We Who Remember

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A poem by Sam Friedman

We, who remember
how Presidents spat bile
on junkies and fags,
said Never Ever Never
as they banned syringe exchange,
and hid smiles of glee
behind crocodile tears
as AIDS deaths soared
like the stocks of Dow Jones and Big Pharma,

we,
who remember,
we,
who cried,
while the rich got richer
as nurses used and re-used 
home-made masks
that leaked during intubations,

we, who watched Big Pharma grow fat
from selling vaccines only to the countries of the rich
as with ART
for years, even decades
as the viruses decimated the poor
like the Roman legions, the Nazis,
or G.I.s
in lands they conquered,

we,
who remember,
we, 
who cry,

watch the ways of the powerful,
watch the wiles of the rich
while they use us, 
use you,
lower our pay,
deny coverage and sick leave,
they who prosper
when I/you/we
sicken,
when I/you/we
die.

We,
who remember,
we,
who cried then
as we cry now,
knew no surprise
at the millions
they let die.

We, who remember,
we, who cry,
have learned what to
hate,
and we use our years and hours
thinking, pondering
who are we,
who are they,
how our we
might ever unite
to tear down 
their edifice of power,
their edifice of hate, 

and we who remember
will never 
forgive and
never 
forget.
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