April Poetry II 2016: The Morning’s Flesh

        Photo credit Jack Delano

The Morning’s Flesh

for Sweet

My finger touches the pimpled layers of fresh washed skin
And I cradle that luscious roundness in my upturned palm

My thumb slips into the curving   opening up   places
And a drizzle of juice covers my fingers and puddles into my palm

I stop my peeling and savor just the licking and lapping and pleasure

I always know this taste   it’s always the  first time
I know there’s    more to     come

The cover just falls away now
And the juice is spraying my open mouth and fills my mustache with sweetness

I don’t know if my teeth will hurt or tease these slices of sweet flesh

So I use my tongue
And let the bitter skin
Teach me new ways to enjoy the
Waiting, weeping flesh of
this morning’s orange

 

 
Jas. Mardis

 

New 2016 National Poetry Month poems
Jas Mardis is a 2014 inductee into The Texas Literary Hall of Fame and an award winning Poet, Radio Commentator and Art Quilter.

Final April Poetry 2016: This One Day

This One Day

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
Tomorrow
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

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

 

Jas. Mardis

 

New 2016 National Poetry Month poems
Jas Mardis is a 2014 inductee into The Texas Literary Hall of Fame and an award winning Poet, Radio

Commentator and Art Quilter.

Cold This Month Poetry: ‘Be “Absolutely” For…

 

(for M.L., why not…)

 
Before I see you again
I will think of the way you consider your words with me
I will consider the smiles that you have held onto
and returned to your breast as though you needed back the breath

I will see you coming thru every door and down every hallway
always a surprise worthy of reliving
worth the price of the aloneness that follows

your arrival
and going away again
slipping thru sudden moments
creating and creasing your way into my hope: a Christmas unto yourself

I will begin each one of my next sentences with a loud laugh
I will start them over again and again

for each time that
I imagine you will smile
even with your face and beating heart so fully turned into worship

before I see you again
before you enter   and sway    and send forth your glow
before there is a shivering thought and smile of my own over you
before I can remember that other women walk the Earth
before the Sun warms your skin
before it spreads your smile
before it slits your eyes into that pencil-thin gaze that you’ve perfected
before …
before …be-absolutely-for
being adored …

go ahead and know that I’m always
looking
wanting
waiting
until it happens again

 

Jas. Mardis /12-16
Jas. Mardis is a 2014 Inductee of the Texas Literary Hall of Fame and Editor of “KenteCloth: Southwest Voices of the African Diaspora, UNT PRESS

Tapestry: Haint-Free Blue Door Formula

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I imagined that the idea for enslaved folks to paint the doors ocean blue was passed around as people were moved around the Southern States during enslavement. Blue doors are said to ward off evil spirits.

The narrative on this piece imagines the formula and when to apply it being handed down by a new person from a different region and being repeated and applied.

15×45 image development, yard, thread, leather and printed text with thread accents. Original Narrative text by Jas. C. Mardis

Photo Credit: Title: Old Negro (former slave) Willis Winn with horn with which slaves were called. Near Marshall, Texas Creator(s): Lee Russell, 1903-1986, photographer, U.S. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black & White Photographs

Summer Remembrance: The Negro Traveler Green Book

“Negro Traveler’s Green Book” piece for a Juneteenth show. This one is more of a tribute than artistic endeavor. I used burlap on one corner to house the Jim Crow signage and subliminally speak to transitioning from Country-to-City life. These are family and found photos. The narrative is my original piece and not an actual slogan used in the publication.

Do you remember this necessary travel guide? It was published 1936-1967 for the whole Country and abroad.

I’m available to show and/exhibit any one of three fabric art series. Leave me a comment with your interest.

