Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Toad Hole

Down in the toad hole
Is a good place to breathe,
Drawing in the strong darkness,
Living through the skin,
Celebrating the patient,
As if
It was always meant to be …

This place
Is a day past part way but
Not too far gone,
Just a bit removed,
Quantum slow,
Snowfall silent,
It is a vantage
From which both safety and uncertainty
Can be known.
It is a reptilian place,
A place to hunker-down.


Friday, December 18, 2015

This One’s for You

Ear ring guy pops open
the first Bud of the day from the 12 pack
On the trunk of a beat up Volvo
No pretense here
Beginning the numb down
At 10:15 AM.

John Walker and Sons and I are
Watching across the parking lot
Witnesses to a steady stream of congregants
Sacramentally tampering down the brewing tempest
Brown bags in hand
We keep our doubts and fears mostly private this morning
Except for our soft cries and
Our silent anguishes
As we wait vainly for our savior to arrive.
I hear he is coming
Sometime later this month...
Meanwhile there is always Bud.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015


The sycamores come earthward soon
They say goodbye and tawny down
They are not shy nor do they tease.
Their story is of letting go
Of what was once flushed bright in green
They give up and accept their change.
The maples hang by threads up high
As if to say “just one more day.”
And so I am amused by them
Turning red, then brown, then down
These sunsets beckon us goodbye
Once blushed against the cobalt sky
Their story is of holding on
Fearful of the days to come.
The beech persists throughout the year
They carve their names upon the heart
Both green and brown are seen above
They charm us with their dignity
Leaves rattle against the wind and cold
Their story is so often told
New life is born out of the old
By holding tight then letting go.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015


The grass nods and sways
Bent by the plump pendulums of their prosperity

And small birds ride and forage
Springing and swaying at the seeded ends.
They fill the sky as they wing about,
More today
Than yesterday
They listen as they feed
To the Katydid's crescendos
They too gorge on the bounty
And sing their boundary song:
Soon, soon they signal
Of times coming when days will grow short
Can you hear it too?

Can you see the change in the light?
Golden early morning glimmers 
Off the dew draped orbs

photo by Virginia Levasseur

Spiders harvesting an orgy of insects
Eating the fat plump bodies, leaving
The stiff delicate wings to decorate their webs,
A warning few seem to heed.

All is taken as it is given
All living while they may,
As sweet ripeness fill guts
Energizing for their long journeys...

Can you smell the richness
Just before the rot?

The change will surely come
Soon enough,
Turn, turn
Soon enough.

Sunday, August 23, 2015


 Life or death
good and bad
pendulum swings
arcing wide
and so judgmentally
we arbitrate
Plowing through
the drifts of our days
parting reality into
left and right
this way and that
and faulting.

Seems a bit of a curse
says I,
Who has no one else
to blame.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Soap Bubbles

I'm probably the only one at this moment
who is thinking of Ernie.
Of the 7 billion humans who awake to see this day
I am the one;
The perpetuator
The bearer of memories
The transmitter of genes.

It is said that after you are dead
you live on in the memories
and the mind wanderings of those who loved you
-A kind and selfish hope-
as all of us will surely follow him.
But in a generation or two
these ties will wear thin
Stretched, with the elastic that draws us
growing weaker and slacked
And then finally

So then perhaps we are truly free
of all that has bound us to our life,
Our human form, such a temporary state:
We are soap bubbles rising
straining to exist
then at last
failing and fading and finally
invisible to the eye and mind and heart,
but never truly gone.

Monday, June 29, 2015


We meet at the edge Honu,
Old ones who have just now crossed paths.
You have roamed the ocean
  many days and years
  swam and swam...
  so what do you know, Kumu?
-I watch and wait
  and smile-
To be strong and quiet and steady?
Such a marvel.
And to meet today for a lunch:
You some shoreline algae
Me an apple banana.
Both with sunshine on our backs
Both with our feet in the water.

What I know of you Honu,
  of your struggles and triumphs,
  is because you have the courage and the will
  to come to this shore
  and to share your wisdom and way.
-Sometimes you rest quietly in the warm sun
-Sometimes you paddle strong against the tide
and storms
-Sometimes you move with the greater flow.

I know of these ways too Honu,
And to see you today
  shows me this truth,
  reminds me of these lessons,
  refreshes me,
As I wait and watch and smile.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Podcasts in the Dark

Waking in the cold and dark
nudged from sleep by the rain
which drums for a measure or two
its part well rehearsed
and worth a listen
if ever I should so choose,
but not tonight
there is no comfort in this storm
and being alone
and suddenly awakened from a queer dream
I put the buds of the music player into my ears
looking for comfort and companionship
and the relative safety of stranger's voices
because their distant words can refocus my thoughts
lull me
distract me into a better place
or at least guide me somewhere safe from mid-night thoughts
which spin an anxious fabric
and then as quickly unravel
into the fog of fear
found too easily in regretful dreams looking back
and night visions searching blindly into some dim future.

