Poetry Showcase November 2021 from Peach Delphine

aerial photography of river

photo by Adrien Wodey (unsplash)

facing away

Opening the kitchen, grill at my back,
spiders lit up, blue all around, onions
sweating, the line cook and dishwasher
singing along with corridos on the radio
voices straining at everything the song
contains, even I, cold ass bitch of the line,
felt something soaring before getting back
to blade, transforming flesh into sustenance, as if
all our comforts weren't stuffed with blood and bone,
songs of love and the unbroken, we gather words 
from the waters, it is the making that sustains,
 the smallest flowering passed hand to hand, 
plate to plate, mouth to mouth, it is how we celebrate
 survival, untaste the blood, scar fading into age, 
word lifted from water, shimmering, slurring
all our prayers, hands up, day lifts flame
from oak, horizon dissolving into green
we wrapped in our hair, it is how we endure
the living, each day becoming new again,
the daily repetition of discovery, relentless
grappling with memory, making anew
the first breath of waking, sun from a high
window, paper nightgown, mattress on the floor
 left hand cupping a hollow egg of singing, air thick 
with wing, feather and flowering

bone river, lamp of shell

Often, unable to keep my mouth shut,
spun up, summoned from within arc
of wave, night still writhing upon tongue,
hard shadow in my eye, yet welcomed daily 
by crow or egret, cormorant or spoonbill,

false lightning eats life not memory,
shame is momentary but recollection
continues, upriver in the cypress, breathing
heavy fragrance of magnolia, darkness,

light the lamps, raise the blinds
each new thing on the board
tastes of shadow, brine,

ash settles on unbroken water,
what crawls into the eye an oracle 
of leaves, divination of yes, no

there was the decade I could not eat
without feeling an iron ingot settle
in my guts, rusting, shank of the hook
in my cheek clicking with every word

often, unable to keep my mouth shut,
speaking aloud to taro and banana,
head high, unfurling burgundy, darker
green than palmetto, we are each of us
a sail of verdure, windblown under azure
unyielding, each of us, unspoken

the obligations of the past made today
settle into sediment, time and pressure
solidify the stone in the eye, stained
hands flutter a voiceless semaphore,
dismantling what made us is only choice
still available, a necessity of tide,

often, unable to keep my mouth shut
I make things worse, rust in my teeth,
ash in my hands, coins on my eyes, 
night still writhing, we make that the shards 
be unsplintered, candle awakening to match, 
that the voice beyond the creek be heard, 
wave breaking shore never approached 
empty-handed, tongue on the eye of the hook, 
unblinking in this thin air

1) of seven

memory rides the tongue, cast iron,
brittle, obsidian slick, taste the roundness,
 feel the heft, the heart of a star quenched 
 in bacon fat, licked clean by household ghosts, 

memory rides the tongue, sand filled
jars with shells, still singing of sea,
when the moths found me, powdering
face and wrists with scales of wind, night
dipping stars from a cauldron,
the roof of my mouth is torn from chewing
hard words left on the table, a shard of Moon
buried in my left hand, tongue of despair
slithers in one ear, we gather up broken
light from a heavier gravity,

there was a song at midday after lightning
furrowed bark, smoke spiralling across
palmetto, the lightness of owls, drowsed
by the slow breeze, we paused in shade,

skillet over coals, a smoking altar, mirror
of prophecies, rendering down or frying
up, the circumference of squeal, onions,
garlic, olive oil, peppers, the verdant world
centers on your beautiful darkness,
as the hearth opens itself, flame a fluid
glyph, all our names have burned here,
beneath the spider, disk of transformation,
we sleep in  ash of our own consumption,
we sing of smoke, we sing of remembrance,
of the flame in the hand.

First morning of birdsong

Holding vigil with Moon,
not in the quiet of rooms
 but striding down a road of sand 
and oyster shell, ibis pale in moonlight, 
bearing witness to what smoke 
rises from pines, from the hollow 
no mouth will fill, how fever
 burned out the framework of the house, 
bones collapsing into cinder, how the heart
was cut from a different cloth, shroud
of burlap, sail of flour sack,
 how memory was a conch dragging shell 
through grass flats, burying itself 
beneath a blanket of tide, most muscular tongue
 of all our singing.

