I Will Hold You Ten Times

As longtime readers know, there are four or five JMG entries that I repost every year. This is one of them. My dear friend Daniel Johnson, who threw the most kickass Groundhog Day birthday parties for himself, would have been 60 years old today. His was a life that burned brightly and I am illuminated still. Daniel Johnson, 1957-1997.

I Will Hold You Ten Times

1. I will hold you, Daniel.

2. The lesions don’t bother me, I will hold you.

3. I will pretend nothing is wrong when you want me to pretend and when you want me to hold you, I will hold you.

4. I will make plans with you to go to your favorite places that we both know you can no longer go and I will sit with you and look at your pictures of these places and I will hold you.

5. I will ride with you on the train to your doctor’s office and when you get sick in the station, I will hold you.

6. I will see the Post-It notes you put all over the house reminding yourself to do everyday things like “Turn off stove” and “Lock front door” and I’ll pretend the disease isn’t robbing your mind and when you tell me something for the third time in ten minutes, I won’t let you know, I will hold you.

7. I will go to Safeway with you because you need to get out into the world and when the diarrhea overwhelms you and you shit your pants in the middle of the store, I will call us a cab and in the cab, I will hold you.

8. I will make you mix-tapes of our favorite songs from last summer, just like you asked me to, and when the memories make you sad instead of happy and you throw the tapes in the trash, I won’t get angry, I will hold you.

9. I will sit up all night with you because the fevers and night sweats won’t let you sleep. In the morning, I will change your drenched sheets and help you out of the shower and when you weep from the sight of your withered body in the mirror on the bathroom door, I will hold you.

10. I will hold you, Daniel.

PHOTO: The Circle Of Friends at San Francisco’s National AIDS Memorial Grove.

  • Dutchlander
  • Bill

    Every year I read this, and every year I cry.

    Best to you, Joe. Today and always.

    • bzrd

      I, too, cry every year, think of all the good people and what wonders they could have accomplished
      Thank you JMG for reminding us of the wonders of the world

      • I got paid $104,000 in last 12 months by working from my home a­n­d I manage to do it by w­orking in my own time for few hours every day. I used a business model I was introduced by this website i found online and I am excited that i earned so much extra income. It’s very newbie-friendly a­n­d I am just so grateful that i found this. Here is what i do… http://statictab.com/8cx4rgs

  • mitchw7959

    LIfting you up in love and gratefulness as you celebrate Daniel and honor his memory.

  • WitlessProtection

    I weep for all of our brothers and sisters we lost before the miracle of the meds. I always feared becoming an unwilling member of this fraternity, but I am. I am lucky it happened at a time when science has made living with this scourge no worse than dealing with any other chronic condition. I am one of the lucky ones.

    • Lakeview Bob

      Me too. In October it will be 10 years for me.

      • Mark

        20 years August for me….the tears still come and I think they always will.

        • Lakeview Bob

          I know what you mean honey. I find I become tearful more easily as time goes. Maybe it’s part of aging I don’t know.

  • Chi Sherman


  • BudClark

    Bless you, Joe … may Daniel rest in peace and rise in glory. Amen.

  • Lakeview Bob

    Tears in my eyes at 7:30 in the morning. Gets me every time.

  • Silver Badger

    It’s good to keep the memories of the plague’s early days sharp in the minds of our young. They may well be reliving them if the pissant and his dark forces aren’t stopped.

  • PickyPecker

    I remember all of you, my friends. I always will…and I will smile as I miss you still.

    • Ragnar Lothbrok

      + 1000

    • David Walker

      One of the nicer things about being retired is that I’m not in an office or a cube farm or whatever that fucking open space nightmare is called. I can cry and nobody knows or cares or laughs at the faggot. I am in my own office with the cat, and she understands. Thank you, PP.

      • Ian

        Joining you in spirit from my cube farm, petting the cat and sipping coffee with you.

    • Megrim Twist
  • Rex

    No words.
    Only tears.

    • Mark

      Tears are good though. They purge the soul…..

