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:


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



Michael Mackin O’Mara

Co-publisher, Managing Editor


Twitter: https://twitter.com/lennydellarocca

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

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=SoFloPoJo

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

Ruffled sleeves

couv70586873You age up, your desires age down

you’d be too old for me now

but then when I was barely grown

you looked so good in your thirty-ish suit

the jaw line of age beginning to show

just enough to create a stirring, I wonder …

something deeply sensual in a confident woman

who has lived enough to feel

comfortable in her own brand of skin

I longed to touch the lapel of your shirt

or where your cuffs peaked out ruffled

little moments

your perfume lingering

the sound of heals on carpet

fading as you were accompanied

by a tall man to lunch

how could a girl just out of her teens compete?

I considered the movements of love

like Tai Chi, a gentle push

if you can sweep past obvious attributes

aren’t they also found in the twilight?

when you let me light your cigarette

and notice how close

I stand

our heat merging

the touch without touch, of energy

he may have spent a lot on lavish outings

but sharing wine from a plastic glass

on a warm night in the park

I touched where your heart beat

querulous against your tanned wrist

pressed to my lips

you sighed

more than you ever had

when he with his obvious methods

tried to beckon you near

sometimes birds flock in one motion

drawing out light of day

as I close the blinds and walk

a perfect line of longing

to the bed and

your nude warmth


Thursday’s child

costume-cute-dinosaur-funny-girl-inspiration-Favim.com-48812They said Texas was more friendly than the East Coast

but she’d lived in New York and that wasn’t true

not for queers and people who didn’t attend church

the year she arrived they put up picket signs on every corner

marriage equals a man and a woman

with a red X marking the hate

obliteration of alternatives

a dirty word it was

not to be homogenous and touch your

four corners to the cross

the year she arrived they said

if you don’t like BBQ, if you don’t eat meat, if you don’t go to Dairy Queen

get the fuck out of our state

you wear too much black we’re certain

you prefer Satan

she became a shut-in who didn’t

believe in mythical devils but had

met a few who walked the earth in the flesh

not leaving the house an irony

for a Thursday’s child

who has far to go


You may ask – girl why did you stick around?

but we don’t all of us have the luxury

of choice

the saying

you made your bed / now lie in it

can often apply

so you suck all the oxygen out of the room

hold your breath

hoping they won’t notice you are still there

but they did

pinching and pulling

you’re far too thin

you’re far too white

you’re a spoil sport who doesn’t like to go on team building exercises

she began to drink in the afternoons

wanted to swear the way she used to do

in Europe

where every other word was an expletive

but swearing is crude in Texas

they like you to sweeten your words like your tea

and drink it ice-cold


It isn’t really their fault

if you move somewhere you’d better try

to fit in

even ghosts can see the purpose

in choosing where you haunt, wisely

it’s not enough to think you can carry on liking the same things

she cannot wear tights in Texas

even in December it’s too hot

you have to mow your lawn A LOT

though she would plant weeds and watch

them enclose her from disapproval

in time, she learned it’s a state of mind

sometimes when you stop realizing you don’t fit in

you just might

and if that doesn’t work there’s always

four walls and closed eyes

growing wild flowers in her mind

swearing a little less often

in time everything works differently

you look back and see

what was once strange

feels like home



La Fin de Chéri

(Influence from; La Fin de Chéri, Colette 1926. )



one day you will either strike yourself out

with an exact deepening cut

or own the world with vinegar fingertips

coloring upturned lips

looking through letters in search of single word

to describe the ecstasy of youth

though before all these things I had

you first

before you knew what you were

and only lay in my arms shivering with

the desire of a young boy caught in his lust

one day when I am old

I will remember your beauty and capture

wound around your pomegranate mouth like cold leaves its burn and sun turns boys to gold

