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Julene Tripp Weaver reads from truth be bold and Case Walking

Akira Kurosawa said that the artist never looks away, never averts her eyes, and if that is the true definition of an artist then Julene Tripp Weaver is certainly one to be thought about and read. Julene and I met on Facebook and became friends there. When she was in NYC a few years ago, we met at MOMA and she gave me her chapbook, Case Walking, An AIDS Case Manager Wails her Blues published by Finishing Line Press. She was in town again, and we got together because she has a new book, truth be bold (also published by Finishing Line Press), and I wanted to record her reading it.

When I first heard the title, truth be bold, I thought of it the old way: “Truth be told.” But Julene’s new poems are not only an act of telling, they are an act of bravery and honesty as well. In the first poem, The Addition of Audience: A Meditation she asks the reader to look into her eyes and she looks back. It isn’t only the poet who must be brave, but the reader too:

what I have to say is not easy
but I must get it out
it has been locked inside a long time
all I want from you is to witness
while staying with your own feelings
and please, for the moment after
keep your reactions silent within you
let them bounce

this is a serious coming out poem
and I am gradually preparing you;
since you barely know me it may not matter
I don’t want you to distance yourself from me
remember we perhaps have more in common than different
I live, eat, work, pay bills,
enjoy going out with friends—brace yourself

I am one of you
and I have AIDS.
let’s sit together knowing this
sit fully with yourself
seeing me, as I could be you, living with AIDS
what does it feel like?

Julene is an HIV survivor who worked for many years as a case manager for people with AIDS in Seattle. This gives her a personal perspective inside and out, and it is a gift on her part, from her to us, the poet as history, herself and her (our) times. It would be a mistake for someone to say, “I’m not going to read this: AIDS was yesterday,” because for one thing AIDS isn’t yesterday, and these poems are the truth, and that is always relevant. I have already lent my copy to a friend, who looked at the first poem in the book, and asked if he could borrow it.

Julene Tripp Weaver

Case Walking and truth be bold are published by Finishing Line Press. You can check Finishing Line out here:


Julene writes about being an AIDS survivor:


More of Julene’s writing:


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