The Origin Of Names in Certain Russian Characters: Vlad Pootin’

How Vlad the Tooter became Vlad Pootin who now is Vladimir Pootin’

Coming from some deep Russian, Ukrainian, Polish ancestry on one side of my family, I can vouch for the necessity of name change.
Superstition, bureaucracy feeding on its people, a sense of privacy required, and the freedom to begin without the weight of idiots’ prejudice.
Thus we come to the status of world leader Vladimir Pootin’ – and the origins of his patronomic.

As might be guessed, and divined from great Russian Literature, as well as the tiny bit of knowledge of the real world that gets through which the media fails to block, Vladimir is the Russian leader who is ex-KGB, strong, authoritative and prone to eliminating enemies, perceived and real.
He’s kind that way. He does not relegate them to government jobs by which they might snipe at him via malicious gossip. Smart to do so.

His ancestors were likely peasants grubbing the land, ducking whenever Stalin the Sentimental Butcher came a-roving. Of necessity they ate potatoes, beets, roots, and cabbages.
Thus we come to the origins of his familial name.

The family knew – because he told them – when Vlad was young that he’d be a leader, making sure to gather food for them. That sold them on his career; his neighbors helped, and the word spread: support young Vlad and eat well.
However, most people wanted proof so when young Vlad was not stretched back grazing on the family’s jewels: taters, beets, cabbages – he was sent forth on walking trips to spread the proof.

Given that the government wanted to eliminate any challenge whatsoever, a method was devised whereby he could assure the peasants, and keep his name secret.
His many cousins would arrive at each town and set up a table, with a big chair toppled backwards on which young Vlad would make his ‘speech.’

Upon secretly arriving, Vlad would climb the chair, facing away from the audience; who would be greeted with only the aspect of his arse presenting itself for their perusal.
His cousins would charge the audience with statements such as, ‘Who wants to always eat!’ and ‘Trust the one who gives you food!’ and ‘What is the surest faith?!Proof!’
With one more statement, young Vlad would be prompted to begin his convocation of confidence: ‘And in Russia, what is the greatest proof of constant food, since we dine on potatoes, and cabbages?! – nasty farts!’

At this point Vlad would start his toot-worthy attempt to make known the Russian anthem in support of patriotism.
The crowds were swayed. A few fools everywhere though demanded proof that he was not a government plant, and asked him how could they know he was dining on cabbages, and that these were from their areas.
His politician’s brain went to work.
‘You know how there are certain dialects for many areas, variations on a common ground of language? Well just so with vegetables, and their after effects in specific scents!
Come closer and smell the proof!’
At this time, anyone looking at the many spectacles taking place with each meeting in the small towns would be greeted with the sight of a line of small children, old women and bent–over men lining up as if to kiss an anonymous ass, then walking away with smiles of satisfaction. Claude Lévi-Strauss would have been stupefied in his attempts to detect the origins of such a habit.

Thus Vlad’s fame and authenticity passed.. so to speak. His anonymity was guaranteed. This did present a problem of how he might gain electoral office if he wasn’t known, yet his identity disguised.
A clever peasant, Bilary Clintoniak, was who employed to snatch the fleeting will-knots off Vlad’s butt – lest they harm the townsfolk – came up with the minor disguise of changing the last name Pooting to Pootin’.
She fully expected to assume the throne, as well, although rumor has it she merely got hit by a stray will-knot as she attempted to snatch a few and market them as gems later.

Thus in their efforts to disguise this great pretender to the Russian throne, a certain essential and inescapable reality was missed.
Vlad had named himself after his activity. The media had translated his name with a ‘u’ rather than the more common ‘oo’ after the P.
The fact that it was not his name at all had been lost.
Small clues began to emerge when ‘Vlad’ was heard muttering ‘Just watch me,’ and ‘Fuckez vous’ and ‘ Le Pierre, c’est moi’ (although to be fair this was mistakenly heard and translated as ‘I am your peer.’*), despite the fact that many English speaking people will swear that he said, ‘I shit in your ear.’

