Your Face

Touch here: your-face-1.m4a

For Natalie

I saw your face today

    the one you rarely show 
the one with all the sunlight in the shadows 
    the one that says 
        we should have met a year ago
          and run thru a park with old kites
           made from comics & on short strings
        and flown them just above our heads
      so that when people pointed at us
   we could fall on the grass and pretend to be reading the funnies over and over again

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.

April Poetry 2016: Others Will Tell

image2

Others Will Tell

 

Others will tell you
that:   your yellow dress caught their eye
and so they smiled  and winked and took their own picture
to be reminded of you    later

they will tell you
that:  once they left you standing there
caught up in the camera’s eye
they grew another head thinking of all the sweet things they didn’t say

they will tell you
that:   every other lofty, wavering laughter since your’s on that day
when the camera flashed and your face shown bright in the shadows
reminds them of how much sweetness and joy remains in the world

they will tell you
that:   strangers and friends have begun to ask
for their own copy of your picture   to gaze upon during breaks in their day
to imagine the cool shade and warmth   to want to be framed by the shadows of trees

they will tell you
that: they finally understand    why others wander the earth
cameras in hand    the new day’s sun bathing them all over
their eyes filling and flowing over with the hope of having such a moment with you

they will tell you
that: when I heard their story of the wonderful, watchful, witness of you
I did not weep or wail or moan    I did not blink or wink or nod
I simply shook my head and whispered: “Yeah? Wait until she wears red”

 

 
Jas. Mardis
03/01/2016

 

 
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 an Art Quilter.

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.

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.

        

South of Eden

 

South of Eden

.

.
Sometimes

I have to be reminded

So, the rain comes flashing through

pouring life from on high

where the clouds have grown gray and fat

with what someone once said were

“The tears of the devil’s wife”

who was being spanked

 

and I’m reminded

when all is done

by how glorious and green the world turns

after being drenched and drained of its’ dullness

by the rain

 

and I’m reminded

by the copious pages of grasses turned again

toward the verdant sheets of green

stretching ever so fully

‘cross the fields and vacant lots

forever sprouting skyward into the heads of trees

sliding with elegance into the valleys and

over the hills

then climbing the ivy against the walls of lattice work and brick

and window trim

 

and I’m reminded

by how clear and blue and calm

the rain turns the sky

of how sacredly calm the earth’s beauty

can pulse the human blood

and excite the body toward passions long forgotten

of how one simple gaze of

grasses and tree tops turned back to green

and leaves reclaiming their reds and yellows

and the beige and white of buildings pulling up from the ground

the ground churning the brown dust and dirt and earth

into a thing of beauty

like the wide eyes of a woman  ready to love

and I’m reminded

by the early morning/late evening smells of that dirt

that   earth     sectioned off by garden fences

 

that earth

peeled back against itself into the frenzy of a mound

that earth

and the smell of it all

streaking through the air and finding the nostrils

sparking the heart and the memory

reminding

me to never forget the early mornings of my youth

when the open window brought me this same

fresh-earth aroma

 

and awoke me to it

so that I’d stumble to that window and look out

into my Mother’s garden

 

with the tall, green stems bending under the tomato’s growth

while swollen stalks of okra and peas watered the mouth

and branches of pecans and plums and persimmons

rallied their growth against our crunch of apple-pears

in their shade

 

and watermelons burst under the force of their juices

 

and sometimes I need to be reminded

that I am south of Eden

with her garden growing dense with promise and remembrances

 

and I open my mind’s eye to the beauty of it all

and make a wish on never forgetting to know

something this wonderful

is just   a   rain   away

 .

.

.

 

 

 

Jas. Mardis

KenteCloth: Southwest Voices of the African Diaspora

Page 62     University of North Texas Press  1997

I Don’t Want It All Back

“What I Miss?”

I don’t want it all back
   just that one morning 
      when I put my phone on the bumper
    and you wore that orange shirt dress
       and shook your head 
     at the idea that everything was going to 
                        work out
          that the angle was right 
     not to cut off our heads
          not to slip off the bumper 
       when the ten second timer hit
     not to have a hundred shots of sky
       on nights like this
         in the middle of the moon
      when the phone has six thousand pics
    and only one 
 of big hair   an ebony hue  an orange blur
       and endless
            endless 
                blue sky
        .

.

.

. (Oh, well…)

Jas. Mardis

Poetry: I, Eye

I Eye–audio

                    I, Eye

certainly
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

so,
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)
(4nomi/)

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

Between Then & Again…

(audio: Then And Again)

between seeing you
between having a moment of your smiling
and the absence of you
between the early afternoon sun on your face
and the memory of wanting to keep you longer than one meal

between then and again
the same again of wanting and waiting
the same again of hoping and having
the same again of knowing and wanting to know more

between  all the stops and starts of doubting
between every ounce and measure of experience
between each one of my days and nights of aloneness
and the heavier weight of choosing rightly who to kiss  twice     first

between every moment that chases me toward the   again
I am awash and dumbstruck by the moment of  THEN

I remember every step that I’ve taken in your presence
and every time that you turned toward me
every flash of recognition in your eyes
each of your tentative smiles   each parting of your lips
the opening and closing of your mouth  to greet me  and to send me on my way

I had thought of you before   from a collection of distances
thought of you married    thought of you otherwise taken and claimed and loved
thought twice of you younger   twice your dynamic  in that youthfulness

I had checked and held my breath in your presence

checked for those awkward, low whistles that the body creates around breathing

checked on my taking in and letting out

checked out those risings and fallings of your small chest

checked on the way your stomach fills to a tightness then yields to the belted waist of your black dress when you chuckle

checked off all of the reasons to leave you in the distance

THEN

checked off all the reasons to close that distance

.

.

.

Jas. Mardis is a 2014 Inductee to The Texas Literary Hall of Fame. He is an awarded Poet and Fabric Artist living in Dallas,TX