My voice is not my own, a creature
 of river, long and slow, hauled out  basking
or hanging eye deep in the current, watching 
over her eggs, shadow of  black water 
sinuous amongst cypress and flag, 
oaks leaning over their reflections,
ribbon of blue that could be sky, tattered lace 
of cloud heavy with thunder, 
there is no flowering in these hands,
 worn to the vestigial twigs of thicket, 
tangled in dewberry, thorn combed
 coat of fox, still and watching, 
blinking against mosquitoes, 
concealed from coyote and some man 
promising reconversion.

Unpronounceable shards of shells
 washed up out of depth of barrel sponges,
 hogfish, grouper, cold current coiled
 flowing through sea fans, in its fullness,
 unbroken, there is no reply to Moon,
 lightning does not coagulate into word,
 burnished triton, scallop or cockle, 
sometimes iridescent as pen shell,
sea contains all things, except star, 
sun or wing lifting wind of pelican, 
every destination folded into wave, 
all that remained unsaid polished 
translucent, thin lip of vanishing, 
sky splintering spall of light dropping
into the sea, slowly, flexing our knees,
we shoulder the weight of silences
 we cannot redeem, burden of dust,
bushel of ash, absent moon 
still filling our eyes.

Tupelo flowering, dark river

As memories unspool into a continuous loop,
a notation of intimacies, glyphs carved
into breath of form, swallowing word of tree
at edge of black water, languid as cottonmouth,
lithe as wind pressing through tupelo, cypress,
twisting limbs, shaking loose oak leaves,
he said he could unfold the wafer of silence
stuck on the back of my tongue, in the craw,
stretching open every word, reaching into
every  breathless place, what replaced silence,
respiration of another, it was all true, what he said, 
"if you weren't that girl, you'd never have been on the back
of my bike".

This form vibrates at a frequency of wing and leg, road 
spun out beyond, beyond again, the body you refer to 
could be river or sea, even karst, writhed through 
with erosion, pills dissolving galleries opening 
to aquifer, turning hand to hand, tongue is the wave,
sand flowing, darkness uncontained, I have always 
been of shadow, made briefly flesh, an emulsion of oil 
and acid, lemon sky simmering, once
he said, " ibis are an angle between light
and form, this one liquid, that one whelk", the tree drips 
fat, unctuous gobbets of sap, pine shouldering salt 
wind, thick with midges, mosquitoes, "to love this 
place is to love your own suffering", the same man said,
"forget the river, blacking out is a similar swim" discarding 
trust, resolute breath as room surfaces into focus, 
some thing flutters in honeysuckle on window, 
ceiling fan thwacks thick air into manageable 
chunks of breath, the man kneels over  me, 
"that was awesome, sugar, let's do another."

When you step out of the tree, surface
rushing up as body strikes current  in a boil of air,
 amber bubbling through black water, the form 
shifts, alligator, catfish, fae, a vibration cicada matches, 
a sound of cuttings opening up in pines on the road 
south, he demanded fare at every rest area, 
" mileage is eating you up, sugar, but the destination completes ." We unfurl the shade, 
sprung upon arc and strut, sewn from a soft textile, 
not word, not song, not light, in all its textures, 
not rain, this deluge comes without cloud 
or lightning, this river rises, year after year
coming to full flood, we watch from beneath
our parasols as all the upcountry is swept out to sea,
emptiness tangled, a chorus of gulls, still
I feel his hand within me, a weight of bone and word,
a fragrant column of moonflowers on the dead pine.

Super Deluxe Poetry Showcase re-post on Peach Delphine including a Quick-9 Interview (2021) 

Super Deluxe Poetry Showcase re-post on Peach Delphine including a Quick-9 Interview (2021)

wave is a circular motion

Out of the wound
we come singing
a chorus of wings
swallowed by daylight.

Hand that balances wind
waiting on the surface,
out from the creek, free diving,
descending from surface warmth,
gathering shells,
ascending in one long exhalation,
leaving the squeeze of depth
and coldness behind.

There is a voice in lightless sea,
entering through eye,
answering voice of shadow
buried beneath sternum
coiled about spine, always
we feel the vibrations
in our feet and hands
always we feel the wire
of edge, the burnished arc
of time.

