Saturday, November 5, 2011


Red brick walls
Towering Pine trees
Silver mist flowing between
Stillness of dawn
Breaking soft
Whispering breeze
Carrying Winter's
Promise of deep
DS Baker

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Get your own life, mine is booked

Go ahead and mock me from a distance
You have no idea the battles I have fought
Over and over time and tide have conspired against me
Love or its leavings are not burning flames, but sustaining embers
May you know why my face is lined in wrinkles
It is not the years my friend but the miles on the chassis
Frequent heart aches keep a heart supple, responsive to new beginnings
But no more should you mock what you don't know about, find your own life


DS Baker.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

"We Are Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made Of"

In the terminus of time
before a continent groans

shouldering a-wakening Sun
as a mason might a hod...

When a full Moon still
hangs above a slumbering

The ghosts of past lives meet
with living souls

It is the soft hours when sleep hangs
heavy upon the brow

Old and loved ones come to call
in tangled skiens of dark matter

Past, present and future
a moebius strip of causality

We never truly die
We are eternal

Born from matter forged
At a star's heart

We transmutate
and are changed into



DS Baker

Friday, October 14, 2011

STORY-"Food Run"

“Damn it to hell!” Deputy Dan Jefferies of the Inyo County Sheriff’s office muttered to himself. Turning around he looked over to where his partner Sam Baker was examining the damage to the road leading out of Barstow towards Ft. Irwin National Training Center. “Did you hear from the Constabulary Commander yet?”

“Well yes and no…”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean? Yes and no?”

“He said, and I quote, “M1A1 Abrams tanks do not just drive off the reservation and make a goody run to the Bun Boy in Barstow, California. And are we sure it is tank treads and not a civilian dozer tracks?”-End of quote.”

“Funny, thing that Sam. I followed those tracks back to a section of fence on their reservation. You can see the tank tracks coming from and returning to.”

“I know… we both served in the Army. I talked to the late night managers at the Mad Greek and Bun Boy. They both said the same thing. It sounded like rumbling noise they both could feel in their feet. Then it stopped. They and their workers thought it might have been an earth quake. Bun Boy’s manager stated, “Four of the scruffiest, dirtiest looking soldiers she has ever seen came walking into the restaurant.” In fact she said, they were so covered with dirt, they looked like Raccoons. The only clean spot on them was where it looked like their dust goggles had covered up their eyes.-She also stated that they said, that they had not been re-supplied in a week. They were starving. Nick Scropolous over at the Mad Greek, said pretty much the same thing. Except they ordered everything on the menu and they mentioned something about having to feed an entire platoon.”

Jefferies began rubbing the back of his neck. He turned his head sideways and said, “I think this is going to go down in the annals of goody runs as epic in nature.”

“If it wasn’t for the fact the road is tore up and going to need CALTRANS loving ministrations… I have to admire the American Fighting Man.”


“Yeah. I mean look they were hungry. Out of MREs and apparently in desperate need of rations. Got to hand it to some unknown 20 something soldier, feeding his initiative and his stomach all at the same time. Do you really want to track these guys down and have the MP’s throw em in the stockade, for the sin of starving?”

Several long minutes passed, with both deputies standing next to their cruiser, looking at double rows of chewed up asphalt trying to sum up the events in their minds.

“Naaw! Screw em! Must have been that construction crew that came through here yesterday…!”

“That’s what I am going to put in my report.”

The End

DS Baker

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"Bluff Road"


Along Bluff Road
I see shadows walking

In ambulatory silence
Each seeking solace in

Darker stretches of lost passion

Party shops with fishing lures
Of drugs and alcohol

Hold those shadows close
To their breast
Like a suckling mother her child

Third shift specters
Walk through industrial
Parks of effort and paid wages

Only to find repose upon
Rainbow jeweled parking lots

Smoking menthol cigarettes
Drinking cheap malt liquor

With cunning of Tonk
Guile of ivory bones

Pissing on cinder block walls

Each with a pocket full of
ATM receipts
Not dreams
Lotto tickets
Not hope

Would Dubois or Carver have
Understood this despair

Would they have known these false faces
Could their anger still hold firm
As bulwarks of hope

Television has robbed
Left nothing feeding nothing

Telling shadows flickering
In blue light caves
Your are the ghost not I

Slavery is dead
But those willing to
Have placed their neck
Back into the yoke

Here in the New South

Youth groups
Fight those chains of birth
Shackles of economics
But slide backwards

What does heaven’s reward hold
When your dead from the neck up
While profits from crack
Lay at your feet

Intangible grace is often less
Compared to shiny sedans
With tuck tires

Thousand dollar rims
Jacked six feet in the air
New rednecks of America

The shadows watch
Smoking and drinking

Stylized street predators
Minds calculating like an Abacus

Solving Geometry equations of angles

The Devil sends his message
Devotees summoned shuffle in
Full light of day

To his house...

Blake’s Paradise Lost Party Shop

While the east bank
Of the Congaree River
Has woods deep

With sounds of
Shadows Haunting


DS Baker

Friday, September 30, 2011


Standing in line at a local food bank, I was surprised by the range of emotions which washed over, and through me; and at some fundamental level the sense of failure choked the breath in my throat and made it all but impossible to breathe. I looked into the soaped over glass storefront and I could see my reflection. My face was white, eyes shining and bright with barely held emotion. This was a face I had never witnessed before. I felt a stranger in a strange land.

“First time isn't it?” A gravelly smoky voice spoke to my right ear.

I turned and looked down and into the wizened dried apple face of a woman with bright beautiful blue eyes.

“Is it that obvious?” I asked.

She reached out with a hand soft and silky, as only the very old posses and said, “Yes dear it is obvious. But not ruinously so. Everyone here has gone through what you are going through right now. You are not amongst strangers, nor are you alone.”

The emotions I had been holding in check burst through my feeble attempts and I could feel hot runnels of water running down my cheeks. The woman reached into a handbag large enough to carry a small child in and pulled out tissues. She handed them to me with a concerned look in her eye and a silent nod of affirmation.

Once I had regained my composure, she again dug through her purse and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. “Smoke?” she offered.

We stood there and silently smoked. The reassurance a cigarette gives is something those who have never smoked will never know.

At some point my dried apple faced woman touched me on the arm and said, “Hunger is a foe, we can only hope to fight to an armistice. We never ever defeat it.”

I don’t know what I was expecting but philosophy in a food line was not it.

“Not all of us are ill educated, government-assisted louts looking for a free hand out. I myself taught school for 35 years. But one does, what one must, when the Devil calls the tune.” She said as her bright eyes took on a hard gimlet cast.

