Category Archives: poetry

Pandemic Panic

What if germs spread through all the rooms, of this big old world

What if a virus smothers this city, and it is not so safe, for us to breathe

What if my favorite restaurant closes because the people will not come

What if the churches are vacant because the people just do not want to share, the air

What if my school says that online is the only safe school, and the classes are gone

What if my bank, with the friendly tellers, hangs a sign, “drive through only”

What if I go to my favorite coffee shop to relax and write, but the doors are closed

What if the clerks at the grocery store all wear masks and rubber gloves

What if pandemic panic invades our safe spaces, leaving us nowhere to run

What if I my friends will not touch, shake hands, or hug

What if I call my grandparents but there is no answer

What if the increase of disease will not cease

What if my fears are real

Will I stay home alone, isolate and groan?

Or embrace the day, find a way, to rejoice, share, and love?

Open Heart; poem

Open Heart          Mark Anderson, 10/2017

If you have a broken heart

if love has torn you apart

take a trip

to Heart Break City.

Don’t try to avoid it – embrace it.

Don’t stay too long

You must move on.


The pain that you fear

is near, it burns – deep

makes you angry – stop and cry

stomach churns

memories flood

without warning

rudely bashing in the door

of your broken heart.


The curse, that love hurts,

makes us crazy, insanezy. Why?

We know within it should not be.

Love is to nurture, sooth, heal,

not to fracture, rip, or steal.

Like a boxer with blows to the head

we stumble and wonder; why

if love is wonderful, do we cry?

And why – don’t they make

condoms for the heart?


We must come to the cross

To that point of despair

where all seems lost

to the pain that

none should bear.

Like that Broken Hearted One

who gazed upon humanity’s tragedy

who loved, felt, and bled.

Then, and only then, after your visit

you must move on – to hope.

Move on daily, moment by moment

if you must. But do move on.



Valentines Sucks – a late poem

Valentines Sucks

Designed for love

there are some

among us who must

love – alone


Tossed by life’s fist,

to the corner, hiding

wounded, wondering,

unable to rise – alone


From afar they watch

others in families, lovers

friends sipping coffee

They once had those


treasures, but now

post marriage, post sex,

post smiles, post hugs

they are afraid,

maybe also wise,

better to love – alone


Passion For Woodmore

( On November 21, 2016 a school bus crash carrying 37 students from Woodmore Elementary School in Chattanooga TN. took the lives of 6 children and injured many more. I became an employee at Woodmore in January 2017 with grant funds given to the school after the accident. This poem is a reflection upon the students that I met while working as an assistant at Woodmore. The population of Woodmore is mostly African-American, with a few Latino and Caucasian students.)

Passion for Woodmore                                                       Mark Anderson 6/12/2017

8:07 am, he drops in his seat

stone cold face, eyes down, no sparkle.

Like an old man he stares ahead,

“Who am I, how did I get here?”

No mother kissed or hugged him

to prepare his heart for the day.

At age 10 he is alone.


Another  youth laughs, she is brilliant.

Her hair and features anticipate

the blossom of great beauty,

but she is unaware

of the boys who will consume –

not respect, this precious one.

When the industry of entertainment enslavement

sells raps of lips and hips, and grooves

to be preyed upon, then who

can protect this one?


Angry violent girl boasts of the harm

she will do – cuz, “She was lookin at me.”

Will she be the one who

engages the man in blue

and is slain, or slay,

her weaker foe?

Another generation comes and goes.


They lock horns, engage, verbal assault,

smack down, trash talk; “Your mother is – your father do”

Sad cuz they, of all the kids, are most kin

their own self-hatred burns, deeply.

So I plead, please stop. For these two

are both too precious to lose.


A boy, exceptionally bright, focusses, concentrates,

more than others. A classic case,

full of potential, but I fear

for him, a statistic born

into gangs, they are everywhere,

and he – he is most vulnerable.

His family I suspect, is in


One sweetheart, seldom smiles.

What kind of hardness

must be in her home?

Can you imagine, at twenty three,

with a few scars, or incarcerated?


An insult, a push, fists fly,

angry emotions, no restraint,

impulse rules, is the only rule,

in this hostile environment. But they

are only ten, going on eighteen

or thirty five, doing nine to life.


Then suddenly one day, a beautiful fall day, when children should play,

six departed this world, leaving empty seats, and wounded hearts.

This school that did not need more suffering, received it.

A young driver carelessly, speeding, being silly, delivered it.

Do not attempt to make sense, to reason or rationalize, why.

From ancient times humanity has pushed against that veil, to no avail.

So we cry, and wail, and become the hands that heal.

I cry out “God, intervene, touch, heal, redeem, these precious ones.”


Elvis, Beyonce, Gaga, Snoop, you all

get rich off the evil influence you push,

take responsibility. Spell it; re-spon-si-bil-ity!

Babylon you capitalistic whore, won’t you pay more,

than minimal to those mothers who flip

your burgers? And all the parents who

will not care enough to grow

and provide, safety, comfort, and care,

to you I plea. And to the fathers who

could take time, to sit and read

with your child, to you we all beg;

it is your turn.


In the midst of this pain there is,

precious joy. Kids dance in their stroll

to the pencil sharpener. Silly kids

tease and giggle. A boy excited

at the power, confidence that he – yes, little he

has learned his threes and four timeses.

