Poems by Terrell Jamal Terry

Terrell Jamal Terry is the author of Aroma Truce, forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press in 2017. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Literary Review, Poetry Northwest, West Branch, The Journal, Guernica, Columbia Poetry Review, The Volta, Bettering American Poetry 2015, and elsewhere. He resides in Pittsburgh, PA. 

Burlap, Trumpet & Night Owl No. 9

The wet book received my attention

          Try sleeping as someone else

I would never give away all

          Of my normal & strange reclusiveness

Why worry about the wrong things?

          Have a dream before you leave

I knew who was forgotten

          I ate a gang of carrots & sighed

But my heart doesn’t beat in this place

          So sew me into the black glaze

Citrine Ash #9 (Pool of White)

Dear Anyone,

Cough me a quarrel, a cuffed smile & a collar quirk
Yes, to be faithful I could tell you no
& not mean it—sans the persistence

Of solar wind, myrrh oil,
Or roads of green algae
Slice juice sugar seed coin hair hot cross

My skin is a moist canvas warmed by trendy medicine
My sight is warmed by hibiscus
Growing beside me this misty drug

I follow magenta fish
In each fuzzy dream (voice-eaten)
Monopolized envy

What I did seek was merely a statue of a thinker
& a bronze telescope
A ragged curl protonic turquoise touch

The cluster of keeping,
Negated by factions & a polished
Maladaptive happiness

The jewels in anguish link a shoe’s tongue
& a relationship with contentment
Wheat brass swirl fluorescent vibration

It’s not so much that we’ll lose—
Fundamentally, we can’t win
I’m filled with a gloomy peace

A grainy lash strand in an aluminum can

Manifold Evocations I

My youth was a blur—swollen turbulence/
Oxygen-bruises. I already had my art inside.

A yellow train is a bright magazine.
Do you think this is need?

We can move through clouds, become
Careless. I landed here from confusion.

Everyone is a secret fox & star.
You’ll never know (that I know of)

Why I’m dressed in a faded shadow.
I taste chocolate tainted water when I sleep.

I want to say [!!!!!] like it was never said.
The snow doesn’t look warm.

Manifold Evocations II

I don’t know anything about seeing you soothed
Completely out of my inside world.

You’ve caught me naked & listening.
I’d left silence at the top of the stairs.

Sound obsession ordered flowering thoughts
Into orange recollections.

I have no room to really speak.
These were the flat years.

I’m so private—I need to do something difficult.
Time’s unstill & still unsaved.

I don’t want to guess what you are. Show me.
Shall we groom ourselves for bed?

Manifold Evocations X

I could have searched for mauve keys
Through blue ash & embers, crestfallen

& shocked stiffer than trees. I attempt
To work memory around the odor

Of iron atoms & my numbered oil,
As my throat more than hints at gasping.

Every inch of snow was reconstructed
Into summer because I felt it.

I chanced upon a Porta Potty concealed
In the abdomen of expansive woods,

& the aging face of a 1980s stopwatch.
I make a note: the moon reminds me of me.

Manifold Evocations XII

I am a photo from Sunday in the fall.
I think I’m here in a bag in the white-

Dark of my stark studio apartment,
Sleeping inside its shell.

My hungers are disparate necessities—
Hollow & gold. For me, ease is close

To faith or faithlessness. If you like
Nice things, make a nice fire in your head,

Or in the head of future centuries.
Envision a transition from winter to spring,

Gracefully bending, then bent. At last,
I’ve been waiting on this poem.