I hear the podcast voices talking and telling their stories
of how they came to be themselves
through journeys of gender, color, location, and fate
and so I think
-prompted by their examples
 on this soon so sleepless night-
of my tale
of things that I have said to others and myself
trying to explain
hoping to lay easy claim to my own identity
the compilation of my times, thoughts, and experiences
of what I chose for myself
what I declined
and others things that were forced upon me
All of it
the will and the way
the making of a man.

And sometimes I offer a simple glimpse
to others
by explaining
Where I live and where home truly is
Noting the differences between my residence
and my roots
revealing a little
and maybe at the same time saying nothing much
a small confession to all that listen
wanting for both you and me
to know some of it
the who I am
and how I got to be this way
and why it matters;
it is both a game of show and tell
and hide and seek.

And as my mind wanders on the edge of returning to sleep
I am somehow reminded of standing on the January ice
of a nearby beaver pond
Solid and almost clear as glass
Looking down
and knowing there is more there than can be seen
below the cold transparent surface
that there is in the depth
murk churning
dormant and potential
strata that has issued from above in the years past
and decades before
filtering down and now below
mostly hidden
waiting to be revealed
-or not-
knowing that I may someday celebrate the dragonflies of spring
witness the methane bubbles rise
and revel in the frogs, the turtles, the watery minutia
by probing the mud and mire
looking closely
and perhaps even to sculpt the muck into something new
while looking closely to learn the secreted ways of the past
and how it has made today
this day
more fearfully
out of habit and instinct
I may just shiver and glance away
staying at some safe distance
cautiously peering through the scratch-glass lens
surviving in the neutrality found in the late gray day
leaving it all
well enough alone.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Just Fine

The recipe:
Early on a slow morning
  let's say 7 AM,
Seasoned by Spring,
  it is still new,
The sun dancing rainbows on the
  wooden floor,
A cup of steaming coffee
  sweetened with smoky dark chocolate,
Two slices of multi-grain toast
  crispy, warm, buttered
  with a drizzle of honey
  dusted with twinklings of kosher salt,
A rocking chair near the open window
  a morning breeze delivering
  the chants of nearby birds,
On time.
Just fine.

Thursday, April 16, 2015


There is something to waking up slowly
into the sunshine
like a garden bound bumble bee
at first
too cold and stiff to stir.

It is a soulful rise
a fire rekindled
a reunion with our ancient source
massaging deep within the cells and tissues
soaking into our very souls
pleasing the ancestral memory through light
through heat
through energy that has always been
that warmed a billion bees to life
and grew untold cells of green glory.

Stepping into the light
saluting the new day
we are gifted with the power,
and so we are the power.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Finish Lines

“Finish lines”
It says so on this napkin
And what in fact does it mean?
I mean at one moment I wrote it, me,
With hopes and promises perhaps
to write more
And now it threatens to be an empty promise
A false step
and yet another stumble.

I have had these dreams too,
Fully formed and contrived
Curious, colorful
And in my slumber
I bookmark them
To remember in the morning
to ponder,
for they are me too,
Only to find that what once was
so bold so brilliant
Has faded into vapor with the dawn
crumbled and spent
until there is no clear memory at all
no recall
just the empty space where something
or something might have been.
A thought, an idea
that would have journeyed somewhere
and I would have followed it
absorbed in the world of words
A page or two
fully fleshed
Signed and sealed
My moment of Zen.

There must be a lesson
Strike while the napkin is hot?

I wonder where I might have gone
if things had been different.

At the Core

It may start as white,
complex and crystalline hexagons,
nuclei of salt or soot
reaching such variety and number
that if we all counted these frozen forms we
could never reach such a sum.

And just below these cold layers
is the stiff brown and gray
soil that keeps its secrets close,
but perhaps even at this late date
we might learn to see,
even upon the day that we add to it
our broken lives
transitioning from green and red
as it slumps
and molders
and down it goes
so it goes
a metamorphosis
to the world primal and
fundamental and foundational
where no further questions
are needed
or asked
and all is understood
and stands at the core once more.

There is relief to be found
In the things we may never know.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Oh Sh*t!

Oh Sh*t!

It's a noun, it's a verb, it's an interjection! What-a word! Spanning the globe, crossing the ages!

And as we all know it comes by various names...I prefer to call it poop. Do-do is too-too silly, crap too harsh and binding, excrement too technical, too ceremonial, and brown trout...well, just way too funny! Yes, so I prefer poop; a nice round word, so very descriptive, almost onomatopoeia poetry, just the way it ought to be.

It seems to be the topic of many ages: When very young, it is a function moderated and congratulated. When a teen, at least for boys, it is a marvel, a moving accomplishment, the term often accompanied by the adjectives: massive, awesome, huge, tremendous, etc. When elderly, we marvel once more at these passages, triumphantly, satisfied, and relieved!

