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)

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.

Poetry: Drops Like Rain (audio)

Drops Like Rain audio

Drops Like Rain

In the rain
what will be remembered of your face
does not blur so easily

and I see so clearly

the wonderful, seasonal, leaf-brown shading of your eyes
piercing thru the large pane of shop glass
as you jump the space between awnings trying not to get wet

I see you remembering to smile   then scrunching your face when
an already couple bumps into you  and
just like that
you slide back into the weather and your hair drinks what drips
from the beast that has become this night’s sky

From this booth    I cannot save you
not even in my manliest imagination
not even in the best years of my  faster  boyhood
not even     not hardly      no way

so,
when you do not  fall into the drink
but instead bend at the knees and waist
and waggle your hips into a brake

the sound that comes from me    does not match my facade

Every  day
since first looking into the falling stream that was your face
watching helplessly    you
slipping and grinding and stopping yourself in the rain

the way you held on    stood pat     hung in there
neverminding the fools behind with their outstretched, dry hands and apologies
instead,   shaking it off  and finding me in that deliberate, slow turn
of your drenched face   dry   inside  at a booth      then winking

it is hard to image how I will stop myself from falling for you
like fat drops of April rain

my fingers
down thru your head’s  drenched curls
across the wet waving line of your brow
racing in  swirls        over the bridge  of your nose
rimming silver slivers ’round your flared nostrils
before landing and lacing    and beading into the grace on your full lips

I am already learning to love the way that you hold your mouth
already slipping
already being pushed by wanting what these other couples have
are willing to race thru full streets
clearing pathways   and already full spaces beneath awnings
where some other not-yet-loved fool
is trying not
to get this wonderfully wet

Jas. Mardis    4/2015
(14ioiws)

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

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)

Companion Poems from Jas. Mardis

SEAS: You

I have thought a thousand times
of being caught
in the space between your
eyes
as we kept passing our ships
on that night’s first seas

thought a thousand more
of how there is unquestioned
magic
in finding ways to say once
into each locating glance
that Yes, I am seeing You, too

since that night
Your face has danced my
fingers
in cloudy verse… in foggy visions…
and so I wonder–
will you know my ship
by the splash of a thousand fast oars…

will I know your harbor
by your own thousand
searching lamps….

Jas. Mardis
3/25/2015
(44aa)

————————————-

Library of Congress

SEAS: Me

This time makes a full      first one thousand
grains of sand        passing thru the narrow path between
what has been      and        come whatever may

this is the instance the best of moments     on new winds
this drawing of you     near to me from across the ocean that is this room
your anchor swaying       your angles    among this fog of bodies
become a recognizable mast
the sails in your smiling glance      full-winded,     then folded fast behind your closing lips
gathered shamefully away on the softly-browned deck of your face

the iceberg of restraint is broken      beneath the surface of greeting
broken, most importantly, where it has been heaviest built

How strange to be strangers when so many know our names

Forge the smile-readied waters of this greeting
we are grown      our keels made true from       having been kissed
having been held close in fragrant gardens at midday and midnights
having been pressed against ruffled linens down pillows disheveled quilts
having been called gently and longingly from distant rooms
distant, beautiful, magnificently just departed rooms and being instantly needed back
following moments that began just like this

my ropes are moored to the pier of this distant chair
there is a breeze gathering and shaking my lamps
you can clearly see I have no Captain to calm their clattering song
you can clearly see
at my feet there is a newly lighted torch
Jas. Mardis 05/2015
(54aa/hb)

National Poetry Month: Translation Challenge

Here’s a new poem for National Poetry Month that needs to be translated into English to be fully appreciated.

MERS : vous

J’ai pensé mille fois
d’être pris
dans l’espace entre votre
yeux
que nous continuions en passant nos navires

sur les premières mers de cette nuit

pensais que mille autres
de comment il est incontesté
magie
à trouver des manières de dire une fois
dans chaque regard de localisation

Oui, je vois de vous, trop

depuis cette nuit
Votre visage a dansé mon
doigts
dans le verset nuageux dans des visions brumeuses

et donc je me demande–

vous saurez mon navire

par la projection d’un mille avirons rapides

puis-je savoir votre port
par votre propre mille

la recherche de lampes…

Mardis Jas.
4/2015
vous première: 14aa


Fabric Artist & Writer