Sunday, February 28, 2010


I've decided that I want to spend my weekends playing chess with my son and not necessarily post more than once here. I ask for no-one to be offended as I am not entirely sure I would be able to have any sort of appropriate reaction to such a thing. Not sure, I think it entirely depends on the state of my medication at the time.
Anyway, posting here doesn't take long depending on the length of the poem I am posting - I do not cut/copy/paste - I retype and hope that I have the sensibility for something new in it. Mostly I like them or do not in the state they are and they remain unchanged.

Go here.

or here  it's last year but there are two there and I like them.

here is good as well. Again, last year but the one here I've always had affection for.

these made me feel good.

I will post more in the future when I am feeling this lazy again.

That's Charlie. I'm Jhon and you are going to have an excellent day.

Friday, February 26, 2010

--title missing--

one of these days
I'll get around to
being amazed
by you
by the things that
you say
by the way
you dress
by the beer that
you drink
by the cigars you
smoke or
the considerable
lies on which you
will choke

- I wrote this

Just now actually - I am beginning to be more prolific lately and am quite glad of it. Maybe not leaving my house and burning bridges is where it's at.

Here it is - 
Or is this overused?

Maybe this instead...

okay then, have a great weekend!

I think I need more medication.

one of these days

more on this in a few minutes....

Thursday, February 25, 2010

ode to eyes open all night

Let us not forget to go here: 'I sketch umbrellas to remind'

but for today...
apologies for my lack of other wit or comment as my index finger makes it too difficult to write with any ease - I would say it was making excuses but it took over a day to stop the bleeding in the first place and I have already pounded out enough work for today to feel accomplished.

 early morning unslept

I am tired of dealing
with ancient memories

they ought to
invent           a machine
where I can

I guess there is a pill
for that
and now I hear it comes
in bottles at every street
corner in every city
except for Salt Lake City
                    on Sundays 

- I wrote this

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It seems

Normally I write a new poem and I submit it around and hold it. Most poetry here is a few years old. This one is not - this one is right now. Also this one has some precedent in my work as I am rarely moved enough to write about something political that can also become so charged. But, here it is...

It seems (prisoners of consciousness)
    for Orlando Zapata and Fidel Castro

F. Castro is 
doing well
it seems
Cuban dissidents are
still dying
in prisons
it seems
R. Castro blames others
for the blood but not
his blood
it seems
all the while we
mostly remain silent
it seems

- I wrote this

I wanted this out now, right now. I don't even know how finished it is. I wanted it out now.

As a reminder

Yesterdays poem or entry, what have you was this link - Click here now -  and I hope that everyone has had a chance to read it. I'll repost it here once it is no longer new on the Rejection Digest page, But anyway, here is one aptly titled 'poem'.
so, there you are.


There’s a sense of length
that comes with every job;
          (they tell me I’m crazy, that
          I have no ethnicity;
          I long to be Jewish or Black
          knowing the absurdity of it,
          like when you pretend I can hear
          you when you stand that far away.
          I’m all right with that.
          I’m all right with my overwhelming
          Caucasian complexion from the
          Welsh/French heredity.
          I’m all right with being crazy
          and having no ethnicity if that’s
          where it is)
the job pays enough and has no sense of
balance. The other parts of life suffer.
Lunch is still an important meal
and I have no qualms with it.

- I wrote this

I'd type more but cannot use my index finger so typing is off a bit and more difficult than longhand for me, which, while not being legible will have to do for now.

by the way, comments are welcome. Just click the word comments below for a pop-up.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rejection Digest

Rejection digest, my new favorite web site as it has published the stunningly brilliant poem "I sketch umbrellas to remind or Juan Grande Pecador"

Click the title NOW!! I am going to lay out on my couch and recover from a table saw incident and a strange visit to my doctor.

- Me

Monday, February 22, 2010

death in the afternoon

There has been a death. Our second hamster gave up the wheel and parades now in hamster wherever.
This has nothing to do with that like so many things in life.
If I locate it I will put out my translation of "Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias" which, as you may know, was Written by Federico Garcia Lorca and where the title of this post comes from. Great poem with a lot of poor translations out there. You need to be a poet to create a good translation of a poem. It is more than trying to stay true to the meter and words - you need to stay true to the lyricism as well - even more importantly you need to convey the emotion of such a poem which most out there do not.
I love to translate poetry like the first stanza of a poem that is to be published this week - link forthcoming. Translation is harder for me as I only speak my own language well and just dabble in others all while Spanish speaking poets tend to be my favorites.

the whole of earth

the whole of earth is
beautiful and I carry
a broken watch,
waiting for it to move.

the whole of earth is
beautiful though
we still drop bombs
on weddings and taxi drivers.

the whole of earth is
I am holy in it.

