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!

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

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)

Fabric Artist & Writer