This form has become shadow
of cloud, darkening shallows
for a moment, turtle grass,
blue crabs, bonnethead sharks,
ponderous and seeking tongue
of horse conch, the sea is indifferent
to this body, the multiplicity of forms
has buoyed me out past the Key of memory
into the open Gulf of sapphire
reflected in your eyes.

Surfacing breathless, unfolded

from palms the optic remains unspoken,
fronds shimmering with morning,
a spent shell lifted from shallows,
empty of body,
my own emptiness filled with sea
restlessly seeking reunification
with the greater body
an ebb and flow of so many small voices
in the roots of mangrove,
a clinging of barnacles
to our mothering wood,
leaves of voices lifting
to azure, a different blue
than your eyes reflecting
sea and horizon.

from palms the optic remains unspoken,
fronds shimmering with morning,
a spent shell lifted from shallows,
empty of body,
my own emptiness filled with sea
restlessly seeking reunification
with the greater body
an ebb and flow of so many small voices
in the roots of mangrove,
a clinging of barnacles
to our mothering wood,
leaves of voices lifting
to azure, a different blue
than your eyes reflecting
sea and horizon.

Coyote Song

Not yet dead already ash,
Already invisible, unknowable,
Smell the sea just beyond the pines,
Hear the wind combing out salt Marsh,
Osprey call, mullet get eaten,
Gather up what you can
We will flee with falling light, with coyote song,
Emptiness of waves welcome us, mangrove
Conceal our passing,
Not yet dead, already gone,
Sleep with one foot against the door,
It’s your neighbors that will come for you,
After coffee, eggs and bacon,
What my father never knew,
The sharpest blade
Is for cutting sorrow.

84 (any scar)

Cutting was the secret language
of moon and moss
textured layers of shadow
without day or spark
oaks hold themselves penultimate
ancient in a landscape of erosion
cabbage palms shaggy
with my supplications
sheaves of paperwork
endless recitations of symptoms
a midden of discarded words
what we cast off
wave tumbled round
sea is my only certainty
liquid incandescence
saltier than blood
smoother than any scar

Weight and Shadow

 After Granny passed
 they divided her possessions,
 an aunt took her best cast iron
 painted them with country themes
 for kitchen decorations.
 The three legged camp oven
 I dug out of the trash,
 her favorite gumbo spoon,
 the iron pot,
 potato masher,
 her old knives,
 black handled from fat,
 and the old chipped serving bowl
 she taught me to hone them with,
 on its unglazed foot.
 Pawpaw would say, "if you need a blade sharpened, take it to Mama"
 then I came along,
 flesh made whetstone,
 and taught the knives to sing,
 so many tongues sprouting verdure,
 so much cutting in those pots,
 so much emptiness filled,
 ciphers of transformation incised.
 An unnatural relationship
 is what she called it
 before dragging me in front of Pawpaw,
 "look at the child's arm,
 look at the child's leg"
 and they both wept,
 left unanswered on the linoleum.
 Echoing hollowness,
 how to say broken,
 how to say, "this cut is smoke, this cut is flame, these cuts are sea, this the language of
 wind of emptiness swimming in the grove,
 staring out the screen door
 oranges in bloom, bee heavy,
 sink dripping, mockingbird
 rendering some other bird's song.
 Time does not dissipate
 the weight of their fear
 still heavy in my hands,
 their grief still a shadow
 in every reflection.
 The iron pot still on my stove,
 the spoon in its rest
 and every blade in its place,
 honed effortless,
 glittering book of psalms

Patience of egrets

This shore of conch and mangrove,
Rain, our mother tongue,
Cast down as glyphs beaten into sand,
It requires the patience of egrets
The long glide of pelicans
To endure the loss of your hands
Weight of your body in the warm night
As clock light breathes against the ceiling

This weather of absence, so much moonlight
Contained by scars, delicate
Tracery of struggle, cartography of dreams, your words still summon to this shore,
Congregation of spoonbills gathered for tide

The shyness of alligators,
The call and response of owls,
A world not yet fallen into shadow
The plumage of night folds into palms,
It requires the roots of mangrove
To weather these waves, long fetch
Of sleepless absence,
Each day a shell curving upon itself
The sound of emptiness 
Coiled within my ear, the sand of loss
Pouring from my hands


Ground grows up through us
voice fills the wrist, fingers
feather wind as it turns leaves
reading a text that inches out
to branch tip, leaping into flight.