I keep impoverished in
my pockets.

the whole of earth is
beautiful and
I remember when I first
got laid.

               the whole of
earth is beautiful, we
watch home movies to remind.

the whole of earth is
beautiful regardless
of telephone poles,
regardless of
pornographic billboards.

the whole of earth is
beautiful, hearing
children play in the streets.

the whole of earth is
never to spite that which
vainly tries to
take its beauty.

- I wrote this

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday... isn't it?

Getting late now and I will not post tomorrow I think. Going to take Sundays off from this blog/ journal and concentrate on hunting down inspira - bring my 30.06 and enough rope to tie it to the hood of my F-150.

This is another poem that was edited to eliminate two names of living persons who need not be attached to it for it to work and stand. Actually, I think the names took from it it's meter and force.

poem in divisions

I must remember
tomorrow to
wash the sheets.
I must remember that
the starts above Broadway
are only imagined.

fire hydrants sit
by the street
waiting for disaster;
the mailman hangs out
waiting for conversation.
we take eleven photographs
from off the balcony.

the newspaper arrives
most days
while not arriving today.
the garbage truck comes
only once a week,
usually on time.

J. A. - I am with
you in prison
where your takers
keep watch while
the cell mates remind
you of your betrayal
to skin color.
in two days
F. will be driving up
and I’ve no fresh fruit
to offer or
tea to drink.

watching two insects
crawl on the screen
toward the holes
left for, or by them,
and overhearing a separate
apartment dweller sigh,
      "it ought not to have
      "been that way, but
      "it was."

I must remember
to shower and
drink coffee before
going to work.
I must remember that
my clothes are
still on the floor from
last night.

I must remember
tomorrow to
wash the sheets.
I must remember that
the starts above Broadway
are only imagined.

- I wrote this

Friday, February 19, 2010


literal or not
we bled on pages
and pages and
pages of uncertain poetry.
women bleed with efficiency.

dying roses are not
broken promises as
are crumbling petals
no longer red.

- I wrote this

Thursday, February 18, 2010

written on a small scrap with editorial department address on reverse

poetry wastes a lot of
paper that could be used
for holding leaves off the

there are some things
that trees will never
forgive us for;
art – is not one of them.

no matter how bad.

- I wrote this

didn't sleep last night, slept the night before but not the night before that. I did not keep track of previous nights only to know that most of them were not fit for sleeping. It amazes me how much two ailments can define your life, Chronic Pain and Insomnia, they are related but it is not a causal relationship as insomnia has far outlasted the pain thing.
this has weakened my current creativity or the current will to be inspired. This statement has been horribly alliterative and I must stop at all costs.
Another lit blog I read posed the question - 'is everyone an artist? - I think the answer is clear, however, the clarity I have on it is not shared by the many so called 'artists' who produce less art and more sentimental bullshit that is only capable of relating to the so called artist. This is not art and as the definitions are straying away from the meaningful I have simply stated that I am not an artist. But these questions that the so called artists struggle with is possibly part of what separates them from the real and the so called. This is not entirely accurate but what I would ask is this - if you go into your garage and change your oil with any amount of required skill or acquired knowledge, does this make you a mechanic? or if you cook diligently a meal that feeds yourself and maybe even a few friends - does that make you a chef? you see where I am going with this I hope. The effort and even the correct result do not make you the arbiter of such titles because that would be widely considered a gross misapplication of the terms. You are not an artist because you happen to create something or your friends like what you have done. A wall painter is considered a wall painter and not a wall artist. It seems that the fine arts are under attack by the same unjustified assumption of entitlement that is plaguing our streets and making me fear to leave my house for too long that I might accidentally add murderer to my short list of titles. I kid though I am often tempted to add aggravated battery to that list for the same reasons. I don't as I don't want to go to prison, feeling like you are more than you are is not really a corporal punishment offense (tho why not?) and mostly because even though I am a large and intimidating man - I am not a fighter, I am however, a poet.


The amount of typos contained in the last post bothers me - really highlights the need to hire someone else to do this kind of thing.
Thankfully my agent finally read this and decided to inform me in case the errors were not poetic license. They were not and have now been corrected. I will accept my thirty lashes tied to the main sail now.

