I’m sharing my humiliation with you

Maybe in hope of understanding or helping others see, the cutting world of writing. 

On Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 15:09, Lenny DellaRocca

<lenny.dellarocca@gmail.com> wrote:

Candice-


Please understand why I must apologize here. I’m sorry I did not read your reviews carefully enough. This is my fault. I should have read with more care and then tell you from the start that these reviews fall short of the mark in what we want in a review.


There have been remarks made about your Silvia Curbelo review, Falling Water, such as run-ons sentences. Your review of C.S. Fuqua’s White Trash & Southern, and now this review of Molly Peacock’s book is, sorry to say, just not well written.


Like I’ve said, this is my fault. 


I am so sorry to say you are no longer one of our reviewers. 



Best of luck and sincerely,




When I tell them I am a poet

they think it is because I write poems. 


Lenny DellaRocca

Founder, Co-Publisher, South Florida Poetry Journal:  southfloridapoetryjournal.com

and Interview With A Poet: southfloridapoetryjournal.com

954-914-6049

lenny.dellarocca@SoFloPoJo.com


Michael Mackin O’Mara

Co-publisher, Managing Editor

mmomara@soflopojo.com


Twitter: https://twitter.com/lennydellarocca

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lenny.dellarocca

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On Tue, Jun 20, 2017 at 1:35 PM, Candice Louisa <candicelouisa@rocketmail.com> wrote:

Dear Lenny,

As promised here is the next review I owe you, the Molly Peacock review. I hope it works. See attached. 

If you want to let me know the next deadline and the book you would like me to review I’ll put it in my calendar. 

As always, a pleasure.

Candice (see attached and below). 


The Analyst, by Molly Peacock (published by Norton, 2017)

Review by Candice Louisa Daquin

I was once a therapist, maybe that’s why reviewing Molly Peacocks poetry book The Analyst was harder than expected. When observations strike close, they either repel or silence your own reflex because you relate so deeply to an almost uncanny inspection of the self. Peacock being a very famous poet may accomplish this regularly, but that does not diminish her skill, rather, it continually offsets those writers who may happen upon occasional revelation without a true divining rod.

Peacocks work is a divination tool; she uses her keen intelligence and word-conjuring to fill this slim volume of thoughts relating to her relationship with her former therapist who after surviving a stroke began painting. Reminding me of someone writing of say, a death, and the experience of loss but with a brighter quill, and less beleaguered by emotional attachment, you could appreciate the poems within this collection without knowing the history, though this invariably adds to the uncanny rendering.

Reviewing a feeling is strangely unfulfilling. You want to exist in the feeling the words bequeath you, rather than spelling out and losing the wonder. With others poets, the wonder may be fleeting, sporadic, hesitant, absent. Peacock is seasoned in her ballet of words, but not in an old-hat formulaic way. On a superficial level, the design of this little hardback is also of the ilk you’d wish preserved on your shelf.

You find love in the words, but set enough apart to avoid suffocation. Lines like; “I want to die to help you” has the bravery of a lover, seeking any recompense for suffering with an urge to ‘save’ and I found this poignant for a long relationship of sharing, almost the definition of a merciful response we would all wish to evoke should we fall sick. The juxtaposition of vegetables and cooking metaphors marks this the language of a poet, where in ordinary preparation we find a life time of thought revealed in stark and obscure shards. In the line; “undone. But you eat,”(Gusto)  a quiet chisel reveals the irony of health’s failing, and our desire to go beyond, in spite of life’s rules.

I have never read a book paying homage or marking the days of rehabilitation, the slow walk through convalescence and relearning. These are shaped tenderly almost switching roles (carer/patient) lending hope to notions of mercy, observing the observer with lines like; “But to you, abstraction was lying.” (The Analyst Draws). Even the healthiest among us can relate to this reversal, what must be imagined the inner response to sudden frailty, fears keenly lain on operating table.

“It takes such strength to call, I can’t search now / for why – though all our enterprise was for why. / The bottom of the glass is standing by, / the rest.” (George Herbert’s Glasse of Blessings) speaks of how anyone may feel, adapting to new circumstance, the helper becoming helpless, the previous search of why somewhat redundant and yet, never quite. The subtlety of those juxtaposed ironies are the bedrock of a poet who doesn’t just create nice sounding formula but speaks what we do not yet know ahead of us.

Equally, Peacocks book voices loss, relatable to memory, and other conditions, few have not been touched by. When she laments; “The burnt edge of the memory gorge / you have to make a path around / starts to crumble – don’t fall in! / “The place … / with the things on the walls …” / Blackness.” (Speaking of Painting and Bird Watching) Peacock evokes our world of confusion, occasional nightmare, a probing journey, a relinquishing and restarting. How real these feel to the reader, who can think to their own families and loved ones, find within these lines, their life, and others, stretching out. Culminating in a universal urge; “All I want to do is go away and paint / – just like I did as a girl.” (Speaking of Painting and Bird Watching).

