About Poetry for Teachers


For James Ward Lee               Sometime     the smell of lemon         on my hands reminds me of my father      and of being home   for the last time the swollen acrid smell      of lemons    and the remembered yellow skin  with its pimples gone awry            dotting the landscape and […]

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  […]

Stealing Sweet Apple Pears

Audio–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, […]

South of Eden

South of Eden . . Sometimes I have to be reminded So, the rain comes flashing through pouring life from on high where the clouds have grown gray and fat with what someone once said were “The tears of the devil’s wife” who was being spanked and I’m reminded when all is done by how […]

Miss You Much

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 […]

Cold This Month Poetry: ‘Be “Absolutely” For…

  (for M.L., why not…)   Before I see you again I will think of the way you consider your words with me I will consider the smiles that you have held onto and returned to your breast as though you needed back the breath I will see you coming thru every door and down […]

Summer Honeysuckle, Like Manna

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 […]

Sharing, Like It’s Going Out of Style

One year, when we were still a family living in the white frame house on Morrell Street in Dallas, Texas, we ate beans and rice or collard greens nearly every day. Later that year, while out for Christmas break, we got used to inviting some new kids in with us for dinner. Of course, we […]

My Friend is in The Creek

I ran thru the high, face-cutting slits of wild grasses and weeds, slipping and tumbling, then picking myself up and running further up the slanted embankment of the unintentional rock quarry behind the Rockwell Paper Company. The June, Texas sun bore down on my head like a swooping bird and hammered my already thrumming blood […]

Questions for after your standard questions

  1. What is the form of poetry being used?
  2. What role does race, culture, community or tradition play in the language used by the Writer?
  3. Do the references in the poem alienate you, as a reader, or is there a responsibility/obligation of the reader to associate him/herself to the era of the subject matter?
  4. Are the references too modern or specific to a particular culture? Does that referencing factor in to all writing and across the universal genre of literature?
  5. Select any one of the first lines of the poems and write a new poem. If you need the first two lines or the first stanza to get your poetic minds in gear then take up as many as you need.
  6. Try to rewrite the end of the poem, but only the last one or two lines.
Poet & Writer, Jas Mardis
About Me

I am a Fabric & Leather Artist who is also a 2014 Inductee to The Texas Literary Hall of Fame for a 30 year career of writing, poetry and editing.

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KenteCloth: Southwest Voices of the African Diaspora (Univ of North Texas Press)
2000 Pushcart Prize awarded to Editor, Jas. Mardis

The literary voices found in KenteCloth are as unique and varied as the hues of their skin. Their choice of subjects offers an equally varied glimpse into the region’s vast cache of truly new voices.

“Herein are the children of a Black Southwest . . . from storytellers, railroad bosses, liars, cooks, hairdressers, bus riders, singers, farm hands and the like. They tell the tales of fisher folk, ditch diggers, quilters and planters of trees. They come washed in the blood of the lamb and drenched in the wind-carried love of deep woods hollers and back alley brawls. They come drenched with the cacophony of prayers from childbirth to childhood and the laying down of the too young soul. They come strong from the womb of desolation disguised as charity and welcomed by the hands of fate. These are the writers of lives being lived and not of the merely imagined or coughed up writing class creations.

These mostly unpublished writers have fought and birthed and churched and gathered ‘round gravesites, together. They have hunted the lakes, swamps, valleys and eyes of the racial beasts, together. They have come back again each year to honor their dead, together. They have wished for a passion and found it on the early morning dew of backyard pears, together. They have walked a mile and more in the brogan steppers of the elders, together. They have ratcheted out the long days and nights toward progression, where their voices have been abandoned for the smooth elegance of the other brother, together. They have endured silence together, and I am honored in accepting these wonderful and horrible and gloried voices of this brief collection. Each of these letters bear witness to the honor and discovery of being alive in a way that alive is not practiced today: Considered and just.”—Jas. Mardis, from the Introduction