photo of a photo of Billie Holiday taken on Fillmore Street in San FranciscoBillie Holiday

I’ll Be Seeing You – In Memory of Kit –

At Harvey Milk Plaza

My best friend Kit was a bit of a twit before he got sick, but
he was brilliant and passionate about gay liberation.
Our friendship was based on mutual geekiness.

Kit tinkered with a Mac or a Tandy while I wrote poetry and
listened to Pattie Smith through my headphones.

It was the third year of the AIDS epidemic.

We sat over coffee at the Cafe Flore on a bright
Mediterranean day in San Francisco.

Kit opened his backpack and pulled out a small computer.

It looked like a large calculator.

Kit said that HIV had not infected all gay men.

He suspected that HIV was sexually transmitted, but at that
time no one was certain.

We both knew many men who had died and even more who were sick.

Kit wanted to know what they had in common.

He questioned a small sampling of men and now he questioned me.

I.V. Drugs?

I hate needles.


I hate acid.

Poppers ?

They smell like dirty feet.


I don’t drink.


Yes, please.

Then Kit asked me about sex.

Most of it’s icky, I replied.

Kit turned the computer around and showed me a bell curve.

It peaked in the late 1980s and declined in the 1990’s.

Kit said that what looked like new infections were actually
old ones that had advanced to end stage AIDS.

He explained that the virus had already infected most of the men in our age group who were going to die and that as they died the cases in our age group would drop.

Kit said that I would live and he would die.

Two years later Kit was diagnosed with AIDS and two years after that he died.

Kit took his own life when AIDS took his eyesight.

He had survived three bouts of Pneumocystis.

The Kaposi’s lesions that covered his face and hands invaded
his internal organs.

The last time I saw Kit I took his hand and told him that I was
going to miss him.

He replied that he loved me so much he’d haunt me.

We laughed together one last time and said goodbye.

Kit had introduced me to Billie Holiday.

He said that she sang from her soul.

This song is for Kit:

Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday – I’ll Be Seeing You
Community Audio







81 thoughts on “I’ll Be Seeing You – In Memory of Kit –

  1. I’ll always remember my first aids patient. The staff was scared of her. She got terrible care. I went in early one morning to bathe, feed her, wash her hair and clean her nails before my shift started. The nursing assistants just plunked her tray on the bed table and fled like she had the plague and didn’t offer her any care. She didn’t last long.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kitt was a passionately political man in a community of men and women who were passionately committed to a vision of a
      more perfect union, one that treated us like people.

      I see the same passion in the movements rising up against Trump and his Russian ‘patron’.

      This gives me hope that Kitt didn’t die in vain.


  2. Dear Rob… I had a moment of confusion when I saw the dates on the comments. I see that Kit does haunt you and you celebrate his life every year. What a marvelous person to have known. Hugs on the wing, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That song by Billie Holiday is so touching. When I first composed this I cried and yesterday as I read and revised it I cried again. I think I gave a piece of my soul to this, I’m glad it touched yours. Thank you for reading it and leaving a comment..!


  3. Words are crowding at my fingertips, trying all together to be typed at once; can barely make sense of them. Kit sounds like he was one-in-million and then some. (((hugs))) My eyes are full of tears. Your words (and Billie’s music) tear my heart out. Tears, tears. Funny how words can look like one thing but be something else entirely. Like life, I guess.
    I didn’t live this but am old enough to recall those years. My family lost 3 members in the devastation — cousins. One more remains. Luck, meds, genes, no idea why. What galls is the misinformation, the denial, the coverups, and all the socio-polictal-religious-whatever hypocrisy that made everything so much worse.
    ((((more hugs))))

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most people don’t realize that there was a covert eugenics agenda at work in Reagan’s decision to ignore that AIDS epidemic. And it wasn’t just about gay…Thank you for you comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I heard about that but not right away. Shameful doesn’t even come close to describing it! I’ll never understand how bigoted and hateful people can be. But at the time I was working in the pharmaceutical industry, where there were big debates (even at my low level in the organization) as to which choice was best for the industry: do research for drugs /cures (and maybe increase profits) or just “let the thing run its course and clean up society.” GAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Still p*sses me off. Sorry…you can delete this comment if you want. Your post was poignant d important, no need to include my anger and resentment. I just wanted to let it out.


      2. You’re anger and resentment are fine. There is nothing wrong with feeling angry at the calculating abuses of for profit medicine. It’s wrong to profit from pain and suffering, it’s wrong to perpetuate pain and suffering when you can relive both, and it’s wrong to rig the system so that people die from the passive aggression of doing nothing. I think the fact that you are angry about speaks well of you.


  4. Robert
    Kit was way before his time and took sincere interest in effects of virus. The good times were good, memories to cherish forever. You know carry his torch with your advocacy work.
    Kit is at peace no longer in pain. The best we can ask for anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, forgive my tardy response; It looks like Iost a day or two. Yes, Kit was ahead of his time…I do treasure his memory just as I celebrated his decision when he decided it was time to go.

      I hope that you are well.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Such an evocative story.
    Took me back to my clueless, awkward teen years, back to the Maplethorpe room at the Tate where I burst into tears, and brought forth new tears.
    Beautiful. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wept when I wrote this; I suppose it’s infused with tears.

      Cleansing tears are the tears shared between people who may have nothing but their grief and humanity in common.

      But isn’t that really all we need to understand and heal each other?

      Thank you for visiting my blog and for leaving a comment.


      1. There are many everyday heroes among the men we lost to AIDS.

        People who decided to take a political stand that became central to the way they lived their lives.

        There was no such thing as a part time gay activist; you were either out or you weren’t.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. How can any comment I write do justice to your incredible post, Robert? It really can’t. Just know that I was so moved by what you have written and am thankful that Hugh posted the link so that I could find this.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I find it sad and maddening and monstrously unfair that what should be one of our greatest joys can kill us. For all the friends, lovers, and family that were lost because we just didn’t know…we remember you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A poignant reminder that way too many died from this and still do. I’ve watched my close friends in SF lose so many they loved and I know they suffer survivor guilt too. It all still breaks my heart. Beautifully written.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I’ve just begun to look at the writing I produced during those years…

      Being dissociative means that all of the feelings are left with the alter who went through it all.

      Healing for me means having these feelings. I hope I have the courage.

      Thank you for reading my blog.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for reading it. It was sad to lose Kit and so many others. But the toll of forty years of religious and economic hypocrisy is even sadder.

      Thank you for reading my blog. I appreciate the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

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