Tag Archives: Mardis

I Don’t Want It All Back

“What I Miss?”
I don’t want it all back
   just that one morning 
      when I put my phone on the bumper
    and you wore that orange shirt dress
       and shook your head 
     at the idea that everything was going to 
                        work out
          that the angle was right 
     not to cut off our heads
          not to slip off the bumper 
       when the ten second timer hit
     not to have a hundred shots of sky
       on nights like this
         in the middle of the moon
      when the phone has six thousand pics
    and only one 
 of big hair   an ebony hue  an orange blur
       and endless
            endless 
                blue sky
        .

.

.

. (Oh, well…)

Jas. Mardis

Poem: Did You Know…

AUDIO: Did You Know…

Did you know that

tonight in your face
     between the opening and closing 
    and pressing together again 
           of your lips
        in laughter   and saying what you like
      in smiling   in smirking   and silliness 
    in   being beautiful and funny 
      in spite of your hiding it
     I saw every ounce of your desire
        It was in the way you drank
    your request for the red ménage 
   and the way of your unabashed hand
       delicate and firm and certain 
    your palm 
       against the crown of my hand
     warm      like the fountain of wanting 
   carrying you through the unmanned hours of the new house nights
       the air pressing against your skin
    the towels falling away 
       your hair damp and dreaming of gray
   it was in the way you sat
perched at the head of someone else’s table
    me   to your right hand
   others   watching through the door frame
       seeking out the lifted eye of your invitation to the laughter and chatter
     waiting on the red river of your lips 
   to break into an ocean of white toothed welcoming 
      and me 
wanting more and even more 
         of them   at the gates
                even now
 that table   long emptied and wiped of joy
       even now
     I find myself looking to my left
        hoping for just your laughter 
      or the delicious surrender of cashews
  riding melting salt crystals  onto your tongue 
crossing that red parted pillow of your lips 
    being caught    as any fool would desire 
  in the white pressure of your first teeth 
    surrendering  like prey
        to the succulent science of 
     such a small bite
        
           of such a delightful desire
       to satisfy your late and getting later
    night hungers

.

.

.

4Tel


Jas. Mardis is an awarded Poet, Writer and Fabric Artist living in Dallas/Ft. Worth Metro area.

        

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

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–

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.