Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sometimes My Heart Pushes My Ribs by Ellen Kennedy

Sometimes My Heart Pushes My Ribs
by Ellen Kennedy
Copyright 2009
Muumuu House - Poetry/short stories
64 pages

Woody Allen and Ned Vizzini exit an apartment building across from the Trump Building. A Bob's Big Boy restaurant walks by them and stops in the middle of the intersection by the Wall St. train stations. Due to a drop in tourism after 9/11 the state issued the installment of a walking Bob's Big Boy restaurant that can move at different speeds and directions throughout the city. Over time, it has become severely depressed and bored with life, which occasionally leads it to unexpectedly walk into the Hudson River and sit there for days, drowning all customers and employees. Woody Allen and Ned Vizzini like the Bob's Big Boy. They stop to look at it for a moment and then continue down into the Wall St. train station.

--from "Eoody Mobby"

6-word review of Sometimes My Heart Pushes My Ribs: Wacky free verse, sex, hamsters, lemons

Actually, I don't like that 6-word review. I'm leaving it, though, because it's mostly true. There's a bit of repetition when it comes to sex, hamsters and lemons. Interesting.

Sometimes My Heart Pushes My Ribs
is a very slim volume of free-verse poetry with a couple of short stories. The Fanzine refers to Woody Allen (in "Eoody Mobby") as "One of Kennedy's puppet sexual voodoo dolls." Oh. Okay, that makes sense. "Eoody Mobby" is a strange opener to the little book, but I was oddly drawn to that description of the walking Bob's Big Boy. From there, the story gets even more bizarre with a bit of kinky sex, some disgusting business with lemons and general weirdness I'd be hard put to describe. I wasn't sure if I'd make it through the book, but then it switched to Kennedy's poetry. I definitely like her poetry better than her short stories.

Now, I'll be honest . . . I don't know the first thing about poetry. I only know what I like and what I don't. And, I like Ellen Kennedy's poetry. I'm making an assumption by calling it "free verse". I think that's correct, but don't quote me on that. What's really exceptional about Kennedy's poetry is that it's a little on the addictive side and very spirited. She has this odd way of making you want to run for a pencil so that you can imitate her style. Absolutely everything suddenly becomes material. Sometimes Kennedy made me smile. Occasionally I felt like "I don't get it," but in general I just didn't want to put the book down.

Here's a random example:


I wish my life consisted only of
riding my bike with you
down a giant hill that never stopped
while listening to music
with no one else around
in the middle of nothing,
except a few shiny and relaxing lights above in the sky
like stars but a little brighter
and more orange

See what I mean?

Just don't leave this book lying around for the kids to read. It's definitely very adult. I didn't like the sex bits, but I never do like sex scenes in any form so that's nothing unusual. Graphic, gross and detailed are not my thing. I like generalities and I could really wrap my mind around poems like "Orange", "No One Cares About Poetry" and "Poem" (which is almost sad in a funny way). This one's going on the keeper shelf. I'm sure I'll reread my favorites repeatedly.


  1. Anonymous7:30 AM

    Whacky?! quirky, even?

  2. Care,

    Definitely quirky, sometimes wacky but not always. :)

  3. Well, I'm not sure I'd like the short stories all that much either, but that taste of her poetry has me intrigued for sure! Thanks for the review...I'd never heard of Ellen Kennedy before.

  4. Debi,

    I believe I read that Ellen Kennedy is just 20 years old. So, she's rather a new chick on the block.

  5. I like the poem, Orange, that you printed. The clip from the short story seemed, odd, kind of Roald Dahl-ish.

    Glad you stuck with it to get to the poetry, it seems to have caught your interest :)

  6. Dawn,

    Isn't that great? I'm glad I stuck it out, too. Once I got into the poetry, it was really kind of inspiring.

    I wouldn't have thought to compare that portion to Roald Dahl, but I think . . . yep. Kind of wild and wacky but just enough to make you wonder if it could be done. LOL


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