Turned insect-like thin and grey
by way of cancer and the chemical
regiment, you spew
casually an eight-ounce glass of
shifting sunset colors
an hour after the chemo curse
handing it to me to empty out as I
carry these remnants of your insides
into the receptacle, while we wait
for Layton to call
offering a fierce warmth before a few
years later, my father and I, with
Layton at the kitchen table drinking tea
as I walk out the same door it seems
I carried you to show the October
day when less than such time later
you’d announce your call
from the hospital bed mid-living room
that you were dying, best get
an ambulance: so articulate beyond
circumstance and the death rattle
xylophone trilling up my spine the night
before, always before –
with Layton dead, my father likewise
we consider ghosts of those now
and eventually departed now
accounted for, while in secret
we do not speak alone or together anymore
Quotes from some Reviews:“The most unique set of poems I have ever read.” “Having read Dark Earth by Dean Baker my first reaction is WOW. This was written for me.”
“Dean is a true comic poet as well, full of those sly interventions and evasions, slights of self, recriminations and elisions… He’s the kind of poet that gets under your skin and stays there like a song in some dark noir alley that sings to you of love and death suckled on good old home-grown truth. Through his exceptional and distinctive poems and prose poems you will be fully engaged…”
“The key to Dean’s art is its unique subtle narration of certain moments that are never revealed in the full natural disclosure of facts, but are rather revealed more subtly in the voicing of certain affective relations between memory and mind in this ongoing inquisition with the sordidness of our unlived lives.”
High water, the sweet grass smoking on the bridge across the traffic, above the Don Mills’ canyon; the thin,
ascetic face pinched beyond the distances that exist no longer.
‘That spinny chick,’ one whispers, angry that Babette took an escape route open only to the solitary few, history now.
Never any escape but a stop-gap, a hole in the ice, broken window on a frozen universe.
Babette rises up to catch the current swept in hidden geographies, the perspective shattered from every boundary; nostrils held
closed against the onset of germ warfare breaking out: no more captive than the breeze upon which she trembles momentarily.
The messages sent and dispensed, in the precious envelope of flesh.
Another success and the glory of triumph, amidst all the silent on-lookers.
What I miss most is not the quiet stillness, nor the crowd of lonely moments,
but the sweetest smile that kept a secret aching to be born.
A coffeehouse, café as society…“Acid wit, deep insight, humor, powerful metaphor, intelligence…. A smooth ride on a bumpy road, with side trips into unseen hollows of the human experience…. What else do you need to know?” Get it.
An excellent read, worth sharing far and wide… More, please….”
Prose poems that are a paean to Musicians, Writers, Artists, & Wingnuts: to folksingers, the troubled and disturbed, open mic nights everywhere.
Every time you point at God, he disappears. At
least it would seem so in the interruption. I believe
he assumes your disguise: penitent, petitioning,
amused guide offering souvenirs of pain and prayer.
God is not a resting upon but a reaching toward
without division between the seeker and the prize,
no hypocrisy is brooked here: if you are the singer you
will be the song, the last note rung out
until you have become indistinguishable and none.
Hold the silence in your tone across the emptiness,
allowing travel among the realms, between
your throat and sound; these immeasurable distances
of space and time, black holes where knowledge dies,
echoing as stars wink on and out in various positions
like border lights
along the boundaries of skin and air, the observed
alterations again of flesh amid the infinites.
You do not stop to praise with diffidence, yet wonder –
your mind and chin tilted at a slight incline,
with no suggestion that you indulge yourself by questioning.
You know God is listening: no difference
between what is now a request, what corresponds as reply.
You are made manifest even as your doubt denies:
with every instant where you stop at rest,
a conscious thought of light will cease and bless.
The unholy mess of your consciousness does not represent
nor constitute any guarantee of diligence, or authenticity.
When you begin again momentarily you know God is listening.