The Last Time I Saw Wendy

Big black glasses

Covering big black eyes

Hey I said

Hey she said

That lip looks bad I said

Yeah, it’s fucked up she said

I thought you were gonna stop walking I said

Nah, can’t stop now she said

Silence of those lost for words

Broken by the broken one

I gotta keep on hustlin’ now she said

You gotta do what you gotta do Wen I said

We hugged the kind of hug that tears your heart apart because it involves an ear whisper that tells you it’s a terminal visit

I got HIV she said

Fuck I said

Yeah she said

Yeah I said

Then we drift apart like clouds blown by the wind

Better go before the man sees me she said

Okay wen I said

fists knock in the air

There’s no frontin in despair


Author: valo

I am a poet, writer and activist with a special interest in human rights for children and women as well as the elimination of poverty worldwide. If you read this today, feed someone locally for me will you? Drop off a non perishable food item at the food bank nearest you and consider yourself hugged. Thank you!

19 thoughts on “The Last Time I Saw Wendy”

  1. Heart wrenching! Specially when you realize nothing you say can be of help any longer.. all you are left with is to offer a few kind words, which fall woefully short in the face of tragedy.. One can not empathize.. and only feel wretched sympathy…

    1. I think this is the difficult part of love and friendship Dark Lord. The acceptance that they can’t live forever and that sometimes paths cross and then part. Luckily I’m good at endings, but they still sting. Wendy taught me a great deal about this.

  2. This was a really tough story to take.
    You made the telling look easy, Val.
    It’s hard to get close to the helpless.
    It tends to make you feel hopeless.
    Been there, done that, and
    I still haven’t learned.

    1. As it happens Treeman, Wendy and two other girls filled a void for me that kept me sane. My daughter was abducted and missing at the time and mothering these women helped me put those feelings somewhere. I loved them like sisters and they knew they would always have my love. I’m happy you tread the road of helper and yes it’s true what you say, it does make you feel hopeless. Don’t worry, I still haven’t learned either but it’s all good at the end of the day.

  3. fascinating piece, it this would be one – on the page – really play with the form, make it look like a play almost? well done!

    1. I agree Mr. Squires. Effectiveness was my aim, I’m just not completely clear what it is I’m trying to achieve either politically or socially. I suppose I would rather make people feel than think, because feelings tend to become tied up in memory and therefore leave a mark. Wendy was a real person and I knew her. She was a prostitute I befriended in a domestic violence shelter. Often, hookers use safe houses to hide from their pimps or irate clients. The staff have a policy of allowing it because the objective is to keep all women safe regardless of the circumstances. As it turned out, Wendy wasn’t ever going to be safe again. She didn’t get HIV from a needle, she didn’t mainline, she was more a crack and pill popping addict. She got HIV from a client and I will never know what happened to her. After that day I heard she went down to Seattle and then nothing. My goal was to show that we are all responsible for the street, most especially those who live in clean and trim neighbourhoods. Thanks for appreciating the sentiment of both poems and although I don’t pretend to be any sort of real poet, I do love it when my experiences, brought to life by my words, move people.

  4. Beautifull poem val, I like the attitude both girls have. A mix of indiference and boredome. One thing that is not nowadays as it was 20 years ago is how much your life does change if you get infected by aids, I think now you can leave perfecgtly well all your life (the life you would leave without the infectious desease), and you can have a very good life quality, there is no need for pain to be involved, neither for body deformities, the only thing you need tp do is take your medicine regulary and you will be fine.

    1. Thanks mariana, and I was one of those girls and Wendy was my friend. I agree, HIV is not the death sentence it used to be and I hope with all my heart that Wendy is alive and well and out of the life. HUGS

    1. Don’t thank me Debbie, thank feist. I read your article and it was terrific. I left a comment to that affect. HUGS

  5. This is so gut-wrenching. I know the pain of watching somebody struggle with addiction, knowing you are powerless to do anything about their demise. I was an addiction counselor fresh out of college and nothing could prepare me for what I saw and heard, and for the words I had to say when I talked to kids about their parents who were diagnosed with HIV. The worst part of all is the stigma that is attached to these poor souls and how they are dehumanized and seen as nothing more than the sum of their mistakes. It is just so sad. Some of the most valuable lessons I ever learned, I learned from “Wendy’s”….

    1. Wendy’s real addiction was to self destruction Danielle and there is no rehab for self loathing. It’s unfortunate to accept that some people are born into situations that make it nearly impossible to rise above the misery. This was the case with Wendy. She was a super intelligent woman about many things, but she just couldn’t access her common sense, or if she did, she wasn’t giving it much attention. I’m not surprised that you were involved in a humane and helping profession. HUGS You are a cool lady Danielle.

    1. Thank you Lorraine, but I”m not phenomenal, I’m just a survivor. I’ve got the hide of an old boot I guess. Pretty soon, I’ll put up some other story/poems. I need to purge some things.

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