The Zebra Hack – a poem from 11th grade

Another childhood writing inspired by a visit to New Orleans.


by Carol Fullerton-Samsel

The carriage nag with chiseled frame
Wears leather halters that inflame
Its sculptured ribs and bony spine;
Thus to its lowly task confined,
The spindly mare with muscles tense
Hauls tourists with indifference
Along the roads that are routine
And over streets with deep ravines.
‘Til early morn the stilled beast works,
But from its task it does not shirk.
And when the beast seems most hard-pressed,
There comes at last a time to rest.
The horse is placed within its stall,
And aged crags within the wall
Allow the moon’s pale misty beams
To filter through and flow in streams
Across the floor and up the mare,
To give the hack a zebra’s wear.
The creature sleeps, but dreams of things
Like cold steel bits and rawhide’s sting.
Exhaust from stagnant traffic gores
At tender nostrils that ignore
Its pungent odor and its bite
As worn hooves clap throughout the night.

Description of Bourbon Street written for an 11th grade class assignment

New Orleans, Bourbon Street at Night, skyline photography

(c) 2012 Bryan Mullennix. Licensed through

When I was a teenager, I traveled with my family to New Orleans. Bourbon Street left a lasting impression, and appears in a number of early writings…

A carriage, drawn by a ridgedly-ribbed nag, clip-clopped along the black-topped pavement. Travelling amidst acidic exhaust fumes, it turned onto a route absent of cars, but infested with people. The tourists within the carriage peered out at the circus about them.

Elegant society-ladies, adorned in glittering gowns, strolled arm-in-arm with handsome beaus. Childlike prostitutes, dressed in tattered jeans and skirts, searched for clients.

A stale-breathed drunk stumbled over curbs and into walls.  An addict combined forces with a mugger — knuckles wrapped in worn handkerchiefs — to gain money for a fix.

Groups of shabbily-dressed teens danced in the street to  the jingling jazz tunes emerging from Pat O’ Brien’s, a respected establishment surrounded by nudie bars and nightclubs. The clubs were painted exotic colors and topped by secluded cat houses.  Shadowy human forms moved across dimly-lit windows.  At these centers of entertainment, anyone could see, for the price of a drink, as much bare flesh as he or she desired; and from these ill-reputed businesses charged electrifying music that clashed from one corner to the next.

At Bourbon and Dumaine, the one-float parade, having completed its worn path, halted in the darkness. The passengers climbed out and joined fleshy swarms sandwiched between towering, creole-style buildings; becoming but another act in the Bourbon Street sideshow.

A night at Ramada Inn on the Hill in Hattiesburg MS

I leave Florida at6:00 a.m.; drive thirteen hours. I pass through Mobile, Alabama, and continue toHattiesburg. A sign catches my eye – Ramada Inn on the Hill — $45/night. I can’t see the hotel from the road, but drive up a zig-zagged driveway to investigate. “How bad can it be?” I think. “It’s a major … Continue reading