  • Do Something Nice

    Those of us who survived the plague know the horror of an unresponsive and hostile government.

    With the exception of one ex and two friends, I lost everyone. It seemed like I was up to 1 funeral a week before I stopped going.

    The only good coming from that crisis is that we started working together. The misogynist and racist ‘undertones’ in the white gay community disappeared and we worked together as brothers and sisters to create our own support systems.

    • Todd20036

      Before my time. The Milos not withstanding, there really was misogyny and widespread racism in our community?

      • Do Something Nice

        In San Francisco, yes. I can’t speak for other cities.

      • David Walker

        Oh, yeah. We didn’t know lesbians existed and kind of totally disregarded. Thankfully, the plague certainly changed that.

      • Do Something Nice

        Examples: Waiting in line to get into a popular gay bar. Nice looking black man in front of me is asked for 3 pieces of photo identification and he doesn’t have it, so he is turned away. I start digging through my wallet to see if I have 3 pieces, and the bouncer waves me in, without looking at my ID (bar was busted twice for doing this). Going to a bakery and the staff ignoring the black man in line way ahead of me and waiting on me. Walking down the street and hearing loud conversations that disparage just about all non-white races. I won’t get into the sexist bullshit but it was all widespread. I ended up moving to a non-gay part of town just to get away from it.

        • MT YVR

          Here in Vancouver : bar line in a packed to the rafters bar. Woman in line in front of me is ignored and bartender keeps asking for “next” by pointing to the men past her. (I asked her what she was ordering when it was my turn and forced them to fill the order, assholes). Another gay bar a man, in the middle of Vancouver, bitches that he haaaates having those (Asian pejorative) in his bar.

          Oh, yes it existed.

      • SelectFromWhere

        Dividing the world into “Us” and “Them” has been around since the beginning of time. Even in marginialized communities that clung to each other for safety, when we started getting our own spaces and feeling safe from the outside world, we have always drawn our own lines in pretty much the same ways the outside world dies (sex, race, and (especially) looksism).

        Both sexes (in our Community) were guilty of a segregated community in the 1970s for the most part; it was common for there to be “Men’s Bars” and “Women’s Bars” and only the big dance clubs were open to all (in many places). Lesbians generally identified more with the Feminist movement than with the “Gay” (which at the time meant G+L…we hadn’t thought much about B and even most G/Ls found T unsettling) movement. Sure, if it was a big rally or something, all would come together to decry our common enemy, but afterwards, we all went off to our separate parties. And racism was always present, since the gay male hierarchy was very much based on money and looks, and few white guys were attracted to Black men, having been brought up with at least subtly racist messages. As for money, well, African-Americans were only a few years removed from Jim Crow and most didn’t work very high-powered jobs. Many bars where I lived were “Members Only”, partially due to liquor laws, partially as a safety thing (they could keep out suspicious looking folks who might be bashers trying to gain entry, or straight couples wanting to “take over”), but also as a racist thing. Good-looking white guys were simply let in without a membership, or the doorman would “sign you in”. Or if they asked about a membership, they were handed a form. A black man was more likely to be told “Membership is full right now, no new ones being given out for the moment.”

        It was actually the AIDS crisis, where Lesbians altruistically stepped up and took care of dying gay men, that the community began to lose its sexist walls; even then, I think racism took longer to eradicate. Looksism is STILL with us, IMHO.

    • T-Batwoman

      It was before my time, I am saddened when I read of these events and I stand in awe of what those who came before me went thru and fought for. I gain strength thru your strength. Thank you.

  • ErikDC

    My grandmother also died 24 years ago today. She was the first person I ever knew who died, the first time death ever touched me.

    • Mark

      My grandpa was my first when I was a freshman in college – – I still miss him and it’s been 42 years….

  • RobynWatts

    As always, thank you for posting this, Joe.

    For those who had lost spouses, lovers, friends and family members, please know that my heart goes out to each and every one of you.