Form is not shape, not the billet
split from stave, when you bind
these wounds what emerges is not
winged lacerations, when you bind
these words this form remembers flame,
her hands fill with ash of what was not tree.

Pines long for lightning, intimate
embrace of sky, rain is memory
of sea brought back to tongue
of land, the body is ever an uncertainty
the form is frail, words hunger for mouth,
curled in wet darkness, snug beneath
tongue, breathing the light of utterance.

The eye holds horizon in abeyance,
wave is a unit of measure
for absence, those who return by moonlight
hauling the shell up the shelving, past
tideline but not quite to sea oats,
delivering a message of continuity.

We are as interlocked as mangrove
a forest of basketry, canopy of egret
and spoonbill, this not a place of deep roots,
tide pulls moon over Gulf, respiration of sea,
deep breath of azure, clear blue of flame,
breathing as cumulus flowers, lightning
flowing into wave, so many tomorrows buried
above wrack line.

Wind of ash, wind of burning,
some live within blade of day
some within wing of night,
words you leave in a bowl of sky
could be sparks, could be stars,
what sleeps in the marrow
prepares itself to fly, bone riven,
phosphorescence spilling from mouth.

Every Cloud Has a Life of Its Own

Knife dreams of stone and wire
of edge, curling upon itself,
wire, once burnished away, reveals
the sinuous and bright word of cutting,
the long tongue of scar tasting bitter orange,
laceration stained hibiscus flowering,
rain sluiced into the bay, sweltering cauldron,
broth of migrations.

We did not dwell, ephemeral precludes
habitation, residency is the privilege
of those less soluble, less phosphorescent ,
we left no trace, no photographs, not even ash,
mouthfuls of sunset and the shimmy
of gossamer night unfolding  every horizon.

Room could not contain, windows
being more than apertures, points
of egress where we vanished into the breathing
  of sea, iron bellied clouds concealed  as weather,
tide of carrying, tide of shell calling us   by name,
   those once lost, those who could not remain.

Voice at the ear, voice of the cloud,
swirling through palms as wet prairie
opens itself in a supplication of frog singing
lit by lightning, sleepless wet season,
irrigation ditches filling with water
not yet dark, not yet caramelized,
our names flow through creeks, cypress
knees, long plumes of moss licking
the surface as we make our way
out to the flashing jacks, silvered
mullet, tangle of mangrove, leaves
salt frosted and blazing verdure.

Accompanied by gifts, shelf clouds
piling on shore, white feathered egrets,
slivers of lightning, the low glide of pelicans,
we receive more than we can make in return,
we name more than we can remember, endless
recitation against erosion,   we are bound to voice
of tide, of wind, raucous calls of rookeries
where our dreams slowly feather, singing
their way into flight, drawing us from roof
and door, returning us to a world without habitation,
without the naming of place, tides of giving
washing our bones smooth as wave, moon bright,
curling in the  mouth of conch, relentlessly.

Speaking of Home, Beyond the Wind

All thaw and sweltering, not yet
season of moonflower or sphinx moth,
sleeping by day, dreaming of manatees,
buoyant in the spring, blue flow silvered
with schooling jacks, jumping mullet,
boiling white sand, living  by the light of a cold flame,
speaking to the mirrored burning,
lost as we are, on the margins, talking
 to the moon in less dangerous
than conversations with men,  which is more
dangerous  than swimming with alligators,
shadows treading water, elegant logs
with shining eyes, the weather here
 is affectionate full of heat and damp,
thunderstorms brewed up for the taste of coldness.

Lightning licking its way through cypress
and pine, the dog wedges herself
under the table as the cracking approaches,
sizzling despite the rain, gouging out
long strands of bark from the pine next door,
waiting for this, bursts of illumination
wind straining at the oak,  a song
out of darkness, an answering voices,
a defiance of what would deny us
the everyday gentleness and motion
of tide, nightgown soaked, shiver
in my voice, the dog is not amused
at any venturing out in the rain.

