I Did Not Kiss You Then






I Did Not Kiss You Then
for you M.

If I start now
I will be able to kiss all of your lips
pursed, like clutches of sweet, buttery mahogany leather between
elegant unhurried undressing darkly mocha eyes
and that most succulent sweep and beckoning perk of chin
always poised and framed in the light of your falling and bouncing curls

I did not kiss you then
back then
all of those unrequited opportunities ago
back when I was too foolish to go under your water
to walk your warming earth mother
to say into your close, laughing breath all that finally awakened within me at fifty

If I start now
I will be able to press without abandon against your lips
against this watched and known breakwater of longing and whispers
against the gravity of our parallel seasons of beautiful wondering and wandering
that lands us again and again on these paths and passions

I did not kiss you then
in the light of those too soon days of our youths
in those stumbling days of flat bellies and too much drinking
in those ready mouthed moments of sudden parties and naked stupidity
in those deafening grab-the-ring and step quickly off the ride chances

If I start now
right now
with your face this close with your voice so softly stayed in your throat
with your coat wrestling open in the heat of this museum hallway
with all of our friends trying not to notice what every lone and beating heart
calls fire in the self pleasing habit of their own chased bedded nights
If I start with this small kiss of your beautiful lips
I may be able to catch
us both up


Jas. Mardis

This One Day


This One Day–audio
There is just this one day

A set of single unmissed moments occurring between us
bringing thoughts and new wants and joy
bursting from within me

riding the instant melody of your surprising voice
heaping coals onto the fire that is your laughter

unearthing treasures in each slow closing and reappearance of your eyes
upturning urges and tickling the toes of my stepping nearer to you

I won’t bother asking if this evening is honestly all mine

hopefully you are asking, too
hopefully, like wonder, you across this landscape of table top
across this closing divide
on the other side of this meal at the end of a swallow

tenderly wrapped like a luscious tongue ’round the tine of a fork
savoring this new taste that fills our bellies

I would go ahead and cry for you
go ahead and let the held back water flow from within my soul
go ahead and fill the dry, ochre fibers of this mud cloth sewn overshirt

I would go ahead and lay down for you
a mere bridge a heaven’s gate a whisper covering and claiming it’s only heart

there is never enough time on night’s like this
never enough nights wetted and savoring and lavish like this

I am certain that tomorrow awaits just beyond these windows
waits and claims new life just beyond the doors of this eatery
waits and ponders which other big, precious brown eyed beauty
what other ebony hued and ivory grinned slender slip of curved Sistah
wherever other self-assured and charismatic women will be poured out before me

Tomorrow …..a desperate creator of itself
having never cared to hold over remnants of what Today has laid bare
already pressing the clocks and watches into a new hour
wants me to believe that you are on your way gone
slipping away filtered out by the cold and dark night that we are being guided into
the exhausted Waiter himself a Tomorrow Man
already paid and cashed out and done with our ogling eyes and cold, spilled fries

I am convinced that if you will accept my offer to take you gently into the wealth
and warmth of a moment pressed against the tear stained ochre shirt
even Tomorrow will claim us as its’ very, very own creation



Jas. C. Mardis


Jas. C. Mardis is a Poet, Writer and Quilter. He is a 2014 Inductee to the Texas Literary Hall of Fame.