The Source

I went looking for the source this morning,
A place where two streams come from one.
What I found was a thicket,
A group of trees and brush so thick
That even in this early spring, before the
Leaves have put a skin on their bony branches,
You cannot see into where one becomes two.

-Kenneth Baker

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A destroyer of nations,
Wielded as a weapon
Against those who are different,
The color of skin,
Shape of the eye,

A notion of superiority,
That somehow blonde hair
Falling straight down the back like
Strands of gold glinting in the sun
Becomes better than  mouse brown and
The exotic carrot top becomes another
Proof of inferiority.

“If you were like me, we’d get along,”
Becomes a belief instilled deep in the psyche.
And so different is bad and
Everything works better if everyone
Has that same Barbie like straw blonde hair.

Except little things like reaching the upper shelf and
That whole big boned look make those other people stand out.
While those little differences are exotic,
We all know that exotic is dangerous.

You, I know are a member of my “Tribe” because you
Look like me and I can feel it in my gut
That those different looking people with their short legs
Cannot be trusted.
Does not our very survival rely on that feeling?

Here, I see you are cold.
Take these blankets.
I know they are a little dirty,
But aren’t they better than the
Nothing that I left you with,

-Kenneth Baker

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Star Voyeur

In the evening twilight
A spark flew up in the gentle breeze
To take its place among the stars,
Twinkling its cool glow,
Heat diminished by distance.
When I looked back to you,
Your face reflected that infinitesimal glow
And challenged it with the light from
Your own internal flame.
Gladdened by the glowing vision beside me
I stretched my hands towards
That warming fire.

A blanket on the grass,
The place for perfect repose
As the crickets chimed in with their evening song
And the moon began its slow
Journey across the sky, reflecting the
Dew that came forward from its hiding place.
We sat listening to the music of our breathing
And as we inhaled in unison,
All around us breathed in as well
Then stopped for a moment…

And we became embedded in the amber stillness.
The spark, tired of being a star,
Transformed once more, streaking across the sky
In an ecstatic comment on this forever moment.

-Kenneth Baker

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With Friends Like These

Supremely cold cucumber soup
Colored a light, light green cream,
That seems to effervesce
In the mind. Small delightful
Bubbles of summer coolness put
Directly into opposition with a
Habaňero sun. A dark smokey heat
That takes over your mouth slowly,
Reminding you of lips that were
There before, but now,
You are acutely aware of every wrinkle and pore.
A drop of sweat punctuates the experience
As it slips quietly to the
Tip of your nose.
You grin fiercely through the
Distraction, dabbing at your nose with
One hand while focusing primarily
On the spoon, as it delivers
Explosion after explosion to the tongue.
Glancing toward your companion
Who is watching with an
“I told you so,” smirk,
You profess with each bite as to
How good it is, because it is that good.
And even if it were awful,
To stop now would be to
Admit defeat and suffer the barbs
That your friends would use to
Spice the days to come
In quite a different way.


-Kenneth Baker

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Common Man

In this place there are those,
Whose tanned faces and
Wind burnt cheeks tell
The beginning of a tale,
A tale supported by the
Rough, leathery hands that
Know nothing of moisturizers and lotion,
Let alone a manicure.

The tanned ones are here now,
Knocking at your door,
Looking at you with quiet creased faces,
Waiting for you to speak that one word,
That simple acknowledgment of existence.

Patience is the greatest virtue of these
Who wait, an unrelenting presence that
Will pierce the veil of indifference
So that all will be seen and greeted with respect.

Though there may be no commonality
Of language, there is one of blood,
There is one of Hope and Fear,
There is one of Mother and Father,
There is one of rhythmic music and dance,
There is one of patience.

What is it that you are waiting to say?

-Kenneth Baker

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These are my own words
And I will not apologize for them,
Except for cases where I may
Cause unintentional worry by
Proclaiming something fictional
As undeniably true,
Or by making revelations about
Another that that person will
Find to be the utmost of embarrassment and shame,
Or in making statements of belief
That sow the seeds of discord,
Or when, by some turn of phrase,
I have annoyed you rather than
Providing you pleasure.For these things,
I apologize.

