Saturday, June 27, 2009

Approaching Sophia's Window

David Anderson, Lincoln

—David Anderson

As motionless as a lizard in the sun

he waited, watched the landscape rinse in light.

He wanted to shape in paint the chameleons

of space and time on the white

canvas—to twist into the scene those squinting sprites
that darted from place to place—to not shun
the truth of nature—to make the canvas right

he sat as motionless as a lizard in the sun.

One smear of yellow here, next to a run

of umber green, a streak of black upright

over ecru met his criterion.
He waited, watched the landscape rinse in light.

Rather to smash a canvas than to invent a mite
of color, he waited for the moment's benison
to divulge itself. He wrenched to himself the right
to know—to shape in paint the chameleon

of nature. Studies begun he left undone—

others, tossed. From Sainte-Victoire, whose heights

all Aix could view, he pulled and wrung
both space and time onto the white

canvas. In it Aix and the valley collapse in our sight,
the woods recede, coalesce, overrun
the town, where solid houses slant, slip, and invite

our eyes beyond them to the silver mountain,
no longer motionless in the sun.

(Originally published in Time of Singing)


Thanks, David! David Anderson was raised on Rocky Dell Orchard near Newcastle, California, in Placer County’s Loomis Basin. As a librarian he worked for the State of California and the University of California, Davis. In his retirement, he returned to his first love, writing. His poems have appeared in Brevities, Epiphany, Liturgy, Rattlesnake Review, and Time of Singing. His poems have placed in the 2006 and 2007 Sierra Foothills Poetry Contests, the 2007 International Dancing Poetry Contest, and the 2008 Ina Coolbrith Circle poetry contest. Presently, his mentor is Jim Moore. David confesses that the questions Jim asks him and the exercises proposed are not simple and often lead to a self-examination that’s well beyond Know Thyself! A further sample of his poems is available on his website (named for the Rocky Dell Orchard),

Our apologies to David for a Snake Snafu: his poems were published in Rattlesnake Review #21 (the March, 2009 issue) under DONALD Anderson's name. Ouch. We shall make it up to David, over the years........

David is one of the Lincoln poets. Don't forget about their contest; the deadline isn't too far away:

Fifth Annual "Voices of Lincoln" Poetry Contest

The Poets Club of Lincoln presents its poetry contest for 2009, sponsored by The Lincoln Library and Friends of the Lincoln Library. 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners
selected in each contest category! Five categories include: "Lincoln in 2025," "Love and Life," "Heroes," "Memories" and "Science and Technology." Each poet may submit 3 poems, no more than one in three of the five contest categories. Poems may be rhyme, free verse, Haiku or other accepted poetry forms and of any length, up to a maximum of 30 lines. Young Poets, 18-years of age or under, are encouraged to submit poems and will compete in a special “Young Poets” category. All poems must be received by August 1; early submissions are appreciated. The top three winners in each category will be contacted by phone. Entry Forms and Contest Rules are available at the Lincoln Carnegie Library Check-Out Desk, the Twelve Bridges Library Check-Out Desk and can be downloaded from the following websites: and Winners will be asked to submit their poems electronically (by e-mail attachment, using “poem name.doc” format) to Winners will read their poems on October 11, 2009 at the Voices of Lincoln event to be held from 3-5 PM, Twelve Bridges Library (Willow Room), 485 Twelve Bridges Drive, Lincoln, CA. Winners also will be presented with a commemorative chapbook of the winning poems.


Call For Submissions: Are you Canadian?

Canuckifornia, an anthology of Canadian writings about California, seeks short stories, essays (personal or academic) and/or poems (or groups of up to 10 poems). Contributors should be natives of Canada, former or current Canadian citizens, or former or current permanent residents of Canada. The purpose of this collection is to display a range of Canadian reactions to (and appropriations of) the myths and realities of California, a state where many expatriates have gathered. Canadians have migrated to the Golden State to pursue careers in the entertainment industry, Silicon Valley, academia and many other fields, and they have brought their own sensibilities to bear on the so-called “Golden State.” At the same time, California’s laid-back image, individualistic ethos and new mixture of ethnic influences have forced many Canadians to confront and question their own approach to life, both on the professional and the personal levels. Yet California’s high cultural profile in North America means that no Canadian with any degree of interest in life abroad can have failed to form a vivid impression of its influence. Thus contributors need not have resided in (or even visited) California to be considered. Submissions or questions may be sent via regular mail to Roan Press, P.O. Box 160406, Sacramento, CA 95816 (USA) or via email to Submissions received by Jan. 1, 2010, will be considered for inclusion. The collection will be edited by Dr. Bradley Buchanan, Associate Professor of English at California State University Sacramento. Professor Buchanan is a native of Windsor, Ontario.


