Thursday, February 26, 2009

Everything That Breathes

Photo by Stephani Schaefer, Los Molinos


—B.L. Kennedy, Sacramento

Well, I guess you need a ball to throw at something
From which it will bounce and maybe

Hit something or someone
Walls are good
So are windows

You can throw balls at rocks and trees
I once threw a ball at some running

Dinglehumps and Simpooginks

Once I pick-up a dead bat
To catch some vision, hit well

Above my head, out
There far out
There in the center of the world

Where the print is tiny
Too tiny to read between your toes

So one day, I invented a game
With a belly full o' wine and giggles
I walked away

To fart!


—B.L. Kennedy

I think of Lenny Bruce
Of his sacrifice
For freedom of language
And the consistency
Of that freedom

I show my young lover
A documentary of his life
Swear to Tell the Truth
She cries

It is so unfair
The way he was treated
I think of her generation
As closed down
Closed-minded to such issues

As freedom and equal rights
Of all things which concern themselves
With language, sex, and religion
I tell her that
Lenny Bruce is my saint

How, like him, I suffered the attack
Of the censors and their mind police
How once in Davis, California
I was pulled from the stage
Under cries of pornography and
Filth talk not poetry

The host screamed as he pulled at my arm
Holding a poem set on fire
By the candle near the podium
At which I read

That is an interesting story
My young lover tells me but,
Things are different now
Young people will not look at you
With serious eyes
They only see an old man

I think of Lenny Bruce
The Social Critic and I too cry without tears


Tonight at Luna's:

Tonight at 8 PM, Poetry Unplugged presents Noel Kroeplin, Lytton Bell, V.S. Chochezi and Sandy Thomas, hosted by B.L. Kennedy. Open mic before/after. Luna’s Café, 1414 16th St., Sac. Info: 441-3931 or Free.


B.L.'s Drive-Bys: A Micro-Review from B.L. Kennedy:

by Pris Campbell
LRB #59
Lummox Press
POBox 5301
San Pedro, CA 90733
30pp, chapbook, $5.00

I feel indifferent about Hesitant Commitments. Not that the poetry collected in this slim chapbook is good, bad, or just there. Not that I don’t think the poet Pris Campbell hasn’t done a fine job in rendering the manuscript. It’s nothing like that…it’s just that I feel indifferent. Some of the poems collected here work for me (like the title poem, “I Love”), and some don’t. Can I, in all truth, recommend this chapbook? The answer is yes. All in all, we have a nice read. So, if you have an extra $5, order it from Lummox Press. But, for me, well, I still want to see more from the author.

—B.L. Kennedy, Reviewer-in-Residence


—Tom Goff, Carmichael

Am I the empty room
that might signify my life,

positing this space useful-trim or
wasted-vacant as these

bare floorboards, one-note
gooseflesh walls, or—god help me—

popcorn ceiling? I have decided:
I will just squat, cubic, solo,

tacit. If I’m anything, it’s window,
poorly glaziered, so that the odd

plane or jouncing truck rattles,
pane, frame and latch.

I wait, I watch, I see. I take
no responsibility for what light

does after it pierces,
and passes.

(*See last Tueday's Seed of the Week)

—Mitz Sackman, Murphys

Yellow and green glass vase
Echoes of spring daffodils
Sits alone
In a white-framed window
At peace with the role
Of waiting in emptiness
Outside daffodils
Stagger up from the ground
Beaten by recent rains
No buds yet
The vase sits waiting
For the daffodils
To experience fullness
Now empty but at peace
In its place


—B.L. Kennedy

So, you appear at my door
Looking for some
God to touch

The essence of your soul
You ask

“Can I spend the night?”


—B.L. Kennedy

—For Genelle—

Not really but,
If I use the other eyes
I can see

You like a dream
You stand naked and plain to my vision

With fishbone hips
And horsetail pubis

With fire and shadows
In dark corners of the world
Where all things nest

In the mouth of saxophones
And brass beds
Where people die on trains

Die on trains like
Little children
Who are lost in the neverland of nowhere

I see you talking to exotic birds
With windpipe lips
And pill breath

I see you spread-legged birthing
Songs for dead cats
And worlds long ago wasted
Drowned in the urine of dream

I drink a Coca-Cola
Laugh at the ballet of things between
Your thighs

And time is not here today
Only my eyes spy
These passions of display

I see you like a dream


Today's LittleNip:

Everything that breathes will be eaten.

—Stephen Dobyns



SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:

Rattlesnake Review: The latest issue (RR20) is currently available at The Book Collector, or send me four bux and I'll mail you one. Deadline for RR21 was Feb. 15; the issue will appear in mid-March. Next deadline is May 15 for RR22: send 3-5 poems, smallish art pieces and/or photos (no bio, no cover letter, no simultaneous submissions or previously-published poems) to or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. E-mail attachments are preferred, but be sure to include all contact info, including snail address. Meanwhile, the snakes of Medusa are always hungry; let us know if your submission is for the Review or for Medusa, or for either one.

