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)

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)

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.

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.

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.

        

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

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