And so began the myth of old dead bloodsuckers being dug up and assuming office, pooting their way through the land and the people as some complained, some exclaimed, and all were unable to smell the trees because of the breeze.

©Dean J. Baker

*Disclaimer: this is not Pierre Elliot Trudeau, former Prime Minister of Canada, who is verifiably, and really and truly, dead as can be attested to by the long lines of Ontario residents que’d up to take a dump on his grave at $100 a ‘shot’.
Far be it for the editors to imply that they have heard rumors that the governors of La Belle Province have been heard to be thinking about turning the incurring piles into apartment buildings for ‘ce foutu anglais, le maudit anglais’ in a misguided attempt to erect a shrine to their former leader.

When poet Dean Baker was asked his opinion, he said, ‘A shrine to Turdeau? made of vacationers’ dumps? I like it. It has a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’, but let me not repeat myself.. so to speak.’

It is not recommended that you purchase the following:

Baker's Bad Boysch1ch2_tm2<–and most certainly not

BIOGRAPHY

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The Monsters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The monsters always arrive
when least expected; they
may give warning, though usually not:
you ought to love them for themselves.
They will tear your heart out, anyway.
Of course, by then you may find
there is nothing worth fighting for this time.

These monsters have minds full of smoke,
heads shaped like ashtrays; eyes
with miles of barbed-wire trapped inside:
capturing memory or desire, which hides
within the moment of avoidance or denial.

They will replace your heart with longing,
your mind with temptation. Once
the operation is over
only the arrangement remains.

Everything else forever temporary,
your love held for safe-keeping, didn’t
you guess whose heart
I am finally speaking of?
Whose treasure is missing?
The monsters are healthy and well-fed.

©Dean J. Baker

BIOGRAPHY

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Everywhere I Go – John Newlove

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What are people talking about. Everywhere I go they whisper.

They stick their eyes at me, right at the base of the breastbone,
when I’m not looking.

The breastbone seems flat, pointed like a dagger to the top
of my stomach.

O, my stomach, my stomach… when the knife rips you open
it will find coffee and four strips of bacon, pieces of chewed
beard and a handwritten note saying I have left town forever
again.

©John Newlove
– excerpt from his brilliant work, Lies, jnewlovelies1972 and from A Long Continual Argument, The Selected Poems of John Newlove

John was a friend of mine – yet I had only said hello back him when I heard him read this live one time at York University. I’d been searching for the room in which the reading was to be held, and came around a corner to come face-to-face with him, and Joe Rosenblatt.

https://deanjbaker.wordpress.com/links-to-my-books-in-print//

The mothership: http://deanjbaker.wordpress.com

©Dean J. Baker

Alden Nowlan – Greatness in Poetry

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Alden Nowlan is one of those poets whom I never got to meet, and always wish I’d been able to do so.

I first saw one of his poems when I was in high school. And as with that poem, his other poems: they always evoke, a ‘yes!,’ about honesty and the truth of things. Always memorable. You’ll find them repeating themselves at the least expected moments.
The poem that first struck me was his ‘Aunt Jane.’

Aunt Jane

Aunt Jane, of whom I dreamed the nights it
thundered,
was dead at ninety, buried at a hundred.
We kept her corpse a decade, hid upstairs,
where it ate porridge, slept and said its prayers.

And every night before I went to bed
they took me in to worship with the dead.
Christ Lord, if I should die before I wake,
I pray thee Lord my body take.

 

©Alden Nowlan

Just to be sitting in your own world and to have 8 lines smack you awake out of the blue, away from your concerns and take you to revelation so quickly, so easily, and with such delight – amazing.

But Alden has many, many poems of the kind that do so – surprising in their humility, strength and understanding. His are the works you could carry in a small book with you and find sustaining every time you looked.
He covers history, patriotism, and more all in a beautiful way.

One other:

Canadian January Night

Ice storm: the hill
a pyramid of black crystal
down which the cars
slide like phosphorescent beetles
while I, walking backwards in obedience
to the wind, am possessed
of the fearful knowledge
my compatriots share
but almost never utter:
this is a country
where a man can die
simply from being
caught outside.

©Alden Nowlan

 

Brilliant work.