 

First Place Award…

I’ve won a First Place Award at the Ft Worth juried art exhibition for Juneteenth! More in a minute! Tarrant County Community College South Campus is located at 820 & 3501 Campus Dr in Fort Worth, TX.  This is a juried art exhibition celebrating freedoms gained on Juneteenth and the abolition of enslavement. My fabric Art piece celebrates the freedom to serve in the Military. Charles Young was the 3rd Black Graduate of West Point’s Military Academy, the First African-American to earn Colonel and the first African-American Superintendent of Public Lands. He was born into slavery so I titled my piece “To Whom much is Given…”

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March Exhibit Alert

It is already a great start to 2019 with fabric art placements already in January, February March and April. This marks my March exhibition participation and I’m grateful to Dr. Carolyn L. Mazloomi for choosing my piece, “To Whom Much is Given, Much is Required”.

Exhibition opening March 16, 2019 at the National Afro-American Museum in Wilberforce, OH. Book available on Amazon and in book stores early March.

Poem: Did You Know…

AUDIO: Did You Know…

Did you know that

tonight in your face
     between the opening and closing 
    and pressing together again 
           of your lips
        in laughter   and saying what you like
      in smiling   in smirking   and silliness 
    in   being beautiful and funny 
      in spite of your hiding it
     I saw every ounce of your desire
        It was in the way you drank
    your request for the red ménage 
   and the way of your unabashed hand
       delicate and firm and certain 
    your palm 
       against the crown of my hand
     warm      like the fountain of wanting 
   carrying you through the unmanned hours of the new house nights
       the air pressing against your skin
    the towels falling away 
       your hair damp and dreaming of gray
   it was in the way you sat
perched at the head of someone else’s table
    me   to your right hand
   others   watching through the door frame
       seeking out the lifted eye of your invitation to the laughter and chatter
     waiting on the red river of your lips 
   to break into an ocean of white toothed welcoming 
      and me 
wanting more and even more 
         of them   at the gates
                even now
 that table   long emptied and wiped of joy
       even now
     I find myself looking to my left
        hoping for just your laughter 
      or the delicious surrender of cashews
  riding melting salt crystals  onto your tongue 
crossing that red parted pillow of your lips 
    being caught    as any fool would desire 
  in the white pressure of your first teeth 
    surrendering  like prey
        to the succulent science of 
     such a small bite
        
           of such a delightful desire
       to satisfy your late and getting later
    night hungers

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4Tel


Jas. Mardis is an awarded Poet, Writer and Fabric Artist living in Dallas/Ft. Worth Metro area.

        

What He Say, Daddy?, What He Say?!

When we were boys, my brother and I had the run of Cypress Street in North Little Rock, Arkansas on oursl porchia Summer visits down home. We ate like kings and fished almost daily between stints of wrestling and throwing rocks at wasps nests and some, mean-as-hell, blue jays.

Early mornings broke thru a small window above the kitchen sink. It was always lined with the hard-skinned, green tomatoes from Madear’s garden below. Every morning, sipping cooled black coffee from Daddy S.L.’s saucer and crunching bites of beautifully browned toast, coated with runny egg and grits, there was little else to satisfy our boyhood needs.

I am certain that the early morning dew of Arkansas is medicinal. We never remembered our shoes and wore threadbare pajamas when walking Daddy S.L. to his blue and silver station wagon, but we were sorely protected from the 5:45a.m. chill. I think now that his smooth, baritone chuckle was our warmth as we skittered back into the kitchen to argue over the last sip of cold coffee and bites of breakfast left on his plate.  We would be curled asleep beneath the small, press board and vinyl table within minutes of his leaving…every morning.

He returned home at 3:30pm and walked in giant steps thru the curled up grandkids watching the black and white half hour of Lone Ranger and a local BOZO The Clown Show. We made it a good luck charm to touch the dirt dusted leg of his work pants as he swiped by. In the kitchen MaDear hard fried them palm-sized perch and boiled hot dogs and beans for the kid’s dinner. We heard them kiss.

