Tag Archives: Literary

Between Then & Again…

(audio: Then And Again)

between seeing you
between having a moment of your smiling
and the absence of you
between the early afternoon sun on your face
and the memory of wanting to keep you longer than one meal

between then and again
the same again of wanting and waiting
the same again of hoping and having
the same again of knowing and wanting to know more

between  all the stops and starts of doubting
between every ounce and measure of experience
between each one of my days and nights of aloneness
and the heavier weight of choosing rightly who to kiss  twice     first

between every moment that chases me toward the   again
I am awash and dumbstruck by the moment of  THEN

I remember every step that I’ve taken in your presence
and every time that you turned toward me
every flash of recognition in your eyes
each of your tentative smiles   each parting of your lips
the opening and closing of your mouth  to greet me  and to send me on my way

I had thought of you before   from a collection of distances
thought of you married    thought of you otherwise taken and claimed and loved
thought twice of you younger   twice your dynamic  in that youthfulness

I had checked and held my breath in your presence

checked for those awkward, low whistles that the body creates around breathing

checked on my taking in and letting out

checked out those risings and fallings of your small chest

checked on the way your stomach fills to a tightness then yields to the belted waist of your black dress when you chuckle

checked off all of the reasons to leave you in the distance

THEN

checked off all the reasons to close that distance

Jas. Mardis is a 2014 Inductee to The Texas Literary Hall of Fame. He is an awarded Poet and Fabric Artist living in Dallas,TX

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

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.

Welcome

mardis pensive look

Jas. Mardis is a long term resident of Dallas,Texas. He is an awarded Poet, Radio Commentator and Storyteller with current projects that include anthology editing, quilting, radio and print commentary and coordinating workshops at The Family Story Project.

Jas. Mardis has three previously published chapbooks of poetry that are being re-released in the Fall of 2015 under a single title, “That Boy, There“. These titles were released during the 1990’s as, “Southern Tongue”, “Hanging Time” and  “The Ticking and the Time Going Past”. These book titles are out of print but are available with an online search thru various independent book sellers who purchased inventory from book stores that have since closed their brick and mortar stores or simply gone out of business. These original books range in value from, the original $5 cost-to- upwards of $90 and one seller’s asking price going above $100. This is back stock and historic, original printing, so be guided as your desire and wallet will allow.

Jas. Mardis is the Editor of “KenteCloth: Southwest Voices of the African Diaspora”, 1999 UNT Press.

This is the first anthology to cover the writing of African-Americans from across the Southwest: Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. It holds significance as it is pre-Hurricane Katrina and documents a core of New Orleans contributors, along with the works of emerging and established writers, such as Tim Seibles (2014 National Book Award Finalist), Ms. Bernestine Singley (When Race Becomes Real),  Kalamu ya Salaam, Rev. Jesse Truvillion, Mr. Lindsay Patterson (Langston’s Hughes last Secretary), Clifton Taulbert, Pearl Garrett Clayton and Sharon Bridgeforth (The Bull-Jean Stories), among others. There are 42 contributors in the anthology and many of them were new voices, such as Ms. Singley, at the printing.

Jas. Mardis received The Pushcart Prize for Poetry for his contribution, “Invisible Man”, to the anthology.

Jas. Mardis has also been award The GRIOT Award from The National Association of Black Journalist-Dallas Chapter for Radio Commentary heard on National Public Radio station, KERA 90.1 FM in 1994, 1995 and 1996.

He was also a finalist during that same time for the KATIE Award from The Dallas Press in the same category.

Other publications and awards can be viewed on the WRITER page of this site.

Jas. Mardis is the Coordinator of The Family Story Project, a for profit family history workshop program that assist individuals and families in discovering their family narrative thru the stories that have been told thru time.

More information on The Family Story Project Workshops can be found on the FSP page of this site.