And from Alden Nowlan, Selected Poems

A Poem About Miracles

Why don’t records go blank
the instant the singer dies?
Oh, I know there are explanations,
but they don’t convince me.
I’m still surprised
when I hear the dead singing.
As for orchestras,
I expect the instruments
to fall silent one by one
as the musicians succumb
to cancer and heart disease
so that toward the end
I turn on a disc
labelled Götterdämmerung
and all that comes out
is the sound of one sick old man
scraping a shaky bow
across and out-of-tune fiddle.

 

©Alden Nowlan

These poems of Alden’s are a few of the good, and representative of his best. You need the book to even begin to get an awareness of his greatness.
Robert Frost may be more well known, but for me Alden wins the laurels.

© Dean J. Baker

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These Dogs

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The only things wrong with dogs are people.
We have a contract where they desire only
us: our company and their bliss the same.

These mutts, or pure-breds, are our spirits,
civilized for a moment, otherwise our low
and high freedom to do as we would and please.

We send them off to roam the world, we
eagerly await their return: our ambassadors
soliciting praise and pleasure from others.

You do not own your spirit, you create this
from rags and bones, from balls thrown high:
the sense grown to a great sophistication.

What you abandon, beat and strangle, often
torture and eventually murder is a repeat:
you have not overcome that terrible nature.

Off the leash as we are all, you become more,
canine or human creature: these dogs you call
to your home are all you need to love and know.

©Dean J. Baker

-* all the above pictured dogs have shared their lives with me

all my books on salehttp://www.amazon.com/Dean-J.-Baker/e/B00IC6PGQM

go ahead and discover a book of mine…

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also posted – https://ohcanaduh.wordpress.com/2017/01/29/the-herald-2/

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Patrick Lane, a great Canadian poet – and his poem, Legacies

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Patrick Lane, a great Canadian poet. In the tradition of Al Purdy, and Charles Bukowski for those who are unfamiliar with great Poetry. The designation I use – the Canadian part, anyway – to specify country of origin.

Of course as to great and to a degree greatly unremarked poets except or even including within the country of their origins I would have to also mention Kenneth Patchen, whose book The Journal Of Albion Moonlight is not strictly poetry yet is poetry at the core. Something along the lines of Louis Ferdinand Celine‘s Journey To The End Of The Night, or his great Death On The Installment Plan. A few books, along with Djuna Barne‘s Nightwood and a few of Anais Nin‘s, with Blaise Cendrar’s ought to be de rigeur reading ( especially so his Moravagine).

Now of course these have nothing directly to do with Patrick Lane, but they are indicative of what greatness inspires in the fact of a joyful association and the discoveries made along the way.

One of his poems from The Collected Poems of Patrick Lane

Legacies

I’m smoking one of his cigars tonight
after this one
there’s only one left
a pack of cigars
Remington shaver
swagger-stick from the First War
and nothing else
legacies from the old man.

Once in all his eighty years
I saw him – father of my father,
forbear
passing my father to me
in one sudden moment
of a prairie night
begat
begat

and I sit here and smoke his cigar tonight
while I clean his earthly hairs
from the razor
sit and smoked
sit and consume legacies

© Patrick Lane

  • and that is just the first page…

Aslo, you might take note of his memoir – What The Stones Remember: A Life Rediscovered of which a few comments are:

“To read this book is to enter a state of enchantment.”—Alice Munro

“Patrick Lane has written a memoir of heartbreaking struggle that manages to be beautiful and encouraging, finding anchorage in what was once called Creation, the natural world and its unstinting promise of renewal.”—Thomas McGuane

“A tough, lovely book.”—Margaret Atwood

So do look for his work, and enjoy a great Canadian poet. Patrick Lane. Take note that there is even a book where 55 poets celebrate his work: https://www.amazon.com/Because-You-Loved-Being-Stranger/dp/1550171011

https://deanjbaker.wordpress.com/links-to-my-books-in-print/

©Dean J. Baker

The Herald

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing more than abstract ornament,
explanations and discussions
keeping us to ourselves; we were
too petty for anything else. God
and Spirit, man and God again: no
insight into the common denominators.