    • stuckinthewoods

      Thanks. You made me think and remember. Joe’s yearly post comes two days after the death of my partner, decades ago, at the beginning of the plague when nothing could be done. I took care of him at home, by myself, for months, a 125 pound man carrying a 165 pound man to the bathroom, racing to the refrigerator to grab something because he said he could eat but that might pass even before I returned, the shakes, the sweats, the pain. He was an Important Person. When he died his memorial gathering couldn’t be contained in his institution, it flowed outside. His family had only found out he was dying a few days before he died. At his memorial they were up at the dais with the many speakers. I could see them from where I was, uninvited, far back among the crowd.
      Your kind sentence of sympathy today is more than I had then.

      • RobynWatts

        I’m so very sorry, Stuck In The Woods, not only for losing someone you deeply loved, but for the addition pain of being hurt by your partners family. (((Hugs))) 😞

        • stuckinthewoods

          Thanks again. I find I can’t really be hurt by people I don’t respect, besides by that point I was so exhausted I probably appreciated not having to participate in an event, to be honest. I was still so wiped a week later when my mother remarried I have no memory of her wedding.
          There was just no help with AIDS available then.

  • MaryJOGrady

    Thank you, Joe.
    You as we all know are a mensch.
    Please take good care of yourself. We need you.

  • RyanInIllinois

    It gets me every time, Joe. Thank you for reminding us.

  • barrixines
  • bsinps


  • Oh’behr

    To honor my two siblings, yet, as I know I’m not the only one who lost family members in this disaster. (Though it was more than a disaster). It was a soul sucking, feels like a black hole depression sinking into it again as it was more than my 2 siblings dying then too, and I ate my heart and stuck it back in pieces back into my body, nightmare for years, experience, for years in the 1980s and 1990s. Even early 2000s for a few people..

    Other than me, other people also lost partners, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, lovers, husbands, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, elders, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, sons, daughters, other blood relations, just other relations, people not know yet they knew from a book written, an author, a filmmaker, etc, The person who cut your hair, worked in a store, took tickets at a theater, etc.

    I also honor other people who lost a lot of people too. Or … Even if it was just one person.

    Also to honor more people than I can even recall or remember now. And that’s not being a victim or seeking pity.

    I just no longer recall all of the names or faces. In that I know I’m also not alone and not the only person here either. I feel a bit sad I no longer cry, yet those tears where shed long ago, I still tear up a bit, yet I go on living and the dead are dead, yet much of them still live in spirit, in memory and a bit in my heart. And when an odd memory can pop up years later.

    Also people who’ve known loss or death from other diseases, causes, crimes and war/s. I didn’t have to be a female to relate to my sister who had a friend die from a man raping her. That was beyond word’s horrific and tragic. My heart still hurts from that decades later although her killer (who was a serial killer) is now dead.

    • bzrd

      Mr. behr,

      I had a friend in New York City who noticed his boss, owner of the company, skimming off the top. Since my friend had four friends dying of the horror with no job and no one to care for them, he decided to have a go at the till. He managed to take care of all until their death.

      He moved back to Portland, Oregon and one day came a knock at the door, he was caught. The bank had noticed irregularities.

      Since he had folios for each of the four with all receipts, he was given a light sentence of only eighteen months and a very small restitution. The judge saw that none of the theft was for personal gain.

      Coincidentally, today is the second anniversary of his death at only 55.

      I cry for all

  • Todd20036

    You know what is really scary? AIDS isn’t what my greatest fear is these days. It’s trump

    • TampaDink

      Medical science has slowly made it possible, as you know, to manage HIV/AIDS, I fear that there is nothing those scientists can do about Hair Furor.

      • JCF

        Father Time has a fix…IF we live that long.

        • TampaDink

          That is true. I hope that Father Time will get with the program before we are completely living in what Hair Furor aptly titled the last book he “wrote”….”Crippled America” or before he gets us all killed.

  • ColdCountry

    Just seeing that headline makes me cry, every time. But I still read it, to keep Danial’s memory alive, and to remind myself of what is really important in this life. Thank you, Joe, for being who you are, and for bringing it to all of us.