Whom among us has not queried how a life force can be abruptly extinguished, how a box of ashes could truly contain a soul and life time? This is echoed in living-observation as much as death, when we observe in shades of dismay and wonder; “you looked so trim and well / in black and white you could almost convince / us both you were whole.” (Fret Not). This is brilliantly turned, from a fear to almost gallows humor, the exact tightrope of fear and hope those visiting the very sick experience. “So I lifted it up – then laid it in this frame / now on my wall. Hourly I pass your name.” (Fret Not). What a wonderful redemptive faith in the power of existence and relationships is given ultimately!

As with any comedy, humor is an essential device when probing tragedy and fear, it sets off the stark reality with that absurd urge to laugh at horror, and binds our fragile lives together, as we wring ourselves blanched with anxiety. Peacock succeeds so deftly to evoke laughter alongside acknowledged sadness and fear, she weaves the maze of emotions we walk through on our way out of shock, using images like pottery, painting (subject), war and of course, analysis, to counter the rude truth of sickness and ruin; “It’s always backwards in analysis, isn’t it? / Thank you for reading my injured mother / who aided a game her child played.” (The Pottery Jar). Time is cyclical in Peacocks awareness of what we may consider of our pasts, as we war with the emotions such circumstances force.

Peacock juxtaposes mirth and repulsion, she states; “Thank you for not believing me when I said I was suicidal / (my dad had died and evaporated into smoke.” (The Pottery Jar) And in so wielding she turns what had been to what is, the patient explaining to the therapist, her growth, and taking over as seeker, evidencing her struggle to this juncture, her determination to endure, much owed to the guidance of this woman who lies now, helpless and lost within herself. It is both morbidly horrifying and so much a testament to the ties binding us if we invest in a person wholly. How refreshing the gratitude, almost like considering a marriage, or a life time and honoring it through reflection. I appreciated the lines; “Thank you for simply standing / as I learned how to stand on the sand.” (The Pottery Jar) More than anything, a job well done is that which accomplishes a reflecting back in learning and grace.

The poem; In our Unexpected Future, there is a beautiful awareness of how fleeting those things we relish can be; “All their agitated longings and fears / pulse through ruched necklines, palpate / in taffeta waistlines, outliving their societies, / pillars and palaces burnt in a blink.” How well Peacock knows to blend meaning, sound, rhythm and imagery. This was a feast of acute magnification, continued by; “in folds of silk, surviving silk – / for frocks outlast pillars. But feelings / outlive frocks. The immaterial storms through, / a force beyond years (…) It isn’t what happened that lasts. / Not art, either, but the savory core. What’s felt. / We relish your reprieve as if we’d licked all / the way through the paint, leaving wet marks / to vanish from gowns long gone (but not).” Lines like these defy worded reward or interpretation, they exist before the thought, they create the thought, the world, the truth, and remind me why Peacock is a muse among muses.

Sectioning the book into subtitles (The Pottery Jar / The Hours / Ruby Roses, Kiss Goodbye / Whisper of Liberty) compliments this feeling of transition, ebbing and flowing, walking together, backward and forward, an intensely feminine interpretation of friendship and loyalty I found bewitchingly rendered. In Mandala in the Making, the last poem of the collection, Peacock intuits; “Only when / something’s over can its shape materialize.”Surely this is a raw battle  cry for all to consider, our arc from one experience to another, witnessed by those who love us, never in vain, always challenging and hard to penetrate until we consider the return.  I know I would have felt this deep appreciation for Peacock’s collection irrespective of the professional success she deservedly has had and continues to have and that, is the greatest compliment one writer can bestow on another aside requesting you to read more of Molly Peacock.

1420 words.


Show more

The truth of you

20160916_103101~2Thinking you know your composite

banoffee pie or key lime

little kids crowd the glass of new American themed

diners in foreign land selling to idolizer

thinking themselves fancy if they sit

on high swivel seats in dark cherry

just like Rumblefish though you

could never afford the real thing

I liked an American boy in my class

he made baseball jackets with patches of indian profiles look good

had green eyes that held the secret of the desert

a mouth as pretty as a girl’s curling up in O

he couldn’t spell his new language

which I found, reassuring

 

to be far-flung

exotic comes in all guises

mine the continent of dreams

we drank our first root beer float with

long-necked spoons reflecting our mirth

talking about juke boxes and 50s matinée idols

the green-eyed boy said

you will be disappointed at the reality

and they will be underwhelmed with you

too pale for the California beach

too shy for new York

too weak for the vigor of ice hockey

and alpha females pick on each other in our high schools with growing

alacrity

you have no native American blood alas

you don’t feel white-guilt for slavery when your ancestors took no part

you’ll never be an American you don’t wave a flag at our glory

we have to compete and win whilst you prefer to scale a tree and read

hearing the roar of the crowd on friday night’s lights

you’d have made a lack luster cheerleader with

your neon arms and matchstick legs

but oddly and despite this

it was my destination to earn a golden ticket

ever since I read in translation

Eloise

The lonely little girl in a big new York hotel

with Skipper the pet turtle on a leash

 