—David Anderson

Mahalia sings above the clef those few notes

with a swell and a sigh, and that is all,

and between those few notes you fall

into a place that floats

past time, and all that it connotes,

secure, within the sanctuary's walls.
When Mahalia sings above the clef those few notes

with a swell and a sigh, and that is all,

what breathes in her chest, her throat

that stitches so broad a waterfall,

so rhythmic, yet random, a bounce? This freefall

holds us in the air like dust motes,

when Mahalia sings above the clef those few notes.

(Originally published in
Time of Singing and
online at Placer Poetry Submissions,



—David Anderson

Shrouded in a plastic envelope

the flag with fifty stars once covered his coffin,

covered the boy, the man who did not return.

His mother and his fiancée, like this flag,

hang upon a peg in time.

They wait for grief to rise, to knot, and to unravel.

The flag waits, the decision pends

whether it will unfurl in the wind

or be closeted, his memento mori.

(Originally published in Medusa’s Kitchen

and in
Time of Singing)


While we're correcting things, Ann Privateer sent us this nummy picture of a chocolate bunny (notice missing feet), which we posted last week, but somehow the poem that accompanied it didn't make it through cyberspace. So here they both are:

Photo by Ann Privateer, Davis

—Ann Privateer

a mouse ate the Easter Bunny’s
chocolate feet, it could have been
a rat, long hot days, people
up late, windows left open,
little rest for street rodents
when the mournful sexy sashay
of a saxophone, the rolling beat
from a drum waft upon air
like staccato stairs from the street,
rhythms that invade skin, that hunger
for something wrapped in tin foil or
for another shower, to walk off the night,
away from the germinating hum and buzz
of insects playing tunes.


Today's LittleNip(s):

—David Anderson

no breeze in the straits

coastal fog coalesces

white cherry blossoms


—David Anderson

As his books, his fame, and cataracts grew,
Borges spoke of his sense of The Art: Speak only

true words. As you approach Sophia’s window,
Go slow. Too many words, is no song. Permit
each breath its speech against silence.



SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:

NEW FOR JUNE: Walt Whitman Orders a Cheeseburger, a rattlechap by Bob Stanley; Mandorla: A Prelude; a littlesnake broadside from frank andrick; and a brand-new issue of Rattlesnake Review! All at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento.

COMING FOR SUMMER: There will be no rattle-read in July, while the Snake enjoys a little summer hibernation. (Stay current on Sacramento poetry, though, by way of Medusa's Kitchen.) Then join us Weds., August 12 to celebrate Joyce Odam’s birthday month with two new books from her: a collection of prose poems (illustrated by Charlotte Vincent) and Rattlesnake LittleBook #2 (Noir Love). That’s at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, 7:30 PM. Free!

RATTLESNAKE REVIEW: Issue #22 is now available (free) at The Book Collector, or send me four bux and I'll mail you one. Or you can order copies of current or past issues through Contributor and subscription copies will go into the mail this week and next. Deadline is August 15 for RR23: 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 add all contact info, including snail address. Meanwhile, the snakes of the on-going Medusa are always hungry; keep that poetry comin', rain or shine! Just let us know if your submission is for the Review or for Medusa, or for either one, and please—only one submission packet per issue of the quarterly Review. (More info at

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!

WTF!: The second issue of WTF, the free quarterly journal from Poetry Unplugged at Luna's Cafe that is edited by frank andrick, is now available at The Book Collector or through, or send me two bux and I'll mail you one. Next deadline, for Issue #3, is July 15. Submission guidelines are the same as for the Snake, but send your poems, photos, smallish art or prose pieces (500 words or less) to (attachments preferred) or, if you’re snailing, to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726 (clearly marked for WTF). And be forewarned: this publication is for adults only, so you must be over 18 years of age to submit. (More info at

Medusa's Weekly Menu:

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

Monday: Weekly NorCal poetry calendar

Tuesday: 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.