  • Jean-Marc in Canada

    As always, a wonderful tribute to friendship & love.

  • Mark

    Aw dammit……those freakin’ onions again…..

  • Thank you Joe. Thank you.

  • David Walker

    As always, thank you, Joe. It is our “never forget,” and this is required reading for those who are too young to remember or never knew in the first place.

    My private personal holiday is Groundhog Day. It’s not that I care what the various marmots have to say, but I am a curmudgeon and identify with the rodent. It’s also when I know I will see this work of art again. It’s makes the day even more special.

    Thank you, Joe, and my love to all my fellow JMGers who are here because of you.

    • GayOldLady

      Ditto to everything you wrote David.

      • David Walker

        Thanks, love.

  • vernacular100

    Really moving!…so real and a heartbreaking beautiful tribute.

  • Mark McGovern

    I love this piece. So honest.

  • kaydenpat

    RIP Daniel. Way too young.

  • Deanosaur

    You speak for many of us by expressing these beautiful sentiments in memory of your beloved friend. Just the photo alone elicits strong feelings as I’ve had the privilege of spending many hours at that stone circle in the AIDS grove, usually when nobody else was around, providing an opportunity for peaceful remembrance. I miss you Blair and Marco, with both sadness and a big smile. The flame of love always burns for you in my heart.

    • David Walker

      I think the most wonderful thing about this tribute is that what Joe did just happened. It was a sincere response and it just came naturally. I think many of us responded out of the love that friendship generates. No one told us to help; we just did. As fucked up and angry and bitter as I am, I hope I don’t lose that response to someone in need.

      And I always forget to thank our lesbian sisters for their incredible devotion to our sick brothers. I think that, as horrible as the plague was (and still is), the one positive to come out of it is that we learned to respect and then love each other. Thank you for that.

      Tissue time again.

  • sfbob

    Thank you Joe. What an amazing tribute to your friend. Not only what you’ve written but that you continue to remember Daniel every year on the anniversary of his death. This is what a true friend does. You are a powerful example.

  • JT

    Thank you for posting this, Joe.

    We must always remember how we and our fellows have suffered at the hands of ignorance, oppression, and monstrous hatred, and swear to ourselves and each other, especially in the current dangerous situation, that we shall never let it happen again.

  • djcoastermark

    Thank you for the reminder. The reminder of friends I’ve lost, the friends who had bad times, but makes me fondly remember the good times with those friends and smile but for a moment.

  • Brian in Valdosta

    I am a professor of foreign language at a regional university here in southern Georgia (as many of you may know from my comments in this here website thingie). I teach a class in Advanced Conversation. One of the units that I cover with my students is the Human Body (learning words for body parts, phrases for health-related issues, etc.). I always dedicate one class to discussing HIV / AIDS and I always but always ask this question: Does anyone in class know anyone who has HIV or who is living with AIDS? In my 8 years of teaching this class, not one student has said yes.

    It is odd to me, because of how impactful this disease was on my life and the lives of my friends. I turned 18 in 1985, the same year that it was revealed so publicly that Rock Hudson had HIV / AIDS. I knew several people back then who had been diagnosed. Then my uncle was diagnosed. At one point I could count over 20 people in my life.

    If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend the film “Holding The Man”, an Aussie film that tells the story of two men who fell in love in prep school and their years spent together as a couple. I also recommend not watching it alone. The film, like this yearly post of Joe’s, keeps this important topic alive in our thoughts.

    • TampaDink

      I graduated from Valdosta State in ’86 & at that time, I didn’t know that I had friends who were living with HIV/AIDS. By the end of the 80’s, I knew too many who had died and more that were dying. I’ll save your movie endorsement for a time when I can watch it without sobbing.

  • Megrim Twist

    I’m not crying, you’re crying.

    • Bad Tom

      Yes. Yes, I am.