Eloise

may have had native American DNA and grown up to be a good WASP

I only wanted to touch

the soft leather sleeves of a spectator coat

or see

Peanuts, in action as

box-cars raced down hill, stopping at soda fountains

those glittering children of fortune and freckles

 

back then I thought I was genetically

someone different

then DNA testing became mainstream

and by the story of my results I am no longer that person

but someone quite changed, a different race

as if the me who was me

slipped out of herself and through a door

that was both opened and closed

 

walk like an Egyptian I used to

speak diluent tones with French notes once

now the I of me is false and those

parodies of what I was, are not who I am

telling kids in the playground that’s why my eyes prefer kohl

they come from faraway where the sun demands

devotion

old stories without substance

revealed stark in test tube result to be

fanciful

 

not a pale African lost in tamed jungle of cruel world enveloping cultures

instead, the trespasser told generational falsehoods

paving yellow brick roads with fool’s gold

as saffron and tamarind friends with their rightful legacies

twirl in blazing color

silken sari and Rastafari, Persian eyes, Nairobi fingers

everything told was not so

ordinary and dull was your fear

so it becomes real

and what life bequeathed you

the DNA of inconsequence

 

a tendency toward left-handedness

an albino arm and dark heart

the emptiness of knowing

yourself

staged and girdled

for light fantastic

oh how it feels on your lying skin

like submerging into ancient lily ponds

reflecting bronze moons glow

into a hundred cupolas

 

you want to believe someone will love you irrespective

of your mitral valve weakness, your keratitis and first varicose

just like that boy who

seeing you hobbling in your veruca sock and bad haircut

when your father ran out of patience and cut along pancake bowl

just like that boy who

swam straight for you

sitting over the murmuring jets in the shallow end holding hands

until he left with his parents

staring out the back of a messy car with two dogs slobbering

and a peace sign pealing off the bumper

watching you diminish in rear view

as if you were the most precious saphir he ever knew

and just for a moment you felt

like all the lies in the world could not subsume

the radiance of being adored

for the truth of you

Just when she thought she was complying, she raged and broke apart

Things at a distance …

The child learns

Not to burn herself on cooker top

Not to hold someone to their word

People don’t always return

Love

Things learned at a distance

Words do not describe reality

Reality is not as they say

Life is funny and tastes of rain

One moment it flows then everything stops

Changes course

And you

Child

Sometimes you are forgotten

For adults

Don’t always recall

The necessity of keeping their word

 

And that child

Grew with restraint and without rule

Clad in scraps of query and uncertainty

Unobserved, she learned not to learn

She didn’t sharpen her pencil and master how to take orders

Her mind they thought gifted but her’s was just a glib mouth with fast words

Sounding beneath the press of water, betraying its weight

Underneath she had no end to her dislike of being told what to do

And they told her

You’ll regret the way you are

Discipline helps breed patience

Patience is honed a virtue

She had none

Never learning her multiplication tables or grammar

She slipped as she ran

Away from the rod

He’d hit her you see, too much, and caused a break

Until she didn’t know how to mend her cracks

Only fury lay

Between her fingers spread against the sun

Silly frivolous fury, the kind girls are mocked for

Usually they are scolded, Child don’t you know? Real suffering exists! True pain! And you have so much and you dare say you are discontent?

Even the shame of knowing on the outside she was a white parody of excess and indulgence

With her predictable dysfunctions all signs of a weakness of spirit

Delving into emptying with hands tied by nurture and the unbearable shake of seeing

If you just got up every morning and jogged, if you just put that cigarette down

You save yourself you know

Of course she knew and like a woman weighted with stones she wanted to walk deeper into the water because every scratch of her fabric was flawed

Why did you let me be born?

Why not give my time to a marvelous well-adjusted mind who will study science and never play hooky?

