Category Archives: poetry

Lily of the Valley

     
Photo credit April Anue

Lily of the Valley



   by now

          we are clearly smitten

  unsure of the end but certain of the path to it

    all at once I understand something that others have wanted me to read

 or at least the reason for so many to agree
     it is a simple coming together 

 the rising voice of two people who know truly of love

     somewhere along the way

    their tongues have merged into a single song
    you and I know it as kindred spirits

 we already know what the hours ahead of us hold

    so few minutes make up a night together 

    that we are both out of time before the clocks have run full circle
   I want you to be sure of the brown bud

 frozen outside your window 

    baked brown into a dormant husk in defiance of the driven snow

  and laced poorly with the ice-cicled web of a lone spider
   I want you to know that it is a bud of the Rose of Sharon

  again cast against the shadows of another fair Maiden

     the sun darkened lily of the valley

  biding time in the season of bitter cold and frozen brambles
   and so, let’s answer the question rising and falling within your breast

  the one that begs at the corners of your mouth

the one that is awakening the unfamiliar craving tugging 

    riffling and running with your blood’s fire thru your soul
   listen, Sweet, as I speak with a plan of love on my lips

  with every intention of your flowering and blooming 

    of covering and protecting              of comforting and pleasure

   listen, like this bud in repose, for a strum of the web in your Winter
  Our’s is not the Solomon Song

    but You can be the dark maiden come in from the sun 

  breaking free from all of the known words of men and sisters

 pressing your head gently to the thunder of my welcoming breast
  you have been found 

  every whisper of your heart song is heard without need for reprise

 each of your nights are calling for voluminous joy

     endless is your destiny        evermore becomes the only answer 
      and so to your soul I speak:

  Lily of the Valley      Rose of Sharon

    do not bother with the brambles that have so long entangled ’round you

 press into the shadow of their brittle vein and thorns 
   come forward to my arms and favor

 wipe the weeping memory of any binding rope

    untie the warm caress within you

  undress the trembling, waiting, loving, searching hopes.

Jas. Mardis    12/28/2017

Jas. Mardis is an award winning Poet, Commentator and a Fabric Artist living in Dallas, TX. Jas. Is a 2014 inductee to The Texas Literary Hall of Fame. 

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.

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.

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.

I, Eye (June poem and audio)

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

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

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.