Drug and Disease Free

BRODERDrug and Disease Free, my new collection of poems, is available for purchase from Indolent Books.

Love is always complicated. In the poems of Drug and Disease Free, Michael Broder ponders the further complexities of love in the context of HIV and AIDS. These include the pleasures of cruising and anonymous sex, the challenges of marriage and erotic power exchange, and the realities of blood, cum and other “proud, shameful mysteries.” Broder’s narrator is intimate and plainspoken even when formalist; wary but romantic; self-mocking and elegiac; and utterly open—even with “no lube”—to loving and being loved, and all the complications those entail. —Arielle Greenberg

[Michael Broder’s] Drug and Disease Free makes an important intervention in the canon of contemporary gay poetry, in which so much writing about HIV/AIDS has remained in the realm of elegy. Even as many of these poems find Broder grieving, he is not confined by his status or the pains he has suffered. Ultimately, the triumphant possibility he realizes in this book is that freedom can take innumerably more forms than previously believed. The example of Broder’s poetry proves that even in the face of inconceivable loss, we are free to conceive of a world in which we can keep loving, writing and remembering. —Jameson Fitzpatrick (from the Foreword)

Michael Broder’s poems are sexy, fun and daring. Drug and Disease Free is a frisky poetry collection that is audacious and revelatory in a way both refreshing and uninhibited. —Emanuel Xavier

This Life Now

tony-499x600Broder_coverThis Life Now, my first book of poems, is available for purchase from A Midsummer Night’s Press.

The cover of my book is at left, with a beautiful painting by Stefano Cipollari. The guy in the pic at the right is Anthony Ibrahin Salinas (1956-1994), better known as Tony. He plays a big part in my book. I met him in February 1990 and showed him my first efforts at verse on New Year’s Eve, lying on his bed in the dungeon (see below). For months he had been telling me to think less and do more. Of course, that sounds good in theory, but doesn’t always lead to the best outcomes in practice (again, see below). In terms of my writing, though, he was right. Many of my poems at that time were about Tony in one way or another, in letter or in spirit. The poem below is at the heart of the first section of my book, called “My First Ten Plague Years.”

Tony Poem

By the time we meet, Bobby is dead and the guitar
               lies untouched in its dusty case in a corner of the “dungeon,”

the dark hole you sleep in beneath your parents’ house.
          You keep drinking and fucking, ultimate bad-boy fuck machine,

vodka fueled rock-n-roll Quasimodo.

          Weekends, diligent, you mop the floor of your mother’s
          beauty parlor,

          just the right dilution of bleach and soapy water.

          You leave me in the middle of the night,
hang out on the boardwalk with junkies and hustlers,

          they rip you off when you fall asleep on a bench.

While I’m at work you write things on my computer
          that will haunt me when you’re gone.

          Every revision omits more—
               who infected whom, what you knew and when.

What remains—

                    Some cassettes you made for me,
               notebooks, clippings.

          Photos of you onstage with your bass,
               hair plastered to your forehead,

open shirt a drenched banner

proclaiming you.