Other afternoons he stuck his head thru the door and called for us to “come run with me”.  On those afternoons we headed down to the ballpark at Whitmore Circle to watch men play baseball. The best part of those “runs” were the Mexican tamale cart vendors who surely over delivered on those one dollar, corn husk wrapped bundles. But, the best thing  ever about those “runs” was a singing ball player, they called, “Big Cole”.

From the dugout Big Cole ran thru, what I imagined were, old songs; rifts of blues and names of women and men who had done him wrong. He was older than the players and rarely made it to the plate. I recall him swatting a slow lobbed ball over the Pitcher’s outstretched glove just once. He couldn’t “run slow”, the men teased Big Cole, and he slung the bat and settled back into the dugout. After awhile he began to hum, then riff on the idea of  finding a woman who could “wait til the bottle run dry”. “What He say, Daddy?” my bug-eyed query brought chuckles from the grown ups.

Again, Big Cole riffed on about Birmingham not being a ham at all! We oughta see the one up dat gals draws! And me, “What He say, Daddy? What HE SAY?” Soon, recounting stories of thunderous home runs were overshadowed by the salty tongue of Big Cole and a few others trying to jump into the rowdy workman’s calling.

Driving home, Daddy S.L. said that Big Cole was a “Caller” for the Gandy men who worked to straighten the tracks. The heavy loads of trees being harvested  from deep in the woods would damage the rail lines and could warp the creosoled drenched ties. He said the “Gandy Dancers” and work crews from the Penitentiary “throwed” them back in line. Big Cole sang to the men and got everybody on the same rhythm to make the job easier.

Daddy S.L. said that Big Cole hung around places and picked up stories to use in his songs. Later, in July, he drove me to the Little Rock Stock Yards and we parked near the junction where myriad train tracks snaked and fingered alongside the warehouses for delivery. We left the car windows down and a warm breeze had me nodding.

I awoke to a shadowy clanking of iron rods and deep laughter. A White man suddenly shouted, “Gwine up to de quarter head”, and men moved in unison toward a curved section of tracks. I sat up and leaned out the station wagon’s window just as the White man made a jerking arm motion and yelled out to the men.

On the hot breeze a long moan built quickly to a wailing, then nasally passage in Big Cole’s, familiar cadence.

Aahhh! Aaa-Ooohhh-Oh-Ohh-Oh

Aahh—Two lil’ gals was court’n Me

One was blind & One caint see

My Grandma put a switch to me

When I come home wit a kiss on me

Ol boys pull t’gether

Ol boys pull t’hether—HUH!

At “HUH!” the men shuttered, stomped, whipped their iron rods in a hard, short burst and I saw the track jut to the left.

He did it twice more before the White man gestured with his hand and the men halted. On the wind, that carried dry and hot back to the station wagon window, was laughter. Behind the guffaws came a question. “You couldn’t hide dem gal’s kisses, Cole?!”

Daddy S.L. shook his head, chuckled and started up the family car.

This story first appeared in the blog, Three Days In The City. All copyrights reserved.

Jas. Mardis is an awarded Poet, Radio Commentator, Editor and Fabric Artist. He is a 2014 Inductee to The Texas Literary Hall of Fame.

Poem: Your Very Own Way

Audio:

        Your Very Own Way

      there is a way
     that your eyes welcome me
   a way
       that you stop doing what you do
    and sweep your body toward me
         a way that you tilt your head into
      the sound of my footfalls
          a way that we agree
       to be alone in the crowded room
.
       I like those ways
.
          there is a way that your eyes
      take flight
  a way that you want me to look inside you
      a way that you’re soft and moist
     a way that you press your lips into
   a practice kiss… a want… a delicious way
.
          I like those ways
.
      there is a way
    that I allow myself to want you
       allow my eyes to be clear for you
    allow my stomach to tighten in case of your touch
      allow my name to come out from your mouth
    allow my soul to be swallowed by the sight of you
.
     and I want you to like those ways

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Jas. Mardis is a 2014 Inductee to The Texas Literary Hall of Fame