Drug Runners of Byzantium/ SHOW ME YOUR LIFE

drug runners of byzantium/ above the ground, running like we do is but the scorch of us in sleep/ following the fog as we have always done/ running all our second selves to sunset in byzanthium/ every mirror is a shadow/ every possibility an ending, too/ you would call me paranoid but i really do have vicious enemies/ not all of them are drug dealers, just most/ with small and guarded eyes fixed in corridors like the exit sign/ disembodied voices on the phone/ the drug runners of byzantium never sleep/ you squint into the pockets of my morning coat/ everything will seem strange but emptiness/ breaking secret laws/ when the milkweed seeds fly away at the end of every autumn/ like lovers in the afterlife/ they fly through sullen dust upon the wind, and are quickly embraced by winter’s rough and sorry waiting at the rim/ ashes just scorch my eyes in sleep/ you, doctor martin, the kind of royal realm where dreaming in the land of pills is another bargain with a somnambulant comet shooting fragments at a sky so drained of color, even my eyes have nodded out on brilliant and illuminated qualuudes/ i left byzantium and (running) stumbled upon this world of opaque trees/ beneath the ground the sound of dragons breathing/ breathing/


On Working With the 15s

Byzantium is a place they only partially invented. Byzantium is real and I know it. They know that I know it, too. They do not live in Byzantium, but they are always going back. The images I see as iconic are not the images they see as being iconic in any way. They have great moments of sheer brilliance. Great moments of breathtaking stupidity. Great moments of cosmic brooding. Great moments (where they regress) of hilarity. Great moments of wandering. Their work is inconsistent. It lacks a voice, but it wants to go somewhere. Going somewhere is what they do. There is not always a purpose behind the going somewhere. It just is. They want to drive. In fact, they have driven even if driving a stolen car does not count. In their book, everything counts. They have great ledger books where a vast accounting of what is called the sins of the adults get accounted for and written down every day. Adults are found wanting. We are moral mutants. But we have car keys. I put off working with them. All slung over the coffee table with their shit everywhere. Their stories have no center. WHAT DO YOU WANT. Stuff. Who doesn’t want stuff. There is never enough money and there is never enough stuff in the entire world. They want more. Shoes. You name it. They world has failed them and, oh, heavy is their burden. BUT HOW DO WE FIND THE CENTER. This is where I poke them with my finger. I poke them relentlessly. I poke them in the belly. I poke them in the eye. I knock their heads together like the Three Stooges.

It’s in there somewhere.

Tim Barrus: Down the Hall is Where I Keep My Other Lives — a video by Marc —


The idea of the family used to be the entity that was the fundamental keeper of the stories. The family kept them, kept them guarded, and often kept them secret.

Today, families can be scattered like seeds all over the surface of the earth.

Social media can now be the repository of the stories.

Who lived. Who died. Who fought who. Who won. Who lost. Who disappeared. Who came to your house at night to take everyone away. Who returned. Who was never seen again.

The stories now come with photographs, with video, with sound.

What was real. What was traded away. What if anything is left.



I am different. I am alone. I am not like any other boy who lives here. I hear the voices of the wind they do not hear, and they do not know to listen for. Many of them are urban boys. They’ve seen it all. I can only pretend to do that. Where I come from, we all wear cowboy boots, and you either get out or you die where you were born. There is only so much room even in the desert which will spit you out without a thought.

As if lifted from the silence, I have walked all these hills. In scattered isolation whose glass broke like a rabbit in a snare, has left the wind in splendid cups. My wandering in boots and shovels has plowed nothing from the ground. I am still different. I am still alone.

Where all at once, burrowing into the sand you find a drowning, and being dead, my sulking starts in sadness, I am fixed on the vanishing like a watchdog whose destitution swirls in whirlwind blasts of dust sweeping up entire city-states, and the very gulping air smells of bones and sun and painted ponies who will bare their teeth to bite you if you come anywhere near them with a rope. They will kick you, too.

I am different. I am alone. I am not like any other boy who lives here. I hear the voices of the wind they do not hear, and they do not know to listen for. I do not know the things they know. My dad turned our kitchen into a meth lab. My mom got in the car and she never came back. I just sit there and watch people turn their tricks. Most people are like those ponies who know the ropes are there.