Stupidity categorized the crews
taking over. In Canada, one was
reduced to waiting; at best,
you sent yourself notes (not poems)
hoping they would stay closed, or
fall open revealing all upon arrival.

You are lost either way. Death
enters your life: a troubadour
strolling through the provincial town.
Each gesture of government singing
the unwanted guest to bed, who is
finishing the last bite of food.

One brought no plans for conversation,
issuing invitations in the dark
he slips from his clothes. The livery
stark amusement, leaving only the arc
of a streetlamp which constellates:
the hard vistas of distant expectation.

©Dean J. Baker

  • first published in Jewish Dialog
  • I wrote this and sent the first copy to John Newlove, a fine Canadian poet, who phoned me with what amounted to a surprise and wonder at the poem that I fully could not appreciate til much later. Joe Rosenblatt later opted to publish it in Jewish Dialog, which he was editing then. (Later I would edit two of Rosenblatt’s books – Tommy Fry and The Ant Colony, and Loosely-Tied Hands.)

all my books on sale – http://www.amazon.com/Dean-J.-Baker/e/B00IC6PGQM

 

alternatively, direct from CreateSpace – https://deanjbaker.wordpress.com/all-print-books-links/

Two important companion books by Dean J. Baker – The Lost Canadian Vol.1, and The Lost Canadian Vol. 2

Two important companion books by Dean J. Baker

The Lost Canadian, Early Selected Poems, Vol.1 and The Lost Canadian, Poems Selected, Vol.2.

Both volumes feature some poems which have been published in Canadian literary journals, and in literary journals in the USA and Europe.
Some of the literary magazines which published selected poems are:

Waves

Jewish Dialog

Descant

Northern Light

Canadian Review

The Carleton Literary Review

The Prairie Journal

FreeLance

Nexus

Rune …………………as well as many others.

Both volumes over 100 pages, only $10.99 each, with the ebooks only $5.99 each

LITERARY PUBLICATIONS

BIOGRAPHY

Links to My Print and Ebooks

Review of DARK EARTH

 

 

 

 

©Dean J. Baker

http://www.amazon.com/Dean-J.-Baker/e/B00IC6PGQM

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A Few Things.. Memoir Of My Father On His Birthday

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On June 6, my father would have been 100. He died 10 years ago. This is about that time.
Also, my latest book of poems, – here – The Lost Canadian, Poems Selected, Vol.2, dedicated to him, is published today.

I was taking care of my father, in a small way, helping him out because I’d promised I’d do so when he found out he had bladder cancer, went through a few operations, etc., and was on recovery road.
He’d been religious in doing so for my mother when she had cancer in 1978 – him, and my brother – hospital bed in the living room, as much comfort as possible.
One February day in 2003, he was standing in the bank, and his leg broke as he turned around. This was the beginning of a long, uneven road.

He was doing fairly well, but then slipped at home, which required a hospital stay for about a month.
That went ok as far as hospital stays go – and once back home there were exercises, then weekly treatments for the bladder cancer for a time, which tapered to once a month eventually.
I’d drive him back and forth since he’d have a tube inserted directly into the bladder for the chemo, and might or might not be sick afterwards – so simply sleep it off for a few hours.

That went not too badly until the morons at the hospital giving the treatment, after assuring me the procedure was sterile, next time told us it wasn’t – I was asking because he didn’t feel well, and why there was an infection from the procedure.

This led to more in and out hospital stays. The last cycle was from Sept.9 until February/March the next year when he went to a rehab hospital.
While in the hospital prior to the rehab the workers managed to give him a heart infection – who washes hands there anyway – place him in a room immediately after coming out of ICU with a wandering shithead of a patient with MRSA, attempt to give him multiple doses of the wrong medicine, meds contrary to his condition, etc etc etc. (More details later.)
One result was that I was there every day for months to the extent that my father would jokingly refer to ‘our stays in the hospital’ at 10 am until some time after midnight or 1 am being watchful; wheeling him around the hospital in a wheelchair, outside in warmer weather, getting any extras like newspapers, etc. This often resulted in overnight stays sleeping on a couch in the ICU waiting room. My brother was managing his business in another city but did manage to come in on weekends.
My diet then consisted of coffee, some donuts, toasted cheese sandwiches at night. Not good.

