I Am the Kid on the Floor
at the End of the Hall,
a poem by Ryan.
Sometimes There Is A Key,
a poem by Jonah.
I sit in this group with guys just like me and he sits
There in his chair turning
the keys in every ones
Gut and mine, and sometimes
I hate him for that, for
Making me look at who I
really am beyond the
identity of what I once did
for a living to survive
Was the only way I knew
how, and if I keep telling
Myself that lie, maybe someday, I
will believe it, because the key is
just another dagger plunged through
my eye, so that I might unlock all
the coffins I have hidden in.
I am a toy.
I am pretty.
I want to stick a knife into my face and cut myself.
I still can do it. But I have contract with Tim that I can if I want to but I have to tell him I am going to do it first.
I never had a contract.
I did not know what a contract meant. I am dum.
The priest gave me a teddy bear.
I gave him a name.
He is my bear and I call him Dainial it is not a joke to make fun of a name please do not do that because Dainial is my brother and he would hold me after because he said he was a priest so I had to let him.
Dainial is dead the bear. Because I cut him up with my knife.
I stabbed my bear over and over.
I would hold him when I was letting the priest doing things.
It is blood and shite and Dainial cleans me good.
He had hot water and a rag.
He’s saying i got to let him in me.
I will in me bollocks have the dreams of it.
You got yourself here you mean you mean you miss them the boys don’t talk like me.
I came all this way.
I take my pills good.
You do not.
You hide them you do.
You want to die boy we know it we hear you thinking we are all down here in the hole.
You are a toy to them you shite.
You shite hole.
The voices telling me to do things.
I took the knife to Dainial.
I cannot hold him no more.
The priest will come here to do me.
I am a toy.
The culchies are in me again, we hear you and we feel that priest fucking you.
Tim is an extremely gifted child rights advocate,
photographer, writer and poet, who has ventured where others don't dare and has persevered with little support
to give voice and visibility to the invisible. After working with Tim on the Real Stories initiatives over the past few years, I feel compelled to urge our friends and visitors to Tristan's Moon, to support the humanitarian work he is undertaking today.
Who is Tim Barrus. I feel this is best answered by Tim's professional peers (artists, poets, child rights advocates). And perhaps most significantly, by the adolescent males with whom he works 24/7 in acutely challenging economic and cultural environments to raise the quality of their lives. The kids fight fiercely to protect him.
Tim: When Facebook delete you. BANG. That's it.
I did have some criticisms of
Facebook, but those were sent as private messages. I was critical of how they
handle privacy. They make it very complex to obtain any privacy because they
want your information available to advertisers. And anyone who thinks they
don’t read the private messages has to have their head examined.
According to Rachel Chapple at Real Stories Gallery (I am no longer allowed to access Facebook; all the video links to RSG have disappeared). Raymond Fils (one of the older boys at The Studio) posted an objection on Facebook (Saturday, November 13, 2010 at 10:43am). Raymond tells me they deleted him, too, a few hours after he posted this:
Raymond Fils (Resident Supervisor / Peer Mentor)
The worst part of Tim Barrus being kicked off Facebook is the literally hundreds (actually, it’s thousands, and being the person who managed this for a few weeks I know this better than anyone) of adolescents who through that grapevine felt safe enough to explore HIV/AIDS issues with Tim. The two biggest issues were suicide and telling your parents you have HIV. All of this is wiped out with a delete button at Facebook. There is no coming back to Facebook, and actually, it would not be safe for the many kids who live in Asia to do so.
There is the issue of losing many of the videos, but we do not even care anymore. The kids we care about. So many of them were from Asia where HIV is a burning issue. We have no doubt that someone complained and with the kind of work Tim has done this is usually a parent who cannot handle the reality of facing their child’s condition. If you ignore it, it will go away is a really bad idea, but it is one we found prevalent all over Asia.
Although most of us are from Europe, the idea of The Studio being a safe place for adolescent boys with HIV/AIDS to live, make their art, and receive medical care would have been quite radical in Asia. There are many places such as monasteries that take adolescents in. But they are not always safe from traffickers and there is no medical attention. The fact that Tim could get antiretrovirals to us was more radical than you can ever know.
