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David Wojnarowicz Readings

David Wojnarowicz read works from his writing, as a benefit for Needle Exchange, at the Drawing Center in New York City in 1992 shortly before his death.

  FEVERS READING       quicktime audio mp3

"...and I woke up in a fever so delirious
I'm in a patriotic panic. Where the fuck
at 5 o'clock in the morning can I buy
a big American flag?"

This David Wojnarowicz Readings program frequently telecasts on Public Access.

"If I had a dollar to spend for healthcare I'd rather spend it on a baby or innocent person with some defect or illness not of their own responsibility; not some person with AIDS..." says the healthcare official on national television and this is in the middle of an hour long video of people dying on camera because they can't afford the limited drugs available that might extend their lives      and I can't even remember what his official looked like because I reached in through the T.V. screen and ripped his face in half      and I was diagnosed with AIDS recently and this was after the last few years of losing count of the friends and neighbors who have been dying slow and vicious and unnecessary deaths because fags and dykes and junkies are expendable in this country      "If you want to stop AIDS shoot the queers" says the governor of texas on the radio and his press secretary later claims that the governor was only joking and didn't know the microphone was turned on and besides they didn't think it would hurt his chances for re-election anyways      and I wake up every morning in this killing machine called america and I'm carrying this rage like a blood filled egg and there's a thin line between the inside and the outside a thin line between thought and action and that line is simply made up of blood and muscle and bone and I'm waking up more and more from daydreams of tipping amazonian blowdarts in "infected blood" and spitting them at the exposed necklines of certain politicians or government healthcare officials or those thinly disguised walking swastika's that wear religious garments over their murerous intentions or those rabid strangers parading against AIDS clinics in the nightly news suburbs      there's a thin line a very thin line between the inside and the outside and I've been looking all my life at the signs surrounding us in the media or on peoples lips; the religious types outside st. patricks cathedral shouting to men and women in the gay parade: "You won't be here next year--you'll get AIDS and die  ha ha"      and the areas of the u.s.a. where it is possible to murder a man and when brought to trial one only has to say that the victim was a queer and that he tried to touch you and the courts will set you free      and the difficulties that a bunch of republican senators have in albany with supporting an anti-violence bill that includes 'sexual orientation' as a category of crime victims      there's a thin line a very thin line and as each t-cell disappears from my body it's replaced by ten pounds of pressure ten pounds of rage and I focus that rage into non-violent resistance but that focus is starting to slip my hands are beginning to move independent of self-restraint and the egg is starting to crack       america seems to understand and accept murder as a self defense against those who would murder other people and its been murder on a daily basis for eight count them eight [nine, ten...] long years and we're expected to quietly and politely make house in this windstorm of murder      but I say there's certain politicians that had better increase their security forces and there's religious leaders and heathcare officials that had better get bigger dogs and higher fences and more complex security alarms for their homes and queer-bashers better start doing their work from inside howitzer tanks because the thin line between the inside and the outside is beginning to erode and at the moment I'm a thirty seven foot tall one thousand one hundred and seventy-two pound man inside this six foot frame      and all I can feel is the pressure      all I can feel is the pressure and the need for release.

"To make the private into something public is an action that has terrific repercussions in the reinvented world. The government has the job of maintaining the day-to-day illusion of the ONE-TRIBE NATION. Each public disclosure of a private reality becomes something of a magnet that can attract others with a similar frame of reference; thus each public disclosure of a fragment of private reality serves as a dismantling tool against the illusion of a ONE-TRIBE NATION; it lifts the curtains for a brief peek and reveals the probable existence of literally millions of tribes. The term "general public" disintegrates. What happens next is the possibility of an X-ray of Civilization, an examination of its foundations. To turn our private grief for the loss of friends, family, lovers and strangers into something public would serve as another powerful dismantling tool. It would dispel the notion that this virus has a sexual orientation or a moral code. It would nullify the belief that the government and medical community has done very much to ease the spread or advancement of this disease.

"One of the first steps in making the private grief public is the ritual of memorials. I have loved the way memorials take the absence of a human being and make them somehow physical with the use of sound. I have attended a number of memorials in the last five years and at the last one I attended I found myself suddenly experiencing something akin to rage. I realized halfway through the event that I had witnessed a good number of the same people participating in other previous memorials. What made me angry was realizing that the memorial had little reverberation outside the room it was held in. a tv commercial for handiwipes had a higher impact on the society at large. I got up and left because I didn't think I could control my urge to scream.

"There is a tendency for people affected by this epidemic to police each other or prescribe what the most important gestures would be for dealing with this experience of loss. I resent that. At the same time, I worry that friends will slowly become professional pallbearers, waiting for each death, of their lovers, friends and neighbors, and polishing their funeral speeches; perfecting their rituals of death rather than a relatively simple ritual of life such as screaming in the streets. I worry because of the urgency of the situation, because of seeing death coming in from the edges of abstraction where those with the luxury of time have cast it.

"I imagine what it would be like if friends had a demonstration each time a lover or a friend or a stranger died of AIDS. I imagine what it would be like if, each time a lover, friend or stranger died of this disease, their friends, lovers or neighbors would take the dead body and drive with it in a car a hundred miles an hour to washington d.c. and blast through the gates of the white house and come to a screeching halt before the entrance and dump their lifeless form on the front steps."

David Wojnarowicz   1954 - 1992
Died of AIDS
Due to Government Neglect

_Memorial Funeral Procession
_July 29, 1992  New York City  East Village

     see also   POLITICAL FUNERALS  

             November 2004

Limited Edition of
100  .



This multi-menued 37-minute DVD may be purchased for $250

enquiries : webmaster@actupny.org          

purchases help support          
AIDS activist video preservation      

Recommended :

Close to the Knives
A Memoir of Disintegration

by David Wojnarowicz
Vintage Books
Random House, Inc
Memories That Smell
Like Gasoline

by David Wojnorowicz
Artspace Books
(San Francisco)

In the Shadow of the American Dream, The Diaries of David Wojnarowicz
Grove Press 1999

The Art of David Wojnarowicz
The New Museum, NYC

David Wojnarowicz, Brush Fires in the Social Landscape
Aperture #137
Fall 1994

Seven Miles a Second
comic book by
David Wojnarowicz &
James Romberger
Vertgo Verite

David Wojnarowicz,
Tongues of Flame

edited by Barry Blinderman
University Galleries
Illinois State University
Normal, Illinois
Distributed Art Publishers
(New York, New York)