I admit several hours later, as I was driving home with a trunk filled with groceries, I began to cry again. I cried when I unloaded, and diligently placed the food into my empty pantry. But I did not cry when my daughter came home from school that afternoon and I had food to place on her plate

The End

DS Baker

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Dust bunnies are sleeping
Safely under the refrigerator
I write

Fighting urges of pretension
Meter rhyme
Or classical reference

Tasking myself to steal
Moments from
My day

By writing
In Mason jars
Amber beads strung on
Kite string thoughts

Questing for lines
Of images strong

The sun was Orange
Not like an Orange

Salt spray hung in the air
Not saline diamonds hanging

Striving to
Contending with
Constantly battling
Myself against complicated impulses

Keep it simple
Using my erasure
Cut and cut
Pare it down

Poetry is flow

Hoping to not box
Oneself in to corners or

Balancing it all
Knife edge up

That’s the trick
Slow lingering note fading away
To silence

Should I?

Alert my readers the end
Is nigh with
Maestro Salieri’s cue to

These are my dilemmas
When dust bunnies
Sleep safely
Underneath my

You may clap now…


DS Baker

"Mocking Bird"

(c) Steve Ting
I went outside
To have a secret cigarette
Watching summer shower
Pass by

A Mockingbird
On my garden grape arbor
Flashing his


He ducked his head
Amongst shiny

Rushing in wet circles
Rubbing one wing
Then another


He flew to fence post
Where he preened
Flight feathers

Then he was gone
Like tobacco


DS Baker

Saturday, September 24, 2011

"The Tower"

Six foot frame
with little girl voice

She is a tower
of rage

Silently screaming  protest
against her pain

A woman not destined
for a size six world

Does anyone see the real person...

Pagan symbols painted in
Alabaster skin

Strength of character
tattoo pigment deep

Dresden porcelain doll
Ms Melissa with lips in lovers bow

Beneath mortuary make up
china glaze spider webbed

Customers view not the Tower shattering...

Autonomic response
to yet another shopper

Almost-dead doll eyes
plead for recognition

Perfunctory greeting
silent tears

Does anyone stop to wonder
Why must a full grown woman
talk like a
Why would she
willingly cover her body in
Why doesn't anyone stop to ask
Are you OK?
Or has her private pain
abated enough so
her public
cutting of
her arm
has stopped?

But this is a Walmart tale...

No time to stop
ask about
show concern
customers backed up
four deep

The Tower turns and says,

Holding herself erect
with the tensile strength
of a soap


DS Baker

Friday, September 16, 2011

STORY-"Who Are You?"

     I woke up with no memory of who I was. Amnesia as I am finding out is not, like what one views in a movie. There is no references, no bumps along the road of memory to lead a person to a series of connected thoughts, which might-in turn lead to a destination known as self.

     I was amazed at the fact I could walk and talk. I could even tie my shoes and eat a hamburger without instructions or guidance. But try to operate a machine, say for instance a car? Cold flop sweat would break out on my forehead, and within a few minutes my whole body was greasy.

     The little girl who comes up to me and asks for hugs, is my daughter. At least that is what the photographic evidence and the woman who came and got me at the hospital tell me. She kinda, sort of, looks like me. But there is more of the woman about her than there is of me.

     I know on some intellectual level this is my family. I have albums full of pictures, with what appears to be my face smiling back at me. All the clothes in the closet, the woman gives me to wear, fit. The little girl and the woman constantly ask me if, I remember this birthday or the night we went to see the Electric Light Parade at Disneyland. I try and tell them something but, there is nothing for me to grasp. My life started again, from scratch at 12:45 PM on Tuesday September 9th 2011. Anything before that has fled into some dark corner and refuses to come out.

     From the woman’s back porch I can see the rural hospital, where I was airlifted from. I sit outside in the evening hours and look in that direction. Once in a while I see a helicopter take off, headed for the big city on the other side of the mountain. I always say a silent prayer, that their load of misery is treatable.

     The man who once lived in this house like books about war and of history. He even has a suit of armour sitting in a corner. The little girl tells me I was a knight and I would fight other knights in friendly combat.

     She said to me, “I used to tell all my friends, my daddy is a knight.” She cried when she finished and I took her in my arms and made soft noises in the back of my throat.

     So most days will find me walking the little girl to her elementary school, which is just a couple of blocks away. I come home and I make a cheese sandwich and then I lay down on the couch until noon, when it is time to go get the little girl from school. The woman I live with, has an alarm she has set to go off, so I have plenty of time to get there.

      The little girl is in kindergarten and she tells me about the kids she has as friends. The type of snack she ate and how she pretends to go to sleep at nap time.

     I asked her, “What do you do when everyone is asleep?”

     She replied, “I think about who I want to be.”

     “Well, who do you want to be?” I asked her.

     “Today Daddy, I thought about being an Astronaut.”

     “Really? That’s pretty cool.” I replied.

     Now as we come home from her school, our conversations always roll around to who we want to be. It's great fun. Yesterday we talked about being an underwater fish person. I can’t remember what they are called. But they study fish and crabs. That’s important to her, I can’t leave out the crabs.

      For five days, out of the week, that is my routine. I wake up, the woman gets up and dresses the little girl and then leaves to go to work. I walk the little girl to school and eat my sandwich. The pain pills the doctors have me on, make it hard for me to read the books, the man who once lived here had. I try, but after a while my head hurts too much.

     I think if I could change something about myself… It would probably be to have something to hold on to. It would be nice to be able to remember the little girls name. Or maybe to just remember when the woman and I got married. I am tired of seeing sticky notes under photographs or on objects… 

     I see the little girl's pictures hanging on the refrigerator, showing a child’s perspective of a hospital bed. I know beyond a doubt they think I was in that bed, but I wasn’t. I just got out of that bed. A different me was there. I know they love me. I also know that the man who was once flown on a helicopter to a far, far away place, loved them a great deal.

The End

DS Baker

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

STORY-"Blue Diamond Hike"

Why did I agree to this?

Because your getting fat and more importantly you know it.


And, ya lazy bastard this gives you an opportunity to correct that state of being.

What state? Me being fat? Or me being a lazy bastard?


Christ on a pogo stick! Why didn’t you take me to Red Rock? I don’t mind getting off the couch per see, but I was hoping for some bouldering, whilst looking at one of those sexy female tour guides out of Blue Diamond; instead you drag me out to Blue Diamond the mountain itself.

You know all I am hearing from behind me is sniveling.

You said it yourself, I am a fat lazy bastard.

Yes we have established those facts. What I failed to ascertain was in your dotage you have also become a sniveling dirt-bag as well.

Your majesty, you would be sniveling too, if your best friend woke you up at o’dark thirty in the morning, dragged you out of bed, then made you carry enough rope to tie down King Kong, and then  made you go on some up-hill Bataan death march.

Sorry I can’t hear you. It is all pops and whistles. I can’t hear past the wheezing coming from your smokers corrupted lungs.