Some can't abide tangle and clutter
of thicket, slash of straight line wind
and deadfall, shaggy cabbage palms
or the wicker woven arms and knees
of mangrove, some can't abide
that their god has not yet struck us down,
or caust us from the precipice,
or that we are not afraid, having known
the song of the blade for so long
we have become the flowering
no edge will part from the earth,
the vine that will not fail, the fox
sleeping in the shade of oak and cedar,
a wave rolling out of the Gulf no fence
will restrain, no hand will push down,
no prayer will deny that we are such as we are,
wind in our hair, sea in our eyes,
fragmented and worn, we too will add our shells
to this shore, to the constant arrival of tide and star
of moon and sun, to the constant repetition
of the litany of belonging.


Water, not anguish, lifts oaks
the first steps of flight, yet leaves
cannot overcome the heaviness
of memory, so much despair soaked
into the aquifier drawn forth, hydraulics
of root, trunk and limb, beyond the trees
blanket flower, railroad vine, gulls
facing windward, waves stacked
on sandbar

Brittle is how the tooth cracks,
blade chips on bone, the self shatters,
shards pooling on the floor, resolve
to endure vanishing as cold sets in,
warmth flowing out, body anticipating
  the glide into quietude.

Arc flows through a line
in the sand, it is a far shore, sea
flowing from here to there, a woman
inscribes glyphs in the sand,
what is mending, the cup once broken
becomes new, the shell remade speaks
of a ghost, without hymn or prayer
we are without, unattached against sun and rain.

When you're small
and want to vanish but don't know how,
 there's no way to see how you'll learn
 to turn the pain inside out and eat it
 like an orange or how fifty years will pass,
the hard cold breath of morning cracking
 sternum, memory will come, as stealthy
 as wind as the taste of the sea ever on the tongue
 salt and the swell of wave, tide washing
   through lacerations, scars forming a text,
a chart of what horizon long ago swallowed,
submerged lands.

A drowning that returned you, moon pale,
a form  that cannot leave the sea, facing
oaks and pine, palms open in supplication,
beyond the treeline an orange burning,
a brighter flame filling the sky, a wind darker
than crow, the only tongue between us
being glyphs inscribed in sand, lifted
from the body, unlaced from skin, visible
only to sea and moon, tide erasing
each word before barnacled memory
solidifies the text of departure,
form dissolving into wave. 

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Peach: Sophomore year of high school, Marvell, Milton, Keats.

Q2: Who is your biggest influence today? Peach: Paul Celan, Brigit Pegeen Kelly

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing/art? Peach: Florida, a subtle and secretive landscape heavily exploited with a harsh history.

Q4: Have any travels away from home influenced work/describe? Peach: Wherever you go the world is beautiful, sometimes that tells you where you belong.

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer/poet? Peach: When I was fourteen the local paper started a weekly poetry column, I submitted and was published.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax? Peach: Cooking, gardening, walking, canoeing

Q7: Any recent or upcoming work you’d like to promote? Links to some of Peach’s poetry & more

Poetry Showcase November 2021 from Peach Delphine







Q8: One of your favorite lines from a poem of yours? Peach: – a forest of summoning a sea of renunciation – “How easily I set aflame to this misbegotten body, accelerant ever on my tongue, chine of wind, cutting edge of utterance, ”

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing? Peach: I cooked for many years, you have to learn from everyone, even if it’s not what you would do.

Thanks for having me amongst so many brilliant writers, it’s been a joy and privilege. Stay well and best wishes.

Bio: Peach Delphine is a queer poet from Tampa, Florida. Infatuated with what remains of the undeveloped Gulf coast.

Poetry based on Photography Challenge from Ankh Spice pt 2

(c) Ankh Spice

can you describe this beautiful photo taken by (c)Ankh Spice better than Ankh?

