from DARK EARTH… ‘Bathurst Yards’







Sprawled in this boxcar apartment,
no one’s serious
the disturbance temporary

The end of the line,
the lock breaks –
the cargo falls out over-ripe

We shall never get there;
blueprints and maps
do not provide an idea of progress

Which does not matter,
stepping from the rails
to meet familiar ground

Watching how the sun I own
goes down through these trees:
our wings, folded like those leaves

©Dean J. Baker

  • excerpt from DARK EARTH, 142 pages, list $15.99 –













The past is longer than the future can be. Winters
are now limited, as are the beautiful mild and temperate
days of May.
My personal calendar has switched from notching months or weeks.
Years now represent decades. All the holidays fade toward permanent
Nothing of bad measure becomes an unexpected surprise.

Wild women or forward men are no longer even incidents
that did not happen to another. Society itself has become
an idiot child, pablummed and cooing, diaper full.
Money a wish for more than less, wanting with it the
benefits of better health and food, less stress, even friends.

You know who’s speaking, should you so choose.
Under that snow, poised for flight; that pile of clothes, the vanished
take refuge in plain sight among the fiercely knowledgeable.

Look closely. They leave nothing whether they remain, or go.

© Dean J. Baker




A Substitute For Cake

we’re all such fleeting guests at The Poetry Hotel







If I tell you what I want
you will likely refuse
If I tell you what I am going to do
I defeat myself
If I describe to you what it is
in terms recognizable
in words designed to elicit feelings
and thoughts already experienced
by yourself and several hundred million
alive or dead I not only have
undone the purpose I have undermined
the actual idea

diluted the wine marked a lower
standard until there is none, but
enflamed the mobs
whose insanity knows no limits

If I do those things I have
contributed to the loss of everything
the destruction of civilization

I choose not to be mere entertainment
an amusing option for those in charge
a substitute for cake

If you must consume me I may
not go down so easily yet I assure you
your sacrifice will not only
not go unnoticed, and
be worth the wait you will dine
and feast no more like orphan cannibals:
like kings and queens absent fantasy
of whom the ingredients reflect their fate

©Dean J. Baker

excerpt from my latest forthcoming book…and exactly why you need

‘Of Insomniacs And Amnesia’… from SILENCE LOUDER THAN A TRAIN







I could not sleep
until I learned to stay
the words of your betrayal
speak loud and clear, in
every action that you take
As though you keep
behind those swept green eyes
each secret of defeat

As if carrying on,
when the days are dark
could be all;
but I must travel far,
to gain back
the self I lost in torment
Loving you, forever as I do,
amid such careless lives:
tossed upon the world, against that splash of blue

©Dean J. Baker

from a forthcoming book… ‘ Awake, Again’







What can we say now except we were misled.
In the nineteen sixties it was endless:
revolution, parades, injustice, and naming the guilty,
while one thing kept us free of real humanity.
It wasn’t us, it was them: in that denial, everything lost.
The power, the politicians: the cops, those poor
bastards just didn’t get it. We, the unemployed, knew.

Sex and drugs, absent the push towards revelatory
enlightenment to end in absolute reverence.
There were enough absolutes surrounding us already.
Drifting then even as now, nothing changed
but the degree of restrictions. We were waiting, somehow.
Hooray for us the happy fools shout, only
to be felled by betrayal, age, and assassins’ bullets.

Turns out all the purity, progress and beauty desired
resolved awaited patiently amidst the pain;
the torment of merely being human again, within a few
brief words of lightning, comfort and that old standby
love, which we did not recognize within the work of poets.
We did not need the amygdalin ghosts of LSD, mescaline
or hashish to bring us back from nowhere finally.

Like this cool morning I sit heavily clothed, upon the trunk
of the redwood tree, scattered leaves tumbling
on a breeze you feel somewhere else: even as the coffee
grows cold urging awakening finally from a dream. Your
Chesire smile, your belief in anything with beautiful clothes
and radiant flesh, pleasing as they must always be
remain tokens paid to escape the idea of what is always true.


©Dean J. Baker

‘Beginnings’…from a forthcoming book

for K, guitar player ..“It’s all chickee but the bone.”







You don’t hear music anymore, only
ceaseless complaints from those who use
five thousand words instead of the fifty required.

Bereft of ideas they must continually talk about
nothing in their verbal dervish spin
designed simply to state, ‘Look at me, I am I!’

When they don’t have either the grace to fall
back through their gaping holes and
disappear, nor wit to know they’re sole source for

Everything they bitch about as you sit quietly,
contemplate the end of things in these beginnings, while
songs approach across a different horizon entirely.


©Dean J. Baker


‘Modern Romantic’… from SILENCE LOUDER THAN A TRAIN







Come on over to my room
I’m in a bad way
I see that’s how it is with you
I’ve been thinking of someone
You have been thinking of them too

Let’s take advantage of each other
Our morals are unassailable
Let’s be different and not call it love
Though that won’t solve our problems
Let us be honest in our insincerity
Admit we wish again we could be
With the unbroken flame:
that one most unavailable

You’ll have to excuse me once more
I lost my manners for a few years
I’m happy where I’ve always been
Who needs another death, amidst
The incestuous circle of ghosts and friends

If you agree, I’ll meet with you sometime
When you nor I remain, haunted,
by this and other affairs of cash flow:
the adulterated distances of loose ends

©Dean J. Baker

-excerpt from SILENCE LOUDER THAN A TRAIN, 102 pages, $15.99

“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 J. Baker’s Silence Louder Than A Train.’”

from a forthcoming book… ‘Thanksgiving, Poem’







If anyone has given you
the bird today, be thankful.
Otherwise, bright
cynical and tough, it’s enough.

You could be the sacrifice:
plugged and stuffed, no feathers
to fly away,
surrounded by vegetables.

It’s all a matter of perspective.
What you pick,
choose, give up: surrender
can be a holiday, unless

It’s not your festival
someone else will always
be thinking of:
grateful no one asks for more, love.


©Dean J. Baker








Listening to an argument
between the sheets and lawn-trimmers’ noise,
the women cleaning rooms
the overly damp mildew of a submerged
Kentucky bleeding colors

Beneath the flatness of a cast-iron sky
shedding relief between indifferent lives,
the levees neither gap, nor bridge
but parentheses
describing the inarticulate tide held back

Where this is thorn-stuck amid Bible
and belt, unholy pride an
anticipation: the cross-stitched quilt
on which the animals come alive,
triumphing a riot of signs they survive

Pure semaphore on a Teutonic scale,
as maidens sing thee to thy doom, and war
breaks out; a family reunion
gone astray amid rivalries, and feuds:
unacknowledged truths in this most modern of ages

©Dean J. Baker

from DARK EARTH… ‘The Stupids’







My mind’s a thread unwinding; I
pluck at darkness, which falls.
It won’t let the stupids out; it
suffers them to bray and shout,
these Attic businessmen and women:
busy, they are knitting spirit doilies.

Must I endure like a disease the bad
and bright side of the living’s enemies?
But who am I asking? We are so
few than farther between might be.

You cannot hear me; you are denying everything,
soiled by the crossways unclean:
strapped in a cocoon of the secondary.

©Dean J. Baker