No! That would be asshole. I knew my father, unlike you…

The trail grew ever steeper. So steep in fact, conversation came to an abrupt ending, as both men needed to concentrate in order to keep from falling. For long periods of time, the only noises that could be heard were the sounds of blue granite pebbles dislodged from the trail, as they tumbled down the steep slopes of the mountain; with a counter point of gasps, and grunts coming from the two men. Eventually their efforts found them a 1000ft higher on the trail, and at wide spot where old growth Ponderosa Pines had once been hit by a large object, snapping them off several feet from above the trail.

OK! This is it.

<Gasping> This is where butthead?

That’s Mr. Butthead to you, my good fellow. We are currently 300 ft. above where Carole Lombard died. Her Vega twin engine smacked into that knob behind us, bounced down through several trees, hit the two Ponderosa pines in front of us and plunged head first down the ravine on the other side of those trees. Most of the cabin managed to wedge itself into a vertical crack, while the wings peeled off and along with the engines burned their way down to gully below.

Damn and Blast! I would not have wanted to have been Clark Gable.

No neither would I. He requested every dangerous combat mission he could, after this.

What do you mean?

Clark was a bombardier-air crew in the Army Air Corp. during WWII.

The two men set about tying their ropes off to secure anchorage points, getting into their climbing harness’ and putting on their safety helmets.

So why did you bring me here again?

‘Cause you needed to get off the couch and I thought with your love of history, you might just like to see a bit of the stuff right in front of your face.


Besides I thought that if, I got lucky, I might be able to score a bit of the airplane for myself.

You’re a ghoul.

Yes! Yes I am. But I am a ghoul with an interesting collection of historical items.

A northern wind swept the mountainside, gently rocking the two men as they descended the cliff face. From a distance they looked like two overly large spiders in search of prey.

The End.

DS Baker

Thursday, September 8, 2011

STORY-"Omaha 2:15 AM"

What was his last words again? The Express Agent asked.

The old Rail Bull stared at the younger man. His eyes going flat, reliving that moment; scrubbing his face with a meaty paw heavy with fine black hairs, as if to rid himself of what he had witnessed.

He said, Kiss my ass! The whole world can kiss my ass!

That’s a hell of a statement.

Yeah it is. What is weird about it, he was smiling when he stepped in front of that freight.

That’s a hell of a thing.

Yeah! A hell of a thing.

The Yard Dog Phil, says it’s going to take a whole day to scrub him out of the motor.


Hell of a thing.

The End.

DS Baker

STORY-"Wheat Field"

The small boy awoke to the sound of distant light. A square mile of wheat stubble burning. Throwing back an abyss of stars, while grotesque shapes undulated in a paroxysm of organic life.

The boy walked out to the porch where his parents sat in the dark watching.

“Alpha and Omega.” His father said softly, with a face suffused in an orange glow.

His mother’s virginal housecoat had become a linen canvas, alive with color. Standing in mute silence, the boy watched small animals back lit from the fire, flee to deeper shadows.

The Sun eventually rose; muddy and ash streaked. As if a curtain slowly drawn, revealing an agrarian tableau, blackened earth dotted with tiny graves of those animals who couldn’t escape the conflagration.

In the corner of the field, a tractor plowed those tiny sarcophagus’ into and below the ash layer, where green shoots awaited their offerings.

The boy dressed now, walked across the field. His feet leaving a pilgrims dusty trail behind. His mind groped for concepts, while his father’s voice echoed in his ears.

It was in this burnt space at the terminus of two Texas county roads he realized, a Wheatfield could become sacred. He drank deeply from his new realizations, while a Red Tailed Hawk watched him from above.

The End

DS Baker

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

STORY-"Traveller Not A Tourist Be"

I have left the west. The land that saw my birth; casino dreams which once were shiny with potential have faded as fast as mirages do on Route-66. Myself and my family crossed over the Mississippi looking for subtaintial connections to histories and community.

We came back to the same Atlantic shoreline who witnessed the birthing of my lineage, and that of my wife's history. Completing a circle of familial experience three hundred and ninety years in the making. Exchanging desert mirages for ancestral beginings.

 In my heart I have the recorded history of spirits, Brujos, Shape Changers, dead relatives. The chambers of my heart are so full with these experiences, cell phones and computers cannot find refuge there.

It is with those traditions and experiences I view my new home. By allowing myself to cross through fragile portals to timescapes and events I am allowed special visions. It is my ability to travel which sends spirits who need me to witness their stories, and crucial moments of their lives which beg, no demand that they be recorded by the living.

In the early morning hours along rail road tracks of steel I often walk. I try to be alone with my thoughts in that narrow azimuth of time before a continent groans, shouldering a rising sun into the sky. At the ruler straight perimeter of a machine world, where new age Ley-lines of iron meet organic swamp; Ghosts old in age greet me.

If you pause to catch your breath, as I often do, you will sometimes hear rhythmic sounds. At first you might think that it is the Basso-Profundo beat of a yard locomotive making up a train. But if you listen closely, while facing the Congaree swamp, you will hear Ghana and Malawi drums beating softly, echoing across water and Cypress stumps.

Along a curve where a slough cuts under a train trestle, heading for a deep water channel, British Regulars and Confederate Pickets take congress with one another. Once upon a time I wore a uniform and knew the pace of an infantryman in my feet. They recognize me as belonging to that particular fraternity and let me pass un-molested.

At another location where the swamp meets an open expanse of water, when the sun had not risen, or the moon yet set. I saw a flat bottom barge filled with Cotton, Corn and Slaves. Her crew were long polling it into a fog bank. Individual lanterns aboard faded into the mist as lighting bugs do on a warm June evening. They hailed me as they passed, sliding away to some predestined landing.

My latest journey into the Congaree, I stumbled upon a mixed group of Indians and escaped Slaves. Their anger and outrage of a shared white man experience flared like gas-fire atop a refinery tower. All faded back into deeper shadows save one. Standing there, ancient with native knowledge he spoke to me.

“I see you traveler.” He said.

I stood very still and replied, “I see you as well.”

He examined me behind a mask of ocher clay and obsidian eyes.

“You carry songs of many dead, from many lands in your chest,” his gravelly voice sliding into the silence between us.

“You are still new to this place. When you have grown awhile and your roots have taken a firmer grasp, I will sing to you songs of Turtle and Fox.”

I just nodded my head and eased my way out of the glow of his fire. I left him there standing alone. I walked along the rails heading for home and a warm cup of coffee. His words and those images of earlier encounters resonated under my breast bone; there they have found kindred spirits I have carried with me since I was a small child.

If you want to locate me, I am not hard to find. I am the traveler walking with the dead, listening to their stories, along a rail road which cuts through the Congaree Swamp.