  • Ian

    Joe, and everyone here:

    Thank you. Thank you for being my community and my break. Thank you for making me laugh and cry. Thank you for making me buy new keyboards with every spit take-worthy snarky comment.

    After greeting my boyfriend in the morning, you all are my first stop even before coffee.

    Thank you Joe for being our lens and sentinel and defender. Thank you for showing us what a good friend is what courage and compassion are.

    I’m so glad I found you all; we’re here, we’re still here.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    Well that brought back memories of a horrible disease that robbed us of some beautiful friends. It’s a virus that lives in my husband.

    This did remind me of the beautiful light that burned in some wonderful people. People I will never see again.

    Two weeks ago, a friend confided in me that he is now positive. I hope the new meds work for him. I hate this disease!

  • Joe in PA

    Normally I’m a ‘let the troll expose him/herself”…I’m glad this time Joe is removing those posts. I’m kinda done. ;(

    • Boreal

      Where is today’s troll?

      • David Walker

        Oh, he’s around. I made the mistake of responding, and then I reported it and blocked it. Something like freeked_ur_mom, which he would have. She would have freaked out that such a hateful person existed and personally escorted him down the lane, leading him by her hand squeezing the scruff of his neck that his eyes were bulging and his veins, depending on how weak he was, might explode. I saw it happen.

      • Joe in PA

        In another thread, I can’t remember which one, Joe has had so many today! (not that I’m complaining)

        But, I’m really feeling beat down today. SADD? We are having a bit of sun (sun, what is that?) today, I’m going for a 3-mile walk with the dog. Anything to get away from Dumpie. 🙁

        • Boreal

          Hope you feel better I understand. It is overwhelming. I get SAD too.

  • TampaDink

    This one always moves me to tears….no exception for today.

  • rednekokie

    And I can say exactly the same words to my brother, Frank, who died in 1995.
    I miss you, bro.

  • Pat

    No words possible, just love for you and Daniel, may he rest in peace.

  • Bad Tom

    For my friends and family who are gone now: Michael, Steve, Brian, Billy, Andrew, and in 2016, that wretched year of loss, Steve.

    Thank you, Joe, for helping us all remember what we need to remember.

  • karmanot


  • boatboy_srq

    Beautifully put. Thank you. And thank you for reposting it.

    We can never forget. We can never forget that medicine screwed us, government laughed at us, business ignored us and loved ones died as a result. We can never forget that people of all sorts let this happen. We can never forget that, if permitted, our enemies would gleefully allow it all to happen all over again exactly then same way.

    And we can never forget that our humanity and compassion outmatch all our adversities.

    • zhera

      Imagine, if you dare, a new medical crisis happening now. A sexually transmitted disease that kills if it goes untreated. Imagine the lack of response from the Bannon administration. The vile hate from Pence and his christers.

      • boatboy_srq

        Stop already. You’re making me miss Reagan.

  • Derrick Johns

    A very powerful, sad but beautiful testimony/poem. Those of us over the age of fifty all lost dear friends in the 80’s and 90’s.

  • MT YVR

    The little thing that is the whole thing is the touch of skin on skin.

    People forget that at one point people – health care staff from nurses to doctors to infectious disease specialists – would not enter rooms with AIDS patients. Professionals had this superstitious level fear of being around, touching them or even worst touching things they’d touched. There were bubbles around so many people.

    Don’t kiss. Don’t shake hands. If you had a friend over, use dishes for them that you’d either boil or throw away. Their garbage would need to be treated differently, you never knew.

    One of the most transgressive, taboo shattering, political and activism oriented thing you could do, sometimes, was touch.

    In 2005 when the last man I was close to died from AIDS, he was in the hospital for three months. At first in the AIDS ward it was ok, but as it wound down and down and he moved finally to palliative care gowns came out. Gloves. Masks.

    Layer by layer we put away his humanity. We first put away his dignity by sliding into the throw away gowns. We then took his familiarity with the mask hooking over our ears. We finally removed, surgically, his humanity by snapping on the gloves.

