Anyone who knows me well, knows my favorite ‘holiday’ is “Fat Tuesday.” Every year, when I was working at my last job with kids, we’d get masks, have some form of King Cake, play games. I just love spirit of the holiday. From the colors and the decorations to the idea that we celebrate our indulgences for one day. I think the ability to celebrity our indulgences and give into them for one day is just fun and extremely playful. It took on a special meaning to me one year. I had a serious injury to my leg and had to leave my job and move in with my parents. I was in my thirties, back at home, pretty much working all day and going to physically therapy at night. I remember on the way home from physical therapy, I stopped at the store and just bought a bunch of treats my parents and grandpa would like. I dropped them off at my grandpa’s and wished him a Happy Fat Tuesday and then went home and we ate the treats. It was small, but it was fun! It gave us a moment in February, where it’s typically grey and dreary and here and we become sort of robotic in our lives of go to work, come home, do it again… to actually celebrate something. The next year I organized a huge party at work. I have thrown one every year at work ever since. The teens I worked with that were there during that time always remembered that day because it was unique. They weren’t expecting a party, and we gave them quite a party. Having started a new job yesterday, I was at a training and then had to drive home after work. It was the first year I wasn’t able to really celebrate it. I woke up to old co-workers texting me how much they missed me and the party. It was unfortunately too late when I got home to post anything, but I felt the need to post the poem. Last year, Fat Tuesday fell like one day away from my birthday. It was amazing! I decided that it would be the perfect day to announce on Facebook that I finally was going to start this blog. I did it on Fat Tuesday with sharing this poem on Facebook to announce the start of the blog. Here’s the poem.
Those disguised in colors of fantasy.
Under the Dixie lanterns mystique glow.
Sidewalks paved in champagne and uninhibited fantasy,
how could this not be your favorite day of the year.
For once, we celebrate indulgence, masked trickery,
deep bayou nights. Legends ruminate to the sound
of jazz bands on parade. Revelry deserves it’s yearly dance.
Harlequin myths, sequined dancing, the veil of an uninhibited fantasy.
In New Orleans, the French say,
laissez les bons temps rouler
“let the good times roll,”
the debauchery of bodies shown for some beads,
the sensuality of lovers hidden in sequined fantasy.
Tomorrow the world will grow somber,
the streets will be swept of their glitter.
People will begin to contemplate giving up things:
sweets, sex, swears, the things that make life delicious.
Before we give up things for God, we give up God
for one delicious day. Drums bang brown skinned sambas,
colors caveat the eyes. What sambas will you dance?
What colors will you wear? What lover will you be trying to unmask?
How will you let yourself go? What skin will you expose?
What do you want your last sin to be
on the day God emphasizes in the streets
that pleasure was made in his name,
so bow down in reverence and enjoy the irony
of drinking a beverage named for the one thing
that could decimate the city where it’s celebrated.
After all, if there’s one thing New Orleans deserves
is a day we stop seeing New Orleans as a mismanaged natural disaster
and return to identifying it with half-naked, ungodly, man-made devastation,
with jazz, and painted faces, and parades.
Even God recognizes sin needs it’s day, he basks
as the whores, the bankers, the tourists from Nebraska,
and the criminals all can dress up and share one day
as people enjoying all the indulgences God made:
great food, the beauty of the human form, laughter,
and letting go, all costumed and masked
as one humankind for one day.