The End

DS Baker

"Byron Rd-Columbia, SC"

(Road to Home)

Outside my door frame
Summer’s gaily colored
Party clothes lay freshening
Upon countless Spring

Neighbors call to each other
As they pass by

Dogs indifferent to human affairs
Touch noses through
Diamond patterned

Friends talk of gardening

The importance
Of green lawns
Free from impudent weeds
Holding significant social

All manner of flying creatures
Pursue and are pursued
In frantic haste
Before passing moments
Of beauty

Youth of the year
Wasted not before experience
As seasons never
Flower alike

Each perfect

Poetry of suburban gardens
Framed by lawnmowers huffing
Seeking perfection in right angles

Miss the beauty of haikus
Of unshorn

House Martins take
Grass clippings insulating
Fresh homes for fresh babies

Warbling to each mornings

Dogwoods and Crepe Myrtle
Tenderly brush leaves
As old
Married couples do

Touching with nothing to prove
In each other’s

Spring has birthed
Summer’s robust self
Among brick homes of
Shade tree respectability

Along Byron Road
It seems appropriate
A poet should
Live on this
green swathed


DS Baker

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

STORY-"John 3:16 Prine V2"

It stood at my kitchen sink, with hot soapy water up past my wrists. Staring out the window in front of me. I felt like I was 110 years old. Two grown kids and 27 years of marriage, my hands looked like something a field hand would have. I am an old woman. Named after my mother; with her eyes staring back at me from the window pane.

My man is carpenter. He’s just another child that’s grown old. Constantly banging on some piece of metal or wood, he built us this home. But Lord only knows that was another lifetime. We seemed to have lost our way, ‘cause once upon a time, if dreams were lighting and thunder-desire this place would have burned down a long time ago.

We have had our good times. Known some bad days when it was almost too hard to go. God I wish I had an Angel flying from Montgomery. Because this believing in living, just for living, is more than I can go. I need me something, something I can hold on to.

I want a poster I can stare into. I want a poster of an old fashion rodeo. Give me an Angel I can hold onto. Take me back to when it wasn’t just so damn long ago. When I was young woman, just leaving my mother, I had me a cowboy. Weren’t much to look at, but he was free and on the go. But that was a long time gone and no matter how I try, those years go flowing past like a broke down damn.

I met my old man, when he wasn’t so old or me so tired. We raised us a family, away from the world and warm from the cold. I love him and I think he likes me. But doing nothing but living for living is killing me.

I need me an Angel flying from Montgomery, I want a poster of an old fashion rodeo. Just give me something I can hold onto, ‘cause this living to live is a hard way to go.

I don’t know how long I stood there staring out the window. When I pulled my hands free from the gray water, they were stone cold. I wiped my hands dry and began putting up the plates, when my man walked through the door.

Holding out a bouquet of Dandelions he said, “Here is something I thought might brighten your day.”

I took them from him and I hugged him from the other side of my heart. He smelled of sawdust, sweat and of himself. I think I surprised him when we made love on the floor.

He held me and talked to me, wiping the moisture from my face, “You’ve been the reason I keep holding on for. You’re the Angel who came to live down here with me. Thank you for our family and thank you for loving me.”

I am an old woman. Named after my mother, my old man is another child that’s grown old. We have other peoples eyes and our own worn out hands. We don’t need an Angel flying from Montgomery. We got each other to hold onto and that’s not such a bad way to go…


DS Baker

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Micaceous Clay"

Cibola City of Gold

Pots of clay

Gold flakes


Jigsaw homes

Horse-shoe of history

Pinyon smoke

Kiva ovens baking


Dancing feet

Winter’s frost

Red rocks amongst

Snow blankets

Red Black Corn


People wrapped in blankets

Long shadows move against


Burnished from ice


Dancing in your eyes

Beneath Cottonwood


Where tourists

Cannot go


Creek waters

Gurgle happily


Virgin banks of

Gold clay


Tourist dollars


Taos Pueblo

My first



DS Baker

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"A Covenant In Concrete"

On a street
A dusty begrimed

Beneath an anchored
Squadron of newspaper racks
Each an altar of time

I came across messages ancient
Etched in cast stone squares

At first they appeared as Cuneiform
Or Hieratic script
Confused signals of age
In acid rain

Perplexed at first
I squatted before the dispensers
Of global knowledge
As if I were a neo-savage from some
Dystopian future

Clarity came with oily gutter water
Sprinkled then wiped
Into carved letters
I read:

“On this corner I first saw you and fell in love.-Aug ‘47”

Then below that in the same hand:

“I proposed to you on this corner. Aug ‘49.”

Scooping water onto poured stone
I searched for more messages and found:

“Isaac, Sarah and Jacob you gave to me.- ‘50, ‘53 and ‘59.”

As I read age and palsy seemed to grip my stone mason. The lines now faint have lost their vigor:

“You left me at this corner, to prepare a seat for me in the hall of our Lord.- ‘01”

My stone mason etched a final line
With an arrow marking
What once was
Cleared space

Beneath another altar
NY Times paper box
A younger hand appeared
Reminiscent shadow hand
Carving lines with bull tendon strength

They read:

“Concrete Paving
Humanities Artificial
Made Holy
Real and Tangible
Fruits of Love
Visible Only to Those
Who Look Down from Moneyed Heights
Witnessing a City
Is Made of People Not Buildings
West. 54th Street
Is So Much More Than
A Boulevard of Intersections
Fifty Four Years of Marriage
Three Children
Six Grandchildren
A Family
Place Stones Here
Carve Their Hearts History
Making Their Covenant


DS Baker

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

STORY-"The Kaiser"


Thirty one years ago, in a high desert creek, fifty miles from the nearest ranch house, a German Brown Trout lazed up against a saw grass bank capped in snow, with its yellow green, grassy fingers trailing in the water. The trout’s deep caramel colored flanks shimmering with reflected light. Dark chocolate circles dotting its side, floated like ink spots. It was slow and languid in the early morning water. The trout moved its fins with a lazy movement, using just enough energy to keep its position.

The young yellow haired boy had come to this stream with his boy scout troop. While the rest of his companions dragged their treble hooks and power bait downstream, he moved with a determined step, he had a mission and it did not involved the noise and confusion of his fellow scouts. Higher up the creek into the surrounding foothills he climbed, hoping to find a spot of quiet and of solitude, although at the time he didn’t know enough about fishing or even who he was internally, to be able to place labels such as, “quiet” or even “solitude.” He just knew he had to get away from his fellows.

The yellow haired boy stopped and caught his breath. Breaking trail in fourteen inches of fresh spring powder was hard on the boy. He had wrapped his legs with plastic garbage bags, his feet had a layer of large sandwich bags between his wool socks. His feet were incased in high top basket ball shoes. His gear was more of the desert black top asphalt of a city than of the mountains and rivers. His back pack contained a collapsible fishing pole, a bologna and cheese sandwich, a thermos of hot cocoa and his brother‘s stinky fish bait.

As he stopped and looked at the quicksilver running across a frozen high desert, he heard a bird noise behind him. Turning away from the creek, he watched a wounded Stellar Jay flittering across the snow with a damaged wing; in headlong pursuit, a Pine Marten.

