Thursday, June 07, 2007

Dance and poetry, music, and a poetry slam?

Yesterday's Pride Award ceremony at BIDMC recognized two individuals who have made outstanding contributions within the gay and lesbian community. What made this day different from past events is that both awardees are involved in the arts (among many other things.)

They are Liz Nania, the Director of Out to Dance! and Rafael Campo, MD, an internist at our hospital, and an accomplished writer and poet. You can find a sample on his website.

Speaking of the arts, I also want to take a moment to acknowledge the fine work of the Longwood Symphony. This is a talented group of medical professionals who offer concerts to the community, but who conduct their concerts as benefits for charitable causes. This season's concert series is over, but you can sign up for next year's tickets, volunteer to help, or make a donation at their website.

Now to the poetry slam. Rafael reminded me that there are lots of amateur poets in the medical community, some of whom are inspired by their experiences in patient care and some who write for other reasons. If any of you -- or any non-medical folks out there -- would like to reply with a comment that contains a poem you would like to share, please do so.

8 comments:

Paul Levy said...

Here is one of Rafael's poems, reprinted with his permission.

MANUEL

In Trauma 1, a gay Latino kid---
I think he's seventeen---is getting tubed
for respiratory failure. "Sleeping pills
and Tylenol," I translated for him
as he was wheeled in. His novio
explained that when he'd told his folks about
it all, they threw him out. Like trash. They lived
together underneath the overpass
of Highway 101 for seven weeks,
the stars obstructed from their view. For cash,
they sucked off older men in Cadillacs;
a viejita from the neighborhood
brought tacos to them secretly. Last night,
with eighteen-wheelers roaring overhead,
he whispered that he'd lost the will to live.
He pawned his crucifix to get the pills.

(from What the Body Told, Duke University Press, 1996

Anonymous said...

Why are people rewarded because of their sexual preference?

I have a problem with this. No I'm not anti gay I just don't get it.

Anonymous said...

the wheelchair sqeaks;
the leaky urine bag leaves a trail of drips down the hall;
the clothing flaps loose;
temporarily exposing the genitals;
homecoming king; football star;
reaching the end of his road;
and the begining of his next.

Paul Levy said...

They are not be rewarded for sexual preference. They are being recognized for work they have done to reduce discrimination related to sexual orientation.

Anonymous said...

roses are red
violets are blue
paul levy is a great guy
you can see it in his face.

Paul Levy said...

I think we can do better than that!
:)

Anonymous said...

Rafael’s poem is extremely moving. The story is stark and the words used to write it are clear and sparse.

Jen M. Gorman said...

I was a writer at the first annual Squaw Valley Writing the Medical Experience workshop, where Rafael was a featured poet. His work as a writer, physician, mentor, and advocate exposed me to the intersection of arts, medicine, healing, and self-expression. A poet is a voice not only of the 'self,' but also the voice of those who would be otherwise unheard (Manuel). Keep speaking Rafael - many, here and elsewhere, are listening.