Time at Trinity
David’s college years were complicated, fraught with heartbreak and frustration but also marked by personal growth. At Trinity University, he formed deep relationships and developed his passion for theater. Scenes from Trinity and San Antonio appear in a handful of his poems, especially in the collection Fifth Season. He acted in several plays, including As You Like It, Electra, and Richard III. He also worked as a set designer and stage manager. Along with fellow student Lisa Lungren, he co-directed the one act play Birdbath. These achievements earned him a fully funded graduate fellowship to study theater at the University of North Dakota.
Considering his post-graduation options, David decided he could not build a life in Texas. He felt stifled by stigma and homophobia. Texas did not prioritize sexual health or education, especially not for gay men. After his diagnosis, David learned he had probably contracted HIV as an undergraduate, before self-educating on safe sex.
In addition to the unique challenges of being a gay man in South Texas during the 1980s, David dealt with the same struggles that many Trinity students face today: family pressure, breakups, sleep deprivation, and stress. “Although I have an exam at 8:30 in the morning,” He scribbled in a loose-leaf poem called “Fried,” “I’ll go shopping at HEB from 2:00am til 3 AM…I can not endure!” [sic]