The Jay made it to a tangle of Red Thistle and Saw Grass. Heedless of thorns or density of brush, the Pine Marten jumped like a spawning salmon; His body arching, leaping, with all of his summoned energy, jaws snapping down upon the Jay’s neck with the finality of hunger satisfied and of a green twig snapping.

The boy was stunned. A Darwinian example of life and death, played out less than ten feet where he stood. He stood there frozen and silent. Watching the Pine Marten who was obviously hungry from a long winter consume his meal. What struck the boy was how vivid white against bloody red was.Or how within a few minutes the only way to tell there had been a bird there at all was, by the transitory tuffs of feathers pulled out of the Jay fluffing in the morning breeze and the disappating arterial spray of blood upon melting spring snow.

As the yellow haired boy turned away from the grisly feast, he spotted the large trout hiding in the shadows. The Sun was angled just right, to illuminate the inside edge of the bank; otherwise the tannin stained waters would have kept the Brown Trout camouflaged for another season. Yet there it was, a leviathan amongst fresh water midgets. Looking as if, some monster of the deep mysteriously transported to a central Nevada mountain stream. Cautiously the boy eased back from the snowy bank, where had had been hiking parallel to and turned perpendicular to the grassy banks and hiked to a position further up stream and out of site. There he assembled his rod and reel.

From his new position, he could see the fresh water monster lurking in the shadows. The trout was wary of noise and shapes passing over his domain. As such the fish kept a gimlet eye cast to the strange creatures and movements in the world beyond the wet.

The boy removed a spare garbage bag from his backpack and laid it out like a blanket in the snow. Sitting down he was now hidden from sight. A week earlier his older brother had taken pity upon the young boy by creating a special bait. Sardines left to ferment in the sun for three days. Then mashing those fermented Sardines into a paste. His older brother then took this stinking mess and poured it over the small jar of orange bait eggs. It created an almost overpowering palpable aroma of rotten fish.

This was the boy’s secret weapon. His brother’s bait gave him the faith and confidence to march away from his Scout Troop into what a city boy would consider a howling wilderness. Carefully he scooped the rotten smelling bait out and onto his treble hook. Then slowly and ever so gently he eased his fishing rod over the quick flowing stream.

With a patience he did not know he had, the small yellow haired boy eased the bait into the water. He let the current take it’s scent downstream. He hoped to a large Trout starving from a long winters nap, it would scream, EAT ME!

 The boy eased out the line. Bumping along the bottom of the creek bed, his scented bait inexorably slid closer to the German Brown. “Would he take it? Would he bite? Am I being foolish in trying to sneak up on this fish?” -These thoughts ran through his head.

The boy found he had been holding his breath. His lungs hurt from holding a breath too long. He was cold, he was hungry and this trout didn’t look like he was in any mood for his brother’s stinky bait. Deciding he had been made a fool by his older brother, the boy decided to reel in his hook. His hands didn’t make two full revolutions, before the Brown Trout struck like Jonas’s Whale!

His Garcia rod bent almost double! The line sang as it screamed down the rod! The boy was so stunned he almost dropped his pole.

Leaping to his feet with a shouted, “Hiya!” The small yellow haired boy hauled back on his rod, his breath coming high and tight into his chest, his ears ringing with excitement and the pounding of his heart.

The tip of his rod began to dance. It moved up and down with such speed the boy was afraid the trout was going to rip it out of his hands or maybe the rod was going to break. He remember his brother telling him when a fish was on the hook to let it have some running space. The boy let out the line and watched it burn like a laser beam down the middle of the creek.

The boy hauled back on that fish uising what felt like every muscle in his body. He got nothing. He felt like he had tied into a parked Buick or a bank vault door; there was just no give to it. Despite what did if the line wanted to move, it wanted to go only in one direction-away from him.

He remembered to dip the tip of the rod and crank on the reel at the same time. He gained a couple of grudging inches. He heard loud but indecipherable noises behind him that he couldn’t quite make out. Then the trout leaped into the air like a Dolphin! Its tail dancing across the surface of the stream, whipping its hooked mouth back and forth in a sawing motion. The boy gasped as the light played across its shimmering body. Gold tones and black as night spots all washed with a chocolate bronze and electric sparkles in the sunlight. The beauty of the fish left the small boy gasping.

Finally he could make out something, “Holy Buckets! Fight him boy! Fight him!”

Quickly turning his head around, the small yellow haired boy saw an elderly man in fishing gear, shouting words of encouragement.

“By Golly you got yourself a monster Kaiser there! Fight him! That’s it… let him have his lead… Now jerk his head back around! Let him know who is the boss!”

The boy drew encouragement and strength from his unexpected supporter. His arms were rubber and the fish showed no signs of tiring.

“Boy Howdy! You set the hook deep on that old cuss. Don’t give up son, just when you think he will fight you till the second coming, he’s gonna play out on ya.”

The boy’s hands were cramping. He felt like he had been holding onto his rod forever. The big trout made a last ditch attempt at escape, it shot from one side of the creek back to the other, then dashed downstream. This unexpected movement, pulled the young boy into the middle of the creek. Even with his legs wrapped in plastic, the cold of the water made him cry out in shock.

The old man, stepped into the water with the young boy and grabbed him by his belt loops.

“Don’t worry son, I got you.” Was all he said.

The boy pulled back on his rod and began to crank as hard as he could on the reel. To his surprise, the trout surrendered and came easily. Soon there in the shimmering shallows of a nameless Central Nevada creek, lay twenty eight inches of German Brown Kaiser Trout.

Lifting up the boy’s catch, the old man looked at the young angler and asked, “So what ya going to do with him…?”

Later as he walked back down the trail to where the rest of his boy scout troop, were still whooping and carrying on, his scout leader said in a derisive tone, “Did you have any luck with your brother’s secret stinky fish bait?”

The boy shook his head and replied, “Naaw, got a few nibbles, nothing much else.”

His scout leader shook his head as if, reconfirming his unspoken opinion about the world and his personal experience in fishing. The boy just smiled and tiredly walked back to his tent, patting a Polaroid picture in his jacket pocket the older angler had taken of him and his fish.

“So what are ya going to do with him…?” The older man had asked.

The small yellow haired boy thought. I don’t have to eat this fish to survive. Especially not like that Pine Marten needed to eat that Jay.

“You know what mister? I think I am going to let him go. Maybe somebody else will get a chance to try and wrestle that monster in.”

“I think that is a fine idea son.”

The End

DS Baker

Saturday, August 6, 2011



It is looming in my mind.
Like overburden hangs above a mine shaft

This impending future poem.