    We were told it was more for us than him. He was dying and there wasn’t anything they could do about it. His body was now a breeding ground of an unnumbered host of opportunistic infections. And it was something that made sense.


    His vision faded. He lied about it, of course. The little shit. He couldn’t tell who was in the doorway and only I noticed he couldn’t track you around the room unless you were talking. But we were at best shapes. The last days I don’t think even that. He also was wandering in and out, mentally. No one knew what dementia had hit him, it certainly wasn’t the ordinary AIDS dementia. But sometimes he knew where he was, sometimes he didn’t. And when he didn’t he was so scared. In a bed with people that were blurred shapes around him, touching him with latex hands and talking with muffled voices.

    Then the pain came. It settled in him like an old friend over tea. Constant and lazily winding through his entire body, each day lingering in a new place. Directionless and pale, hard to describe. I had to teach people to trick him. Never ask if he was in pain, ask where. If? No, of course not. Next breath: where? He’d start to point and explain.

    But often he’d take hold of the side of the bed and rock himself up and almost over the rails. Back and forth. In pain. Mute. Quiet as he could be. Never discussing it or mentioning it, as if we couldn’t see.

    So at a month of this I snapped. This man who’s skin had been under my hand, my mouth, my lust… had been replaced by a layer of things. By a gap. I could not take the frustration and took off the mask. Off the gloves.

    His beard was so soft. It was like down. It was ragged and grown out and soft as air. His pale, perfect skin was smooth and warm and his. Mine. Ours. I kissed him and kissed him and kissed him everywhere. And held his head, my forehead to his, until he slept.

    For the next two months of his life, the last, I never wore that shit again. I held his hand when he panicked because he was sure he was in the wrong room. I touched his face the day he couldn’t find his way out of those crystal eyes of blue, instead locked aware and awake in his head. I kissed him good-night.

    And on the last day we ever talked, knowing he was completely blind and not at all sure where he was or who I was… I explained to him about the tattoo on my arm. LJ. For him. Eyes wide in surprise he asked about it. I took his hand and straightened a finger and traced my skin with it, the ink underneath.

    “This is you. On my arm. In my skin. Forever. Always.”

    Touch. Holding each other. It remains one of the most powerful things I can do in my life – without fear or prejudice or hesitation.

    Joe, you are a good, good man.

    • zhera


      and you are a good man as well, MT.

    • djcoastermark

      I am at a loss for words other than you are an angel.

    • Pat

      And so are you xx

    • Derrick Johns

      He was fortunate to have a friend like you. Even in all his pain he was fortunate to know you, MT YVR.

  • jsmukg

    For all those who are gone and for those of us who remain–.
    I will hold you in memory dearer than the honeysuckle air.
    Thank you, Joe.

  • Captain Jack

    I was just at the grove on New Year Day…such a peaceful, beautiful place rain or shine..

    • The Milkman

      It’s a special place, isn’t it?

      • Captain Jack

        I feel terrible saying this, but I always resent it when it’s crowded with flaggers and loud music.. I do realize it’s a place for everyone celebrating life..

        • The Milkman

          I agree. There are plenty of places for partying, and I love a celebratory vibe. But this place should be for respectful and quiet reflection. At least in my own opinion.

  • T-Batwoman
  • Hue-Man

    I regularly complain about MSM not covering gay issues. This time, not so much.

    The Economist, January 21, 2017, review of How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS by David France (Knopf, 640 pages, $30) may well have been written by our of our own. Two samples (read the whole thing if you don’t read the book; pass it on to a YoungerGay who doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about):

    David France’s masterful account of the epidemic offers plenty of
    opportunity for outrage. America’s response to this public-health crisis
    was one of federal neglect, bureaucratic incompetence, corporate greed
    and brazen prejudice. AIDS would claim over 300,000 Americans—a third of
    them in New York—before a pharmaceutical breakthrough in 1996 enabled
    the infected to lead ordinary lives. For those who have survived, Mr
    France writes that the betrayal of so many politicians, doctors,
    clergymen and family members remains “impossible to forget”.

