All posts by jmardis2014

Poet, Writer, Quilter and Storyteller. Coordinator @ the Family Story Project. Editor of KenteCloth: Southwest Voices of the African Diaspora (UNT Press). Winner of The Pushcart Prize for Poetry. Winner of multiple NABJ GRIOT Awards for Radio Commentary. Jas. Mardis is a 2014 Inductee to The Texas Literary Hall of Fame.

Poem: Now That It Is Gone


now that it’s gone
I’m wondering if you’re actually smiling
as you leaned away from the camera
wondering if your shoulders are bare
wondering when I will see it again

wondering how much you thought
anybody would miss those few images
would regret not saving them among others
would say to strangers on a train,
“Bruh, you ever seen the way she smiles?”

I wanted to tell you secrets
before I met you
wanted to see your eyes brighten
to see if your ears pointed
when you shook your head while grinning
wanted to have you
come back toward the camera
to watch your shoulders rising
to catch the light in that room soften
around you
swallow up the warm colors and
pour them into your dress until
the black of it became a shadow
and there was ochre in the curl of your hair
and yellows running over the curves of your breasts
and three hues of blues racing the lengths and grooves of your arms
and white as you smile
and white as you stare

and budded roses
coming from the ends of your fingers
as you appear to say,
“Help Me Up…”
and me adding in the word:

“from this picture and into your arms”






Opening Dallas Exhibition

There were about 80 folks who fought through the “BLIZZARD OF 2020” to the opening of “Let The Tablecloth Speak” at the Main Library Downtown Dallas and each is embedded in my heart forever and a day. New faces and friends as well!

We talked and, as this exhibition tends to do, the stories and remembrances abounded. Laughter and a few eyes were wiped over the four hours. Faith Brown -Black Girls Quilt- made the two hour drive! Laura Casmore had made her stop with the grandkids early in the week.

The exhibition is always open and will actually talk to you! YES, there is an area that plays one of six story snippets when you pass! Come thru and tell the Library why you’re there! 4th Floor. Bring or SEND A FRIEND!

New Exhibition Jan. 11

Fabric Artist & Writer, Jas. Mardis, presents “Let the Tablecloth Speak: The DNA Storytelling within Heirloom Linens”. 13 Quilts made from a cut work tablecloth that explore family memory, storytelling and history. A worn spot. A cigarette burn. A coffee stain. A crease. What does your spot at the table evoke in the stories of your family?

Poem: Your Very Own Way


        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




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

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





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


Poetry: I, Eye

I Eye–audio

                    I, Eye

there is some other way of naming your attraction
some other ways
of counting out the names that I have given to your beauty

some simple method of calculating the hours spent remembering

all the joy
made possible      simply and wonderfully by looking upon you

and knowing  that
no other person or thing or moment on this old Earth
is ever going to bring me such a wonderful aching
until it returns   comes back around     knocks…enters…home

tell me again how I first came to be in your eyes

dancing my old bones and flesh thru the sunset rivers of your stare
holding your browned, honey glazed look upon me
and being swallowed into your pupils   as a precious light

just      once      more
say my name   without opening your mouth
without parting your lips     without any sounds  at all
like you do on your pictures
taken from above your head    from your camera’s phone

selfish selfies

with the whole world wanting to be part of such a moment
men and women     themselves  watching for their turn in your eyes
willing to settle for a moment    of you   thru a lens
wanting silent credit for capturing all of what you want    just me to see

and  moments later     there you are

the distance    miles of roads   acres of grass and river waters
steps and tip-toed inches   erased with a button’s push

and you

your eyes so brilliant and bright and beckoning me into that flash moment
your silliness     your awakening into morning light    your muscle work
spilling out from my phone
sighted   suddenly    like lonely sailors must have seen Mermaids

missing home      watching  dark water       a noise
the  glass eye  raised to see         whatever could it be

Captain, my Captain…oh, my soul…”

Jas. Mardis  (06/ 2015)

Jas. Mardis is a 2014 inductee to The Texas Literary Hall of Fame and Editor of KenteCloth: Southwest Voices of the African Diaspora, UNT Press