New_Exhibition_8/15

Save the date for this upcoming exhibition!! We are excited to share that Ciara Elle Bryant is curating the first physical exhibition in the new 500X space!! Vivrant Thang features the work of 12 artists including Jeremy Biggers, Ari Brielle, Ciara Elle Bryant, Xxavier Carter, LaShonda Cooks, Danielle Demetria, Jer’Lisa Devezin, Elizabeth Hill, David Jeremiah, Jas Mardis, Jamilia Mendez, and Desiree Vaniecia.

There will be a virtual reception on August 15th from 7:00-8:30 pm CST. Vivrant Thang will be on view from August 15 through September 6, 2020 at 500X Gallery. The new gallery address is 516 Fabrication Street, Dallas, TX 75212. Vivrant Thang will be available to view virtually on http://www.500x.org and in the gallery on Saturdays and Sundays, by appointment only. More details to come soon! Be on the lookout for upcoming social media posts about the participating artists!

EXTENDED

Jas. Mardis: HOME exhibition of leather portraits, statues and a single fabric/leather collaboration at Dallas Love Field Airport has been extended. Due to an overwhelming public/traveler response Curator Rachel Simpson has negotiated a two week extention. This is an 11 piece art exhibition by Dallas Poet, Fabric/Leather Artist, Jas. Mardis. More at http://jasmardis.com.

Thanks Dallas for the LOVE!!! (yes, that is a play n words)

HOME Exhibition Opens

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Love Field Airport has featured me for the second 2020 exhibition: Jas MARDIS:HOME for the month of June. The highlight of this exhibition is a fabric and leather piece from the series, Mothers & Sons: “Sons of Her Thunder” subtitle: “Not Another Boy Harmed!”. Select pieces from my “Just A Crown” series on pedestals and two leather burned portraits on new stands complete the display.

Dallas Love Field Airport featuring Jas Mardis: HOME

“Sons of Her Thunder” uses a leather drawn image and a printed image on cloth with the backdrop of an andinkra symbol for energy. John and James, “The Sons of Thunder” from Luke 9:54 who asked Jesus of their enemies, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” In Matthew 20:20 their Mother famously asks Jesus if her sons could sit in an exalted place in Heaven. In consideration of the current climate I offered a twist on a Mother’s response. “Rain Thunder, Lord, on those who would harm my sons! Bring them home to sit beside me!”

Tell It All

         

TELL_ it all

.

      It seems silly    in this moment 
   but let me just say:
William TELL! Do TELL! TELL Me A Story!
 or, maybe just …TELL Me Something Good!
.
   how could I not take the advantage 
       the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity 
   to play with your name
       to chance your smile
     to risk a another slap on my wrist
.
       Truth be told 
Entering the room where you stood eating  
     confident … owning your ground
  I expected you to say:
        Angel.  Vixen.  Joy.  or just for once
 the Sistah to say “You can call me Often”
.
         instead 
    you are called by the most unexpected 
    of monikers: Tell
      so,
  Tell me you love me 
floods my mind from songs on the radio
    “Tell Me…Tell Me…Tell Me….
   Won’t you tell, tell, tell …tell me”
.
       I’m certain that the crooner is crying
     his tears are starting their journey 
his shirt front stiffens for their weight…
.
     Wait, I have it wrong
   the song is, “Say You Love Me”
but what a wonderful mistake!
.
     Forever and more the thought of you
  the first thought of you 
       and every time I say your name 
 and consider your face  
        every time I 
           enjoy you chewing 
        recall you standing in a room
            every time I 
           drink the aroma of your memory
    it’ll come with the joy of song
.
.
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4tel2
Jas. Mardis

Poem: winds of change

Winds of Change

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      I found myself 
            standing in the wind today
     standing and pushing my body against the idea of falling
     against the thought of twisting 
    against the desire to move on 
        but
       I was standing 
           suddenly 
          and steadfast 
       in the spot where I’m sure 
      I’ll kiss you for the first time 
          you were on my phone
      a text   an emoji    a silly, moving image
    telling me that you were certain
        its hands/your hands
       tiny/small   but thick and lined with years of muscles  delicate caresses waiting to be rested against a fold in my cheek 
        waiting to trace the rivulet-curls 
       of my new beard 
   into the curve of my jaw
         onto the bulb of my ear’s lobe
      where you’ll pinch it gently 
      and guide the awe of my opening mouth 
      onto the wanting blush of your grinning 
      and so
        I stood      still 
       and took the biting wind 
       took the pressing hand of that force 
    took the whipping chill  
 took the harsh whistling  growling  bark
   took the pushing and twisting at my legs
 took the tugging away at my hat brim
     took that moment 
             before I had known you existed
   before there were snatches of thoughts
        and remembrances of your faces 
    and reasons to hide away the echo
          and fullness and temptation 
      of you laughing 
         I took that past me
      absent the coming moment of you
    absent the pulsing  racing  hoping 
          days without you and emoji you 
        and watched them eclipsed 
 like useless    wasted sunny days of youth
    covered over
        by the chance of a day
     with you tugging 
       tugging    tugging 
          me 
   into the winds of change 
    
.
.
.
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Jas Mardis

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

.

.

.

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

Wait

     
      When you say “wait”
     and rise to your full height 
     your full and encompassing girth 
   your full measure 
         of curves and hips and thighs
.
       your full dress 
     falling like first rain
         across a blessing of breasts and belly
      across a feast of touches:
          your hand to mouth
         your palm to waist
your fingers to smooth an imagined wrinkle 
      across your lap
    your calves pushing back the chair
        your falling napkin
      against the surrendering table
.
.        I know that you are going to say,
            “…I’ll be right back”
     but
       there is something about the way
     you leave the table 
           the way you press yourself anew
  the way you rejoin the world above us
          the way you enter an exiting
        that says 
        to my soul
            “It’ll take some courage
              when she does that one last time”
.
.
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Jas . Mardis

Love Field Airport BHM

The City of Dallas Aviation folks at Love Field Airport ain’t no joke! It was a pleasure to be your speaker today for the Black History Appreciation program. Not sure how many folks eventually got in the room, but let’s say 200 and shave off the edges!

This event allowed me to reach 50 displayed artworks at the same time in the same City! Of course, I didn’t get pictures of the full display of quilts 🤨. The folks flooded in as soon as I got set up. These 4 quilts were my talk focus: Social Commentary Thru Fabric Art.

Now, I’d like to claim that my fabric art and poetry had these folks dancing, but…
It’s just a cool visual to have folks dancing in front of your fabric works!

Black Aviation Employee Group

Nice crowd