Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Day of the Dead

Dia de los Muertos Revisited

Huichol Skull with Peyote 

"When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past..."

Now is a time, traditionally, to honor the dead, especially our family and those we have loved. Naturally, I think of my parents both of whom suffered long, dreadful ends to their lives. I think of my two grandmothers to whom I was so close, whose affection warmed my heart and both of whom helped create the values I've held since childhood. Fond memories arise of my husband Darryl's grandmother, Aunt Edna, and his mother. I think too of my friends' loved ones and parents, especially life-long friend Lee Killian's parents who were always sweet and kind to me, and of Lee's uncles. I think of Julian Baird of San Francisco, my first gay lover, who invited me to San Francisco many times, with whom I lived for several months on Russian Hill. There are many other cherished friends now hid in death's dateless night, in the words of WS.

As The Day of the Dead and All Saints' Day arrive, my thoughts and emotions go back exactly thirty years. My closest friend, my kindred spirit, from 1969 until 1986 was murdered that October. His mother and family had his body taken back to Tulsa to be buried there, and they flew his companion and myself in their private plane to Tulsa. I recall it all as if yesterday, the flight, seeing Jim's mother, my primal scream, and seeing people masked with images of death everywhere we went in Tulsa. It was surreal and I had no idea what to do. I just let others lead me around. I gave a ring I wore that I bought in Mexico with Jim to be placed in his casket. His mother introduced me to her friends at the funeral as "like a son to Jim." 

Jim was the first person with whom I visited Mexico in 1971. We returned two more times and we both kept journals of our rich and powerful experiences throughout the country. We both lived at Johnny Mercer's home on Moon River and Jim completed his book on Keats and Yeats there. By our last trip together to Mexico, when Jim spent a year teaching there, I was already studying D.H. Lawrence for my Master's thesis and degree at Tulane, the university where we both earned our doctorates. When I moved from New Orleans back to Savannah, we held readings aloud of Proust, with a few friends, in the garden courtyard of my apartment on Oglethorpe Ave. In the early 1980s we alternated teaching the same course in Philosophy at Armstrong-Atlantic University in Savannah.

It was through Jim that I met Jake. Jim wrote a series of poems to Jake. In 1976 Jake and I became fast friends as we traveled together to New Orleans and a year later in '77 to San Francisco and Big Sur. We drove cross country and had intimate experiences that Jake called "enterprises of great pith and moment" (WS again). Later we both studied law and moved to Atlanta to attend Law School and work together in the Law Library of Ga. State University.

On the day of Jim's funeral on November 1, 1986, after the service and a gathering of the family, I flew back to Atlanta to attend Jake's wedding. Thus the surreal play of Thanatos and Eros in my disoriented psyche that day. Festivities of the Day of the Dead, of Día de Muertos, always conjure that day for me. And on the day itself, and those leading up to it, I dance in memory with them both, Jim and Jake. I feel their spirits around me and praise those remarkable years we shared together. 

James Land Jones

Jake Waldrop


Tuesday, October 23, 2018


Early voting continues this week across Georgia for the upcoming November 6th election. Whether you’re LGBTQ or an ally, the stakes are too high to sit this election out!
Georgia Equality has endorsed the following candidates:

Governor: Stacey Abrams 
Lt. Governor: Sarah Riggs Amico 
Secretary of State: John Barrow 
Attorney General: Charlie Bailey 
Labor Commissioner: Richard Keatley 
Agriculture Commissioner: Fred Swann 
Public Service Commission (District 3):  Lindy Miller
Public Service Commission (District 5): Dawn Randolph

SD 6: Jen Jordan (i)
SD 29: Valerie Haskins
SD 40: Sally Harrell
SD 41: Steve Henson (i)
SD 44: Gail Davenport (i)
SD 46: Marisue Hilliard
SD 48: Zahra Karinshak
SD 56: Ellyn Jeager

HD 23: Adam Wynn*
HD 36: Jen Slipakoff
HD 37: Mary Frances Williams
HD 39: Erica Thomas (i)
HD 40: Erick Allen
HD 50: Angelika Kausche
HD 52: Shea Roberts
HD 56: Able Mable Thomas (i)
HD 57: Pat Gardner (i)
HD 58: Park Cannon (i)*
HD 60: Kim Schofield (i)
HD 79: Michael Wilensky
HD 80: Matthew Wilson*
HD 81: Scott Holcomb (i)

HD 84: Renitta Shannon (i)*
HD 85: Karla Drenner (i)*
HD 86: Michelle Henson (i)
HD 95: Beth Moore
HD 97: Aisha Yaqoob
HD 99: Brenda Lopez (i)
HD 101: Sam Park (i)*
HD 102: Gregg Kennard
HD 105: Donna McLeod
HD 107: Shelly Hutchinson
HD 108: Jasmine Clark
HD 109: Regina Lewis-Ward
HD 111: El-Mahdi Holly
HD 113: Pam Dickerson (i)
HD 117: Deborah Gonzalez (i)
HD 119: Jonathan Wallace (i)
HD 144: Jessica Walden
HD 153: Camia Hopson
HD 161: Adam Bridges*
HD 179: Julie Jordan*

Gwinnett County:
County Commission District 2: Ben Ku*
County Board of Education District 2:Wandy Taylor

* denotes an openly LGBTQ candidate or incumbent

LGBTQ Films of Note

Here are the LGBTQ films I think are works of art, as well as profound portrayals of gay or bisexual characters.


God's Own Country

Beautiful Thing



Blue is the Warmest Color



Brokeback Mountain


My Beautiful Laundrette

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

A Single Man

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Call Me By Your Name

Mulholland Drive

Law of Desire

Women in Love

Y Tu Mama Tambien

Bad Education


A Home at the End of the World



Big Eden

History Boys

James Land Jones

James Land Jones


Friend, Mentor, Kindred Spirit

Mom, Jim, and John in Atlanta
Jim at Moon River 

Jim in Savannah, 1970 

Moon River
.....The Johnny Mercer House at Moon River where Jack and Jim lived in the early 1970s

Author of Adam's Dream: Mythic Consciousness in Keats and Yeats, Jim was also President of the Savannah Chapter of the Georgia Poetry Society, founder of the Oklahoma journal Nimrod, and a prize- winning poet. One of his best poems is

Belle Isle

Late spring and night. Rain-scented air
Surrounds us like a presence. Ahead,
Past threaded rivers, Belle Isle waits.
Beyond, St. Catherine's Sound unreels, a bolt
Of crumpled purple-silver, into the far horizon.

For months we've said we'll boat out to Belle Isle.
Now lightning plays about us in the shuttered trees.
Transparent knives of moonlight sculpt your face
Between my hands. Your eyes, grown deeper blue,
Compel my lips as birds are drawn to air.

I wait, a silk banner to be filled by you.
Give body to my body through your body.
Turn my empty cloth into a sail.
So fitted, voyager, what is Belle Isle to me?
I would explore the rivers of you all my life. 

Written "For Jack--14 Sept 1984--with love."