"Clean Needles for Mice," by Regina Morin

Mickey Mouse has AIDS!

The 64-year-old, four-fingered rodent

with the big, black ears,

was infected with HIV

in the first experiment of its kind in the U.S.A.

"I don't know how it happened,"

said the Chief Immunologist,

himself a five-fingered mammal

with big, black glasses.

"In the cage there, without

his gloves and loose red shorts,

he looked like any old rodent.

Just another mouse, we said."

Mickey has diarrhea and is finding

it difficult to stand.

His spleen and lymph nodes

are shrinking.

His immune cells are

rapidly vanishing.

"He's the first experimental animal

known to develop an AIDS-related disease.

A real pioneer," said a bacteriologist,

stuffing the rest of her grant money

into her narrow bra.

But Mickey, his eyes

rimmed with red like a

matinee candy,

his coned-shaped nose filthy with mucus,

his proud chest, wracked with painful shudders,

is one sick, one helluva sick mouse.

He's trying desperately to reach

the Disney folks on the phone.

He's looking for answers,

wondering how such an All-Star

mouse with great box-office legs

could die looking like a

twisted raisin stem

in the last basin from the end in

lab number 409.

Regina Morin is a native of Los Angeles and a graduate of Immaculate Heart College. She moved to La Jolla to work at the
La Jolla Light and has since written and directed one-act plays for the Drury Lane Players and for the San Diego One-Act Play Festival, winning awards for both playwriting and directing. Her original musical, Joshing, was performed as a benefit at several La Jolla venues. She has also worked as one of the poet-teachers for the Border Voices Poetry Project, and her pieces on theater have appeared in the San Diego Union-Tribune and in San Diego Magazine.

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I love the way this poem pivots between black humor and pathos. I'm laughing with a lump in my throat.

it is a nobly and well crafted poem...but i can't stand it :(

it seems nothing is safe from this horrendous disease

"The animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren; they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth." --Henry Betson, "The Outermost House"

"We" are, unfortunately, very unlike the rest of the animals, but we ARE animals, and that we cannot escape, our narcissism notwithstanding. "Humanity?” BAH! We are the only species that will fight and die for an "idea." THAT'S what separates us from the rest of the animals. "And the thousand[s] of [un]natural shocks that flesh is heir to . . ." (Sorry, Will)

"To BE or NOT to be" remains the question before us; we have, unfortunately, for the last ten millennia, more or less, increasingly chosen the latter. Oh, “The Higher Reaches of Human Nature,” wherefore art thou?

Twister u flummox me with the depth of ur wisdom...so glad u stayed homey ;-D

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