james emmett terrell jr.

jim terrell

ONE OF THE SADDEST ITEMS THAT I CAME UPON WHEN JIM DIED WERE HIS
NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS FOR 1988 - THEY READ AS FOLLOWS -

RESOLVED - TO MEDITATE DAILY AND FIND SPACE WITHIN MYSELF TO CENTER ON KILLING THE AIDS VIRUS WITHIN MY BODY

RESOLVED - TO EXERCISE 8 - 10 HOURS EACH WEEK ON A DAILY BASIS: 2 DAYS A WEEK ON DANCE STRETCHES; 2 DAYS OF YOGA; 2 DAYS OF AEROBICS AND WEIGHT LIFTING

RESOLVED - TO GIVE UP ALL ALCOHOL EXCEPT IN SUCH MAJOR INSTANCES OF CELEBRATION THAT A SMALL AMOUNT IS WARRENTED.

RESOLVED - TO IMPROVE MY DIET, OBTAIN MORE NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION AND EAT HEALTHILY AT LEAST 95% OF THE TIME

RESOLVED - TO INCREASE MY READING MATERIAL AND READ AT LEAST 26 BOOKS DURING THE YEAR.

RESOLVED - TO BEGIN REGULAR PIANO LESSONS, PRACTICE DILIGENTLY WITH THE AIM OF SOME INDEPENDENCE IN ONE YEAR

RESOLVED - TO CONTINUE TO DENY TENSION AND STRESSFUL SITUATIONS. TO TAKE WHATEVER TIME IS NECESSARY TO DO SO

written after Jim's death - 1990

PERSPECTIVE

The rich man counts his gold, hidden among uncashed checks and bonds.
His estates know no boundaries. His wife only designer clothes.
Escorted in jets, chauffeured in his limo, coiffed, massaged, and beaten
Into believing the importance of his existence.

The white collared man counts his options hidden between refinanced homes and luxury,
Even unpaid vacations. His home is tastefully furnished. His wife has her own career.
Driving in opulent BMWs and flying first class, he jogs and golfs his way into existence
Believing, that as an American white male, he can accomplish the world.

The middle class man saves his pennies, mortgages his home and owes VISA his next year's pay.
Drinking his beer he bowls for the answers, his flabby pot belly equaling his wife's over made face
and underdreamed dreams. He flies super economy if he flies at all and only takes vacations to
Disney World or to visit family. His greatest fear is a heart attack while fucking.

The lower class man works hard and is proud to work. He takes home little and his wife is left
with few possessions. His children take over his place in the labor market, being unable to afford
to go to college. They marry and have children, turn to TV and face the eternal cycle beginning again. They have choices but they can't see them

The man on the street lives at the mercy of others. We support him, whether in prisons,
in hospitals, in shelters or on welfare.
These are the children of no dreams and no way out. We see their faces on the TV news.
They fill our hearts with fear instead of love - lest we end up as they are.

The Expatriate fits in none of the above as we left that game of class distinction
Having traits of each, we enjoy our days sailing the seas
We work when we have to - we don't when we don't
We live in nature & beauty and truly know that the best things in life are free.

written at the Henderson House, Sopers Hole, Tortola, BVI 1993

    EPOCHS

Days fall before me
unlived, unspent, unknown.
Clouds, hailing oncoming storms
of sirocco and tempests
Precipitation, expectantly awaited.

The past, worn carpet of my life
Days, years, decades
experienced, but as the pain of childbirth,
  essentially forgotten,
remembered only in light year segments.

Altered careers, relationships, children,
  lives once belonging to me
  are grown now on their own.
Homes--rented, bought, sold - dissipation.
Friends enduring a nation
  that I politically preferred to leave.

Where is the "me"
in all of this spent reality,
Epochs ago?
Pen in hand, the hurricanes seem over
Paths of destruction cleared away.

I focus on the staying until,
even with adequate warning,
another squall appears.
taking all that is precious and
leaving only the ineffectual.

Is there really time?
To prepare, commemorate,
and to live
forgetting the pain
as well as the love.

Is the scope of life
so tenderly vast
that the days before me have now become
as indistinguishable
as those behind?

1993 - Foxy’s Wooden Boat Regatta, Jost Van Dyke

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