At one point while my father was out of the hospital over Christmas holidays, and into January, my brother got hit head-on by some traveling dingbat going the speed limit (she said) on a blustery, very cold day. I found out through a phone message from the police on my answering service when I got back from shopping for some stuff for the house that he’d be transferred when stable to a hospital in Toronto that night if he made it.

tcar

He survived – barely. Broken neck, broken collar bone, broken legs, destroyed kneecap, broken ankle, broken foot bones, etc. When he was transported from about a hundred miles out of the city that evening after being stabilized during the afternoon, I was at the doors as the attendants wheeled him in and up to a room where doctors were at work on other accident victims.
I left that night after they had to insert a tube into his side to drain excess fluids, cutting a hole as I stood nearby as he lay there grimacing, tubed out.

That began a series of visits to his hospital which weren’t that frequent, often only 3 times a week, sometimes 2 as he did have a girlfriend who would travel there to stay with him. But that became ‘special’ when my father had to go back into the hospital, and I was ping-ponging from one far end of the city to another those several times a week.

Eventually, 3-4 months later, my brother was getting out of the hospital, and I was going to drive him home that night, checking on my father by cellphone. At the first stop – not driving in the rain and talking – my father didn’t sound good, said he didn’t feel good (and being a realist rather than an alarmist was convincingly able to convey his real state to me), so I proceeded to call a friend of his and mine at the time, and she said she’d call 911, tell them she’d be there, so I called him and told him what was going on.
Firemen broke down the back door, she was there to comfort him against any increasing upset, while I wheeled my brother homeward bound, stayed maybe 5- 10 minutes, and left after he said to just go see to my father, especially since it would take at least an hour in that weather to get to my father’s hospital.
My Dad was stabilized, okay, relaxing, so I left after a few hours.

Over the next several months due to slack attending nurses, disregarding my requests different nights to be extra watchful since I kept a notebook and monitored my father’s blood levels and rhythms and eventually could tell there would be cause to add potassium or whatever else was necessary, they managed to give him several heart attacks, when he’d never had trouble with his heart before. (There are many other incidences or different occurrences which I’ll detail when I do the book)
Nothing like a call or two or three.. at 5 am, after I’d left at 1 am, made it to the bed by 2 am, informing you of those heart attacks; or some wrong-headed panic driven nurse saying ‘we think your father’s going, you’d better rush in’ and finding out that she was uninformed and just dumb.

Rehab came in went, my father only 20 minutes away instead of a half hour, so I’d take him lunch I’d make, get newspapers, we’d walk around the rehab hospital. All this time of course they were pushing, pushing, pushing to get him out.
I had several meetings with all the hospital staff present, doctors included where I argued successfully to maintain my father’s care there awhile longer as he was getting to the point where he’d be better able to manage outside.

He eventually came home, and once again fell, whereby the at-home services said they could no longer provide therapy because he was bruised and thus unable to complete their exercises. Assholes.

Until one day, one night. I said good night, rubbed his legs for the blood flow, got him a warming bag to lay at his feet – all per usual – said good night, gave him a good night kiss, he said he loved me and my brother. I said I’d be back in 15 minutes, as usual again, to check he was sleeping okay.
Had a bath. Went downstairs as my brother came in – he was visiting – turned on the hall light so as not to disturb him, and as I peeked around the corner into his room saw he was asleep on his back. Not usual, as he slept on his side, and I’d left him turned onto his left side.

My brother had just come back in, having been visiting my father earlier in the evening; shaved him, got him into bed. One great thing about my father, for our sakes, was that his mind was always there.

I spoke out to him, as I might usually do, where he’d glance over and smile, and fall back to sleep. This time, nothing.
His eyes were the half-open they are when people die – seeing that made me shiver and I felt as if my stomach had dropped to the floor.

