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.

Fit ( un poema )

girlie show

         Fit ( un poema )
para mis visitantes españoles

¿Cómo debemos decir
a nuestros cuerpos
caber:

¿Es este un día para desatar
lenguas musculosos -up
para montar , labios
humedecidos curiosos en
nuestras olas y rápidos

una noche para los dientes
húmedos
presionado en vientres tensos y
temblorosos

una hora de pulgares rodeando
la pasta como la caverna de
ombligos
o simplemente minutos con
la punta de los dedos tentadores
las nucas de cuellos

un monumento a querer
paseos en nuestra
conversación como
desenfrenada
pero , cubierto sementales

¿cómo debo tocarte
con su corazón latiendo
tan parecido a una canción
con su manta caída

tan lentamente desde
los hombros sudoríparas
endulzadas

¿cómo debe tocarme
cuando yo ya estoy
tan conocido tristemente   a pedir

Jas. Mardis

Thank you for reading me Brazil, Portugal and Spain!

What Passes for Flesh (w/audio)

What Passes For Flesh  (audio)

What Passes for Flesh
for C. Jacnal

When one has lived a long time alone
there comes an inevitable time of touch
that belies every moment
and movement
and measure of all the unquenched thirsts
from way down deep inside

It is greater than
what the opening mouth discovers at first breath
greater than what the whip and pull of the suckling tongue knows will come down
greater than what reprises the yell of conception allowing life itself to begin

First touch
is like an unexpected gust, come fully into breeze, come graciously
and racingly into a full bite of the body
through and over and amongst every strand
of dormant, reflective follicle of hair
that names
the internal dotting and prickly rise along the arm
hidden up the run of a long, warm sleeve

To have again
that wonderful reaching out hand for just your face
for just your muscled rising and falling breast
for just your sweat and anticipation-laced majesty
long bent back into itself
long unspent across a sailed sea of self-scented linens and nights

To know again
for every unsuspected new first time
that a response is required of your mouth
that there is no room for retreat in the body’s assailed breakwater

unlock the door
unspeak the warning
unleash the panting hounds of that ready desire

unfurl the cascading warmth
untie the bulbous mooring
unwrap and lay bare every blameless shame of your wanting

When one has lived a long time alone
what passes for flesh
is a cajole a swaying of what is known to the soul
as honest and goodness and desirous truest needing assurance
undulating purest and dearest cause for the blood to rise throughout
and abundantly overlap all that the mind has come to believe
is just

skin

    Jas. Mardis   6/2015 (4awim)

photo credit: Barranquitas (vicinity), Puerto Rico. Hands of an old woman working in a tobacco field    fsa 8c29492 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/fsa.8c29492

Fit (a poem)

Fit (a poem)

How should we tell our bodies
to fit:

Is this a day for unleashing muscled-up tongues
for riding moistened, curious lips into our waves and rapids

a night for wetted teeth
pressed into taut and quivering bellies

an hour of thumbs   encircling the  pasta like cavern of navels
or merely minutes with the tips of fingers   enticing the napes of necks

a memorial to wanting
rides our talking like unbridled
but, blanketed stallions

how should I touch you
with your heart beating so much like a song
with your blanket falling
so slowly from your sweat-sweetened shoulders

how should you touch me
when  I am already
so sadly known to beg for more

Jas. Mardis
(4wim)

Final Natl-Poetry-Month Poem: How Sweet It Is… (audio and text)

Audio: How Sweet It Is

How Sweet It Is…

I want to sing
not just that hand moving vocalizing from American Idol tryouts
but sing in a way that makes men    wait to go pee

when the alarm has gone off   and it’s me on the radio
and the morning is still cold on the other side of his woman
and she is barely making a sound
but her mouth is a smile
and her hips are exposed from beneath and around her gown

and I’m chiming something from The Originals

and I don’t even care that it’s four-part harmony
’cause damn    he’s looking over across her curves and sweetness
and remembering a few nights ago   that should have been last night, too

and she’s curling her shoulders into the full light of day  breaking across into the room

and her leg straightens   and the gown   just gives up

and there is something rising in the air on the sun’s rays and in the mist of dust
and there are all kinds of “yes” in the way that she opens her eyes to him

