Review on Amazon by Teresa Bergen author, Killing the President (Portland, OR)
This moving book of poems brings readers into the sad, dark heart of the AIDS epidemic. Tripp Weaver changes voice from poem to poem, bringing us true tales of people suffering from AIDS, their families and social workers. Her frustration at the limitations of what she, a social worker, can do for her charges screams through the printed words.
The book itself is small and pretty, with a sparkly page inside the cover, and tied with a satin ribbon around the spine.
From Andrew Ramer, author, Two Flutes Playing A Spiritual Journeybook for Gay Men, and Revelations for a New Millennium Saintly and Celestial Prophecies of Joy and Renewal (letter)
Your wonderful book arrived a few weeks ago. I’ve read it again and again, in bed, on floor, on toilet, on bus. Awed both by the writing and by the huge mountain of lived experience that the book rises up form like a mountain peak. So many haunting word images. The bottle of salad dressing, address book filled with crossed-out names. No idea quite why the line that most knocks me over are “Before his decline, rain was never quite so hard.” Chekhov wrote—“Any idiot can face a crisis; it is this day-to-day living that wears you out.” What you have charted in what happens when the two become one, when day-to-day is unrelenting crisis. I don’t know how you’ve done it, the writing and the living. I couldn’t. So what I want to say, mostly, is—congratulations!!! I hope you are pleased in every cell with your book, and live holding it in your hands. Small as it is, it weighs so much of life and pain and hope—art too! I can feel the wealth of poems that wrap around it, that didn’t make their way in.
Exert from review in Calyx (Winter, 2009) by Julie R. Enszer
Writing about HIV infection and AIDS is almost a sub-genre of American poetry filled with voices as disparate as Essex Hemphill, Tory Dent, Gerry Gomez Pearlberg, and Dean Costos, to name only a handful of the chorus. Julene Tripp Weaver’s chapbook, Case Walking, enters into this conversation, but enters not from the perspective of a person with AIDS or a caregiver, but as a service provider. Julene works as a case manager for people living with AIDS in Seattle, WA. This vantage point provides a new and important perspective from which to explore through poetry the impacts of the disease.
Available at Finishing Line Press
Review online at Prick of the Spindle
Poem from book selected by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac
A poem from the book originally published in MindFire online journal:
When one dies high on drugs where will the soul go?
When one is on Methadone maintenance how
will one withdraw in the spirit world?
Does the soul wander aimless?
She wanders in her drug-induced state
barefoot, it is cold, not New York cold, but Seattle cold
no frost, but bitter bone rain drenched forties cold.
The shoes urgent care gave her were too tight so they disappeared
better to have no shoes than too tight shoes, she wanders shoeless
gets half way down the block to the couch on the street
someone is throwing it away, cushions already disappeared.
The couch her new obsession
she searches the cracks, pushes her numb hands in along the side
circles the couch slowly, hunts from each angle
for what might be lost inside
some loose change fell out of a pocket
or maybe some drugs left behind, any drugs.
Her system full of cocaine, opiates, Methadone and Benzos
all found positive in her urine analysis.
She cannot feel her feet bare against the concrete,
the couch is a luxury item to explore.
A new territory where she might find treasure.
It will never sit in the living room she does not have.
She wanders homeless state-to-state, tries to get herself stable
get on Methadone for her pain
always for her pain, denies addiction
talks about some car accident early in her life.
Her mother is done with her
stopped paying her storage fees
doesn’t believe she will get housing this time,
get it together this time.
She is locked out of her storage unit
and she has lost everything she carries around
robbed of her SSI check
her bus ticket
her drivers license
her address book
all her references gone.
She might make her next housing appointment, she might not
her mother doesn’t believe a word she says anymore.
But she did keep her room at the Eastern almost three years
the Single Room Occupancy in Chinatown,
says she was the only white girl there
and yes, she’ll get the name and address of the landlord
she has connections.
She gives up on the couch, wanders to the thrift store
where she cannot behave,
she wanders her bag of garbage all over the floor
and when asked politely to pick it up and leave
she will not take that kind of talk.
This little woman five foot two, a thin one hundred and ten pounds
with limp hair screams, “Bull dyke” at the thrift store hefty mama,
who is just doing her job, asking this high addict to leave.
It’s her job, it is all she can do to restrain herself.
And the wandering Methadone haze leaves
to go who knows where in this city, the next several days.
Who knows where?
Harborview Emergency Room is where,
Urgent care is where,
some cheap hotel with some man who pays, is where,
she gets kicked out after she trashes the room.
The downtown shelter is where.
She does not go to the seventeenth floor private club reception
for some excellent fundraiser to end drug resistant TB.
She has no donation to give from this lifetime
she needs every donation of humanity she herself can receive
and she eats them all.
Oh, but once she starts her Methadone again
she steals flowers from some garden,
large bloom Camellias to sweet talk her case manager
who called the Housing Authority, got her rescheduled.
One way or another this girl child wanderer
has got to prove her mother wrong
get her shoes on, change her clothes
wash her hair, brush her teeth
get on AIDS meds.
Find a life where she can have a couch
place a vase of flowers on a table
live a semblance of a normal life.
So maybe, when she dies, her soul will walk a different path.
(First published in the online journal MindFire, editor: Gary Blankenship, journal no longer active)
Unfinished Works Competition, 3rd Prize Winner
Julene’s poem “death walk” was awarded Third Prize for the “Unfinished Works Competition” sponsored by AIDS Services Foundation Orange County. As prize winner, her poem was published in their exhibition catalogue. She read her poem at their exhibition opening ceremony on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2005
“The theme of “Unfinished Work” is meant to symbolize all that remains to be done in helping those affected with HIV/AIDS and to prevent the spread of HIV. While we have seen many medical breakthroughs and people are living longer, healthier lives, many are still facing on-going illness and infection reates are continuing to rise. With no cure or vacination on the horizon, we are likely to be battling this epidemic for years to come. What lies ahead is our “unfinished work.” Each submission should reflect the artist’s hope, desparation, celebration, fear, or dream about HIV/AIDS and the work left to be done.” It was a juried show with catagories of Visual arts, Multi-Media/Film, Creative Writing, and Music. The poetry judge was Eloise Klein Healy. Poet Eloise Klein Healy the founding chair of Antioch LA’s pioneering MFA in Creative Writing program.