Category Archives: poetry

Poem: Others Will Tell

   
You deserve Poetry

Others Will Tell 

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        Others will tell you
     that:   your copper dress caught their eye
        and so they smiled  and winked and took their own picture
     to be reminded of you    later
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         they will tell you
     that:  once they left you sitting there
         caught up in the camera’s eye
      they grew another head thinking of all the sweet things they didn’t say
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     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
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      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 candles
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      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
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    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”
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Jas. Mardis

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
        .

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. (Oh, well…)

Jas. Mardis

A Thought of You & Time

“She Has Her Pick…”

a-thought-of-you-time.m4a

I thought of you and time today

    about how you use it
      in conversation 
  like a belt
    a strap 
       sometimes worn
     an adornment wrapped ‘round you
    for your companion to consider 
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   picked out    especially for this moment 
       selected 
      to hourglass your presence 
     that heaven of sand above
        that ocean floor below
    and you
      giving out luxurious patience
      one grain  
          sliding out of order
        tumbling turning tilting 
    fitfully    into your companion’s histories:
          I saw your smile
         I drank in your laughter 
    I imagined the wet, soft press of your lips
         I felt the echoing air as you rose 
      and took your leave
        and 
       in the hourglass of you
 a grain of time ticks against the ocean floor 

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          in your absence
there is a remembrance of you
      tapping like raindrops on dry wood
          hammering away at my soul 
building layers of moments into joy
  taking up the grains like old dreams
     dropping their exhausted husks
        against my closed eyelids 
      and listening to their exploding songs
    lulling me to a fantasy of doing it all
            again
         again   again 
            when you return 
         pushing the air ahead of you
              back into the room where I await
         the next island drop of sand 
        to fall 
              delicately deliciously decidedly 
            into the ocean

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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

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4Tel


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

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…”

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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

For You, (with the unusually extra “h”)

  For You,
(with the unusually extra “h”)

 

Tonight,

I will remember that you first liked my shoes

Before I turned and fell into your young smile

Before the too fast hour of our talking    twisted my tongue

Before you took a sip of water to calm the scratch in your throat

Before …Before ,,,Before …

 

You are too young for the history of the story in meeting you

too freshly faced

standing pat across from my graying façade

your smile sending me over and back again

testing my words in response to your unexpected   ready   banter

 

You are already a carrier of calm    slightly boisterous certainties

and I wonder   just how to justify not asking for more of your time tonight

that sudden peace in your eyes

already   removing me from the restlessness of the week

already  taking me well into a candlelight

that makes staring up at the stars and wishing   pointless

 

I want to remember the surprise of you

want to be careful about leaving you refreshed and waxed aplomb

you are younger than my first born

I discover between laughter and ideas

and it swells my chest that you already know the rhythm of exchange

that your heart is ready to chase in a direct path

that you know the taste of stepping forward

that you allowed me to say

Stay alert

and beautifully awake

and goodbye