use digital spheres to expand how you give and receive pleasure? Can you touch yourself in a new way? Can a Zoom date direct you to touch yourself? Would you prefer directing? Or are you down for all the shenanigans?
If you are like me and social distancing is incomprehensible for the entirety of 2020, who can you share a bubble with? Sharing our bubbles all at once will cause a catastrophe but, just like with any skilled top, the slower the start the more ravenous we can be later on. In this case, “later on” is Spring/Summer 2021. Let’s be real and put it all out on the table. This is a brilliant and tiny virus that has yet to show signs of whether it can mutate or not. It seems as though it’s a hybrid between HIV, Herpes, and the Flu. People can be symptomatic (they are positive, contagious, and show signs of infection) and asymptomatic (they are positive, contagious, and show no signs of infection). As a person positive with Herpes Type-2 who has had the flu in his life, I adamantly urge you to consider the fact that Miss Rona walks the fiercest runways during the winter; and we have only seen her in one look. We don’t know if she will sport other guises during her W/S 2021 reprise. She might though. The cold season is literally her stomping grounds. Pun intended. What we do know is she isn’t going anywhere this Summer. She is all about that 1-2 punch. Thing is, she’s giving a long pause in between as she warms up. Don’t be fooled. She’s prepping her second punch. You tryna get molly-whopped by Miss Rona? I say, Not today, satan!
On the realest of reals: FUCK brands, FUCK capitalism, FUCK pigs, FUCK white fragility, FUCK racist mass media, FUCK a stimulus check, and FUCK what you heard. What do you know? Are you going to trust in the system that fashions dollar bills and white picket fences from your labor? Trust me instead. I love you. They could care less if you are secure. I need you to be safe. They don’t wanna see you shine! I do. I vision a future where you are happy and healthy. Clip any thought of large, IRL socializing and focus on your survival. Do you know how to make a fire? Or hoist a bear bag? Are you able to get your bearings in order using a physical map and compass? Can you grow your own food? Have you compiled a list of natural antiviral alternatives? Knowledge is the most valuable tool to share. I am here to help. Reach out to me if you have any questions or needs.