Leonard Leconte

By In Prose 5 MIN READ

Back when, many years back, in fact, I lived in Paris with my friend, a poet, Leonard Leconte. I was a young lyricist, looking for a place to hang out. He offered me to stay with him in his small apartment. I was poor by Parisian standards, separated from my family, not knowing which way, if any, was the way forward. The thing about Leonard was that he didn’t just call himself a poet; he was unquestionably a poet. He lived it, you see. We shared a bathroom, but we each had a study, and every day I aimed at writing down five hundred rhythms in my notebook before dragging them into the sidewalk cafés along the Champs Elysees, nestling up to beautiful women, those with elegance and poise, and asking, “Would it bore you too much to listen to samples of my work?” Some shrugged me away, most in fact.

So yes, Leonard and I made it work. Occasionally, we needed to get out from the confinement of the apartment walls seeking a way to feel inspired. We would spend the day admiring the women who walked up and down the Champs Elysees. I would read my rhythms to them, telling them I would one day be famous. Leonard never said such things; instead, he would offer them his poetry.  We were so full of ourselves, I remember. Leonard had something, you know; he had spirit, art, joy–I’m not sure what else to call it. Women who met him were enamored. We were inseparable back then. I didn’t know what it was, be it Paris, the Seine, the women, the artists, or the richness of the religion all around, but I loved it. Sometimes we would meet up with his friends in the evenings, have drinks, and listen to each other talk about our lives. It’s hard to tell exactly when my story began, maybe after an accident happened in the universe, or something unknown that radically upset the balance of one’s sense of self. You see, Leonard was a beautiful man, but he was also a secret drug user, an alcoholic, and a man who couldn’t talk about his problems and only listen to those of his friends. He would go off into various dimensions of his existence, but looking back I can now say, with great certainty, he suffered brilliant moments of madness.

Nothing very unusual happened to us all those years ago, or maybe everything that happened was indeed unusual; so yes, looking back on the nature of my friend, just the act of thinking about him serves now to reflect his image in my memory. He saw things as only poets do, in an imaginative light. In truth, Leonard was never going to be ordinary; he was born with the heart of a Chansonnier, having perfected his craft on fifteen-year-old girls. Later, he wrote his poetry on the sidewalks, enticing the most beautiful women to stop. There was just something about Leonard when he bid them stop, and so it was that they always returned to read of themselves.

The doctor revealed the diagnosis in the court. Suicide, they decided. What did they know? They knew nothing; absolutely nothing about Leonard. The shadow of his despair came in from its dark corner and sat close. I was too upset, too dumb to acknowledge what was said. I had lived for several years in his light and lovely air. My tears were a useless demonstration of anguish, quite different from those that might herald a child’s arrival into the world. And yet, it was a celebration of his life. Yes, the force of faith and compassion, the idea that somewhere, somehow, a miracle would happen, kept me from the brutal reality of his addiction. Nothing from that point, and you must trust me on this, was ever more remarkable than love. There is no other word to explain his absence in my life. Love.

I remember how it was for me after Leonard’s death: exploring religion, life’s perfection, the way forward. I compared every man I ever met with Leonard. Sometimes, I think I see him in the Mission area of San Francisco, or wandering through the Tenderloin, for such were the kinds of places he would go when I wasn’t with him.

He was a creature of two lives. He was my friend.

17 Comments
  1. Susan Holloway October 2017

    I keep finding more of your writings and I cannot stop reading ,your friend was special and you saw him for who he was and your writing reflects that you touch people lives and that is your gift,thank you .

    Reply
  2. Arygll Lassie October 2017

    Your writings leave me breathless…so beautiful, thought provoking and profound.
    Never before have I felt such good luck in finding you…two souls whose connection is the beautiful land of Argyll….land of my ancestors…deep in my core. Love you Harry xx

    Reply
  3. Sylvia McQuillan September 2017

    Greetings Harry
    Rereading you precious work is so thought provoking and raises questions of my journey of footsteps tthrough life.

