Paris Tate

When the DJ Played "Lovefool" on the First Night of Carnival Season in a New Orleans Nightclub, 2018

On the 12th night, we shuffle
under the rotations of a disco ball,
old Halloween decorations,
balloons bobbing on the ceiling
to remind us that the year is only
six days old. I barely survived

the holidays, but the city can be
unforgiving to introverts, pushing us
out of our brick covered shells because
she needs just one more dance.
Other survivors are with me,
still thawing out from sleet or the shock
of blinking lights and covers of "Last
Christmas" on repeat. On practiced breathing,

I'm people watching at the bar.
I’m catching the DJ yawn another song
no one cares for. I’m leaving lipstick stains
on plastic cups just to show my therapist
how much I go outside. And all the while
I'm nodding off in my bed,
an open book tucked under my waist...

until the next DJ wakes us up to
the most cheerful sad song, reminding
us we're all fools for love.
Some jump out of the corners to celebrate
the past and that it's over; the second half (like me)
find other kids of the 90's, two-step into
epiphany on the dance floor.

Spirits — once depressants — warm us
as we beg them to love and leave us
when we remember we still know the chorus.
When the night is over, I’ll be ready
to add another song to the playlist
of Carnival memories.

Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Paris Tate graduated from the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts' Creative Writing Program and received her B.A. in English with a Journalism concentration from the University of New Orleans. Her poetry has appeared in the Literary Yard, Contraposition and The New Guard Review.