Also available (free): littlesnake broadside #46: Snake Secrets: Getting Your Poetry Published in Rattlesnake Press (and lots of other places, besides!): A compendium of ideas for brushing up on your submissions process so as to make editors everywhere more happy, thereby increasing the likelihood of getting your poetry published. Pick up a copy at The Book Collector or write to me and I'll send you one. Free!

New for February: Now available! A new rattlechap from Sacramento's Poet Laureate, Julia Connor (Oar); a free littlesnake broadside from Josh Fernandez (In The End, It’s A Worthless Machine); and the premiere of our new Rattlesnake Reprints, featuring The Dimensions of the Morning by D.R. Wagner, which was first published by Black Rabbit Press in 1969. Available from the poets or at The Book Collector (1008 24th St., Sacramento) or (soon) from

WTF is out!

Be sure to stop by The Book Collector to pick up your free copy of Rattlesnake Press's latest spawn, WTF—our new quarterly journal which premiered last night in a rousing event hosted by frank andrick which ran into the wee hours at Luna's Cafe. WTF #1 features 22 poets, artists and photogs from the Poetry Unplugged scene; next deadline is April 15 ( day!). Guidelines are pretty much the same as the RR ones listed below, except that frank wants three poems (instead of 3-5), and you must be over 18 to submit. Send poems, artwork, and photos to or the RPress snail address. If you can't get to The Book Collector, send me two bux and I'll mail you one, or I suspect they're available at Luna's.

What's the difference between Rattlesnake Review and WTF? The over-18 thing should give you a clue.
WTF is leaner (smaller), meaner, and more geared to the "Luna's voice", if there is such a thing—and if you ever go to Poetry Unplugged on Thursday nights at Luna's Cafe, 1414 16th St., Sacramento, you'll see what I mean. Its material also tends to be more X-rated. The Review is big and fat, has articles and other features, and represents a wide variety of styles and genres. But if you're over 18, you're welcome to submit to either one. I edit the Review; frank andrick edits WTF.

Coming in March: On Wednesday, March 11, Rattlesnake Press will be releasing a new chapbook from Norma Kohout (All Aboard); a littlesnake broadside from Patricia Hickerson (At Grail Castle Hotel); and a new issue of Rattlesnake Review (the Snake turns 21)! Join us at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, 7:30. Refreshments and a read-around will follow; bring your own poems or somebody else's.

Medusa's Weekly Menu:

(Contributors are welcome to cook up something for any and all of these!)

Monday: Weekly NorCal poetry calendar

Seed of the Week: Tuesday is Medusa's day to post poetry triggers such as quotes, forms, photos, memories, jokes—whatever might tickle somebody's muse. Pick up the gauntlet and send in your poetic results; and don't be shy about sending in your own triggers, too! All poems will be posted and a few of them will go into Medusa's Corner of each Rattlesnake Review. Send your work to or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No deadline for SOWs; respond today, tomorrow, or whenever the muse arrives. (Print 'em out, maybe, save 'em for a dry spell?) When you send us work, though, just let us know which "seed" it was that inspired you.

Wednesday (sometimes, or any other day!): HandyStuff Quickies: Resources for the poet, including whatever helps ease the pain of writing and/or publishing: favorite journals to read and/or submit to; books, etc., about writing; organizational tools—you know—HandyStuff! Tell us about your favorite tools.

Thursday: B.L.'s Drive-Bys: Micro-reviews by our irreverent Reviewer-in-Residence, B.L. Kennedy.
Send books, CDs, DVDs, etc. to him for possible review (either as a Drive-By or in future issues of Rattlesnake Review) at P.O. Box 160664, Sacramento, CA 95816.

Friday: NorCal weekend poetry calendar

Daily (except Sunday): LittleNips: SnakeFood for the Poetic Soul: Daily munchables for poetic thought, including short paragraphs, quotes, wonky words, silliness, little-known poetry/poet facts, and other inspiration—yet another way to feed our ravenous poetic souls.

And poetry! Every day, poetry from writers near and far and in-between! The Snakes of Medusa are always hungry.......!


Medusa encourages poets of all ilk and ages to send their POETRY, PHOTOS and ART, as well as announcements of Northern California poetry events, to (or snail ‘em to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726) for posting on this daily Snake blog. Rights remain with the poets. Previously-published poems are okay for Medusa’s Kitchen, as long as you own the rights. (Please cite publication.) Medusa cannot vouch for the moral fiber of other publications, contests, etc. that she lists, however, so submit to them at your own risk. For more info about the Snake Empire, including guidelines for submitting to or obtaining our publications, click on the link to the right of this column: Rattlesnake Press ( And be sure to sign up for Snakebytes, our monthly e-newsletter that will keep you up-to-date on all our ophidian chicanery.