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.


Cajun Mutt Press Featured Writer 03/20/19



We live for moments like this,
you and I,
cooled by the safe-silence
of deadened air–
a stillness so heavy
it falls,
crashing around our feet
with the tumult
of resting heartbeats.
I can think.
You can breathe.
We can just…be
for a moment,
But nothing lasts forever
in the eye.
Tears—like rain—must fall,
tattering cheeks
and lips,
eroding the ground
beneath us,
where we stand.
And that deadly call
within me—
like the wind—
must howl,
breaking the chain of calm
that threatens
to drown
in the deep
of my own waters.
can save us.
Not you.
Not me.
Not all the friends in the world.
I am lost
without the thunder.
Without the swell
and crashing of waves.
The murk
that lies
beneath the surface.
My quiet slips away
and I
driving you,
to warm shelter
from me
and my storms.
Just remember me, fondly,
dear friend…when it rains.

©David Estringel all rights reserved


David Estringel is an avid reader, poet, and writer of fiction, creative non-fiction, & essays. His work has been accepted and/or published by Specter Magazine, Literary Juice, Foliate Oak Magazine, Indiana Review, Terror House Magazine, Expat Press, 50 Haikus, littledeathlit, Down in the Dirt Magazine, Route 7, Setu Bilingual Journal, Paper Trains, The Elixir Magazine, Soft Cartel, Harbinger Asylum, Open Arts Forum, and The Good Men Project. He is currently a Contributing Editor (fiction) at Red Fez, editor/columnist at The Good Men Project, and an editor/writer at The Elixir Magazine. David can be found on Twitter (@The_Booky_Man) and his blog The Booky Man.