Context Is Everything

When you attempt to cut some string
A hammer doesn’t do a thing—
Jackknives matter.

When life has gotten back to normal,
And dining out means dressing formal,
Black ties matter.

When you are carted off to jail
And wish that you were back at Yale,
Hacksaws matter.

And if you wolfed your burger lunch
But long for something more to munch,
French fries matter.

You come home sodden from a bar
And she accepts you as you are—
Slack wives matter.

As long as they vote Democrat
And laud the likes of Arafat,
Black lives matter.



Family Matters

The individuals who love me most
Are those whom I’m most likely to let down.
Although they greet me with a heartfelt host
Of smiles, I tender them my deepest frown.

And why this should be so I scarcely know,
For it provides me no distinct advantage
In what’s become a bloody to-and-fro
For which no brand of prophylactic bandage

Has ever been devised, and I’m surprised
We still communicate at all. What’s more,
I can’t believe that no one realized
That we would end up in an all-out war.

The closer the relationship, the worse
The conflicts seem to be, which indicates
That kin—by blood or marriage—should converse
With soothing words that spark no fierce debates.



The Need to Know

It’s human to make effort to explain
Phenomena and noumena that vex us:
Injustice, rank corruption, fear and pain;
Direct assaults upon the solar plexus.

The brightest sunny skies cannot prevent
Eventual decay of day to night,
And when we wonder where the future went
The clear consensus is: It’s taken flight.

Which doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep on trying
To make some sense of what we apprehend,
Because the only other option’s dying
In ignorance detachment can’t amend.




an alexandroid

Another storm tonight, with rain
____And driven sleet
Inflicting constant waves of pain
____On those who meet

Together in a drafty room
____Below a church.
The lines of Scripture they exhume
____Begin the search

For revelations founded on
And not on words of men long gone
____Who lived in tents.



C.B. Anderson was the longtime gardener for the PBS television series, The Victory Garden.  Hundreds of his poems have appeared in scores of print and electronic journals out of North America, Great Britain, Ireland, Austria, Australia and India.  His collection, Mortal Soup and the Blue Yonder was published in 2013 by White Violet Press

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20 Responses

  1. Joe Tessitore

    Damn you, C.B.!
    Ever since I read Black Lives Matter” I’ve been trying to come up with my own combination and haven’t even gotten close.

    Loved it!

    • C.B. Anderson

      Joe, I had a few more I didn’t use:

      Black wives natter.

      Swan dives matter.

      Beehives matter.

      Lost tribes scatter.

      The thing to remember is that black lives are pretty much like white lives or lives of any other hue: Some matter and some don’t.

  2. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    High fives matter! A high five from me to you for every one of these wonderful poems.

    • C.B. Anderson

      You’ve got the gist of the thing, Susan, and I thank you for one I never thought of. Maybe Joe T. will thank you as well. As for the other poems, I think they were small things.

  3. Cynthia Erlandson

    I especially loved all the clever phrases you came up with to rhyme with “Black Lives Matter”!

    • C.B. Anderson

      Thank you, Cynthia. Most of the phrases relied on assonance. Exact consonance occurred only sporadically. It was a balancing act to get the damn things in some sort of natural order.

  4. Mike Bryant

    Fried Oyster Platter… OK I know the meter is not right, but this is still my favourite rhyme. Great work, as usual, and amens from me.

  5. C.B. Anderson

    I can’t decide, Mike, whether I’d rather have your approval or the fried oysters. I’ll have both, if it’s possible. Politically speaking, our worldviews are perfectly syntonic (You might have to go to the OED to find that word.)

    • Mike Bryant

      I’m am au fait with the Ptolemaic comma, and sin tonic… but you got me on syntonic… how about shrimp fried platter or grease back splatter?

      • C.B. Anderson

        Fine, Mike, but you will have to come up with your own opening tetrameter couplets for these.

  6. Yael

    I love the poem Context Is Everything, thank you.
    I totally did not see the punch line coming; it’s awesome!
    Humor together with rhyme makes a great communication tool, IMHO.

    • C.B. Anderson

      Well, Yael, as you must realize, I saw the last stanza coming from a long way off. Without the last stanza there would not be a poem.

  7. David Watt

    C.B., what a platter of sage advice and reflections on Life.

    I particularly appreciated the amusing ‘Slack wives matter.’

    • C.B. Anderson

      Well, David, as you perhaps know, a forgiving wife is a pearl beyond price and a safe haven in a world beset with storms.

  8. Evan Mantyk

    This one may be a bit of a stretch on the rhymes, but here you go:

    When you are filling kind of peckish
    And you don’t want another McFish,
    Big Macs matter.

    • Patricia Redfren

      Loved your Big Mac’s Matter,….now you set my mind going! Hysterical thank you..
      Happy Sunday be you,…)))

  9. C.B. Anderson

    McDonald’s is great fodder for satire; they call it fast food but should call it false food.

    If you’re addicted to McDoubles,
    You should expect some GI troubles —
    Laxatives matter.


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