    Take Care Harry ❣️
    Cheers,
    Sylvia McQuillan

    Reply
  4. Sylvia smith April 2017

    Leonard lived again in your writing.
    I could see the true gifted artist.
    The depth of his insight.He could see too much in this tired old world
    His magnetism with women what a gift (or is it )
    I picture Leonard as tall and lean with longish hair and a beard
    Probably not but leave me with my illusion

    Reply
    • Harry Hogg April 2017

      I will leave you with whatever works for your imagination, Sylvia. He was a giant of a man. Thank you for coming by, for your friendship, and for your comments. So appreciated.
      Love, Harry

  5. Marlene Cullen April 2017

    It occurs to me once again, as I read this story, how gorgeous your writing is and how lucky I am to read it. It is truly a privilege and an honor to be part of your reading circle.

    Reply
    • Harry Hogg April 2017

      Hi, Marlene: I apologize for my late response to your kind comment. I am very aware of how much you have contributed to my growth as a writer. I hope anyone visiting my site who is thinking about taking up writing will visit your site for the same encouragement. http://www.thewritespot.us/

      My best to you, love, Harry

  6. Margaret Stewart March 2017

    What beautiful sentiments Harry, of a very much loved friend

    Reply
    • Harry Hogg April 2017

      Thank you, Margaret. We all have friends who, in some way, influence who we are. Maybe its a mannerism, a way of life, or, as in Leonard’s case, my perception of the world through a poet’s eyes.
      Love, Harry

  7. Tina Tillou March 2017

    The fact that this wonderful man stepped into your life and had such a profound effect on your life is priceless, Harry. He still lives within you, and forever will. You wrote a beautiful tribute to Leonard. Perhaps, he is inspiring you today. You no longer search for fame, but instead, as you shyly write your words, we are enamored by them. Cheers!

    Reply
    • Harry Hogg April 2017

      Hello, Tina: Yes, this man’s spirit does live on inside me. If only your eyes alone were to set upon my words, it would be enough. I don’t write for fame, I write so those who will come after me will know something of me. Thank you for being a part of my writing journey.
      Love, Harry

  8. Mary Place March 2017

    It’s a cruel trick when we have to go on in silence when the music stops. There are not enough beautiful words to describe a soul we’ve lost and loved.

    Loved it Harry

    Reply
    • Harry Hogg March 2017

      My dear Mary, thank you. There are many songs we lose over a lifetime, yet somehow we never forget how they sounded, or how they moved us, or how we danced to their tune. Love, HH

  9. Angela Hunter March 2017

    Lovely story Harry, so happy for your new site looking forward to more💖☺

    Reply
    • Harry Hogg March 2017

      Thank you, Angela. Thank you especially for commenting here. Leonard was a complex person, a poet, for sure. My story is a true one, my love for him even truer. Please let me know if you have problems navigating to all the stories and prose works. Bless. HH

  10. Tavisha March 2017

    What a lovely tribute you’ve written – full of beauty, honesty, and the grit that makes life worth living. I had a similar friend when I was young who also tragically died too soon. His footsteps through my life marked me forever. I think of him often and there is a special place in my heart reserved for only him. Thank you for sharing your story. It brought back memories of my own that I hadn’t thought about for some time.

    Reply
    • Harry Hogg March 2017

      Dear friend:

      The organ heralded the arrival of the coffin, carried by six men, and close family near behind them. I looked at the pine coffin, crested with flowers, and felt my throat constrict for the thought of the man lying within. His voice seemed to echo from that box into the air and around the stone church walls. I wanted that voice to bounce off the cold walls and enter my heart. I didn’t know, on leaving the church, that it had; only every day since. You know, don’t you. You know, Tavisha. Whatever you believe, may it comfort you. May the voice of your friend lay by your ears at night. His breathing on your cheek. Love you. HH

Leave a Comment