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Featured Poem – January/February 2009
Last Nite of the Year

Last nite of the year—

I prayed—victoriously scared—
that my present would become the past.
My heart ran triple its normal pace. 
Wondering if I should take a Seroquel or two 
just to calm down a spell.

Last nite of the year— 
I prayed—victoriously scared— 
imagined that a mob of drug dealers was chasing me 
with sticks and bottles to claim money 
that I no longer owed them. 
My debt was paid in full.

Last nite of the year— 
I prayed—victoriously scared— 
I felt I was a prisoner in my own house 
where I had to ask myself, 
“Can I go outside into the world 
with my brain being the warden— 
would it be OK?” 
I shed a tear.

Last nite of the year— 
I shed that tear, 
the final one for that year, 
took a deep breath, 
prayed no more victoriously scared, 
but victoriously still. 
Now I know 
God finally heard my prayer. 
I finally woke up to reality. 
is the war that I have won.

L. Murphy
About the Poet

“Being the youngest of 12 children and dealing with child abuse growing up, I always had to prove myself and struggle to get my own identity. All of that comes out in my poetry. ASC’s Creative Writing Workshop has made me see that I really do have something to offer. It’s great to be with other people sharing in the freedom of expression and seeing that I’m not alone in trying to change my outlook and fight the virus.

“I’m going on ten months of sobriety, just got my own apartment, and feel that things in my life are looking good. I’ve learned that life does not stop after an HIV diagnosis. But you’ve got to want to live. I like to say, ‘I am thirsty for life!’ I always use that expression. Being at ASC makes me feel good and that makes me want to push even harder. And when people tell me that my poems inspire them, it enlightens and inspires me.”

—L. Murphy

L. Murphy joined ASC’s Creative Writing Workshop in 2004. His poems have been published in the previous five issues of ASC’s literary magazine, Situations.

Photo: David Nager/ASCNYC

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