Category Archives: Uncategorized

Miss You Much (poem and audio)

http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/fsa/l

audio:Miss You Much

Miss You Much

sometimes
I miss you so much that
I retrace every other mere woman and girl back thru my heart
I recall the error of their kiss    the yielding moment of their last breath into my mouth
I recant all of those restless declarations of love
I slit my tongue.    I weep.   I moan.   I return to a fetal pose.  I re-die to them.

sometimes
when I am unable to lay your old touch asunder
when there is so much of you in the air that I breath in sips and get dizzy
when a fever rages in my bones  as though I am leaving my own flesh
when so much of what I want is found in stories of moments with you
I slit my tongue.  I weep.  I moan.  I return to a fetal pose.

sometimes
the most pleasure that I can manage is the remembrance of your “yes”
the chime of my mantle clock gathers me back to when you stood naked at the fire
the ring tone for you on someone else’s phone revives your first,  “Hey, Babe”
the way that I try to love others makes them cower and leap from my bed
I slit my tongue.  I weep.  I moan.

sometimes
well past bedtime I do not lay still against your long absence from my life
well beyond my reach   your laughter rides every gust of wind until it reaches my heart
well after I am soaked and awash in tears and aloneness    I apologize …again
well into the days of living on without you    the thought is foolishness to my soul
I slit my tongue.   I weep.

sometimes
there is everything and nothing left to say between us
there is my hand on the phone   with your number dialed  and knowing that you are waiting
there is every little thing bringing me back to my side of town   there is your darkened door
there is the distance being closed by looking at our pictures on my screen
I slit my tongue…

Jas. Mardis
(8/6/2015)

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

Summer Honeysuckle, Like Manna

Creator(s): Lange, Dorothea, photographer
Fruit jars being sterilized on old lady Graham’s back fence in berry season. Near Conway, Arkansas. Lange, Dorothea, photographer

Audio: Summer Honeysuckle Like Manna

Summer Honeysuckle, Like Manna
for Terri Boyd

Go ahead
let the air  move in and out of your body   again        just breathe
let your surprised  breast rise and fall and rise
as we talk about  what is    familiar     between us

breathe      like
the last time you crossed the just cut grass of your Grandmother’s yard
where the air was sweet and new and Summer morning fresh

and remnants of those chopped blades clung to your greased legs
and dusted the patent-leather reflection of your shoes
and you kept on running     because there was blooming honeysuckle
to pluck and strip and lay gently on your tongue
then   pull back thru your pursed lips   and enjoy   in joy

it took all our breaths away to know that a wisp of honey hid there
like manna
opened  anew    each morning    always, just right there
laid out across
simple post and wire fences  that partitioned off the journey
for those blocks and corners that created   neighbors and later  hoods

every time I say it   I crave
another sip   of that backyard heaven weed
grown from vines that seemed to fall from an endless sky
yet   reached up from miraculous patches of ground cover

even now    we cannot run our minds into believable paths to their roots
where old bees    too fat for flight       must be relegated to stuffing
and slathering new vines with left-out and spilled-over nectar

what else could  explain it

surely not just childhood
moments of wonder and growing  and seeing mysteries so clearly
so wonderfully happy with just   sunlight   and cool winds on our face
sun soaked, nappy heads and pool water burned eyes and nostrils

surely no dog chased existence
or tree-climbing      bare-foot-racing mind could make up
this terrible goodness    grown wild and fetching and free

were there always wasps and yellow-jackets to chase you    screaming

do you remember the sting of that surprised you
as you watered the garden in burping  ripples from that tangled  hose

did your Grandmother come running to hush your scream

do you remember
if you left the water running when you dropped the hose

did that sweet, Summer-warmed stream run all night
did it run
until it found a way         into honeysuckle’s roots

Jas. Mardis  (7/2015)
* Happy Birthday, Terri. Thx for your support

Jas. Mardis is a 2014 Inductee to The Texas Literary Hall of Fame

These Pictures are Lying Again (poem w/audio)

Migratory worker on the Norfolk-Cape Charles Ferry, writing a postcard home to his parents

AUDIO: These Pictures Are Lying Again

These Pictures are Lying Again

there are pictures from today   a year ago
that will soon be from two     three    ten years ago
with your smile    still     hungrily for me
your long, sinewy arms   still wanting me    within
your eyes   gone soft and renewed with our found fondness
with each other’s touch and voice
and overnight laughters   early morning pleasures

pictures
racing    like rainwater   over fertile ground  and opening seeds
licking  over landscapes  like gardens and Edens    revealed anew
like juices   bursting in mouthfuls of first  bitten   forbidden  fruits

and I know now
as I will in two    three    ten years to come
that there is forever a weakness   down deep in my soul
for the want and fever and fresh joy of your face
for the building up “yes”   from the year of these pictures
for the measure of haunting regard    that  pulses my remembrance
in this string of found   almost postcards
undispatched   from a folder on my phone
and   are so much more ether and imagination   than photographs
—dare I say–of old

and so, much like the year that is no longer    this year,

what I hold in my hand is   in addition to not being you
not even a photograph  of you

not even the same exposed four-by-six inches of paper
that would have filled a space in time on this earth   as did we
not hardly   the erasable   or torn  terrible kind of thing to be stuck
in a proper album    beneath a coffee table    yellowing in the glue
fading behind the noisy, slipping-off sheets of shiny covers

even the existence of these digital ideas   shames my memory
of what is true of your time in my desire
of what is true in the remembrances of my narrative of us:

did you ever kiss me against a large oak with bark as thick as both our fingers?
was I ever undressed   and asleep  in the light of an April Sunday morning?
do you still have the sticky patch above your right breast  from the hospital tape?

can you still taste  the sweet icing from your god daughter’s wedding cake…
did the oily stain that it left on your favorite red dress   ever come out?

is your mouth  still, impossibly beautiful
does it still want to say  my name    from  one, two…

soon to be    ten years ago

Jas Mardis  (06/2015)
(4yat)

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)
–Please include proper copyright when sharing the poems from this blog–

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!

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)

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)