Nitrogen poem, AIDS poem by Janet Kuypers


Janet Kuypers

from the “ Periodic Table of Poetry” series

I’m afraid to answer the phone today.
Ever since he called me before
to tell me he has AIDS,
I’ve been afraid to answer my phone
to hear that his condition
has turned for the worse
or that he just died.
His t-cell count has been at zero
for over 2 months now.
He lost his job.
The last word was that he was waiting
for the chance for entrance into a study
where he may get a new set of medications.

And waiting is something he cannot do.

So I’ve looked at homeopathic options,
but I sound like his mother
telling him to eat fresh fruits and veggies.
Don’t eat raw seafood, or raw eggs.
Cook your meat until it is well done
to get the protein you so desperately need.

And I’ve looked at the chemical compounds
in the drugs that are all too expensive,
and I was surprised to see
how many times I saw Nitrogen
listed in these drug compounds.
Nitrogen. I’ve only heard of it
as liquid nitrogen for super-cooling.
Dip a rose in liquid nitrogen
And drop it, so it shatters.
I’ve even heard of nitrogen capsule
“widgets” to carbonate stouts,
or that it’s mixed with oxygen
to make laughing gas.

Maybe I need nitrous oxide,
because yesterday was the first day
I hadn’t cried.
I might have been fine for a half hour,
and then something would trigger it in my mind.
I thought maybe I’m getting used to the news,
but I just cried again.

On the phone, you said
you can’t let the thought of death kill you.
And I was trying so hard
To not just start sobbing on the phone.

You see, this is why
I’m afraid to answer the phone now.

You were on the phone with me
saying that you just have to
get used to the fact
that you’re not going to grow old,
or have a family.
You said that some people
feel like they are on death’s door
with a T-cell count of four hundred,
and some people can run marathons
with a T-cell count of zero.
On the phone,
you first told me yours was at eighty,
and you felt fine.
A little run-down,
but that was to be expected.
Then it dropped lower.
And now I am afraid to answer my phone,
to hear the next round of news.

So now I sit here and read
about antiretroviral drugs
you may or may not be able to take.
Protease inhibitors. Integrase inhibitors.
And I look at the chemical compounds
of all these drugs, with hydrogen
carbon, oxygen, occasionally
fluorine or sulfur,
And the surprisingly ever-present nitrogen.
I stare at these compounds,
wish I could put the elements
together myself
and give you what you need.
Why did I have to learn
about compounds in chemistry class
if I couldn’t make these compounds
to help you live.
Because now I just sit here and read,
and fear my telephone ringing.

Cage Poem by Janet Kuypers

 Reading by  Oz Hardwick…Music by DMJ

……..when I was a child,
I wanted to get away from my family
wanted to get away from my town
I wanted something bigger, faster,
stronger than anything I ever knew before

and so as I grew older
I took those childhood memories
those childhood toys, those childhood stories
and one by one
started placing them on an Island
surrounded by deep water
where no one could touch them
and they would always remain
just on the horizon


I have always loved the water
swam all my life
I swam in pools with friends when I was little
I swam along side the tropical fish off the Oahu coast
I swam with dozens
of White-Tipped Sharks off the Galapagos Islands

when I get closer to water
I get itchy to just jump in

but even when I could let go in the water
I’d see that Island in the distance
holding all of my childhood traumas
and I still never felt entirely free


one day
I decided to face these ancient cages
that still hold me down

I wanted to face it all
battle all of those past demons

so I went down to the shoreline
arched my hand along my eyebrows

looked for that Island of mine

the water at the shoreline lapped over my feet
pushing the coastline farther inland today

I kept searching
until I realized

my Island fell into the ocean


everything from my past disappeared
except my memories


that day,
I couldn’t go into the water


we all have our cages
sometimes we can’t see them
but they’re there,
holding us back
restraining us
holding us down
holding us in

as I sit in my cage right now
I look at these walls
hear the cars driving past me
and I think of these things that hold us down


maybe we sometimes need these cages
to protect us
when we don’t know how to protect ourselves

Copyright © by Janet Kuypers, All rights reserved

Carbon poem by Janet Kuypers


by Janet Kuypers

from the “ Periodic Table of Poetry” series

I used to see the magazine ads
and the tee vee commercials.
All I was taught
was that a big busted blonde
was all I could aspire to be.
So I would dye my hair.
So I could act the dumb blonde.
I could still beat them
at any mind games,
but men don’t like the truth
shoved in their faces,
because they refuse to believe
anything that doesn’t stroke
their ego.

So yeah, I was a carbon copy
of what the media shoved
down America’s throats.

And yeah, as time went on
the dark-haired women
started to gain some popularity back,
but they still had to be anorexically thin
and they still had to battle
the notion of all men
still adoring the dumb blonde.
And yeah, as the years wore on
I didn’t have to die my hair,
but I still had to be thin,
I had to be the carbon copy
of the dark-haired, gaunt,
soulless faces
plastered on billboards,
papers and screens.

I pass the magazine stands,
see carbon copies of the models
on multiple magazine covers.

I pass the media store
with rows and stacks
of repeated tee vee screens,
showing carbon copies
to the world
of what we’re supposed to be.

I don’t want to be
a carbon copy of anything.
I want my own thoughts.
my own ideas,
and I want to spill them out
for the entire world to read and hear.

But carbon copy or not,
I end up resigned,
knowing that despite our differences,
we are all carbon—
based life forms.
I mean, when scientists
look for life on other planets,
they always only look
for water first.
Well sure, hydrogen, oxygen,
life as we know it
needs it, I get it.
But carbon-based life forms
are all we know.
I mean, whether or not
they have arms or legs,
or gills, or a mouth, or a brain,
they all have carbon in common.

So when I see
the atrocities mankind causes:

when I see Adolph Hitler,
the vegetarian artist wanna-be,
when I see Adolph Hitler
collect his cult followers
to systematically slaughter

when I see the stacks
of the skin and bone emaciation,
stacks of bodies in ditches,
or in rooms, stacked in a pyramid
to the small hole for air in the ceiling
after their final “shower”…

when I see the pope
visit Cuba
and wear a sombrero…

when I see chickens
crammed into rows of cages
they cannot move in,
for their eggs, for their flesh…

and when I see
the rows of pre-packaged
barely recognizable cow flesh
wrapped in cellophane,
row after row in the grocery store…

It is then I have to remember
that despite everything,
and as much as I hate to admit it,
we are not all that different.
I mean,
if nothing else,
we are all
carbon-based life forms.

David Michael Jackson Doesn’t Exist Poem

I do feel alone in my writing.
Like Emily
Like Vincent.
Also I feel my writing is for naught.
I am the poem in the night.
for some kid in Singapore.
My words are magnetic spots.
Nobody has a book.
My words are supported by 10 bucks to my host,
not by the world.
You see nobody put me on hard paper where I’ll be preserved.
I am the monks who make sand drawings
which are swept away.
I am the poem in the night.
If the kid in Singapore commented…that would be nice but
I’m still magnetic spots.
Not much different from real life
David Michael Jackson isn’t real
doesn’t exist.
Just ask Wiki or the Times.