The loss of Tim’s voice as a poet is something that can be replaced because we will simply regroup. But the loss of those four thousand kids who were listening, most of them from Asia, cannot be replaced. Even as Tim was being shut down, there were friend requests coming in. They poured in every day. Even getting HIV information these kids would trust is easier said than done. But Tim had access to a grapevine way outside the system. You cannot blame these kids because the system in many oppressive countries will kill you. I sat there and fielded these messages for several weeks. I read those suicide notes and pleas for help. There is no doubt in my mind that there will be lives lost in this.
Tim rarely dealt with the issue of HOW TO TELL YOUR PARENTS YOU HAVE HIV on Facebook because he was painfully aware of how touchy a subject it is with the idea of parenting in Asia. People do not want their family toes stepped on, it is about power, and the reality is that they are sometimes willing to sacrifice a child’s life for the sake of secrecy. The other reality is that there really is no safe way to tell your parents. In many places, you risk your life doing so, and kids know it. They just do not trust the confidentiality of any support system that exists outside of what Tim called street creds. And in some places, just the knowledge that a minor has HIV requires Tim to report it to parents and authorities. The fact that Tim blatantly ignored these draconian laws was never lost on kids. Tim was hounded constantly to do for girls what he had done for boys. There is only so much one person can do. Tim flaunted the law in many places not the least of which was Russia. Shutting him down at Facebook would have been easy for many people in places of authority. All they would have to do is complain. Tim stood up to organized crime. Most people cannot believe it. But most people on Facebook have never lived a life on the street.
It was amazing to read the poetry of these kids as their agony and suicide notes poured in. Many people cannot believe the reality of any of this. But the non-believers were never Tim’s focus. The kids were always his focus. When he said he wrote for the boys, he did not mean just us. We were astounded at the response of kids from Asia who are reaching out for help. The issues are life and death. Tim always said it was just a matter of time before Facebook would shut it down and they did just that. Facebook does not care. The boys at the Studio consider Facebook toxic in the extreme. This will be the last you hear from me. I have to get off this roach motel to save my own sense of self-worth. That is just my personal thing. Eventually, this kind of thing will come back to haunt Facebook. Tim has always called it institutional indifference. I am not comfortable even sending this. We do not want Facebook to have our emails or location. They cannot be trusted. It is not safe. We want off of this thing asap.
Our numbers include boys with HIV/AIDS who now live outside family and authority. Being safe means more than sex. Sex is not the issue. The issue has always been staying alive. I will tag some people on Facebook, mainly a few poets. Why I am not allowed to communicate with many people is a mystery but my messages just disappear. The boys already know all of this. Tim’s public email is firstname.lastname@example.org, and it is not a secret that anything that goes there is forwarded many times around the world to secure email accounts in different countries. We are now going encrypted because of this. Anything you send him gets encrypted immediately. There is nothing a sender even has to do. We have done it before when the haters were out of control. We will do it again. Being safe means our survival. We will be fine and Tim will find a way to get his art and message that you can go outside of the system to survive with HIV/AIDS because the system in many places just means death. Many people in this day and age cannot believe that boys like us are hated but we are. Tim wanted his life to be a testament to that. He will always be one of us and on our side. I do not have all of Tim’s friends names. There are only a few people I am allowed to tag. I have no doubt I will be next to be kicked off. But I am leaving on my own right now. Tim regrets being kicked off Facebook. It is public knowledge. Please be warned: There are other pages on Facebook that we always just ignored with Tim’s name on them that we have no idea who even set them up. I cannot reach all the thousands of people I would really like this to go to. I can reach less than a dozen of you.
I feel strongly that Tim’s life has meant something. It was an adventure knowing all of you. Be safe!
Young males at-risk means the kids are confronting serious, life-threatening, deeply personal & intimate issues with sexual abuse, conflict, rape, displacement, survival sex, human trafficking, gang violence, addictions, cyclical prostitution, suicide, disability from physical abuse, homelessness, school failure, cutting, running away, life on the street, coming out, severe bullying, jail, HIV/AIDS-defining infections and diseases, and powerful side-effects from prescription drugs. The kids do not necessarily speak English. They are reached through the arts.
Students are allowed access to fair use art materials and mixed media in the teaching of iconic manipulation in photographic, video and film production. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act allows art-teaching entities the fair use of such materials in classroom and teaching-research applications.