I do know about the selling of the small, dead things so you might survive the cruelty of the desert snatched from autumn’s teeth. It’s like disease. My darkness is different from the darkness of the other boys around me, and their walking shadows. All of us are strangers on an alien planet, and sometimes the only light there is comes from bouncing off the moon. 

Show Me Your Life: Next Generation of AIDS Activists

HIV/AIDS Funding Axed is my video I made 4 my vid class.  It is about being so confused. It confuses me that so many people say they want to defeat HIV/AIDS in the world. But it is only talk. People really do nothing. Now more AIDS $ are axed. People who need meds cannot get them. How come U can get them one week but in a week when it is the next week you cannot get the same meds. People confuse me. So I made a video that is confusing cuz I do not think people really care. They do not understand what it is like to need these drugs. They are mean. — by Trent

The next generation of AIDS activists. Today, they might be twelve. But in ten years, they will be adults. And by the time they are, indeed, adults, they will no longer be confused with how the system works, and does not work at all. I know you will dismiss them as being irrelevant. Your indifference will be your undoing. People have wondered what history will have to say about how we dealt with a world pandemic, and the complexity of HIV. I do not have to wonder. I hear the voices that dare to speak, speaking every day. History will not be indifferent as it looks back at the likes of what was done, and what was not done.

tim barrus/ où vous allez là où vous êtes

nous avons rencontré lors de la manifestation pour les sans-abri sous les tentes rouges/ J’ai toujours été un communiste/ elles étaient prostituées alors maintenant nous avons eu des communistes et des putains/ ils tournaient tours/ i prenait des photos/ vous voulez savoir si j’ai pris des photos de les transformer tours/ i did mais vous ne pouvez pas les voir/ ils ont été très actifs et très petites tentes rouges/ nous avons fini par boire du vin et fumer de l’herbe par les canaux/ voulez-vous nous faire foutre, ils ont demandé/ j’ai dit non qui était la vérité/ vous voulez, ils ont dit/ confiants dans leur séduction inhérent/ il n’est jamais arrivé/ qu’est-ce qui s’est passé a remodelé nos vies à tous/ vous n’avez aucune idée combien je donnerais pour revenir aux petites tentes rouges sur ce froid nuit humide à paris/ sur le canal/

Born in a slum in Rome

Born in filth and rags

You climb the weary road of youth

Alone and often sad


You climb the hills your feet get sore

And then your heart goes numb

And as you reach your teenage years

A whore you do become


And as I see you

My eyes fill with tears

It’s the same old story

It’s been going on for years


Well now all around you men do fall

But you know don’t you know

That you’re just lust’s pawn


The poverty you felt in youth

Well it still plays a part

The poverty once in your purse

Well now it’s in your heart


And when I see you …


So now the money starts to flow


Well how sweet for a short time

But then the sweetness does turn sour

It’s another weary time


And when I see you …


MedPage Today

Published: February 21, 2013

Routine HIV screening – a proposed recommendation by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force — is likely to remove important barriers that leave about 25% of HIV-positive people unaware they have the virus.

But it would be only the first step in getting all HIV-positive people in the U.S. into care.

In two separate Perspective articles, published online in the New England Journal of Medicine, experts argue that the proposed recommendation has the potential for some far-reaching consequences, including getting more people into care, improving their health, and slowing the rate of transmission of HIV.

The task force’s view in 2005, when it last made a recommendation on HIV screening, was that evidence was insufficient to support it as a routine practice. A year later, the CDC took the opposite tack, urging routine testing in almost all health care settings and for almost all adults.

In 2010, the task force reopened the issue, asking the Pacific Northwest Evidence-based Practice Center to review the available evidence.

The center’s findings, presented to the task force last March, led to the current draft recommendation, which says there is “high certainty” that routine screening would have both public and individual health benefits.

The task force is suggesting an A grade for the recommendation, which would mean that most people under 65 would have access to HIV testing without an out-of-pocket cost, noted Erika Martin, PhD, of the State University of New York in Albany, and Bruce Schackman, PhD, of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.

It would also mean that clinicians would no longer have to consider risk factors or local HIV prevalence before offering the test, they added. Taken together, those factors will transform HIV testing into a routine procedure, they argued.

The recommendation, if adopted, will end what has been a long-running debate on the appropriate scope of HIV testing, argued Ronald Bayer, PhD, and Gerald Oppenheimer, PhD, both of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York City.

