Elegy for Gaëton Dugas


who picked up men wherever he went

who donated his blood

who I am the prettiest one

who donated

The Appalling Saga of Patient Zero

whose zero meant O as in letter O as in

Out of California & though

AIDS came to the United States in 1959

& before that, central Africa, about 1930

who did not slaughter a chimpanzee for meat

but who The Monster Who Gave Us AIDS

donated his blood to

slides to lab tests to electron microscopes

who The Columbus of AIDS

let the tip of the needle draw his blood

for more       a vaccine       a scape       an answer but who

was a strange guy at the Eighth and Howard bathhouse

a blonde with a French accent

who said, Gay cancer. Maybe you’ll get it too.

although who at that time could

not have possibly known

that what he had was transmitted

through sex though a publicist

who, for a book on the subject, stated,

It’s the worst kind of yellow journalism

& said, Don’t blame Randy

who admitted to making it up to compete for sales even

though Patient Zero: The Man Who Brought AIDS

to California whose zero now coming

to mean the first

who spread it       despite being the first

who did extend one bone white arm

who made a fist

& who could, at once, at first

see the


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