Harley Lethalm

Amphetamine Rag #3 “….until then, let me have my unfolding ambitions, let me have my auxiliary permissions of tinkly happy glory. It is bad luck to sigh at even the silliest comprehensions of God, just as the spare leavings of a tube of lipstick on a plain nightstand should make even the mightiest imbecile speculate on love's nightly witness." The angle of the room seems disorderly, and there is a disorienting sense of sloping activity... Leonard gathers together a loping clot of crude broadsheets which he presents to me as a novel that is Hardly Specific to his own Montessori approaches, and which he did not write through the usual commas of intentional anguish, but which instead he assembled some long while ago from the intermarried shears of Saint Paul's anxieties and the cooling saliva of powdered lightning; these skinless materials - which Leonard affectionately refers to as his Mangled Conceits - lunged from the tethered navel of an archipelago and appeared to him as a smear in his soul, like a dizzy honeymoon of intelligence, so that his muscles churned as the hurrying oceans do: for sixteen nights he roamed the slum burrows of the Arctic until a siege of hapless Eskimos recovered him and set his wearied body to rest in a cot of whale-skin.These Eskimos were called Iqalummiut. This means "eaters of avalanches." "All of them," he finishes, "had contagious groins." He produces a prescription-pill bottle of an unspecific genre. Merges pill and mouth. As I undo my collared shirt, Leonard, the poet, the itinerant sans-culottes of Arctic squalls, stalks by me and kisses my ratty head three times. A graceful number of repetitions, at all events."The pills are handy," and he's running his finger along the ridge of my jaw, "when nothing else is." I am fully unclothed. Leonard: "I am terrified of behaving poorly toward men with encephalopathy. To these sorry sorts you must train yourself to unlearn epiphanies or else risk a destroyed esteem among friends. Often we love each other pitiably as an alibi for elaborately excusing ourselves from loneliness. I am a novice guest; I do not know how to be invited into homes. The process evades me intellectually. Spiritually.” He squanders his soft suited body down onto the roughshod floorboard.And pans from the corner: “Why is it unsanitary to colonize the autopsy-rooms while we are not baffled that slaughterhouses stink just the same? Sanity is memorized. God is memorized. But my father, and his egregious cock, I could not guess at. The radio plays from the west and the music of John Lennon, Imagine, dies in the east. Leonard has digested sleep and I am weary. The light is dim and taking from my wallet a photograph of a girl whom I had loved at seventeen-years-old, I look at Leonard’s body strewn across the floorboards and a fly scans errantly the bounds of it all and the photograph blinks electronically between my fingernails and I know then that I have failed my life. O, Lesbos O Lesbos, trousseaux abolished, have you drunk the bilge of mariners only to disguise the inevitability of kidney failure? You, Lesbos, long for pilgrimage in neat sandalwood slippers; you dial drafty seaweed with famishing Cause. How I wait for the severe original inch of your lyre to heave me up into Princedom. I want to breathe apart Lefkas from your delirious lips; endure, O Lesbos, O loveliness, my entreating task to misplace your desponded footprints purposefully toward lower heights. Let me growl surgery into your teeth to prevent the marching braille ambushes of seaweed polemics that compelled you to agony and leaping. I will excerpt you back into Semiotic fragility, my love, my Lesbos; together we will orgasm a childhood of ponderous anise-stems whose stalks will rise like pyres over the flat barbiturate pebble of forsook marriages. O Lesbos, riot into my aching testimony. Governess of agilest song, come as my Pentecost, come as my cadence, let me in your spinning sex belong. Portions From A Diary That I Had Meant To Dissolve In A Canister Of Carbolic Acid I went to sleep at 4:48 A.M two Tuesdays ago. I can't be sure that I've since gotten out of bed. I do not kneel at the altar of Love. I wouldn't know how to get myself up. My mouth is a useless hyphen. Deer tremble at the intersections between moving hallucinated Cadillacs and shatter horizontally - the echo of blood on highways is my tongue. (Somewhere you go toward the ocean at the age of seventy-three and look for where exactly you were left disappointed by children, wives, old friends, the blues. But the sound of the tumblers jars you. The noisy sunset. The oldest part of you looking gracelessly at the widest part of everything: you sob, sob, sob and Death comes in like a squint of a shiver and takes you off. You go unloved/unwanted/unremembered/undecided/unexplained.) There is no record that a postcard from Italy was ever written so interestingly that the post-office regretted to part with it; this is true to love and doves too – and too, to beds and dovecotes. A friend wrote to me from a narrow ledge - the narrowest he said he could find - on the cliffs of some undisclosed location...he had supposed that by narrowing himself so nearly to suicide, so precariously to the origin of what could in a sense destroy him, he would write a Gospel.Instead, all he sent me was:"Surely they wrote of Christ a little less expeditiously." Harley Lethalm is a freelance bohemian and flophouse dandy; he oftentimes socializes with green conservatives, pinkos, elephant-trainers, and other survivors of nihilism. He prefers Shostakovich to most wines. His work has featured in The Bacon Review, The Albion Son Journal, The Circle Review, The Voidance Missive, and, i.a., Brickplight, which, of note, recorded his first entry into small publishing with its introductory issue. Lethalm is twenty-three and has (briefly) held a B.A. in Western History while at a close friend's home, after asking if it wouldn't be too callous to have a look at the document.