Chris Cockrill and Colin McKay 1984 Montreal protest against the raid of Bud’s Bar. Photo Courtesy of Jose Arroyo.
We float like eyes stitched to the sky,
Looking for each other
In all the wrong places.
from You Are Gone, Brother by Zubair Ahmed
A photo posted
From some thirty years ago
This was our beauty—
All smiles and a cigarette
At the corner of your mouth
Permanently pinned in place
Now—only ashes remain
And their phoenix memories
Flicker—just as quickly fade
As for sweet Colin
Proudly riding on your back
In protest of police
Brutality—his wide smile
Invited time’s cruel kisses
Only those who lived through war
Lost as many young men as
Did we in those years of love—
(for Chris Cockrill and Colin McKay)
Depth Charge: This is a chimeric beast of a poem—half-tanka, half-quatrain.
I had previously written about the role Facebook, and social networking in general, is assuming in the creation of collective and social memory. The posting of this picture of a protest against a police raid of Bud’s bar in Montreal in 1984 is another example of memory synapses activated by shared digital information. Thanks, Jose Arroyo, for this.
Nothing could have prepared us for what was to follow in the years after this photo was taken, the onset of the AIDS epidemic that would rage completely unchecked for more than a decade, and while treatment now offers a degree of security for some, HIV continues to claim lives and loves to this day. For a glimpse at the tenor of those times, watch How to Survive a Plague.
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To read Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”