and the covers and pillows    fall into line

and there is nothing to be said with words
not even that line about “gonna be late for work”
because I’m on the radio

and what they HEAR when I sing: “DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR”
is “I’ve been missing you since yesterday night”

and what they FEEL when I sing: “WHEN YOUR LIPS ARE KISSING MINE”
is, “Yeah”

and what they KNOW when I sing: “DO YOU HEAR THE BELLS, DARLING”
is, “All I need is five minutes to show you”

and what they DO when I sing: “DO YOU HEAR THE BELLS RINGING IN YOUR EARS, BABY”
is ask, “Can we turn that up a little bit, then?”

…”OH, I’LL NEVER HEAR THE BELLS….OH, I’LL NEVER HEAR THE BELLS…
NO, I’LL NEVER HER THE BELLS WITHOUT….YOU, BABY”

How sweet it must be    to sing

Jas. Mardis (04/2015)
National Poetry Month 2015

**Click here to see The Originals sing their hit song properly

Jas. Mardis is a 2014 Inductee to The Texas Literary Hall of Fame, Multiple National Association of Black Journalist GRIOT Awards for Radio Commentary and  a Pushcart Prize Winner for Poetry. He is Editor of KenteCloth: Southwest Voices of the African Diaspora (UNT Press). For booking information of poetry or The Family Story Project workshops–j.mardis@verizon.net or just send a reply from this page.

Poetry: Drops Like Rain (audio)

Drops Like Rain audio

Drops Like Rain

In the rain
what will be remembered of your face
does not blur so easily

and I see so clearly

the wonderful, seasonal, leaf-brown shading of your eyes
piercing thru the large pane of shop glass
as you jump the space between awnings trying not to get wet

I see you remembering to smile   then scrunching your face when
an already couple bumps into you  and
just like that
you slide back into the weather and your hair drinks what drips
from the beast that has become this night’s sky

From this booth    I cannot save you
not even in my manliest imagination
not even in the best years of my  faster  boyhood
not even     not hardly      no way

so,
when you do not  fall into the drink
but instead bend at the knees and waist
and waggle your hips into a brake

the sound that comes from me    does not match my facade

Every  day
since first looking into the falling stream that was your face
watching helplessly    you
slipping and grinding and stopping yourself in the rain

the way you held on    stood pat     hung in there
neverminding the fools behind with their outstretched, dry hands and apologies
instead,   shaking it off  and finding me in that deliberate, slow turn
of your drenched face   dry   inside  at a booth      then winking

it is hard to image how I will stop myself from falling for you
like fat drops of April rain

my fingers
down thru your head’s  drenched curls
across the wet waving line of your brow
racing in  swirls        over the bridge  of your nose
rimming silver slivers ’round your flared nostrils
before landing and lacing    and beading into the grace on your full lips

I am already learning to love the way that you hold your mouth
already slipping
already being pushed by wanting what these other couples have
are willing to race thru full streets
clearing pathways   and already full spaces beneath awnings
where some other not-yet-loved fool
is trying not
to get this wonderfully wet

Jas. Mardis    4/2015
(14ioiws)

Jas. Mardis is a 2014 Inductee to The Texas Literary Hall of Fame, a Pushcart Prize Winner for Poetry and Editor of KenteCloth: Southwest Voices of the African Diaspora (UNT Press).

T-B-T–Nat’l Poetry Month combo: First Bite (read by Jas.)

(First Bite AUDIO)

First Bite

Almost kissing you
has become something like a fever or favor
and quite possibly   both

I’ve kissed girls   before
you know      back on Morrell Street        before t.v.
when Cousin Lenny was the nighttime radio man
and the sun went down on him playing the records from Motown:
Little Stevie Wonder, The Chi-Lites, Marvin Gaye and
that ridiculous green-eyed Smokey Robinson and The Miracles
who made the girls forget all about you     with his falsetto
and damn green eyes
until they  put away that wad of double bubble
into a cheek

you know those fast girls
who wore the big legged culottes–
those one piece  shorts and a built-in shirt
–with the wide, pleated, flared, cuffed leg  that looked like cut-off dresses
until they moved  real quick

not every girl    just the fast ones
who had greased up legs  that were coffee-brown and muscled up
from all that double-dutch   and kick ball   and Soul Train Saturday morning
and who  learned      how to say everything     with sugar on top
especially