I see dead trees with branches like talons
Dusty tombs gape open
Acting as portals to another place

Death and I smoke a pack of reds
Reading obituaries
Propped up in a corner bistro

Old men watching women saunter by
Remember sweet taste of youthful love
While drinking swill at $4.25 a cup

Observing young co-ed's trying so hard to be earnest
Listening to young poets
Spitting out meter and rhyme
As if some newly discovered energy source

What do they know of animals living in our chest, dying by degrees?
Taking myself to when we worshipped under a sky full of demons
Back before angels and saints ruled us

Sifting through a myriad of images
I keep hearing stories yet untold
I hold no animosity to black clad youth
Once I too…
Wore my revolution on my chest

But rarely does youth’s outrage
Survive middle age
Bank notes and mortgages

But today is their day
Rejoice in it
Stoke your fires
Build your bridges of well seasoned wood

In your coming years
Ponder your passion
Is it the kind which burns
Or does it warm

Will it carry you through an
Augustan night of the soul
Or leave you lamenting in
Job’s ashes


Remember my admonitions for
I am a Romantic
With a capital "R"
I have paid full measure to sup from
That particular bloody cup

Witnessing visions in a Moebius strip
Of causality
How many times
Do you think
People have
heard those poems

Of abuse
Might over right
Gender vs. Spirit
They never ever change
But the purity of love is eternal too...

Beat your chest
Like a smith works Iron
Between Carbon and Flux
Steel will form
Supple and Sharp

Let it fight your fights...

Open your veins holding
A bloody rose laced
With fire
In your

You can walk
Bramble paths bare-foot
Pushing open garden gates
Leading to your Golgotha

Sacrifice yourself to
Oneness with He who commands
Lightning bolts
Digs channels for torrents
Tips over water jars of heavens

Feeding a thirst of
Of beauty
Turning dry clods of earth into
Life giving soil

Do you rail and rage
Against unanswerable fate
Gnash your teeth
Flex your muscles before
Men of words
Who take but
Cannot lead

It is the hard path
Which burns bridges
Of well seasoned


Flow amongst your outrage
As a fish swimming
Make sailing boats from
Heron feathers

Let them sail to far off towered Illyria
Or to a destination with fate
But make them sail away
Carrying your poetic vision

Wave goodbye with
Iron Rod Angels and
Leather skinned Demons
At your elbows

Invite these imposters
To your board
Make a companion of both
Take fear and retribution
From your dinning table

Sit underneath an Oak of time
Contemplating your battles
Against injustice
Or life in a Bell Jar

May you find Grace
Hiding in sunbeams
Dusty corners and
Children's laughter

Hopefully at the end
In some potential future
You might be read by another
Learning how to
Make Steel


If history teaches at all…
In a few years
Poets will still wear black clothes
But different faces will appear

One day like today
You might find yourself
In a bistro drinking coffee
Contemplating your mortality

By then…
I will have molded
My anger into a Terracotta skin
With my battle scars cast
Into my features

One of a multitude
Rank upon rank
Poetic warriors

Slowly being covered by
The Emperor of Time’s detritus

Cool and numbing
As Mother Earth’s
Womb revisited

My companions
And I
But await

When our steel
Shall be needed again.


DS Baker


Andulusian nights
Dusty days
Magical evenings 

Spectacular mornings
Lutes playing soft refrains
El Cid 's poema epico
Chanted in courtyards
Of stone 

Ancient days of a Reconquista
Hidalgos lounge

Wearing silk shirts
Slow decay of an empire's grandees 

Hemingway's passionate freedoms
Guernicia's innocent
Labels falling like bombs

Bull fights in Roman arenas
Stallions running across marshland

Sanguine wine liquid rubys on linen table cloth

Franco's tenure of corporate oppression
Lorca entombed
Mass grave unknown
Passions fade
With tourists scorn

Flamenco of a nations heart
Deaths companions still saunter country lanes
Clinging roses climb hidden grinning skulls 

Arabic memories captured
In stone braile of history
Castile's keeps crumble
Under noon day sun

Anejo topped Pyrenees
Cool breath for hot dusty plain
Roncevaux's knightly dead
Still guard its portals  

Basque people cling to
Hopes ancient before
Roman Legions 

Gypsy minstrels promenade
Through Barcelona nights
12 String guitars echoing history 

My home of stone walls
Orange tree courtyards
Dusky hued women
Where empires were born
Sundered and died

Conquistador's children
Rub elbows with Jewish philosophy
Eating pastries prepared by saintly nuns
I ponder thoughts of poetry
Did Abraham ibn Ezra's cloak cover my Spanish Sky?

DS Baker

Friday, August 5, 2011

"Lorca's Lament"

Life is pain
Birth an ending
Happiness arrives
Departs willingly


Bloody cup of woe
Wisdom through suffering
Love from

Nightly ascending
Roman wood
Wrapped in pentameter
Chains of our own creation
Grasping spikenards


Redemption comes realization
We are mortal flesh
Penitents before Holy Rood
Fallen son
To a midnight of eternity

Walking amongst the womb of waters
Looking for keystones to seal
Supplicants heart portal

Down Legion made road
To a wrought iron gate
Wrything with serpents


Climbing upon a barren hill
A poetry of roses bloom
With his passage

While shepherds carve Santos
In their Patron's likeness
They whisper his name


DS Baker

"Edisto Isle Exile"

Cold is Luna's face
Romantic names give no warmth

Fading piano music
Closing pubs with dying eyes

Fog embracing all
Soft shroud giving respectability

Georgian masonry piles slowly decaying

Dead empires wash upon
Oily Thames river bank

Down on the water front
Smoking my last Embassy

It is a Dire Straight moment
With a Pink Floyd heartbeat

Trans-Atlantic blues riding my shoulders

Carry my heart in a whiskey bottle
Full of dreams

Hoping to land my washed up soul
In a soft curve of sand

Shinning like a sun kissed diamond
As Sea Oats wave hello...

My soul is home once more


DS Baker

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"Phoenicia, SC"

In my neighborhood
I hear sounds of
Industrious chainsaws

On an afternoon of
Golden light
With an atmosphere
More water than

Workmen carry cleared brush
Upon their sweating backs
Looking as if some green
Legend come to life

I have been a spiritual companion
To their work
Their exertions
Falling into that Zen state
Of non-existence

In heat and rhythm
Where they loose
To this waking world

Traveling mental corridors
Sub-conscious portals gape
To ancient shores where Phoenician
Traders sail

Digging deep into reserves of
Muscle and sinew
Freeing bronze age anchors
They are echoes of an echo
Of past effort

Knowing at some mental level
When aquamarine waters part
With the last load of brush loaded
They will be
Free from labor

Having lost themselves
In salt flavored breathing
Finishing their double exposed tasks

Only to have traveled
Back where they started
In a sweat stained
Suburban yard

With little more than
Sunburned necks
To mark their travels
With fence line free
From green growth

As Cedar dappled shores of Sidon
Mix with sunset colored shadows
Of a Live Oak by the
Back gate


DS Baker

Monday, August 1, 2011

"My Street"