I would rather be censored

I would rather be shot

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

thoughts on the secret hero in eight versions

piles of unpublished poetry
and I feel like Emily D.
except there is no song to these

most of the verse written years
ago in a 3rd floor walk-up
an hour from Chicago
there was less between us
and moments were ours
without out knowledge or
at least without yours

if this world was my will
or my idea - this
wouldn't exist
and maybe never get written

even at 124 mph across Colorado
before Denver

these aren't poems
not one o'clock moments
of clarity

they are sleepless induced
narcotic psychotropic

I casually wish I still drank

right now
time is passing
but not without memory
and I cannot say it is painful
you cannot call it hospitable either

secret hero of my poetry
where have you gone
what have you been thinking

I cannot question now
as I cannot cope with the answer

x xx
some kind of monster
and I cannot even look in the mirror
around corners
or close my eyes

this is not a poor film
tho we all with it were.

- I wrote this.

Monday, February 15, 2010

off the cuff

Most of the greatest poets it seems really are assholes. I believe poets to be highly opinionated egotists bent of displaying to the audience the poets view, almost a forced voyeurism, of not only the world the poet occupies but the audience that reads them as well. As a poet you must be ballsy and arrogant to even consider participating in the art as an adult as a serious pursuit I mean to say.

hand some women a banana
and they eat it.
Hand it others

and they masturbate on the spot.
off the cuff.
but most would talk.

about it, indefinitely
meanwhile, I'll
sleep as sound as poet

in post
coital recreation

- I wrote this - just now.

most of the above was written in response to comment on Jack Gilbert (poet) being an asshole when I just started writing the thing about the banana. I don't know really where the fuck this one came from but I like it. I hope tomorrow when I wake up sometime mid-morning that it still holds - they don't always ya know.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's final hours, the poor bastard.

St. Valentine wrote a love letter to his jailer's daughter. He fell in love with her supposedly. I think if this is true it might be the first example of Stockholm Syndrome. Now we celebrate this mental abnormality by sexing one another.
As I write poetry often for my wife, there is little that I make public. I wish for her to compile it all after my death and put it out as a book of poems for her. This idea isn't new but it is my way of offering something to her that is not offered to anyone else, as I do not have much I have this and it is for her only.

I don't hate flowers

I fill the page
I write this on
with flowers;
on the other side I sketch my wife,

I 'm not terribly fond of flowers.
though I tend to stoop and pet them,
I would as soon pluck one from the earth
to curry favor from my wife as I would
to plant one.

 - I wrote this.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Short Form

Last night I drempt that I was working on this blogs layout. 'Interesting.' I thought as I was writing in HTML fluidly, immediately I surmised that I was dreaming and I stepped away from the computer into a long hall where there were no doors but it was so wide that the contents of rooms were laid out bare to be seen by all who passed. I searched awhile looking for the right dream to be in but ended up awake having to use the bathroom.
This is an older poem, one of my long time favorites. Written after buying a kitsch African made pen as a gift.


this pen made in Japan,
this paper in Italy.
these thoughts from Africa,
these hands from Spain.

I was born with knowledge,
baptized a Lutheran.
yesterday I was an African Tribal Priest;
this morning I am an American Buddhist.

these are my interracial writings -
give love to all my brothers and sisters.

- I wrote this

Thursday, February 11, 2010

be genuine

brother of mine, be gauche
with life and lovers, or
be of self who is unrepentant
and glory filled
with no collections
or continued sadness.

be gauche with intellectuals
and presume yourself one in
belonging or
be honest and forgive
yourself these lies.

- I wrote this

After leaving the Visitation of an old friend and returning home I have learned that one of my favorite poems will be published on or around Feb 25th in the second issue of Rejection Digest.
a link -
I will post the link to my actual work once it has gone up. Even though the poem has been rejected by an a lot of publishers I am quite happy that it has been picked up by Rejection Digest. What could be better? The news was most certainly well timed as today there was the visitation and I am struggling to word a poem for the first time in years.