Can I have:
some of yo’ snow cone
  some of yo’ cold drank
     some of yo’ Now-n-Laters
  some of yo’ Kool-Aid
    some of yo’ Pixie Stixs and peppermint for this pickle

and only offered you bites of apple  at lunch    at Vacation Bible School
then asked silly questions like,

“Can I practice kissing on you?”
…then it was  tongue city
and the explosion of all those flavors
until the blush returned to their pickle-paled lips

Yeah, I’ve kissed girls before
but    almost kissing    a very grown   YOU
after our day in the sun   and new discovers   and shared secrets
and sitting here now   with this late night breakfast
our last moment of the day coming on fast
you  blowing cool, breath minted smiles across your coffee

eyeing my colorful plate        cooling that coffee
watching me take my own   slow bites    between glances and chit-chat
your mouth pulling  away from that cup    teeth   wetted and liquid sparked
me swallowing    you swallowing

your newly bared knee beneath the table    your skirt having fallen open
my jean-covered leg is  a poor and pitiful reply  to your bump
your mouth     a new pretense of welcome     your cooled cup   empty

I should have seen it coming
after all those years on Morrell Street   with those kinda hungry culotte-girls

shoulda been   all kinds of ready  with my fork and tongue
with my smoothest, flyest slip and slide over to your corner of the table
with my own   hot drink-wetted teeth and  lips and opening mouth

when I heard you say,
Can I have    somma yo’ potatoes

Jas. Mardis (4/2015)
(104aa)

** I’m not able to display the poem in the correct layout so forgive these left-justified presentations. The book will be ready soon.

**Prior to writing this self-serving poem, Jas.Mardis is a 2014 Inductee to The Texas Literary Hall of Fame. I’m sure his name is being scrubbed from their wall as you read and listen.

CRAVE (a read poem)

Crave

I have lived long enough
to know the ebb of blood through the veins of emptied arms
to know which wind will carry memories gracefully away
to let go of the idea of wanting someone to watch over me
at rest     from just beyond the open door      while I shower

and yet
what beckons greatly and returns with vigor is     to crave

not just wanting    like a sleep blinded babe at a teet
the animal within     seeking greedily the life from within      another
sloppily hanging on         pushing out weaker comers until your belly lifts you from the task

not just staggering onto half of a glass       and making the next perspective easier
not just yielding and waning      vexing thru a shadow of thirst with recently wetted lips

craving is its own penny
the start of something that has no forseeable end
something found or gifted or lost or earned
that opens up     suddenly and     graciously and       invitingly
it borrows all of your unused begging into an oyster-bothering spec of dirt
and hangs in for the licking    and lapping     and longing       to begin

craving
gleans the edges of the not-yet-sowed field
it taunts this and that idea of knowing     what truly can come of it all
it beckons an easing of the earth
it presses the softest petals into the aperture of cured asphalt
it does not remind what has been opened         to close

craving is seeing how you loved water on the faces of those children at play

how you lifted your sunglasses to rest on the crown of your twisted braids
and smiled from your soul thru your eyes at the tiny girl
who’s Father is already in trouble for getting her hair wet
but who used his t-shirt      and gracious laughter     to dry her water-drenched brow
then let her go back for more

craving is knowing that you do not want to leave      this moment with me
do not wish for fresher air        or fewer sprays on the splashing winds made by
these smiling and life-living children of all hues     in the sun of this day
out with me      with you

craving begs a self-taken photograph
it does not allow me to impose on the friendly father with his drenched belly
he has already smiled at what is on the way for this moment
he has sent his child back to the water
back to another surprise shower burst
back to purse her lips and try to take a drink from the falling finger lake
it has caught her imagination
it has grown into one of her first real and complete ideas

together we can see that she is learning to anticipate
learning to stamp and stomp and dance her feet above the last sprouting place
learning    and leaning   into having known a drenching   joy

once already

and …

Crave (CLICK TITLE and I’ll Read it to YOU)

Jas. Mardis 5/2015
(74aa/hugs)