But the central question, they wrote, is whether routine screening at no cost will “substantially alter the persistent inability” to identify the millions of Americans who don’t know they have HIV infection.

Failure, they concluded, will have “measurable clinical consequences” for patients who do not get timely care as well as public health consequences, including failing to reduce HIV transmission.

Success, on the other hand, will have other – mainly financial — consequences, argued Martin and Schackman, as more people line up for care and treatment.

The Affordable Care Act should alleviate some of the concern about paying for treatment, they noted, but “health care reform will not fix all gaps in health care delivery.”

For instance, they wrote, coverage is likely to vary among states, which could affect quality of care. As well, some people – such as immigrants or those who have difficulty with paperwork and eligibility requirements – may fall through the cracks.

The rationale for the task force draft recommendation, they noted, is that routine testing will lead to a “substantial” benefit.

“In the case of HIV screening,” they concluded, “that benefit can be achieved only if people identified as HIV-infected are effectively linked to and retained in HIV care and are supported in adhering to an effective antiretroviral regimen.”

tim barrus responds —

This is the first piece I have read about the USPSTF pushing for universal testing that even so much as mentions financial considerations to the individual being tested. It never gets discussed. I am glad to see it included here. I have worked in HIV/AIDS for thirty years. Today, I work with adolescent boys, and we have FAILED them. They have not been reached. The sex education these boys are exposed to is pathetic, and the high school phys ed teacher standing by the blackboard with a pointer is pathetic, too. The CDC has put all its marbles into the push for testing, and it has been effective, but only in that more people know they are infected. There has been virtually no equivalent emphasis put on getting the infected and newly aware they have been exposed to the virus, treatment. To test people and to not consequently have treatment for them is patently, morally, bankrupt, and moral bankruptcy is just the beginning. Medical insurance companies fight having to pay for HIV as if it were a world war. You CANNOT bring testing and treatment into the paradigm without also bringing COST into the picture because BIG PHARMA is the most greedy and immoral player in this deadly bag of tricks. Their intransigent price structures where the cost is only going up and up and up can be directly and accurately compared to genocide. HISTORY will have the final say here, and the future is going to wonder what in the world we were doing, and not doing. It will be a pox on ALL our houses. Today, the average price of one HIV pill is eighty dollars. By 2014, that pill will cost $100.00 and Big Pharma is immune to any consequences whatsoever. The CDC has worked tirelessly to impose its agenda. Its priority is universal testing. That is where it has put its money. We push testing and pretend that Obamacare will tackle treatment. It won’t. It doesn’t. And it never will. The bottom line is that no one wants to pay for it. THERE ARE WAITING LISTS FOR PEOPLE TO GET MEDS. We are quite willing to tell people they are infected, and then we turn around and run when it comes to treating them. The lack of accountability is appalling, and that includes the CDC. I sit in on panels the CDC sponsors, and it’s a rhetorical chant. Testing, testing, testing. But not a WORD about treatment. Treatment is BAD to say, and if you say it, you can lose your job. The NGOs are worse than the CDC. I talk with these people every day, and they all whine: “But we’re trying.” You are not trying hard enough. To pretend that testing is the answer, and that treatment is politically incorrect to prioritize is disgustingly absurd. The very term — AIDS-free generation — is a slogan in a world of them. It’s meaningless. It isn’t even close to being in our grasp, and anyone who thinks it is, does not understand the virulence of HIV. I have articulated these ideas to entire association conferences of HIV social workers, and during my speaking gigs people have gotten up and thrown their chairs against the hotel wall. They don’t want to hear it. They want HOPE, and if you cannot bring it to them, the reaction is explosive. So we bring them testing like it’s a placebo. The CDC is beyond irresponsible. It just gets thicker and thicker. What are we going to do in this AIDS-free generation with the undocumented adolescent who has been trafficked to do sex work on the streets of Los Angeles, and has no access to any services whatsoever, and who winds up being busted, and put on the bus back to Mexico, and given directions to the only AIDS hospice in Tijuana that can’t even afford to feed people who walk in the door. What about HIM. I have changed my position with these boys. I am no longer willing to even talk about testing. Just because people are being tested does NOT mean that an adolescent out there doing sex work for pimps is going to or even can change his or her behavior. This is a landscape where even social service agencies cannot admit that males do sex work as well as females. The 14-year-old boy doing survival sex is invisible to you. Testing, testing, testing. It’s a stupid rant. Until you are ready to bite the bullet and TREAT these people, HIV will be with us forever. Now, when I counsel the boys I work with, I do NOT say, and I cannot be compelled to say: just get tested. I have joined the rant, and I cannot do it one more time. I’m done. I am telling them don’t get tested until we all have access to treatment. Testing is a rabbit hole you can stick your deafness down into if you want, but that will not change the fact that behind the looking glass the word TREATMENT must begin to be articulated one step beyond — treatment for who. Treatment for everyone infected is just the reality. It’s politically incorrect to say any of this. The gay community doesn’t want to hear it, and either does the CDC. The World Bank isn’t exactly clicking its heels at the idea either. Example: USAIDS does video outreach to adolescents, but that outreach has to be “child-friendly” for it to actually get used. What is “child friendly?” No one knows. Exactly how does a message aimed at adolescent behavior sophomorically become rendered “child-friendly.” And we sit around and weep that we do not reach teenagers whose infection rates are going up. How many teenage boys do you know who tune into child-friendly websites at the CDC. It doesn’t matter. What people want to hear is irrelevant. Testing is only one tentacle on a very complex organism that has outsmarted us every step of the way. Leaning on the chantra of testing might look good, but it’s mean, and it does not take into account the real complexity of human behavior, and if you think people are going to change their behavior just because they’ve been tested, you, and the suits like you, are now the problem. We have FAILED the children I work with, and there is no end in sight for HIV because we FAIL to change OUR OWN behavior by historically falling for our own rhetoric about how miraculous and powerful the next pill will be. Until you are willing to actually swallow the pill of how human beings actually behave, HIV will do what it always does. It will win. Your waiting lists say everything that needs being said.

