H e a r t   S o n s   &   H e a r t   D a u g h t e r s   of   A l l e n   G i n s b e r g

N a p a l m   H e a l t h   S p a :   R e p o r t   2 0 1 4 :   A r c h i v e s   E d i t i o n






October 20, 1993


Happy birthday, baby.

Did they throw a big party for you

in heaven?

Were there lavender balloons everywhere

and white roses in tall crystal vases

and a big chocolate cake

with thirty-four candles glowing

in your eyes?

Was there a chorus of pretty boys

singing happy birthday to you,

their arms outstretched

wine glasses raised high,

your amber reflection in every one?

Was there laughing and dancing

and drinking and cruising?

Did you pick one special boy

to celebrate with

or were there many?

Two years ago

you told me you were dying

to have sex.

“At least I won’t need rubbers

in the after life,” you said,

no bitterness left in your tired voice.

Oh baby, there are no condoms in heaven.

There are no hospital beds, wheelchairs,

or catheters in heaven.

There is no AZT, DDL, KS or PCP in heaven.

Only all those pretty pretty boys like you

who went through hell to get there.


for Gerard Rizza, 1959-1992



[Originally published in NHS 1995, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/nhs95/index.html#39.]