comment

Black Maria: Poems Produced and Directed By
By Kevin Young

(Knopf, 256 pages)

A private dick irrigated with booze and soused by desire falls for a dangerous dame in Kevin Young's Black Maria, a noir in verse that will give Raymond Chandler's best a run for their money. The action starts, as it always does, with a woman asking for a light. A.K.A. Jones, the book's hard-luck narrator, cheekily quips he can give Delilah Redbone only dark instead of light, she accepts and off we go to the dog track, the moody night, the shadowy interrogations, the velvet betrayals and the hungover mornings. Many a night ends with Jones alone, bent over a diner table asking for "Two eggs/ over queasy." Then it's back to his apartment and his "Murphy bed like a booby/trap." Like Young's last book, Jelly's Blues, a series of sweet and lowdown licks in the vein of the great Jelly Roll Morton, Black Maria is essentially an homage – only this time it's to film noir. Turning phrases left and right, spangling his story with the occasional rhyming couplet, Young manages to evoke noir's familiar conventions without simply duplicating contours.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.