then looking into half drunk glasses and fallen buttons I shall

smile crookedly at my mad fortune

if fortune is the word

to describe amusing memories

when boys knew nothing of themselves

when girls were powerful and roamed their needs

like hungry bees seek nectar and we all rummage the pockets of our clothes

hoping for a missed penny

for time may lie against us

a sharpness in daylight glinting

but for those brief afternoons

when we have yet to inherit ourselves

know nothing of the plight of fading

with each wrought year

you looked to me for learning

I knew a little more by virtue of bad experience

and my belly full of wine and violence

turning them to my own understanding

touching you as your mother would

then something different, deeper, untaught

a house with many shutters

open one, touch the countenance of my pearl

you sighed

just like a girl opening herself

your legs as smooth as mine

your lips fuller and pursing toward

the need

I bowed sleekly

not because I honored you

but to feel the excitement quickening

against your muscled thighs

gathering that brief surge of fickle love

before it spilt and grew

sweetly cold between us

I felt that first

acrid taste of power

rolling underneath scotch blankets starved of end

not my kind yet

you were a beautiful boy

soft against me pliant by longing

I held this over our heads like a shawl

blocking out harsh light

inspecting its temporary reflection

your wistful elongate pursed in quiver

a silver arrow ready to pierce

any who chance your heart

and in years to come when

my hands are tired of making shadows

I will think of you and amuse myself

the girl who inherited memories and made

palaces of them

you can be my Chéri and

I, the woman who painted solace to your




The certainty


We may have it the wrong way

intellect being a dirge

for the cat carrying its kittens

does not question or consider

why do I torture the rat and flee the fox?

simply nature propels her onward

no coincidence then

the more we are aware the greater our potential for

grief and a disconsolate ring

with the emptiness perceived

we seek in our fervor

more out of this plain life

standing watching the first seasons’ dragonflies

wishing for meaning or distinction

spelt out in philosophy books empty of bottom line

who made us? why? why?

the infernal hum of internal conflict

I recall a russet haired cousin

born with the mind of a child

never to graduate or spell correctly

her smiles always somehow less


she delighted in as the young foal

spring filled fields of flowers and thick hedgerows

buzzing with honey bee mastering his lust for nectar

not considering all the pain

held in the wetted weight of world

hers inhabited moments

living under sun without query

heart unable to contemplate

greater or sorrowful fates

I dearly envied her that

for every year closer to increasing reason

intellect building artifices as often

as truths

without faith or illusion

clearing our eyes and seeing

the way the nest falls from ash tree

all offspring dying at the hand of passing predator

the way women walk with their

purses clutched to their sides and heavy tread

this is only nature or maybe perversion

yet we grieve attempting

change where none should exist

as well as those never-changing

each generation learning shared impulses

to destroy because they can


I planted a tree once

it grew without question

I married a man twice

he needed no religion to know

the sun would come up the next day

nothing was worth worrying about

when certainty took her carriage across

emblazoning sky with greater things

than our imperfect longing minds

we who fitfully seek

higher elucidation

writing out descriptions of existence

with punctuated heartache

as the blind man must fathom

his colors

we walk in darkness believing

ourselves electric

until the storm wipes out

all trace of our absolve

for we are ink running on a page

leaving time before even the imprint

is deep enough

impermanence our greatest torment

such is the grind of egos want

to matter


we who think and believe we feel

perhaps cursed by too much awareness

ironically know less than less

no more than the rabbit pricks up his ears

thinks he hears a sound, could be all of us

crying out

we cannot follow the wild

for our modern natures are muzzled

behind the weight of thought

as if consciousness were an apple

eaten and consumed behind library books

taking root in liquid storm

Genesis bequeathed us knowledge

to know suffering and our part

in the fragile glittering stage

at cost to inner peace

we search fruitlessly for purpose

whilst those who know less

sit in the sun and feel

the certainty of

nothing’s blessing


(I often want to give-up writing and thinking in favor of life beyond the social spectrum, where we learn to make things again, build and grow in basic and lost terms. Sometimes thinking can be a curse, much as I must covet it, I see the down-side. Moderation must be everything but it is hard, usually we are either thrown over to one side or the other, I have long valued words and reading, but I do see their potential fallacy just as I do, the bliss of unknowing).

