a World AIDS Day tribute


Wayne Roberts Abernathy, December 21, 1950-March 20, 1995

numbered among the 1st generations of martyrs slain

by a killer, then, by most, barely known,

tho’ still, by some, bravely named,


with mind and heart, soul and spirit,

weathered the firstly gradual, then rapaciously fleet

& inexorable descent

into death’s shadow;

yet neither cursing nor clenching closed his eyes to the enveloping darkness,

rather gazing fast at his Lord’s, his greatest Love’s Light;

Whose promise of eternal keeping

he ne’er spent a moment doubting;

tho’ some – e’en family and church,

oft misunderstanding and unaccepting –

questioned, given his “lifestyle” choosing,

which he boldly, surely knew

was no more his free electing

than any other manner of God’s creative bestowing…


in this, aye, verily, Wayne, in his dying,

damning not the imposing, yet impostering darkness,

loved, longed, lived into Life’s unbounded Light

and now forever walks by blessed sight.

11 thoughts on “a World AIDS Day tribute

  1. Wow!! Thank you Paul for such an amazing tribute to your brother Wayne!! I’m truly sorry I never had the opportunity to meet him. Thanks too for recognizing World AIDS Day!! I always say a prayers for my father on this day, who also left this world because of this disease.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Loretta,

      I am sorry also for the loss of your father from AIDS. Prayers arise for him and for you and all who loved him on this day of remembrance.



      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, so poignantly sorrowful for me the lives that were and are separated due to the AIDS scourge and due to folks’ – sometimes well-intentioned, sometimes not – attitudes regarding the LGBTQ community. Nevertheless, equally powerfully o’ercoming are the positive passions of those who breach the barriers that divide us and reach across boundaries in love’s embrace of welcome and acceptance. This fires my hope for a better day beyond tolerance and one of celebration of all of our wondrously diverse human-kindness.


      • Thank so much Karen!! Interestingly I never met my father though I attempted to do so many times as a teenager as I searched for him. Nevertheless I miss him just the same especially because he and I are said to be almost twins in our personalities and demeanor. I’d give anything to have spent just five minutes with him!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Loretta, your experience and countless others by many others reminds me painfully afresh that one of life’s greatest sorrows is the missed opportunities of connection and communion. Your recount is all the more sad, I feel, because you know who you have missed. Sometimes folk do not and cannot know that a person who mattered and matters has been lost to them via the exigencies of time and space and place.

        As I write this, I think, too, of our ancestors whom we never had a chance to meet and to know, yet because of whom we exist.

        All this said, I honor your love for the father you never knew, yet the father whom in some real sense you see when you look in the mirror and hear in the sound of your voice and laughter.


        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Paul for your thoughtful words. The one thing that’s good in some ways that we never met is that I have this great fairy tale of him in my head that can’t be compared with anything real… so though I know through my mother that he was an alcoholic and that fact led to his losing at least one job, I never saw it so my made up memories of him aren’t tarnished.

        Much love

        Liked by 1 person

      • AND, my dearest Loretta, what you imagine about your father, I believe, is less a fairy tale (meaning how you want or would have wanted him to be) and more your dream (meaning who he is for you). Fairy tales may not be true and real, but dreams, your dreams surely are as they are as true and real as you are.

        AND even though your dad may have been an alcoholic and having lost at least one job, that was not and cannot be the sole defining character of his life, indeed, his character. Truth and reality are that he and your mom produced you. A truth and reality for which…for whom I am exceedingly glad!



      • Oh, Loretta. I echo Paul’s thoughts at the sadness of your never having known your father, particularly as you are so much like him. Have you read Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming? It’s a wonderful memoir, written in poetic form, in which Woodson deals with her own absent father, much as you have experienced. Woodson was born and partly raised in Greenville, SC, just a short distance from Spartanburg, but moved to Brooklyn with her mother and sister as a young girl. I think you might find some kinship with her experience, and it’s a beautiful book.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Paul,

    My eyes are brimming as I read your poem about your brother Wayne. I am so sorry the tragic scourge of AIDS claimed his earthly life and took him from you and other loved ones far too soon. That he now walks by blessed sight I do not doubt in the least. He sounds like a brother to cherish. I will hold him and you and all those who suffered and still suffer the devastations of that terrible disease in my heart today.




    • Bless you and thank you, Karen, for your blessing. Yes, Wayne was…is a beautiful soul. I’ve oft said that one of my great laments in meeting folk now is that they never can have the possibility of meeting Wayne, who, even on my best day, remains a far, far better person that I. Much love


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