“Paris Street Symphony” — a short story by Jeannie Monroe

August 4th, 2020



“Paris Symphony” a story by Jeannie Monroe, was a short-listed entry in our recently concluded 54th Short Fiction Contest. It is published with the permission of the author



photo by Dancorona21 / CC BY-SA

Paris 75007 Rue Saint-Dominique x Boulevard de La Tour-Maubourg 20150607



Paris Street Symphony

By Jeannie Monroe



…..Pedestrians all around me narrow their eyes at the harassing wind and lower their umbrellas to help protect against the assault.

…..Not me. I lift my chin towards the grey skies and allow the wind to caress my face and to set my scarf dancing around my neck. I feel free. I catch a glance of myself in a shop mirror as I walk along the bustling sidewalks of Rue de Rivoli. My lips are stained red; a color of confidence. At that thought, I’m also relieved my eyes aren’t visible past my sunglasses. Sometimes I see judgement in them; they often work in opposition to my mind.

…..I soak in my surroundings of the architecture and the music of foreign conversation. I inhale the aroma of different cuisines, previous rain, and flowers. The sun arrives unannounced and breaks through the clouds to reflect off the shop windows, my cheeks, and then catches the bronze surface of Joan of Arc. The glare makes me squint even through my glasses. I stop and look up at the tall statue. There she sits so steadfast. Joan, staunch and sure. Inexplicably I’m angry with her. She is a figure of feminine strength and integrity. She knew exactly what she was fighting for and what she believed in, and I suppose I’m envious and irritated with that. My previous confidence waivers.

…..My mood darkens with the sun that hides once again behind a cloud. I’m exhausted by this myriad of emotions. The moment I’m on a high I think of him, of those words he spoke, of my weakness, and I come crashing down. I’ve traveled half the world for this man, and now the Paris streets are my only companion.

…..I eventually make my way to one of my favorite cafes and sit down at a rod iron table nestled in the outside corner, a wall of flowers keeping it company. The sun is becoming less shy and shines her bright face down with approval. What could be more perfect? Some of the ambiance may be for the benefit of the tourists, but damn if it doesn’t do its job.

…..I take a sip of my Bordeaux; the silky red coating my throat and nerves. I close my eyes to savor the sensation, when a melody starts to drift down the cobblestone. It pulls me in and tempts me with its sensual sound. At first it lulls me, working with the Bordeaux to create a light buzz of relaxation. I let its rhythm sooth me.

…..When I open my eyes again, I see the source of my mental massage; a saxophonist standing at the far corner, eyes closed, feeling his own meaning. A little bit of chaos is created as the large bass next to him joins in his story. They converse and disagree; turmoil riffs the sidewalk and resonates in my soul. But in the crescendo of their conversation, they come together in agreement and synchronize once again in storytelling and my heart quickens with the volume of their statement. I want to cry and laugh, I’m angry and enlightened. The sun and wind have also come together to touch my face and share the street’s symphony.

…..I inhale deeply as the outro says goodbye and the final note both leaves me wanting more and feeling relief it’s over. The musical storytellers remain friends in the end, staying in tune with each other.

…..I take another sip of wine and a small smile crosses my face, and a tear leaves my eye. Perhaps music is the only man I need; we can struggle and develop through an emotional ride and still end in harmony, still in love.





 Jeannie Monroe is a mother, active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and literary student. She recently finished writing a children’s book series and is working on her first novel. 





Listen to Dexter Gordon play “Stairway to the Stars,” from the 1963 album Our Man in Paris




Short Fiction Contest Details











Share this:

Comment on this article:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In This Issue

"Nina" by Marsha Hammel
A Collection of Jazz Poetry — Winter, 2024 Edition...One-third of the Winter, 2024 collection of jazz poetry is made up of poets who have only come to my attention since the publication of the Summer, 2023 collection. What this says about jazz music and jazz poetry – and this community – is that the connection between the two art forms is inspirational and enduring, and that poets are finding a place for their voice within the pages of this website. (Featuring the art of Marsha Hammel)

The Sunday Poem

photo by Mel Levine/pinelife, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
“Lady Day and Prez” by Henry Wolstat

Click here to read previous editions of The Sunday Poem


Proceeding From Behind: A collection of poems grounded in the rhythmic, relating to the remarkable, by Terrance Underwood...A relaxed, familiar comfort emerges from the poet Terrance Underwood’s language of intellectual acuity, wit, and space – a feeling similar to one gets while listening to Monk, or Jamal, or Miles. I have long wanted to share his gifts as a poet on an expanded platform, and this 33-poem collection – woven among his audio readings, music he considers significant to his story, and brief personal comments – fulfills my desire to do so.