“a thousand miles of grey wind-calved mountains on a veil-world, material for a sorcerer’s armour, fallen bits of storm-sky, shoals of glass sharks” -Ankh Spice

” a seascape – choppy, restless pewter sea in endless unbroken waterpeaks. Long dark hills brood sleeping-dragonry alon gthe horizon, a split of orange dawn/dusk firing down the spine. The rest of the sky is exhaled smoke, beginning to tint around the ember” – Ankh Spice

At journey’s end by staci-lee sherwood

What lies beneath the sea
Hidden from our eyes
Secrets the ocean keeps
Only sharing 
With a few

Do the mermaids sing softly
As  whales swim by
Wrapped in a watery blanket 
Made of ocean tears

Waves crash against rocks
Holding back the tide
When it becomes too fierce
As cool mist 
Calms the night 

As the sun begins to set
Getting ready for its slumber
All the world’s creatures
Begin to settle in 

A mystery awaits
In a far away place
For each to unravel
As we chart our own course
Of self determined destiny

Shall we rush to the land
Or linger in the sea
Time is a precious gift
We unwrap 
With every sunrise

The dawning of a new day
Beckons us to explore
A new era
And new wisdom
As we set our own course

Immersive from Lisa Falshaw

Stand. Still. 
Look out over silken-grey, sea-tumbled bed, hiding
love-depths smoothed and honed
like hand on skin, gentle lapping water,
salt-taste bites granular on lips edged with kisses.

Mountains rise, sky-tipped,
rugged contours flow back to water,
settling to razor-sharp edge,
slices soft-dipped embrace.

Sinking sun hangs low, suspended
over dark-hushed land,
dips gold to treasure of love,
flashes hot sky under foaming clouds,
sets fire to what lies beyond ink shadows,
promises and disappointments
in glowing embers of a dying fire.

Stay here, immerse yourself, my love.

(twitter: @LisaFal)

Water by Bailey Gee

I sit in silence 
Looking at the water
The waves ripple
As they greet me at my feet
For one moment
My mind is blank
I feel relaxed
Are a magical thing
Natures cure

So much depends by Helena McCanney

on gravity.
This thing we cannot see
feel or lick that lurks
every place among
and between each object,
but never shirks its duties,
tugging us towards
each other and bonding us
steadfast to the ground. 

So much depends on gravity
setting the planets
on track around the sun,
our homestar. 
This celestial roulette wheel  
that never loses momentum
keeping the moon in unbroken
perambulation around the Earth.

So much more depends on gravity,
And with the pull of the moon,
the tide lumbers in
and out.

skald by Debbie Strange

this is the way
it comes for you
in the end
a valkyrie sun astride
the mountain's obsidian back
mercury swans and planets
laying claim to the words
of your bioluminescent suffering

(twitter: @debbiestrange)

Upon these waves by Alex Irwin (the ulsterpoet)

Upon these waves
I rest my day,
o'er gilded light
and dwindleday.

And as I dwell
I hear them say,
I wash, I wash,
I wash away

Ampersand by Larissa Reid
(In memoriam from the gannet colony of the Bass Rock, Scotland, 2022)

Gannet banks, copper light infusing wing tips, 
Crisp white arc against a split wide sky 
Stitching elegance from elements. 

Gannet arrows through metal shell of sea 
Folded origami meets slim sleek shoal; 
An ampersand scatter of mackerel. 

Gannet pulls up and out of water’s density,
To soak in laced air, 
The sea oscillates in her wake.

(Twitter: @Ammonites_Stars)

Untitled piece by Sidney Mansueto

A thousand roaring waves roll into 
A void of deep passion with no voice
To be heard and seen, hiding with fear.
Fear drowns the voice, lessening its truth
Making waves in the name of fictional stories
That make the real story lifeless. 
Something as beautiful as an ocean
Is shaking with thunder, a storm to erupt
Yet nothing can stand still,
only can be if it chooses to stand against fear. 

Poetry based on photography Challenge from Ankh Spice pt. 1 

Poetry from Ankh Spice : Reclaiming the birdboy

Holiday Interlude by Ankh Spice from Avalanches in Poetry Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen 

5 Poems by Ankh Spice : That which can be made visible, Hold the river, Feeding the koi, Act like you were never for sale, & Hathor’s gift 

A Quicksilver Trilling by David L O’Nan    : Poetry & Writing style lyrics inspired by Dylan 

Poem by David L O’Nan Writing Suicide Notes in the Bluebird 

Poems by Peach Delphine: Every Cloud Has Life of Its Own & Speaking of Home, Beyond the Wind, Flat