And if you can't, what a bind, such a shame ,and sometimes just a pain in the ass. My doctor is concerned enough to have a chart with graphics of poop, instructing: Please circle the picture that looks like yours. I guess drawing your own self portrait would be out of the question.

I eat oatmeal often. High in fiber, so it is an easy-in easy-out meal. Sort of a soft serve of sorts. Easy on the moving parts too!

Pondering poop, I wonder: why is it held in such high disregard?

The smell? Well there is that, pwew! The nose knows, so watch your step.

Night soil's bad reputation of harboring pathogens means that it may be unhealthy. But maybe better food would give us better health? What we need to grow these foods is some good, cheap, readily available fertilizer...oh ya... Nature calls (she never texts) so don't let the good stuff go to waste.

And taking a poop ( or leaving it more precisely) is such a leveling human event. As the book says, everyone poops!

The event can take place in a quiet moment, (except for the rumbles), and in a quiet location. Meditative and solitary, you might just find yourself with a few personal minutes. Maybe read, write, or just look out a window at the view. Sitting on your throne you reign supreme, you are king or queen for the day!

I have a Lovable Loo, which means I poop in a bucket in a box. Later it becomes composts. Then when the fungi and bacteria and worms and larvae have had their way, it goes back onto the ground, nice and brown, to fertilize the trees and shrubs. Seems right doesn't it? Waste not want not. And why spoil five gallons of perfectly good water just to flush it away to … ? I prefer to drink water. Leave it to the fish to poop in the water...I'll give my poop back to the earth. I've never seen a dog or cat or horse or goat poop in a pond. And we all know where the bears go. Poop does seem destined to end there, quiet naturally, with just a little help and forethought. Mammalian manure, ya know? Where is this mythical land of away anyway? Away from me...

So with just a little more time and effort, I become responsible for my doings. Shouldn't we all be? Isn't there a Hawaiian word, poo-liana? Taking care of business? Some people just don't seem to give a shit.

How about you?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Forgive and forgot or so it goes
Well not really forgot
'cause everyone knows
More like the night before the project is due
Been there, done that...haven't you?
There are still some moments to scribble, right?
So late into this rainy night,
Is that a rooster I hear crow?
Is there still time? It must be so!
To concoct this cockamamie rhyme
Oh my god look at the time!
I will get to it, no doubt for sure
Get to it, get to it, I will endure!
But first there are things to do I must,
Get done, accomplish, you too I trust?
(Please insert your own list here:)
Things I “need to” or so I fear
Like sweeping the floors and oiling the doors
The list grows long of endless chores.
And time keeps on
And who do I think I'm

Call the bomb squad
I'm about to blow!
Red wire, green wire, maybe yellow?
Keystroke one
then keystroke two,
Look at me
without a clue.
I throw my fate upon the court
A fool's refuge of last resort
And ask of you if it seems fair
To forgive my poem of such despair?

-Paul Sanderson
February, 2015

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Push and Pull

I am invited to a party,
Will I go?
How will I fit
Who will I know
What will I do,
What will I do?!
Stand awkwardly
Joke defensively
Drink medicinally?
I think
too much,
Will I look good/bad
Will I over commit
Or under achieve?
Will it haunt me
When I view the highlight reel?
And will I pass the final judging:
My clothes
My hair
My breath
My humor
My intelligence
My god!
Shall I be the recipient of
My self-issued blue ribbon,
Or the much dreaded
Certificate of participation?

Monday, February 2, 2015

Outside Dog, Now in a Convenient Poem Form!

Saw just his head
Ears flopped
As he popped up above the road horizon
A canine whack-a-mole
Playing peek-a-boo.
He snatched a look of me
Talking on the phone in my truck by the roadside
Then he dropped back out of sight
on this Groundhog Day
(Although living in Hawaii,
He'll never see Punxsutawney Phil)
Maybe a shadowy mongoose predicting
Six more weeks of paradise?
A few minutes later
He runs the fence line fast and free:
I get a “woof”
He gets a smile,
His to-do list seems short,
Mine now has dog biscuits
At the top
With three stars.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Turnips and Marigolds

If you want glory in your garden plant marigolds.
You will only have to sow the seed once likely
and leave the rest up to the sun and showers and soil
they will enthusiastically volunteer their lives and loveliness
they are not subtle these common characters
they push their faces up towards yours
and scream out
(for those who care to listen)
“Love me!”
And why not?
It's a fair trade. You'll get your monies worth, and more.

In my garden the little bees,
mere insect motes,
tickle the seeds out of the blossoms.
When dried you might spread them again
or simply let their nature and wisdom take charge.
They know well what to do
Their course well charted.

The seeds come bountifully, just
Stick a few dried blossoms in you pockets
and drop them here
hand them there...
mail them to a distant friend
and share!
as you are shared and gifted.
Beauty, so wanted and required
Has never been so generous
and so needed.