You will lose

Lg_image_of_scolds_bridleThe glitterati

the critics

the populists


you will lose if

you write about Israel instead of Palestine

if you speak of Republicans not Democrats

if you emphasize feminism over patriarchy

if you ask why reverse racism isn’t decried with equal equality?

if you don’t apply fake tan by Spring

if you don’t die your roots when white scream shows through

if you say no to invitations to museum openings

if you don’t pretend you like fish chowder in New England

you will lose

if you can’t fake an orgasm

if you can’t pretend to be happy

if you can’t do a 5K and apply the bumper sticker

if you want more than a box with four corners

if you need truth over societal cacophony

if you pick staying home over social gatherings

Oh god, home, the empty temple of feathers

if you read a book that’s not on Oprah’s list

if you don’t like Jane Austin or Billy childish

if you approve of Brexit

if you want peace but also believe

sometimes in war

if you need a fix and everybody has been juicing since 2004

if you still smoke in your mind if not in your hand

If you bathe rather than shower and eat figs with unwashed hands

if you like drunks and melt-downs and unwell folk

over gyms and workaholics and hipster beards

if you don’t think a woman over 50 is invisible

If you want to touch her like this, just here, yes

if you don’t believe in knee-jerk vaccinations for HPV

if you think Shingles is a symptom of grief as much as

an arms worth of plague

if you like honey more than jam

you will lose if

you don’t shave into a triangle or wax

if you try to grow daffodils instead of cacti in the desert

if you don’t get your flaws frozen off at the secret dermatologist

if you gave up wearing push up bras when they hurt

Hey boys, get a life

if you didn’t remember all the eighties top hits nor cared for boy george

if you read instead of talk with your mouth full

if you don’t want to retail and you buy second-hand

if you think the planet should depopulate not reproduce

if you think choice

isn’t a dirty word

if you think rape

can happen anywhere

if you believe justice

is owned by man

if you think cars

cost too much and clog up the landscape

you will lose

by opting out of the din of most social media platforms

you will lose decrying our

infernal need for attention,  narcissism

and selfishness abounding

you will lose when you go on vacation

and see only the misery of the local

starved by tourists expectation,  fired upon your return for taking time off and not taking your phone

you will lose when you expect small talk

to be vanquished and long conversations

about life to resume

don’t wait for the bleep

don’t hold your breath

don’t anticipate


that sometimes you must lose

in order to see



Full tilt


There was a woman who had five children

a thriving career and a clean house

who could cook for fifty guests and still

find time to drink wine by the pool

she earned her life as fishermen

pull their catch from the ocean

twitching in multicolored lust

reluctant to be garnered

it took a great effort to be everything to everyone

and so she stayed until disease grew like a weed

within her chest and despite fighting

she lost

I wondered afterward

standing by her memory like a mirror

etching granite thought

why life was so unyielding in its give and take?

like a cruelty

reducing effort to ash and rewarding

the indolent cat who purchases laziness

I could never have been

as full as her nor fought as long

I did not have her endurance, strength and will

to conquer life

flaming from her nostrils and burning desire

and yet it is she who dies

prematurely, leaving behind grieving hearts

when I would hardly stir a sail with my absence

in the grand scheme of a world that is

not grand but fond of scheming

something doesn’t seem right about the way things play out

randomness cannot answer injustice or

why some are able to live with so much

while others struggle to wake up and touch the floor of day

perhaps in that singularity and opposition

lies the answer

she lived more in fifty years than I

ever could, reaching vainly

even if I tried every day like an acrobat

desirous to spin above the void

which I do, falling short

not the girl who slurps ice cream to its stick with lavish noise

any wonder why then, some

consider Gods mighty chess players

merciless in their sport

of our small and absurd selves

floundering beneath with taut marionette strings

blown by a strange wind

percolating from unseen place