Thursday, May 10th, 2012...6:26 pm

pris campbell | leave your hat on & night wind

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Leave Your Hat On

I had a dream. You were in it. I was in it with you.
Randy Newman

In this dream, this late summer dream,
born of angel wings and cobwebs,
of too many birthdays and graying hair,
I arrive in a bar from our days together,
body young and taut beneath that red hat
you gave me, breasts ripe with hope.

I search for ‘that’ song on the juke…
The one about the hat.

Newman’s version not Cocker’s.
Newman does it—real slow.

How many times did I dance it for you
in our moonlit room in the commune?

Piano building, Randy coaxing,
I kick off my shoes, climb onto a chair,
wiggle my hips.

Interest rises beneath every belt.
Drinks sizzle.
Bar stools implode.

The men toss clever lines to net this tease,
this wanton witch on a chair, but I dance
only for you, dear, hope the heat lures you
back one more time.

Silence looms.

Song ending, absence overwhelming,
I rush past greedy fingers,
already transforming back into
an aging, dream-groggy woman
lost to the heart-breaking night.

Night Wind

You’ve only known me
with my body slain and
curled deep into soft spaces
dreaming of billowing sails
bike rides, hair flying,
along dawn-pink ocean swells.

You’ve only seen me with my brain
in under-drive, thoughts short-circuited.

A turtle could outpace me now.

Soil from the grave dropping
to reveal your translucence,
you speak to me of days
we wished we would have had together,
days when our bodies were unbreakable,
minds yet unseared by loss.

I reach out my hand, console air,
tell you we’ll talk when our spirits
both ride the wind.

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Night Wind is from her lastest chapbook, Postscripts to the Dead. Free PDF downloads that can be read on IPads are available at


  • Thanks for publishing these! So far I’m getting comments on the posted link but not here. Trying to encourage them here.

  • Whoops. I posted Cocker’s version by mistake. Newman’s is there now, but I think reader’s will get the idea:-) Thanks, Klaus.

  • Pris,
    I loved the poems. They describe the experience of time and life going by and going on and where we stand in the process. Some get left behind. Some never even know where they are. But some feel every moment of their life. Even the ones that left them cold and lonely. Great work!


  • Two perfect poems, splendid examples of why Pris Campbell is among my favorite poets! Good Lord, Pris, I wish I had known you back then; thank God, dear lady, I know you now! :)

  • Philip and Curtis, thank you so much for your very nice, welcome comments.

  • I’ve seen both of these poems in draft. Wonderful to see the finished product and to see them find the audience they deserve. Beautiful, as usual, Pris.

  • Pris, your poems touch deeply on the same feelings of loss that I’ve experienced.

    “I reach out my hand, console air, tell you we’ll talk when our spirits both ride the wind.”

    I’ve had this thought many times, thinking of different relationships, though not in the beautiful words you’ve used.

  • Dear Pris…..despite the cultural difference I did feel the gentle waves of grief and content flowing into your words…. you know I’ll read your poems through Boothy’s scent everywhere…your poems brought it out…thanking you for being my dearest friend…

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