When I asked Tim if he wanted to respond to my professorial analysis of his triptych, this is what I got. I hesitated to post it, because this is usually a sort of “family” blog, but I’ve been talking about the Baker Massacre and this is only about one death. The Anglo Saxon four-letter words are mild compared to the real four-letter words of our times: METH and AIDS. They are on the rez because they are everywhere. By now Tristan is deep in AIDS dementia, thinner than Kate Moss, constantly cold, but happy because he is with Tim.
laid bare under burning snares
sometimes the pain comes to us fast upon the wind/ o proteus, it's the kind of pain where each bloody cell you have has gone to your throat to strangle the breath from you/ sometimes we just want to die/ tristan's way to deal with it is to not move/ my way to deal with it is to remain busy, call it yankee guilt/ the workslave ethic/ the more pain the more work there is to do/ people approve of my way more than they do tristan's way (tristan does not care) to wallow in the suffering/ sliding into stealth as grit and all the industrious yankee gods/ common sense tells you that if you just work hard enough you will make it into heaven/ people write to me about hope/ about how they need it in their lives/ most of the time, i have no idea what they are talking about, but i read my email and nod and pretend that i understand half of the email i get/ i am not sure i would look to any poet for it/ o maybe one of the nicer poets/ they know about hope maybe where that roadkill lives/ but i can't lie to you that i even know what hope is/ the easy answers (god) are offensive/ at the end of this, the poet (who is me and who is not me) comes back to love/ it feels trite to me/ love/ a poet asks but what about love/ poets have been asking that question for a while now/ why are we here/ existence seems a senseless thing/ common sense/ is dogma/ every broken radiance, some imagined country/ poetry is just a place for me to rage in the street like a madman/ because i have the rage and the street is there/ poetry is just the language to everything apparent/ there are no answers to the density that sustains the empty room or the vision locked in stone/ it would be a mistake to think i seek answers because i do not/ i seek rapture/ i seek desire (i have almost none)/ i seek within this skeleton to burst through the tread so as to get as high as i can storm the walls/ a junkie is a junkie is a junkie/ i could lie to you and end this at the exact point where the video version ends/ a great leap toward hope/ if you had the power to yank my chain, i would do exactly that/ end it with but what of love/ what strange wandering is this and warm across the floor/ let the video end where the video ends/ this is not the video version of the same work/ rich on these despairs, i seek the questions that yield up enormous skies into which i am being hurled/ i seek to die with tristan but that doesn't mean i get what i seek or even that i take it/ all it means is that i seek it/ the happy poets have a long slow task/ i am simply suspended here in discord with the dead/ it's you and me, baby, and the dead/ the air chilled and the journey ending in us/ IN US/ does that sound like a foreign country to you perhaps/ i seek the radiant centers and to drink them up/ never apologize/ never understand/ a great leap toward hope/ yes/ your hope and my hope are not the same/ i've been trying to tell you that/ your hope is curved like a mother bends over a sleeping child/ i bend, too, over such a sacrament/ but my hope just wants to snap the thread and get him high and then get me as high as he is and then the two warring halves stare straight into the sun which is what death is, and (being of yankee sensibility and dourness) i always pull the junkie plunger back, always drawing blood into the syringe, and just as we are about to fall, what syringe can unknot love at what point are our narrow bones fulfillment in a ditch/ our simple days are cursed with pain and demons/ now peopled by the dead, we offer our veins to the opiate god of the beautiful sleep (means no pain)/ let us call it science/medicine the house of pain management (sounds good to me) and let us imbue that pain with a tenderness broken like the dreams and the bridge of sighs/ now, the summer has sprawled itself/ i know all the signs/ and the panic of the boys as they negotiate the sharper edges of their beds/ i have watched them as they have found the world/ and the world like a boa constrictor goes for their throats/ hanging by threads and suckled by a retrovirus/ so i might, too, stand to watch this great sea/ dying on my ragged claws/ what instruments do we use to measure our lives in/ what darkness both heavy and the oracle knows pain in blood's deep sleep/ smelling not unlike rivers of light, and disastrous memberships of obligation/ i have watched them fuck and push away the vindictive madness even as it unrolls its horror in my face/ the reader thinks in bolts of impatient, delinquent eroticism/ but i have been to date buried above the ground, and i sold eroticism paused years ago/ as nothing more than do it do it do it/ stains upon the ground of vacant streets/ your eroticism sings you/ their eroticism sings sorrow in a bitter voice/ mine is merely mood and then gone again/ the hiv wrecks havoc on your ability to produce testosterone/ and to get hormone replacement, you have to let them stick their fingers up your shit hole and i will not allow it and i hate doctors with a vengeance you would never understand/ there is a vast and ancient chasm between who i am and who you are/ our values are not the same/ i have nothing in common with you/ and i have finally found a doctor who just does what i tell him to do -- just give me the antiviral pill cocktail, and leave me the fuck alone -- and i do not allow any doctor to touch me, and i hate all of them, too, doctor martin; your attempts to extend our lives are puny and pathetic what lives what dignity what future the virus has already won, and i don't want to hear your politically correct rhetoric about how everyone can live a normal life if i wanted to be normal i wouldn't have aids, you idiot/ i am buying entire lines of pharmaceuticals directly from the factory in shanghai shipped via tokyo/ i don't need doctor martin but for appearances, and my putting that in a facebook poem is called immunity/impunity/ and what i really want is to be left the fuck alone/ and i am sleeping with tristan, too, in the shivering on the dotted line/ and what the fuck are you going to do about it/ i don't owe you an undone blur of emptiness or even the bad light at dusk when you never know whatchagonna get a photograph or a shadow/ and none of us owe you anything i have freed us from your parochial grasp of witches hands laid bare under burning snares/ but what of love and the bullet holes they stick their fists in/ always twisting us around the pain/ what of love with its tender walls gently stirred by fingertips/ what of pain/ the kind that finds you fast upon the wind/ o proteus/ now, let us find a vein/ tristan smiles that slow smile he has and offers me his forearm/
[Here’s a link to the video which only shows one of the boys cleaning up after the construction in the nearby studio where the other boys are staying and remodeling. Tristan can’t remember their names, but he is happy to see them. Some days he can remember Tim’s name, other days not. Tim wraps him in blankets and carries him to the shore of the nearby river where Tim fishes every morning.]
A day or so after this was posted, Tristan died in Tim's arms. He was not the first and he probably won't be the last, but he was the only one quite like this.