Priced Out Of Existence


This used to be my city that had
not become a Third World country
where I’d fail to classify immigrants
by their methods, or prospects
for wielding murder amid blackmail damages

I would walk past midnight, unarmed
except for poetry and my guitar,
mobile from Bloor St. to Queen
past 2 am for the streetcar, no thoughts
given to congregations of assholes


Offers of women, drugs and other lies
laid out within the singular subway,
the medium for contrary ways of
contained assault: the coward commuters,
guilty bystanders crouched in conquest

Bridges leading nowhere, streets desolate
within the borrowed dark of my clothes,
democracy reduced to cash grown cold, now
crowded into holes, not given the prearranged
barbed-wire of overthrow, we don’t speak


Beyond whispers of utility, of anarchy
and assassinations that amount to nothing
but statistics of ghosts where none yet tell
amid the lifting winds stirring well,
welcome now to my neighbors in this hell

Of these crowds which scurry in escape, the
millionaires lead the short parade don’t
plead you’ve been priced out of existence:
now, this place is ours, your life impossible
you may serve as refugee among remains


Soon, you will know the ringing
of the bell I hear none say that rings true
beyond guess or calculation
beyond the miseries of plague or destination
within the world where nations rage

No one controls anything but themselves
everything as they choose to recognize
neither guess nor wish yet see –
this is how we wish, this how we must be
ourselves as we exist priced out of whatever lives

©Dean Baker

from Shadow Boxing The Infinite

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A Nation Of Lunatics


The anhedonics* have it; more pills,
loveless sex, booze and cash, all
forms of coping with the modern world.

Or athletics, politics, religion –
each interchangeable and dependent
upon the credulity of homo sapiens.

Enter the delusion of impending fame,
no less than cosmic significance, and
don’t forget the neighbors’ good opinion.

All this plus an ability to command
weather by temperament, along with
the omnipotent faculty of being bland.

Fueled by money and growing sophistication,
as the level of education sinks:
the picture of a people who cannot think.

©Dean Baker

*Anhedonia: Loss of the capacity to experience pleasure. The inability to gain pleasure from normally pleasurable experiences. Anhedonia is a core clinical feature of depression, schizophrenia, and some other mental illnesses.

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paperback: – Silence Louder Than A Train  

“”A bold and refreshing approach to modern poetry, one that breaks the rules when necessary and yet conforms when it suites. Highly recommended…”

”If all the reader is looking for in a poetry anthology are the poetic ramblings of someone trying to impress with their command of language or a gently rolling stream of consciousness then this probably isn’t it; but for poignant and thought provoking insight and new ideas, one would be hard pressed to do better than Dean Baker’sSilence Louder Than A Train.

 Dean Baker on Amazon Shadow Boxing The Infinite

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