Publisher’s Notes

photo by Rhonda Dorsett
A very brief three-dot update…Where I’ve been, and an update on what is coming up on Jerry Jazz Musician


Photographer uncredited, but the photo was almost certainly taken by Chuck Stewart. Published by ABC/Impulse! Records.. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
“And I’m Not Even Here” – a poem by Connie Johnson

Click here to read more poetry published on Jerry Jazz Musician


"Lester Leaps In" by Tad Richards
"Jazz and American Poetry," an essay by Tad Richards...In an essay that first appeared in the Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Poetry in 2005, Tad Richards - a prolific visual artist, poet, novelist, and nonfiction writer who has been active for over four decades – writes about the history of the connection of jazz and American poetry.


photo of Pepper Adams/courtesy of Pepper Adams Estate
Interview with Gary Carner, author of Pepper Adams: Saxophone Trailblazer...The author speaks with Bob Hecht about his book and his decades-long dedication to the genius of Pepper Adams, the stellar baritone saxophonist whose hard-swinging bebop style inspired many of the top-tier modern baritone players.

Click here to read more interviews published on Jerry Jazz Musician


Three poets and Sketches of Spain


IISG, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Interview with Judith Tick, author of Becoming Ella Fitzgerald: The Jazz Singer Who Transformed American Song...The author discusses her book, a rich, emotionally stirring, exceptional work that explores every element of Ella’s legacy in great depth, reminding readers that she was not only a great singing artist, but also a musical visionary and social activist.

Trading Fours with Douglas Cole

Trading Fours with Douglas Cole is an occasional series of the writer’s poetic interpretations of jazz recordings and film. This edition is influenced by Stillpoint, the 2021 album by Zen practitioner Barrett Martin


Jason Innocent, on “3”, Abdullah Ibrahim’s latest album... Album reviews are rarely published on Jerry Jazz Musician, but Jason Innocent’s experience with the pianist Abdullah Ibrahim’s new recording captures the essence of this artist’s creative brilliance.

Short Fiction

Christerajet, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Short Fiction Contest-winning story #64 — “The Old Casino” by J.B. Marlow...The author's award-winning story takes place over the course of a young man's life, looking at all the women he's loved and how the presence of a derelict building informs those relationships.

Click here to read more short fiction published on Jerry Jazz Musician

Book Excerpt

Book excerpt from Jazz with a Beat: Small Group Swing 1940 – 1960, by Tad Richards

Click here to read more book excerpts published on Jerry Jazz Musician


"Jazz Trio" by Samuel Dixon
A collection of jazz haiku, Vol. 2...The 19 poets included in this collection effectively share their reverence for jazz music and its culture with passion and brevity.

Jazz History Quiz #170

photo of Dexter Gordon by Brian McMillen
This bassist played with (among others) Charlie Parker, Erroll Garner, Nat King Cole and Dexter Gordon (pictured), was one of the earliest modern jazz tuba soloists, and was the only player to turn down offers to join both Duke Ellington’s Orchestra and the Louis Armstrong All-Stars. Who is he?


photo via Picryl.com
.“Community Bookshelf, #2"...a twice-yearly space where writers who have been published on Jerry Jazz Musician can share news about their recently authored books. This edition includes information about books published within the last six months or so…

Contributing Writers

Click the image to view the writers, poets and artists whose work has been published on Jerry Jazz Musician, and find links to their work

Coming Soon

An interview with Tad Richards, author of Jazz With a Beat: Small Group Swing, 1940 - 1960;  an interview with Laura Flam and Emily Sieu Liebowitz, authors of But Will You Love Me Tomorrow? An Oral History of the 60's Girl Groups;  a new collection of jazz poetry; a collection of jazz haiku; a new Jazz History Quiz; short fiction; poetry; photography; interviews; playlists; and lots more in the works...

Interview Archive

Eubie Blake
Click to view the complete 22 year archive of Jerry Jazz Musician interviews, including those recently published with Richard Carlin and Ken Bloom on Eubie Blake (pictured); Richard Brent Turner on jazz and Islam; Alyn Shipton on the art of jazz; Shawn Levy on the original queens of standup comedy; Travis Atria on the expatriate trumpeter Arthur Briggs; Kitt Shapiro on her life with her mother, Eartha Kitt; Will Friedwald on Nat King Cole; Wayne Enstice on the drummer Dottie Dodgion; the drummer Joe La Barbera on Bill Evans; Philip Clark on Dave Brubeck; Nicholas Buccola on James Baldwin and William F. Buckley; Ricky Riccardi on Louis Armstrong; Dan Morgenstern and Christian Sands on Erroll Garner; Maria Golia on Ornette Coleman.

Site Archive