Cajun Mutt Press Featured Writer 04/05/19


Dancing Around The Fire

It is wet outside
Even here I can tell that much
There are other bodies
Sitting, crying, smoking
mostly women
No one talks
A form with a face moves toward me
“Back again?
You can have a cigarette now
First, take these
They will help you relax
Don’t be afraid.”
Afraid is something that died with my mother
Taste the pills and wait for morning
Faces that are mine mill in the hall
The Arab with the sheet
The old woman rocking and singing my thoughts
They move us into a large room with many lights
We are in a circle
They are throwing a colorful ball to each other
When someone catches it they shout their name
The ball hits me
a chance to be heard
They will listen to my story
I will speak for all of us
My voice rises to the air
“Spare change!”
I hear laughter
Someone is moving me away
I see my face on the ceiling
A color with a light
A light that is sound
The air drags against my voice
I speak
“1, 2 buckle your shoe
3, 4 dead on the floor
5, 6 beaten with sticks
7, 8 you came too late.”
“Take these, do you know where you are?”
Eyes focus
A white snake
Look above the sky
I could hear my voice in another room

©Paula Hackett all rights reserved


Paula Hackett’s poetry is influenced by her life experiences growing up in Berkeley during the vibrant and explosive ’60s. The daughter of novelist Paul Hackett, she studied under John Beecher, Angela Davis, and Grover Sales. She has written lyrics in collaboration with her brother John Hackett, for many great jazz composers including Teddy Edwards, John Handy, Ivan Lins, Joe Sample, Eddie ‘Cleanhead’ Vinson, and Cedar Walton. Her life long love of jazz is reflected in her many poems about musicians and in her CDs with pianists Rudi Wongozi and Connie Crothers. Her discography is represented in the images and links below.


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