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Demond & Lenhardt – May 2022

Layla Lenhardt and Marlayna Demond traded art and words. Marlayna shared this image, titled “Opening Up and Letting Go,” with Layla:

In response, Layla wrote this poem:

The Journalist

You can’t undress from your sadness, you wear it 
in various shades. It couples with my loneliness perfectly. 

In my mind, we are on a balcony in Provence. And you 
no longer see the darkened silhouettes out of the corners 

of your eyes. In my mind I’ve saved you. In reality, you’re alone 
and cold like the season you were born into. You don’t try to hide 

the areas of damage. You mend your breakage with Gold
Schlagger. You are illuminated. You are reckless. A smattering

of summer freckles, lungs black as obsidian. You cough up flecks 
of canary yellow, fill your cup, delete my number. 

I put on a Tommy James record the night you came over,
I wanted so badly to keep you, I wanted to undo

the years that have worn you like tennis shoes, soles barely
recognizable. I wanted so badly to feel you against woodgrain,

to turn your sober clarity over in my hands forever, to keep
you right there, but nothing gold can stay.

* * * * * *

Layla shared this poem with Marlayna:

13 Hours

“The way forward is sometimes the way back” – The Labyrinth

People talk about rivers’ mouths 
as if they could kiss them and sexuality 
is an estuary. But the hedgerow of a maze
is where the real danger lies. I can’t recall the first time 
I let you claim me, but I’m sure 
I was straddling you while the snow
fell outside your window like ash –
my hopes falling like snow – my tongue
in your mouth. The double consonants
of your name hurting my feelings with every
breath we breathed into each other. 

Outside of your house hangs
a skateboard swing off a great oak,
and the cobblestones change and move.
I only look over my shoulder once 
on my way out. My bra is tucked 
into my coat pocket. My thoughts 
are a deafening cacophony of places
I want to love you. 

Your river’s mouth was fed by a mountain, 
so I’ll take the little bits and pieces of you
I can get. It’s like building a never ending puzzle,
searching for your edges, your center. It’s 
like wandering a labyrinth. I’ve met many weird,
wonderful, and scary creatures in you, but 
any misstep could make me lose you
over the course of a moon phase. 

I wanted you in a way I never wanted the others.
You and your roller skates, your tattooed
knuckles. You’re the reason I lose sleep,
and I’m the orb in your Goblin King’s hand,
I’m who you call when you lose yourself,
I’m your owl in the moonlight.

In response, Marlayna made this triptych of images titled “Fitting: Rivers’ mouths in moonlight | Falling into the cacophony | Pieces that fit” (click to enlarge or see close-ups of each panel below):

Rivers’ mouths in moonlight
Falling into the cacophony
Pieces that fit
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