For those remaining works
That are free of controversy…
I’m sorry.

Kenneth Baker

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I have nothing to say,
Which is saying something.


Apples are a safe topic,
Non-threatening, easy to
Describe in their round shape,
Polished and glistening red in the sun,
Firm, yet slightly yielding to the touch.

I was watching one of those
Nature documentaries the other day
And the researcher said,
“Flowers are all about sex.”

The statement itself is obvious,
Yet the way he said it, with
His eyes slightly widened with excitement
With that edge of tremor in his voice,
Suddenly the whole subject took on an aspect
Of taboo.

So, maybe apples,
That forbidden fruit,
Isn’t the safe topic I thought.
And I really have nothing to say,
But so much to imply…

-Kenneth Baker

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I am not convinced.
I am under attack.
There are absolute judgements.
The data is irrefutable.

What arguments are there?
Why do you believe it to be true?
Who has posited this theory?
Where does the fault lie?

The stars shine brightest on a cold winter night.
The moon pulls at my blood just like the tides.
The sun is killing me with its life-giving light.
The Earth spins its way, dancing through space.

The absolute judgement leads to a convincing attack.
Who can refute the arguments we believed to be true?
What fault in a theory built on a cold winter night,
As we dance with the tides into life giving light?

Pull at my arguments,
Spin me along,
Dance with my spirit,
Sing me a song.

I’ll believe what you tell me,
This brush with the truth,
With theory en-spell me,
As we lie on the roof.

-Kenneth Baker

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Less, More or Neither

There is much, and,
Then there is more.
When all is said and done
There is much more of less.

Your market basket of commerce
Swells to incapacity as the
Smokey signal fires fog the watery eyed
Observer. The stinging eyes and
Lungs are so very much more
Than the lesser of two evils as the
Observer balances blindly on the winds of
Change that are causing scales to grow slowly
Over the eyes of those who would see.

Now, look to your basket of cash
And tell me whether
There is more or less,
Or has the basket changed sizes
While you blinked the smoke
From your eyes.

-Kenneth Baker

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Classifying Music

Often we talk about music in terms of genres like Pop, Alternative, Jazz or Classical.  I’d like to step back from that and work out some different definitions. I’m proposing that there are three different types of music:

  1. Music with words (songs)
  2. Music without words (instrumentals)
  3. Words without music (poetry)

Songs – We are surrounded by songs.  Wherever you turn, whether it be the grocery store or your phone, songs are constantly available and being piped into your brain.  Songs are composed of a melody that conveys and carries the words. Instruments build supporting harmonies to both support and move the melody along.  The words can tell a story.  The song, Coal Miner’s Daughter, is a good example of a song that tells a story. The words can also be used to convey an emotional tableau much as is done in Sand and Water. Either way, melody is used to convey the words to their fullest meaning.

Instrumental - Music of this type conveys meaning without the use of words.  Again, music can tell a story like in Peter and the Wolf or it can be strictly emotional in nature.  It is important to remember that the voice can be used as an instrument and sometimes is used to imitate an instrument.  Beatboxing is the modern form of this, but there are other examples like The Mills Brothers’ version of Caravan. Often we think of Instrumental music as something relegated to the Classical music genre, but instrumentals exist in other genres as well.  In pop music the instrumental rarely exists outside the break of the song. Jazz, however, seems to be almost all instrumental.

Poetry – I know what you’re thinking, ” How is poetry music?”  I think most people forget that poetry is something meant to be spoken as it is presented to us as words on paper.  Poetry is, however, meant to be spoken aloud.  Many of the same concepts that go into the writing of a song exist in poetry as well, like rhythm and meter.  All of this is used to evoke an emotional tableau or to tell a story.  One of the more recent examples that I can think of is the former US Poet Laureate, Billy Collins.  Listen to this reading of Litany to get an idea of what I’m talking about.

What do you think?  Am I crazy for thinking this way?  I don’t know, but the purpose of this site is to explore these three aspects through my own and other contributions.  Please comment.  We’ll see you soon.

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