Off to the hospital, riding in the ambulance.
They took him in, and I had to wait as usual before I could go in.. to round a corner and find a doctor with a class inside my father’s room, saying ‘This patient was brought in brain dead…”
Outraged, and hurting, and wanting to hurt, I said, “That’s my father. Not yet a subject for study. Now get the fuck out” loudly but calmly, as I moved into the room. A few of the students looked embarrassed, muttered ‘sorry’ and all filed out, with no word from the doctor.

Death followed next night.

©Dean J. Baker

The Lost Canadian, Poems Selected, Vol.2

https://deanjbaker.wordpress.com/all-print-books-links/

http://www.amazon.com/Dean-J.-Baker/e/B00IC6PGQM

Review of DARK EARTH by Dean J. Baker


Posted by Craig Hickman in Book Reviews, poetry

“I keep walking, making calls which few recognize, eventually sure that one day when I have passed that way, suddenly a porch light will shine in the evening and another timelessness reign.”

Dark Earth, Dean J. Baker

Been reading Dean J. Baker’s latest offering of poems of late, Dark Earth. Of course Dean is an author, composer, and performer who was born in Toronto, Canada, to a Ukrainian/Polish father and an Irish/Scottish mother. Attended the University of Guelph, and later won book awards from them, along with several unsolicited Ontario Arts Council awards, best poems published in a year in literary journals, and The T.S. Eliot Society of Miami’s Calendar Poet award. He has several other works out: Baker’s Bad Boys, Silence Louder Than A Train, The Mythologies Of Love, and The Lost Neighborhood each of which can also be found on his amazon.com page.

What struck me intensely about Dean’s poetry is this sense of earthiness and despair tinged with a dark humor that I so love. An ongoing walk through these dark times is an underlying expectation, an almost uncanny movement toward hope; yet, not hope itself, rather it’s a sort of orientation to the future or forward looking gaze that can almost see between barbed wired clouds on the darkest horizon something strange almost shining through only to be sealed off immediately by the Reality Police who trap us in this bleak corner of the universe. Now by this I don’t mean that Dean is some kind of blipping optimist, no he’s a pessimist or realist like most of us. No that would make things a little to easy and rosy, and Dean is more of a bleak and transgressive churning below the muddy waters. He lives down where the alligators and moccasins move in those black ponds, waiting, harboring nothing but deadly thoughts. Dean’s world is to poetry what David Goodis in Street of No Return is to noir. In that bleak book the main character loses the girl, kills the villain, returns to skid row with a bottle under his arm for the boys in the cold wet sunless streets, where life is nothing but this hollow gesture, a desperateness toward the last dark weave of things: where losers sit in some dark alley passing the bottle around, and nothing could touch them nothing at all.

But then again what does touch us is Dean’s poetry, and it touches us hard and quick like some dark message out of hell; but this is no metaphysical charade – it is our hell, our lives in this god forsaken universe where the thought of salvation isn’t some dream of transcendence, but is rather a movement toward another order of indifference, another and hopeful purgatory across some bleak landscape beyond the lies and deceit of this one.

Do you not see how
they drive:
to meet the grinning, opened mouth.

In Dean’s Widows he challenges our sense of propriety, brings us two death’s: the death of child, and the death of something else. Even the use of the plural – Widows, as if one may suspect some murderous collusion amongst “black widows”; or, rather the natural order of some dip into Shakespeare’s widowed “witches” from Macbeth; or, more likely just three old mean women out of some southern gothic world who, as the interlocutor tells us – as if it were some dark and sinister story, to be hushed up in polite society – a memory of another child: “the unlovely child you always knew too much about”. And, the interlocutor continues with a double refrain, one that tells us these dark widows are “carrying themselves” and “carrying themselves / with taunts of Spring”. The interlocutor will not say what cannot be said, what it is that these widows have done, or what secrets they hold to their black hearts. But he knows, and for him there is a bittersweet revenge in knowing that what they are moving toward as “they drive” is a meeting with that “grinning, opened mouth” – a death at once comical and grotesque that will undo these murderous widows and their secrets in ways beyond telling.