    Activists staged protests to highlight the cost of federally approved
    drugs, and they learned enough about virology, chemistry and immunology
    to propose essential drug-trial innovations. Federal and private
    researchers eventually took note of what they were saying. Never before
    had a group of patients done so much to guide the agenda of so-called


  • The Milkman


    I have read your blog daily for so many years that I can’t recall when I started. 2007 maybe? 2008? Whenever it was, it was a long time ago. Every time I see your annual posts, they remind me why I started coming here.

    Marcel Proust said that when we lose someone, they remain bathed in an aura of life through which they continue to occupy our thoughts in the same way as when they were alive… it’s as if they were traveling abroad. In that way, the love and friendship shared between two people doesn’t pass away until both are gone. These posts help us keep those memories alive and vibrant as the years pass.

    Thank you for all you do for us, for our community, and for those who left too soon. On behalf of Daryn, Scooter, Mark, Robin, and so many others, thank you for reminding us of what’s important. I remain a loyal reader and eager commenter.


    Brian, AKA The Milkman.

    • bzrd

      Dear Brian, I joined JMG sometime 2007-8 as you did, and continue the morning visit with a cup of coffee. This is such an important site for those of us who live alone, conversation, touching stories, different points of view from young and old, and the never ending information. One great aspect is all who point out different resources for a story, and the ability to continue learning. And, we must not forget BillBear who continues our education in Classical Music.

      Thank you everyone for a fabulous community,
      the bzrd

  • EqualityForAll

    For night time fun, one of my former boyfriends and I used to lock his bedroom door on the second floor of his mother’s house and project 8mm porn movies onto his wall. Not a day goes by now that I don’t imagine him, and the dozens of other friends that I’ve lost years ago, coming back to life, with me explaining all the modern technical advances that have been made since their passing. Almost on a daily basis I can hear one or more of them in my mind asking “What’s a cell phone? How does that paper-thin TV work? Why is the picture so bright and clear? What’s the Internet and what is it used for?”

    I truly miss all of my friends, my two cousins, and my former boyfriends who died long before their time should have been up.

  • stanhope

    Everyone should look at the AIDS stories on Instagram….incredible. We must never forget.

    • peterparker

      ‘the AIDS stories on Instagram’? Can you be more specific? Which Instagram accounts?

  • Superman

    I lost my lover to AIDS in 1990 after many years together and a terribly hard illness. I certainly understand why you post this every year.

    • Mike_in_the_Tundra

      I know how it feels to lose a husband. My condolences for the empty space you must feel in your soul.

  • fuzzybits

    Thank you Joe.

  • Stephen Diamond

    To Daniel, and Ricky

    I went through this plague, I lost my partner. I often feel like Emperor Claudius. I am still here at 51 after living in Philly, NY, Miami, and LA. I thought alot about why “not me”. I have come to the conclusion that I am here to bear witness. We whoare survivors are uniquely prepared for Today..

  • TuuxKabin

    That was a quick year. Thank you Joe. I’m noticing the position of the sun leading up to this day as it rises between buildings and across the middle of the block. Another Manhattanhenge, but more personal to us. Thanks again. For this and all the rest. With appreciation to how you’ve brought us together.

  • David

    Thank you so much for this… it’s the first time I’ve seen it. My partner and the love of my life, Michael, passed away in June 2016. We had been together 28-1/2 years. In the 80’s and 90’s we lost all of our friends. Michael was a long-time HIV survivor (27+ years) but he’s gone on now to be with all those friends.

    I know with my “Knower” that he is, oh, so much better off now, but I would give anything I have to be able to hold him one more time. After reading this, I feel like I just did.

    So. Thank you. We never know how what we do and say is going to affect somebody. You just affected me, right when I needed it.

    David in Nashville

  • Gianni

    Somber and sobering. Thanks.

  • rcworl


  • JCF



    This is how we will survive WHATEVER bullshit is thrown at us.


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