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