'I sketch umbrellas to remind or Juan Grande Pecador'  is one of my prized poems and I am very happy to see it out there where just anyone may bump into it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

in memoriam

I don't think the importance of some lives can be measured. Some lives have altered the path of so many others that their passing can only be comprehended on it's surface and not truly grasped even by the most intelligent of gods, the most compassionate of gods. These men leave such a perfect impression on our will that all we have to do to remember them is look at those who surround us and our selves for we are all better for having known that person.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

things learned while not working during work hours

ice-skating is like dancing on sheet metal.
my dog died seven years ago.
the best seers wear sunglasses when they sleep.
retired politicians go to work in the Vatican.
the tango seems expansive in hallways.
cell phones are the plague of modern man.

the automobile's force will go on in a straight fashion,
          unless acted upon by another force;
or spoken to in a gentle manner.
it's relative tho.
time is not linear unless man is.
evolution only acs as a barrier between
          father and son.
it must go on, and
most times that's all it does.

 - I wrote this in 2008 while reflecting on time spent at an information center hidden behind a wall.

Monday, February 8, 2010


 I've opted to eliminate references to living people when they arise in my poetry - at least when they arrive unexpectedly and are being shown in a truthful but painful light. I've no interest in relieving myself of pain or memory discomfort at the expense of another even when it is justified. I tend toward the teaching: do nothing now that the wise would later censure - and I think the wise would censure causing hurt reciprocally.

for __________

the sun coming through the window has
             always surprised me.
the dreams I wake from and the
quietnesses of the house, surprise me.

my youth has always surprised me.
the length and brevity of night or the onset
            of dawn's intrusion, love itself
has always surprised me.

the suddenness of beauty and breath
have always surprised me.
that we are still children too young for death
           with bones too old
for roller coasters, surprise me.

night only now and after dinner already.
this tiredness and joy of invention
     surprise me.
this poem, borne out of your lies has
wholly surprised me.

-  I wrote this

Sunday, February 7, 2010

a poem of no consequence and without intention

it's amazing how retyping has altered the following poem. I completely altered a verse and found two copy errors that would have otherwise gone unnoticed had I cut and copied. Having the errors would have been embarrassing enough but some of the original was deeply flawed as well. It is a better work now I think and you will have nothing to compare it to.
This is generally how my poetry progresses from first draft to final, however, once final I try to not go back, so to say, but now that I am retyping older finished works for this journal I am having to. It is making me a better poet - or maybe not but the drugs and  delusions aren't either - or are they?
relative day  (a poem of no consequence)

wild grown purple orchids
and aphids

wrought iron benches
400lb ashtrays
pebble garbage cans
bleeder hose irrigation

open sky
thirty Mexican laborers
two white foremen
ants cavalcade
on abandoned pastries
old men on benches

cooing pigeons
young sleeping dogs
trees already blooming
brick paved walkway

one dozen half open benches
caramel tinted soda in bottles
sun's up
fifty-three degrees

wild grown purple orchids
and aphids

relative day

- I wrote this.

as another example of a poem that has altered a lot from the simple act of retyping it somewhere and having to rework the wording to express my intention is a poem I first put on facebook only to have my errors pointed out, painful to my heart but necessary, and then being told a word was unnecessary. Of course I argued and foolishly did not listen but privately I altered the poem as suggested and found she was right, thank you Heather. What really buggered me about this one is that I had tried this poem written exactly as it is here before deciding on a different version which took away the essence for a mnemonic device that didn't work anyway.  here is that poem in it's final form...

without intention

your beauty reminds me 
I am living.
your touch reminds me
I must breathe.
your sighs take 
my body to sleep,
your very being resting
heart's beat to steady.

aroused by your silence, we
let love awaken with
morning breath.
we, like children, laugh
under covers in darkness
pretending we are alone,
untouchable, cradling
the others infinite fragility.

I arise to know you.
I arise to know these depths
with atonement;
depths without failure,
I arise to know.
your beauty reminds me 
I am living.
your touch reminds me
I must breathe.
your sighs take 
my body to sleep,
your very being resting
heart's beat to steady.

- I wrote this

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Shipping and Handling

Really tired at the time I write this and I think that I could rename this blog/journal - the tired associations of J. Baker.
I believe that I am going lie down to read TIME, Robert Gates is on the cover so it may be an informative read as this is someone I don't know a lot about and I am betting no-one I know does which is a shame as he is the Defense Secretary.From what I know already I would make decisions differently [about defense] but I wonder if I knew what they/he [Gates] knew, would my decisions be the same as theirs or now? Ignorance is not bliss, it is ignorance. Bliss is bliss and I've no idea about it at all.

shipping and handling

  - deleted after writer actually thought about it
  - a little more while no longer under the
  - influene of whatever it was he/she
  - was on that day/hour.
  - thank you for your interest.

