March 6-12, 2017: Poetry from Layla Lenhardt and Dave Lewis

​Layla Lenhardt and Dave Lewis

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​Layla Lenhardt
lenhardt.layla@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Layla Lenhardt had once gotten drunk at Jane Austen’s house and has since been published in The Wooden Tooth Review, Right Hand Pointing, Third Wednesday, and 1932 Quarterly. She is the founder of 1932 Quarterly and she currently resides in Indianapolis.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​LB Sedlacek and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


XY

i.
There’s a fever dream in me that keeps coming.
In a photograph she wore a black pencil skirt and you said,
“don’t worry, she wears a promise ring.”
All these women with their promise rings and pencil skirts
and virginities and love of god. Every woman was a virgin.
Blessed Art Though Amongst Women in Indianapolis with godly devotions
to promise rings.
 
ii.
In Omaha, in your hotel room, you whispered in her ear and she melted like
wax all over your bedsheets while I was in a mid-atlantic city saving space.
When I think about it, it makes me want to taste the saltiness
of every single man who’s ever batted
an eyelash in my direction. I wanted to tell
the tinman that I had enough heart for the both of us.
 
iii.
In June, I was a Skeleton. Pansy seeds were burrowed
in my clavicle and in my kneecap and in the jammy gap
between my big and little toes. In June,
you were a botanist.
 
iv.
This time was no different,
we marched like refugees, bare feet stomping on cold
linoleum to my bedroom. On my back I carried the life
we once had. My former world fossilized like an insect in amber in the lies
you’ve told. My skirt a heap on the floor, the yellow
lighting refracting off your shoulder blades. Our bodies broken
into one dozen worries.
 
v.
Between pursed lips you told me she moved to Peru. I’m sure
she brought her virginity, her promise ring.
I told my sister I forgave you. I told anyone
who would listen until my tongue cells went dry and both
sides of my mouth were exhausted. The freckles on your back
shackled me to you. I wanted to tell
the scarecrow he can have the squishiest parts
of my ridgy brain.
 
vi.
Your father was an indian giver, so I gave you a free pass
as I patiently watched the syncopation of your dogmatic breathing.
Forbidden fruit, you told me.
You had a sweet tooth for it.
Forbidden fruit, they tell me,
pairs well with the Lagavulin left over
from easter.
 
vii.
Autumn came like a bill in the mail.
While the sun hung low like a pendant on the neck of a mother
and the birds had all left us,
I was opening the envelope.
 
viii.
We’d given life to something more than we had planned when
we pressed promises between us like finger prints in ink.
The crumpled white sheets in an Ohio apartment knew
of a motherhood
oh which I was unaware.
 
 
ix.
At 7 weeks its ears and teeth
At 5 it’s heart, limbs, and eyes.
They put that on posters
to make you change
your mind
 
x.
Eyes, limbs, heart.
How many times can a person ask if you’re certain?
But I knew I was certain as I’d pinch the translucent skin
between my thumb and index finger to stop the acid
from rising in my throat. Just like someone told me once,
just like I did three years before. I’d like to tell the lion
he can have all of my courage.
 
xi.
Two weeks later, a warmth previously unknown, came
over me when the portly black butcher said,
“lay back and count from ten, this will only hurt a bit.”

 

 



Dave Lewis
djlewis1966@yahoo.co.uk

Bio (auto)

Dave Lewis (born 1966) is a Welsh writer, poet and photographer based in Pontypridd, south Wales. He has always lived in Wales except for a short spell in Kenya in 1993-94. He has been published in a number of literary magazines all over the world and has published a number of books including: Layer Cake, Urban Birdsong, Sawing Fallen Logs For Ladybird Houses, Haiku, Roadkill and Reclaiming the Beat. His poetry is post-modernist and often anti-establishment, but can also be deeply confessional. He has also written three novels: a modern, crime thriller trilogy set in his native south Wales and East Africa. In 2007, along with Welsh writer John Evans, he set up and organised the first ever Welsh Poetry Competition, an international poetry competition, now in its eleventh year, aimed at encouraging and nurturing the wealth of creative writing talent that exists in Wales but often gets overlooked by the arts establishment. Website – www.david-lewis.co.uk

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by Dave Lewis and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

R.I.P. John Thomas

I can picture his unkempt room
gas fire furnace-warm in winter
stained poems
unappreciated socks
discarded like aspiration
his eyes a reluctant grey
 
holed up in Canton now
he tells me of his mam still at home in ‘the’ Rhondda
I read between the fatherless lines
and imagine the old Hitlers
from the ‘workies’ hall
judge and jury
 
chasing the golden boys
casting out doubt
they diluted the terraces
spread Heinz variety wide
and narrowed their eyes
like a cat down the tapered valley
 
I remember his bony hand
the half of S.A.
gratefully received
like a coin machine
in a gay and sad
peep show
 
then there was his navy sports coat
and creased granddad shirts
only a woman could touch
the thinning white hair
the bottle-thick specs
and high forehead
 
we talked of Shelley and Keats
of Dylan and Sam
but as John emphasised the importance
of the Poetics
he licked his lips
lusting my body
 
Warren said he was a wine victim
Sue mentioned horses before carts
and not following the leader
but John just continued with the classics
until I left
or he left
 
or our money ran out
or the bus came
as the stars
ummed
and
ahhed
 
he got beat up more than once
his tongue too quick for their fists
then he died I guess
someone in the Old Arcade said
before they ripped out
the beautiful old bar