This One Day

image2

This One Day–audio
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 the tear stained ochre shirt
even Tomorrow will claim us as its’ very, very own creation

 

 

Jas. C. Mardis
 


 

Jas. C. Mardis is a Poet, Writer and Quilter. He is a 2014 Inductee to the Texas Literary Hall of Fame.

Stealing Sweet Apple Pears (poem and audio)

asleepAudio: Stealing Sweet Apple-Pears

 Stealing Sweet Apple Pears

We could not walk away from the wet mouthed joy
of the palm-sized apple-pears
stolen at a speed of one hundred steps an hour
from the tree in Mr. Willie’s backyard

each bite to come

worth the bare-foot procession over spurned alley trash
and fallen branches petrified against the barren, rootless earth

each of our shirt-baskets
full to the wide-eyed brim with yellow-green and crimson delight

our mouths already full of last summer’s remembrance:
zest and tang and pith and running

we could not

not even when he stood watching
his ratty bathrobe tied into a knot
the same patterned knot that tied his Viet-damned soul
tied it so tightly that this battle for pears
was his only connection to the world still outside of him

tied and ragged
ragged and red and yellowed and bruised
as much like his wounds on the battleground
torn into strips and shreds and being pulled away from him

like the skin of his plump, backyard fruit
between our teeth

gathered between the supple lips of our youth

pulled and suckled away from the meat and the seed

each bite
each crimson and yellow-green oddest oval globe
taking our teeth like first and last
lovers

each fruit
licking back against our tongues
lapping back into the canyon of our bite
claiming that moment of fulfillment
cajoling our senses toward the next summer’s delight
creating the answers to the questions of pleasure

each of those fruits
come so graciously year after year to that tree
come so tauntingly aromatic on the first day winds
come so wickedly olive-to-sanguine
and finally to wasted, fallen,  saffron fodder for the night creature’s to taste

We
We could not walk away from the wet mouthed joy
of the palm-sized apple-pears
dangling so much like desire
swaying in the lilting southern summer siroccos
like radio music from air-condition less cars
and the sweet, sweet flask of bay rum spilled onto the barber’s smock
and the yelping night hounds trapped, swollen in mid-hump out back of the fence
and
the from heaven falling
out of Mr. Willie’s apple-pear tree
having never landed and bounced against the earth

rather,
dangling
flying
circling and spinning and pendulant from a branch
my face turned crimson
my pants ripped into a knotted gash
and Mr. Willie
coming finally through the screen door
knife
in hand

Copyyright 1996 Jas. C. Mardis  All Rights Reserved

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

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

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!

Fabric Artist & Writer