Lawndale Lawn-dale
Lawn green grassy verdant
Dale rolling open meadows
My Lawndale a desert street
Dirt at both ends
Hot black licorice
In the middle
Hightop Keds
Hanging from
Power lines
Where Football games
Dodgeball were
Co-dependent on passing
Cars who left
Exaust laden
Rainbow colored gutter
Cool to the lips of
Young boys who dip
Their head like street
Dogs drinking
Slaking an innocent
From green grassy lawndale
Run off
Drinking in our
Father's sin of
Growing dales
And meadows
In Mojave
My lawndale street
Where my Hightops
Hung on the power line
Outside my window
Till they rotted


DS Baker

Saturday, July 30, 2011

"Stolen Poem"

You are my working week
My Sunday rest
The garden gate leading not to Golgothas
But to our beginings
Gifting with wisdom of tears
Friendship of winter warm thighs
Shared siliences worth more than golden treasure
We are each other's Sea Folk stone anchors
I would rather a bullet in the head
Than spend one minute more
In nicotiene polished
Bus Station contemplating leaving
Where thou pitches thou'st tent so shall I...
For you
I swore before white doves with halos about their heads
We lead and are led through wastelands of endings
But you are my backyard garden paradise
My shared Coke in 100 degree shade
I would steal for you
Just as I have stolen most of the lines in this poem
For you
I am your stolen love
Gifted to you from Fate's whimsical lines
Binary computer code
Of the heart
Allowing me to read
Your operating systems
I get you
For you.
DS Baker

Friday, July 29, 2011

"The First She"

You I remember still
That first day
In a video store

Odyssey Records
Grand Dame of
Le Boulevard

Wearing chestnut hair
Round rimmed glasses

Big eyes
Prominent features not harsh
Like Mont Blanc

Wearing your fathers
White t-shirt underneath
Black/White summer dress

High top Keds
Hand laced red shoes
Your rubber ballet slippers

Black ceramic skull
Hung from swan neck
Grinning between your breasts

I carried with
Me for days
Your perfume

A week of your eyes
In three hours
Kept me thinking

I blushed
Enjoying your mind
Talking all afternoon

As hard as any I suppose
Falling into you
I did

Fortune favors the bold
As your graceful hands
caught me

Keeping me from
Dashing myself to a
Thousand tiny mirrors

For the better part of
Three years I loved
and was loved

Thank You


Thursday, July 28, 2011

STORY-"The Crossing"

I drank some whiskey last night. I walked slowly to my bed and I crawled into a dream. I began chasing you across rolling hills leading down to brushy river bottoms. You changed into a wild Mustang with a mane seemingly made of fire and I became a cowboy riding a white cow pony.
We ran you and I... all night long. We ran until the shadows went from black to blue. I knew with the rising sun, our chase would end.

I remembered you laying in my bed. You said, “I can sleep forever, while you hold me in your arms.”

Your scent fills my memory and perfumes the sheets where we once lay. But holding and keeping are mortal enemies warring in my breast and I can’t hold you and you won’t take my hand.We raced across rolling hills toward brushy river bottoms, your mane fire in the air.

If you love me say, “I love you.” If you love me say, “I do.” But you can’t say “I love you.” And you can’t say, “I do.” And you won’t take my hand…

I rode across the border, looking to learn the face of love.

I remember you laying in bed with your arms around my head, you said, “I can sleep forever.”

I still hold you there in memory’s morning light. But the weather is getting cold, it’s even getting cold down here. The words you told me hang frozen in the air…

I rode a white cow pony chasing you to brushy river bottom land. You splashed across the river and up the far side as the sun stepped over green hills. I rode down to the border to learn the face of love, but you never looked my way. I woke with ice rimmed windows and frost silver hills shinning cold in setting moonlight. I got up and saddled my truck and drove down to the border; to watch sun light dance above the water.

You can’t make someone say I love you and you can’t make them take your hand. The energy to do, to chase, explain or plead, doesn’t do a thing, if the face of your love has crossed the border. I drank some whiskey last night, and crawled into a dream. This morning I drove home and signed the papers. Maybe I will see your face from across the river.

The End

DS Baker

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

STORY-"Fiddlers Green"

One of the things I do to keep myself in some semblance of physical shape, I walk. Seeing the same set of house numbers over and over again has a way making what should be a natural effort can in effect make a morning’s walk boring as hell. So in the interest of mental self preservation I have taken to walking in the Congaree National Park.

It is in my walks through the swamp I often deal with issues which have been bothering me but until such time my sub-conscious deems I am ready, they have lain fallow in the back of my mind.

I have something to say and I am going to state it and move one. I can talk to the dead. Or rather they choose to talk to me. It is not some scary or bloody affair and it is only people who have been my friends or family. I have no control over it either, they-(the dead) choose when to show up and for anyone wondering I can’t summon them from the beyond like a fantasy Necromancer.

A friend of mine once described a person’s death as nothing more than their having moved away to a distant land, with a really obscure postal code; which in turn just seems to take forever for a letter to be delivered and even longer for a reply. It was as good of an explanation I have heard and it has given me some semblance of comfort over the years.

One of the biggest surprises I have had while traveling through the Congaree swamp was coming across my Army buddy Rich. We had both been reservists and ROTC cadets together. Rich was a tall beanpole of a kid, with a goofy endearing smile, which got him into more trouble, than his mouth could often get him out of. Yet he was one of those charismatic individuals, with whom you were ready to forgive their transgressions, as soon as you realized you were mad at them.

Rich and I weren’t terribly close, in the sense we hung out together all the time, or were considered to be best friends; but we were close in what I call a military sense. We were in the same unit, had the same college and ROTC classes together, studied together, and even ate the odd meal together and occasionally chased after the same girls. Yet there was separation between us… which I have allowed to haunt myself with through the years. On a complete and honest assessment after lots of introspection, at some level I believed I was jealous of Rich and his easy charisma.

One Thursday in 1990, after an all afternoon study session at a local Pizza parlor, Rich was headed for home and before he left, he told me, “Troop I will see you tomorrow night at the armory. I need help on my history paper.”

I was shaky in my hard science and math courses, while Rich could barely stay awake during a history course. We often traded history papers for tutoring.

“Sure Rich. Don’t forget this weekend we are going to the NTC-(National Training Center-Ft. Irwin, California) so don’t leave your field gear behind or you will be sleeping under a poncho liner like you did the last time.”

He gave me his patented goofy grin, got on his motorcycle and headed for home. 15 minutes later Rich was dead. A dump truck driver didn’t see the red motorcycle heading his way and made a left hand turn. And just like someone flipping a switch he was gone. Later that night after identifying his body, Rich's mother made the phone calls to the cadets listed on our ROTC phone tree. With my last name I was second on the list.

I can remember walking into the old Armory on Eastern Blvd in Las Vegas. I went to find one of my senior NCO’s a former 11th Cavalry Veteran.