          - I wrote this

Friday, February 5, 2010

Words are dry, meaningless

Insomnia sufferers of the world unite, or at least get together as to not be bored in the wee hours of morning.
I've "suffered" from this malady for as long as I can remember, there must have been a time where sleep came easy and I awoke rested and spry, wasn't there? In addition there are many poems that begin with the words - can't sleep - or are about not being able to sleep. There are many tricks to falling under the spell of hypnos and with the exception of drinking warm milk, I've tried them all and most seem to work for a few days but all eventually stop working. The only cure it seems was to drink copious amounts of Jack or Johnny Walker or SoCo, those who knew me then will advise against this tactic tho especially as I am not even sure that I even slept, there are only periods of time where I remember nothing and awoke in places I didn't remember being and all that implies.
I've also written profuse amounts of poetry and stories when I should have been dreaming, I would say it is a good time to write but there is always a lot of revision to clean up the mess that was the night before so I prefer to write in the day from when I start going on to when I finish while sometimes stopping for lunch or love.

words are dry, meaningless

words are dry,
expression faceless.
the ladybugs came here to die
on my window;
baking in the sun.

a hundred portraits
composing city life.

walks along South Michigan
in Chicago;
children think I am homeless
and dirty.

find Buddha in the patrons .
find Buddha in the hall.
find Buddha on the front steps
of MOMA.
je suis beau!
find Buddha in me!

on these steps I ask for a light;
and I am
not thinking that I’m going to write this
a year later, or more, sitting at
my desk. where
ladybugs come to die
on my window.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

this is a dislocation

this is a

a skillful assemblage of
etceteras and

a cycle of soul drummers
and southern chicken sacrifices at
the front gate of Graceland

a loose impersonation of self
overlooking and
never sighting self

Our culture is jazz, blues
and poor elocution

a fragility of coffee house
poets and the war

together-colored and successfully
uncollected disaffected ice cream eaters

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I am unencumbered by two inches
of my right leg
just as Jerry Garcia was unencumbered
by a middle finger
and Indian Larry by his pinkie

I am unencumbered by thought or want
from the single life of chasing
the girls and boys around
not unlike how death rattles free
our common concerns

this self

I seek a world not tainted by
not held by mans ambition.
I seek a world free
of delusion and description,
and of this self.

- J.

The poem posted yesterday got summarily rejected by an online journal upstart on it's sixth issue. Not one to get upset by such things I was unmoved until I read the work that beat me out. One poet stood out, the rest are already forgotten. The stand out was Emily Kendall Frey, compelling work and can see why her work beat out my own.
As I also noted yesterday it was no longer a first run so I would have had to pull it from consideration had I remembered I submitted it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Platitude of Willful Resemblances

This is the title to one of my poems written in 2009 - insofar unpublished itself. Last year was a banner year for my being published and those poems will be coming out in a book this year. The tentative title of the book is - Hands on the Hips -
I've been writing poetry for many years - on and off since I was a depressed teenager. Mostly on. I had never taken it seriously as an art form until I was crippled in a motorcycle wreck and found that writing and playing guitar were my only solaces to go on. Playing guitar is harder as I have to hold the guitar in a way that creates pain - more pain than that already exists. My penance is chronic pain in my leg, hip and back along with 2" of the femur gone and Steel plate holding me up. I sit in front of my IBM Selectric III and write not nearly as often as I should but it brings me a great deal of understanding and glimpses of that which we all chase. I can see now how I once treated poetry as a simple thing, one with little effort to perfect, this was incorrect as I can see that the craft of creation is intense and heartbreaking.
more on that later, I will write from time to time my opinions about poetry, Haiku, non-Haiku (which I write), books I've read, people and such, I don't care for politics as I am a poet but when the mood strikes I may as well.
Feel free to contact me, it is quite likely that I will respond, if you manage to find my home address, feel free to send an old fashioned and I will respond in kind.
The insofar unpublished poem in question is as follows:

the platitudes of willful resemblances

some things have a harder time changing than others.
sleep comes hard,
now we recognize,
meds and allergy pills. a
little beer and hopefully soon to sleep
and dream along the platitudes
of willful resemblances.

- J.

Which is now officially published as the journals will only accept first run and they would consider this a first run and published. SO, my former statements were only correct when I wrote them and ceased being true when I clicked PUBLISH POST. I will do this as often as I remember to.
Hold, J. Baker