Four students, one with hurt feelings,

tears starting to flow, the others stop

to comfort, to shelter, from the harshness

of this place. A big smiling girl

with the freedom of youth to speak

things an adult would guard lets free

her words to bless and bring to tears

an old man’s eyes.

Emily Dickinson’s #322


Symbolism and Natural Reading in Emily Dickinson’s #322

A close reading by Mark Anderson


            There came a Day at Summer’s full,                           1

            Entirely for me –                                                         2

            I thought that such were for the Saints,                     3         

            Where Resurrections – be ­–                                        4


            The Sun, as common, went abroad,                            5

            The flowers, accustomed, blew,                                 6

            As if no soul the solstice passed                                 7

            That maketh all things new –                                      8


            The time was scarce profaned, by speech –                9

            The symbol of a word                                                 10

            Was needless, as a Sacrament,                                    11

            The Wardrobe – of our Lord –                                   12


            Each was to each The Sealed Church,                        13

            Permitted to commune this – time –                           14       

            Lest we too awkward show                                        15

            At Supper of the Lamb.                                              16


            The Hours slid fast – as Hours will,                            17

            Clutched tight, by greedy hands –                             18

            So faces on two Decks, look back,                             19

            Bound to opposing lands –                                         20


            And so when all the time had leaked,                                    21

            Without external sound                                              22

            Each bound the Other’s Crucifix –                             23

            We gave no other bond –                                            24


            Sufficient troth, that we shall rise –                            25

            Deposed – at length, the Grave –                               26

            To that new Marriage,                                                 27

            Justified – through Calvaries of Love –                     28


(Final Harvest: Emily Dickinson’s Poems reference numbers added)

 For a close reading of this poem see the page listed in the right side bar “Eamily Dickinson’s #322; a close reading.”


O my dog!

Kind of a poem, sort of;

I tried to put my dog in a box, a cute little box,

But he would not go in, just wagged his tail, wanted to play.

I tried to put my dog in a bigger box,

Do ya know what that dog said?

Now way I won’t stay.

Tried to put my dog in a big box, as big as my house,

but he ran away, would not stay.

One day I tried to get my dog into a huge box, big as my church.

He just turned away.

I tried to put my dog into the world’s biggest box, big as the sky!

I cried and said, “Why, won’t you please stay in my box?”

He just laughed at me and said,

“You silly boy, you can’t build a box big enough for me!

And I just will not stay, no way!”

Then my dog said to me,

“Welcome to my house, There’s plenty of room for you here!

Won’t you please come in?” So I did.

Mark a 2001

poem; Word smith

Word smith

Words wiggle free

Cannot be confined

imprisoned these

words that escape

floating freely

above intellectual

libraries of doom


words wiggle free

when held tightly

to confine floating

freely above all

human entrapment

singing they float

above, ascending

in circles to heights

where humans cannot

(copyright 2002 Mark A)


Aint gonna trust

no more

Hide my fear

deep inside


no more.

Aint gonna show

my hand.


my hand,

Play my cards,

Faces down,

show no one.

Aint gonna trust

no more,

Hide my fear,

Deep inside,


no more

No more,

Silly soft heart

Dark world,

shark world

Aint gonna trust

no more,

Hide my fear

deep inside


no more.

Light of life

lift me up

Help me trust

Don’t need

this pain.

surviving church

We can think of church as something that should bring us close to God. But how often do we experience a conflict and church seems to create an obstacle to God? Many of us even grow resentful towards church and flee from it. Young people may depart from the church and faith of their parents. These are typical of a growing faith where God may be calling us to look to Him beyond church.

For me to survive church I need a fiercely independent spirit that is more dependent upon God than people. I realize this is a paradox, that I am created with a need for people and community. To grow healthy my needs should be aligned under God’s authority.

To survive church I need to have healthy boundaries. I cannot let other people’s expectations become my rule of conduct.

To survive church I need a generous spirit towards others as they also struggle with these issues.

To survive church I need to keep focused on my Lord.


My mother’s religion hurts.

You’re greater than my mother.

I see you in her shadow.

She should be in your’s.

Tried to set my shadow free,

tripped up over my feet.

Guess I’m destined to misery,

as far as I can see.

A shadow hangin’ over me,

wets my spirit down.

See you through another’s eyes,

distorts the purest light.

For more on issues of dependency in relationships see the poem “Glow”

Old hippy; autobiography

I hate and despise authority,

until my car does not submit to its designed purpose to deliver me to my destination

I hate and despise authority,

until my computer does not submit to the command entered.

I hate and despise authority,

until I become a manager at my job.

I hate and despise authority,

until I become a school teacher.

I hate and despise authority,

until I need some cops, to save my ass from some gangsters.

I hate and despise authority,

until I become a father.

I hate and despise authority,

until I become an authority.

I hate and despise all authority!

Until our Creator, the only truly good authority,

reaches out to me.

In 1969 after a Crosby Stills n Nash concert my friends and I were attacked by some gangsters. Guess who saved us; cops. We called cops pigs back then. I had an attitude about authority and caused a lot of trouble. Looking back I think it was mostly anger at my father. Now I see authority as something universal even inherent in nature. It is necessary for society. It is the abuse and perversion of authority that is ugly.