“ First Sergeant Anderson?” I asked as I walked unannounced into his office.

“Yeah Bake. What’s up?”

“Cadet Rich was killed yesterday afternoon coming home from UNLV.”

“Oh shit! Damn and blast! I’m sorry hear that.”

From then on every time someone was informed of Rich’s death the “Oh Shit!” in quotations was uttered. Rich’s death hit us all pretty hard, I didn’t go to the field that weekend. I and several ROTC cadets stayed behind to bury our friend. He was the first of my friends and class mates to die. I saw his face in crowds for years afterwards. I would hear what I thought was his laugh and spin around and it would of course, be somebody else altogether.

As with all things, Rich’s death and its associated pain faded with the passage of time, but I never forgot Rich. In those sleepy hours of early morning where I would often find myself contemplating life, memories of Rich still strode boldly through my thoughts.

It is October now and the heat from the summer months has begun to fade. I went for my customary pre-dawn walk yesterday and the woods were unusually silent. As normally a concert of songs from Crickets and Frogs singing in the darkness would serenade your every step. At first I was just too wrapped up in my own thoughts to notice the absence of sound. I stepped off the Norfolk Southern rail bed which bisects the Congaree park and followed a game trail running through a grove of Catawba Trees, which eventually lead to the east bank of the Congaree River.

As I walked into those silent woods, a darker shadow dressed in a camouflage pattern two decades old, detached itself from a tree trunk and spoke.

“Hey troop. How’s it going?”

To say I was gob smacked and stunned would be an understatement of epic proportions. I instantly knew who he was but had to ask, “Rich is that you?” I stammered out.

“Well who else am I supposed to be dummy? Of course it’s me. I’m too handsome to be anybody else.” Rich looked at me with a grin wrapped from ear to ear and said, “Hey! When did you get fat and gray?”

I stuck my hand out for a shake and pulled him into a bear hug as I did. I then held him by both arms and looked at him. He was frozen at 22 years old. I had forgotten how young that age is. Youthful energy radiated from him like a blast furnace.

“I brought my climbing stove with me. Want to have a cup of coffee? I promise to make it as dark and bitter as only instant coffee can be when made by an Army tanker!”

How could I refuse? I let go of him and watched Rich get down to his ritual of making field coffee. He pulled out the collapsible pot, filled it with water from his canteen and pulled out two mess cups. He lit the butane burner and three minutes later we were sipping coffee. It was just as horrible tasting as I remembered it.

We sat their in silence looking at each other over the rims of our mess cups, grinning like a couple of idiots. Finally, I broke the silence.

“What brings you to these here parts cowboy?”

“Dave to tell you the absolute truth, I am going home. Been hanging around the living far too long and it’s time for me to see what is over the next hill. I have been traveling around the entire world if you can believe that shit! Collecting tiny bits of pain from those who remember me and once loved me.”

He paused for a second and then continued on, “See it’s like this, I don’t mind folks remembering me how I was. But I set myself a little goal to collect all the bits of pain that went with those memories. I just hated the thought friends and family would remember me, and be in pain or feel hurt. I have spent the vast majority of the past twenty years working on my mother and father. When I finally got them to the point of a dull throb, I figured it was about as good as I was going to get. I then decided I needed to hit the bricks and find all the other places and friends who had little memories of me stashed away.”

I just sat there and cried as I listened to him.

“See your crying is what I am talking about. I know what you’re thinking. Some part of you is still hurting with the whole idea of my passing. You think we were friends but you weren’t a good enough friend or some silly stuff like that. It’s just not true. You were and are a good friend. You have carried me around in the back of your heart for the past twenty years. It’s ok troop. Time to let me go see what is on the other side the veil.”

I dried my eyes and just for old time’s sake, I accepted pinch of dip Rich held out to me. He always had at least one can on him at all times. We weren’t supposed to smoke while in a tank and had developed a taste for canned tobacco. We sat there for the next hour or so catching up on where Rich had found our friends. Some were still in the military, one was in prison, the vast majority were married and there was even one who was expecting his first grandchild.

I remembered I laughed a lot. It had been a good long while since I had, had an old fashioned belly laugh. We both had our eyes set on a female cadet named “Julie” we had a field exercise out in the middle of an adjacent Marine Corp base in the Mojave. Rich weaseled a slot as “Julie’s” battle buddy. Decorum and the fear “Julie” might locate me and hurt me keeps me from telling anymore of that story.

However it was the remembrance of the field exercise and Rich’s shenanigans which left me weak from laughing. It was at this point Rich got up and pulled an old faded butt pack out of his military Ruck Sack. He carefully disassembled his stove and placed it in the fanny pack.

Holding it out towards me, he said, “Troop… Dave, you were the last, but not least of my appointments. You are a good friend. You were a good friend to me when I was alive. Been twenty years of whipping on yourself you weren’t a better one. I just wanted to tell you, you’re done with that horse shit. I also want you to take my stove. You were the only person besides me who could stomach my coffee.”

I reached out and took the pack from his hands, and he pulled me into a hug.

We broke from our embrace and he looked east through the trees and then up into the sky saying, “Suns quartering and the moon is still hanging, clouds are running red and it’s time for me to go and more importantly, you have a little girl to get to school on time. Love ya buddy. I’ll be seeing you.”

We walked to the tree line with me crying like a little kid. Rich stayed in the shadows and watched me go. But for all of the emotions running from my face, it wasn’t sadness. I was happy. I finally got a chance to say good-bye to my friend.

As I walked away, Rich’s voice belled out like a hunting dog as he began calling a favorite cadence of ours…

“I don’t know but I been told, -Eskimo women are mighty cold…”

The End

DS Baker

Sunday, July 24, 2011

"Many Rivers"

                                                                                                         I wonder what
                                                                        My twenty times removed
                                       Grandmother thought
             When she stepped
Ashore in 1620
          Did she know
                              She would be the one
                                                              Giving birth to a nation
                                                                                      Her menstrual flow
                                                                  Would join with
                                            So many others
Bubbling westward with
                                       A nation’s manifest
                                                                                      Shouldering aside those
                                                                                                                             Arrows of outrageous
                                                                              Making an Ox-Bow
                                   Across an entire continent
Bringing me back
                             To the same Atlantic
                                                               Shore that
                                                                               Saw her
                                                                          It matters not
                                                                                     My family came
                                                                    From there
                                                                                     To here
                                                                           Yours were
                                                                           Forced into a
                                                                         Middle passage
                                                                                 Of Hell
                                                                                              All that matters
                                                                                                                       Is we precious people
                                                                                                          Are here
                                                                             Our blood streams
                                               Joining mixing with
                  Those native waters
Here before us
                          We have populated
                                                        An entire continent
                                                                                   Instead of
                                                    These United States
                                                                             It should have
                                                            Been called
                                                                                    The land of many Rivers.

                                                                          -The End-