Wild Beasts

by Bernard Henrie
The Writer's Block
Second Place, September 2017
Judged by Tim Mayo


Rain cleans the casino windows
bright as a yellow tiger. The night
quiet as a purse thief.

A girl lights a Gauloise, she walks
the boulevard naked under a raincoat
and a the wide brim of an ostrich hat.

The liturgical night comes for me.
Streetlights hum under their breath.
Thinning streets, empty, alabaster air.

Tomorrow I’ll clear out, take that job
with the Tribune, a weather report
says I’ve seen the last of you.


Perhaps because I had a high school friend who worked for The Herald Tribune in Paris, this poem resonates a little more for me than it might for others. Nonetheless, the economy of words sharpens each image the poet presents in each stanza, and gives the turn of the last stanza an almost blues-like quality. The poet begins the first image in the poem with a background of chance by making the windows “casino windows.” Along with the chances at the end of the poem that the weather report might be as wrong as it might be right leaves us with the possibility that the speaker’s decision and it’s consequences are never surer than chance itself. This poem is a great example of the economy of language and how that economy of language can heighten the experience of the poem. --Tim Mayo

  • December 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Tires
      by Kenny A. Chaffin
      Babilu

      Second Place

      Scouring Pots While the World Ends
      by Elizabeth Koopman
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Poetry in the Cultural Revolution
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Waters

  • November 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Radium Girls
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block

      Second Place

      The Unreliable Narrator
      by Andrew Dufresne
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Birds 2
      by JJ Williamson
      Babilu

      Honorable Mention

      Too Late
      by Billy Howell-Sinnard
      The Waters