Tuesday, April 23, 2019

April 2019 Winner - Noir Poetry

La Diseuse de bonne aventure (The Fortune Teller) by Caravaggio (The Louvre)
"La Diseuse de bonne aventure" is another noir painting by Caravaggio. The innocent young dandy is so taken by the fortune teller and and what she is saying that he doesn't notice that she is removing his ring. 

John Grey's winning poem this month does not feature a fortune teller, but it does display the side of life associated with the noir.

On Jazz Street

Late night feels like low tide, rainy streets
after the arousal of jazz, pools of water
collecting like shells on the sidewalk. All
shapes. All depths. Some I step over. Some
I splash right into. Not ready yet to let the
quiet back in. Surrendering man's jazz for the
jazz of the world, less brassy, more spread,
just as toxic. Like low tide. Like the world
spread out before me like something uncovered
just now. A woman rushing by. A crawling taxi cab.
A story here. A story there. Some stories written
so deep it takes a rain-washed manhole cover
to keep them down. Oh and there's my story.
All those dark shapes rolling in and me
at their mercy. Writhing, panicked deep inside
myself and threatening to drown. And then some
jazz and a little of everything else edging away.
And then some rain and some dark streets and it
all gone and me left. No, it's me and all that jazz.

~ John Grey

This month's judge, Jenene Ravesloot has this to say about the winning poem: "This poem captures the essence of all things noir: the dark streets of any Big City; rain-soaked sidewalks; the narrator's story with "All those dark shapes rolling in;" the inevitable mention of jazz, the memory of it lingering like a hangover in this poem. Things sing here with gorgeous lines, the brilliant use of alliteration, repetition, and variation. It has been a real pleasure to read 'On Jazz Street.'"

Congratulations to John Grey, and thanks to the other poets who entered the April competition. John retains copyright ownership of his poem.



John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Midwest Quarterly, Poetry East and North Dakota Quarterly with work upcoming in South Florida Poetry Journal, Hawaii Review and Dunes Review.   

Jenene Ravesloot has written five books of poetry. She has published in The Ekphrastic Review, After Hours, Sad Girl Review, Caravel Literary Arts Journal, Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, Packingtown Review, The Miscreant, Exact Change Only, THIS Literary Magazine, and other online and print journals, chapbooks, and anthologies. Jenene is a member of The Poets’ Club of Chicago, the Illinois State Poetry Society, and Poets & Patrons. She received two Pushcart Prize nominations in 2018.


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