If I stop doing sex work


The Deal

by Trigger

If I stop doing sex work, Tim Barrus will give me his motorcycle. If I go back to sex work, I lose the bike.

Tim says adolescent boys can be bribed. At first I just thought it was one of his smartass comments. Tim means what he says. He walks the walk.

The same one I walk. Talk is cheap. He will give me lessons.



Bring Me Out the Dark — tim barrus and the smash street boys


Real Stories Gallery Foundation is our voice on the Web.

Smash Street Safe House is where we live.

Show Me Your Life is our voice that connects to other voices. All over the world.



Tim Barrus: SmashStreet Boys, the idea is to shoot a one second video a day. It will be a little different for photographers which is what you are. I do not care what camera you use. The whole fuddy duddy what camera should I use business is Tinkerbelle takes a picture. Who gives a fuck. Use whatever. Take a one second video of your life. Maybe that would even be one second of you shooting video. Maybe that would be Yves sitting on the toilet. But say something about that moment. That singular time where maybe you were doing more than taking up space. Photography is making witness. Isn’t that what we’re doing with HIV before they kill us or the virus does. You were there. I deplore looking back at the past. I despise doing it. It makes me puke. I repudiate it. But it becomes the past the minute you run it through the Mac. You lived it. Who were you in that one second of time. Do it for a year. Do it until the day you die. Do it the very moment you die. Your last second. Your last breath. Film it. Show me your life.

Virulent MRSA Staph Infections in Boys with HIV

MedPage Today (Feb 7, 2013): Virulent MRSA Staph Infections in Boys with HIV: I note that when any of the HIV boys I work with are hospitalized for whatever reason, not one of them has ever been allowed to shower or bathe. This is a modern hospital with many surgical specialties. I note that the use of an intravenous Fentanyl pump seems to close the deal. If you get the pump, you will never shower (in fact, you will never see a bathroom), and not one of these boys has ever been bathed. Fungal infections are often severe when they get home. The first thing they want to do when they get home is bathe because they feel so filthy. I also note that when anyone’s white socks touch the floor, the bottoms of the socks turn black. Hospitals are filthy places. No one wants to do the work of dealing with the intravenous pump so the kid can get into the bathroom. Typically, they end up with rectal bleeding because the fungal infections just get worse. Instead of simply throwing antibiotics or something like Miconazole at them, we simply combine those meds with twice daily bathing, and it seems to help even when a kid’s CD4 is quite low. We try our best to get the kid out of the hospital ASAP. I know nursing staff is busy. But something like the intravenous Fentanyl pump should not be an obstacle to helping the kid be clean. — tim barrus

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