This is the key to Dean’s art, the subtle narration of certain moments that are never revealed in the full natural disclosure of facts, but are rather revealed more subtly in the voicing of certain affective relations between memory and mind in this ongoing inquisition with the sordidness of our unlived lives. It’s as if in each poem we are seeing slices of a pain, a snapshot of horrors, a visitation of certain indelible blood-lettings that continue to keep the wound of life open to the world. For isn’t that truly all that remains? How many of your memories are of joy? Oh I don’t mean the picture memories you can snap out, I mean the affective memories that stick in the crawl of your thick mind like a bad taste in the mouth. How many?

Dean is a true comic poet as well, full of those sly interventions and evasions, slights of self, incriminations and elisions: “It is you, who have ruined / your life, / with the comparisons … elegies outworn: / embarrassing”. And, even the muse is a fickle mistress a tormentor “the muse still torments me every now and then”, and yet she’s a comical waif as well:

She thinks a psychiatrist / may do the trick: forgetting / she had a hand in the mess.

What I admire is Dean’s pulling out all the stops, no sublime romanticist here; no, instead he’s taken notes from the underbelly of those masters of the macabre and grotesque. All those little oddball peculiarities of the absurd, bizarre, macabre, depraved, degenerate, perverse that are the hallmark of the best of that dark haunting literature, both humorous and earthy, grotesque – can be found here. As Philip Thomson tells us of the grotesque in literature and visual culture: he calls it ‘the unresolved clash of incompatibles in work and response’ and, he continues, ‘it is significant that this clash is paralleled by the ambivalent nature of the abnormal as present in the grotesque’. I like to go back to Baudelaire who perfected this mode after his careful perusal and translations of that master, Edgar Allen Poe. For Baudelaire it was to know that one was dammed in this life from the beginning; but it wasn’t a religious knowledge, no it was a secular knowing that this world, not some future abode of despair already harbored enough hate and crime to fill ten thousands hells. Maybe this is why even Sartre would seek in Baudelaire a brother of that darker existential pain that is existence with others, and go on to see “hell is other people”.

One of my favorites of this mode from Dean’s work, and the last one I’ll quote (I want you to cherish a first reading of the rest for yourself) is “Queen St. East”

The jaw slacks, with the weight
of the body’s loss,
to an inexorable acknowledgement

The brain is unfettered
in its jug; spilling over
with the nostalgia of alcohol

Flat on their backs, near Moss
Park, curled fetus-like, the
inhabitants whirl in a static frenzy of

Enfeeblement, any amusement here
sublingual: the posthumous twitching
of cynics en masse

That, my friends, in one succinct movement is the Grotesque Sublime: “the posthumous twitching / of cynics en masse”. It is also the dark knowing of a grotesque humor named “Dean J. Baker”. Rabelais and Hieronymus Bosch look out of dark chinks in these poems… instead of Emerson’s “Whim” above Dean’s lintel we might assume “Melancholy” resides here… that dark brooding that laughs below, and rises through the bones to jerk you awake from your too lazy sleep of existence.

Please visit Dean J. Baker’s wordpress.com site: https://deanjbaker.wordpress.com/
and his poetry can be found: http://www.amazon.com/Dean-J.-Baker/e/B00IC6PGQM and https://deanjbaker.wordpress.com/awards/all-print-books-links/

1. Edwards, Justin; Graulund, Rune (2013-05-29). Grotesque (The New Critical Idiom) (p. 3). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

http://darkecologies.com/2014/07/28/dark-earth-poetry-of-dean-j-baker/

now posting here – https://socialecologies.wordpress.com/

Dark Earth, is available here –> https://www.createspace.com/4904836 and http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Earth-Dean-J-Baker/dp/150052591X

from review quotes of Dark Earth: “Dean is a true comic poet as well, full of those sly interventions and evasions, slights of self, incriminations and elisions.. He’s the kind of poet that gets under your skin and stays there like a song in some dark noir alley that sings to you of love and death suckled on good old home grown truth.”

https://deanjbaker.wordpress.com/awards/reviews/

https://deanjbaker.wordpress.com/awards/a-reason-why-you-need-to-own-dark-earth/