Cancer Room

for my mother

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

©Dean Baker

*Layton… is Irving Layton (To know about his work, read his book A Wild Peculiar Joy) whom Leonard Cohen called “Canada’s greatest poet” and dedicated his book The Book Of Longing to Irving with whom I was friends for decades.

Irving was celebrated by a wide range of poets and artists, one of whom, Allen Ginsberg once arranged for a party in his honor attended by himself, Leonard, Bob Dylan,

Frank Scott,(one of his poems – ), etc.

Dark Earth ebook  $4.99

paperback $10.99, 102 pages Dark Earth paperback  – Check the reviews below:

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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.”