She played it all the time and had nothing to prove nor music within her movement

No piano to learn

As long as someone

Who wanted to learn

Would

 

And she

Wished to walk in olive groves hurting her bare feet with dry shrub

As the Corfu sun burned her scratched arms

Creating ugly stains for how she felt inside

Marks of time mottling her skin

Brands of all the times she tried not to be

Herself

And invariably

Returning to the mirror time and again, a looking-glass behind her eyes

There was her father’s jaw and elongated forehead

His thin red weathered skin tried by the hour

When they found out some DNA was stronger and certain people were genetically likely to outlast others

She laughed

Because she’d known that for years

You only had to taste the quality of their time

and in the future

They ran dry like a Texan Arroyo long baked by merciless sun

 

Her father once said

You reap what you sew

and she has thrown herself into air

With no seeds and no design

Just the bare howl of being aware

Knowing the grief she was ashamed and compelled by

Ticking in her imperfect hiccup of a soul

Unable to avoid the error of her need

To rebel against the majority who never seem to mind

But plod perfectly in time to some hidden chant

While she spun, losing ground, hurting and grasping

Never ready to fit herself into a shape commensurate with moving forward

If there were an edge to the world she’d be the one to push herself

Off

L’appel du vide dit

hijacked amygdala


Sympathy

Remains for burial

Zipped in black

Who comes to vouch then

Our misdeeds

Finally earn their napkin passage

I want to tell you

Open yourself 

Let me back

But you are bolted down

Empty of patience

Knowing when to leave

You are covered in oleander petals

Like a bride awaiting the fissure of her maidenhead

Bon voyage little girl

Leave behind your childhood room

All the china dolls you despised with their elegant haunted painted eyes

Under a yellow light attracting flies

Trying to catch up on diary entries half filled

The confessor wears a wagging chin, the judge is a mute 

And this rope will not be strong enough for two

We sit by sea spray electric in timber and soon 

There is no division

Between waiting and being

I can’t cry on demand or be happy, because you need me to be

You bought a faulty part

View original post 55 more words

Ebbing with lessening

There are rumors

Spiked by moonshine

Privilege or disgrace

Oppression spells her full name

For the Zweig suicide guest book

A librato place

No-one can follow

Without revealing their intention 

Take comfort

From people who do not care

They lacquer their unteathering 

In pretty boxes with false bases

As Houdini shone the key beneath the deep

So they perfect stillness in powdered sugar

Salvaging nothing of the wreck

As salt stained and barnacled

Driftwood is recovered by shore

Ebbing with lessening 

It’s too hot outside to go bare footed


Words are extroverts
Supping on fornication 

Silence is a girl 

You overlooked in grade school

And years later

Reminded of her tight braids

The color of caramel

You seek her in crowds 

Like a woman without children

Will hesitate

Ever so slightly 

On a babies wispy crown

Half thinking

Her baren hands

Unworthy

We carry our pains

Wrapped in butcher’s brown paper

With yesterday’s headlines

Bled on our feet

As rain purges the feeling and night

Grows trees of velvet

In the deep inhalation 

of a closed door against 

Night storm

Children of absence 


The world is strange

how for some death is a petite mort

for others, not pleasure nor hell

just a slice to be taken out and left without warmth

they can with their approximating whole

continue without sore heart

while others

they are vigil in grief

nothing mends what is broken

I was told once this is weak

it is the substance of survival that we let go, move on

those who are able to open their fists

those who feel less or brew sense of senseless things

I am therefore not strong

for death stings like it has

pressed its poisonous quill deep

my heart lays heavy in its fur cloak

nothing really aids grief

but the passing of time and memory

ushering us further from the moment

like a worried parent seeking retreat

though we know

as with all circles we will return inevitably to completion

and I wonder since I do not believe

in Gods and Devils

but occasionally I am convinced monsters may, be an exception

where then, shall we find ourselves?

after all our pieces have fallen and the board is emptied

will I feel you next to me still?

as dust, we strive to rejoin star light

or will a wink be simply a wink out?

and so gentle light is drowned

for a time it worried me until

I saw this as a curtain fall, something peaceful almost alluring

what hurts us is not our own demise

but the loss of others to the other side

where shade invagels night and the smudge of life

for none of us

not even the preacher

who believes he sees the face of Jesus in the sky

can truly know what happens

when those we love die

it is the ache of their absence

even if that love was filled with holes

incomplete moments where like a colindar 

we saw more water fall than keep

I know loving me was at best a fractured and intermittent thing

but real love is not how you felt, it is the emotion I had

Stirred into my rise, even as you walked away 

even as need became a habit, not a desire

I may have always been

following you, looking for breadcrumbs

and you may have rarely noticed

your child who wanted so badly to matter

but I find time changes those emotions

it is ultimately the love I bare

irrespective of your own

that will hurt the most

when you are not around to call

hoping you pick up the phone or

send me a postcard ‘I am having a wonderful time’

and my only regret will be

just one more day I’d like

to know you were on this earth

a feeling of being as secure as you can

with nothing underfoot

we get used to little, us, children of absence

we learn to eat what we are given

and from nothing comes so much

it springs up 

around emptied houses and abandoned lots

like red weeds will show

vivid and wild

in a landscape of naught

we are the tender feelings who labor

in spite of all

and that I believe is the depth and mercy

of a full heart