Friday, March 30, 2012

Spike Lee: In Spike Of Himself

Here's my latest post on my other blog Baker'sTake™.  It's about another example of celebrity stupidity that we so often hear about, only this time it comes from a celebrity who has made a career of stupidity.  And racism.  Well, that's my opinion.  Anyway, stop over and read my latest rant.


City Scenes X: "Signs, Signs, Everywhere Are Signs..."


Photo © 2012 R. Burnett Baker 
Photo taken by R. Baker on Monroe Avenue, Rochester, NY.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Magpie Tales Photo Prompt 110: Many Lives


all must fly,
swallow sky
and mist,

with one 
moment of 

past but  
never forgotten. 

Poem © 2012 R. Burnett Baker
Image: Duane Michals shared by Tess Kincaid

Friday, March 23, 2012

City Scenes IX: Passing Strangers

Poster on a door, Rochester, NY. 
Photo by R. Baker, 2012.

solidarity (?) 

movement snapped 
its mystery to a 
corner of my eye, 
and there was 
instant startlement: 
sharp activity should
be tempered by 

I don't endeavor to 
surprise, nor will I 
be swayed by the 
peccadilloes of 
attention grabbers:

I merely wish 
to make eye contact
and nod in agreement 
to our mutual, visceral

Poem © 2012 R. Burnett Baker 
Photo © 2012 R. Burnett Baker 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

City Scenes VIII: Dumpster Diving


in least expected 
places someone 
is able, still, to 

Poem © 2012 R. Burnett Baker 
Photo © 2012 R. Burnett Baker 

Photo taken March 18, 2012 by R. Baker off Monroe Avenue, Rochester, NY.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Magpie Tales 109: The Sky Is Falling (A Little Rant)

Image: Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison,
shared by Tess Kincaid

chicken little 

grab a wrench, activist gods,
and tell me again how the 
sea is rising, mountains falling, 
glaciers melting: 

I'll meet you in the public park
where we'll dump our tinker toys
on bug-infested grass, Gore will 
bring his tools and think of 
ways to save the planet while 
measuring our rubber sole 
foot prints:

quickly now!  it's been a mild winter
and baby leaves are birthing, 
flowers blooming, oh god, I warned
you, I warned you, and see - see, the 
sun has risen another day to flare its 
burning testament to man's 
latest anomaly. 

Poem © 2012 R. Burnett Baker 

I'm loving this early spring.  Lately, I've read several reports about certain activists getting a head start on shouting about how we MUST do something about "climate change" before it's too late!  Others say it may already be too late.  All because we've had a mild winter.  

Jeeze Louise, it's about time.  For a mild winter, that is.  I've grown weary of these winters of 100 to 130 inches of snow.  We're due for a break.  And that's what it is:  A break in what's considered the norm for a winter season.  

What CAN we do about climate change?  NOTHING.  ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.   This isn't a static planet.  The climate is constantly in flux.  The ocean currents will wander and change direction like rivers do on land.  Air currents will do and go where they do and go.  HUMANS CANNOT CHANGE IT, STOP IT, OR CONTROL IT.  PERIOD.  

We can be good stewards of our environment, and we should.  We should find cleaner energy, and reduce pollution.  BUT LET'S BE VERY CLEAR ABOUT SOMETHING:  This planet will dispose of us in due course, just as it has done for some 4 billion years.  Oh, and that little thing we call the ice age some tens of thousands of years ago:  If it weren't for climate change, or "global warming" as it's interchangeably called, Rochester NY would still be buried under about 400 feet or more of solid ice!  

So enjoy this mild weather, my little activist friends!  Celebrate it! 

And quitchurbitchin! 


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Crossing The Street

first day, first grade

we came to that point of corner-rounding,
stopping curbside since crossing the street
was necessary.  "look both ways" was a 
remembered warning the grown-ups had 
always admonished, but here we were:  
across the street in a new world, infinite 
and frightening, teasing the limits of 
awkward creativity and learning. 

there I was:  slight, unsure, discomposed 
by my creation; saying "cheese" on cue, 
and not realizing that coloring inside the lines
would take a lifetime to master. 

Poem © 2012 R. Burnett Baker 
Photo taken by Ina Jean Garner (my aunt) September, 1959.  My first day of school.  I remember this so well, and still squirm at how embarrassed I was at the "bad" artwork I made that day!  If only life were still that simple.....

In A Fog....

"Man In The Fog" © reddog54


           what favor do we 
           feel in our hearts 
        as fog blankets 
          our extant view, 

as genteel 
           whispers of grace 
                 challenge the stirrings
  of our day? 

Poem © 2012 R. Burnett Baker 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Photo Life

How do we convert three into two
dimensions and maintain the three's
integrity and experiential wholeness?

How can one read two and imagine 
those three dimensions? 

It's rather like viewing a photograph 
and taking for granted that the 
is three dimensional, isn't it?

Text ©2012  R. Burnett Baker
Photo © 2010 R. Burnett Baker 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Magpie Tales 108: Dreams And Nightmares

Image: Uzengia Aleksander Nedic
Shared by Tess Kincaid


coltish wind
and horizontal 
rain, tonight 
like the prancing
dance we 

foot on toe,
the leader 
and led, 
two by two

Delphic dreams
were dead.

Poem ©2012 R. Burnett Baker 

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Link

the mentor 

beneath your 
blood red sea,
under cobalt heaven, 

there is 
that horizon 
of creative strife 

spawned from past, 
and past life 
where we 
gather a singular
collective bond
and breath; 

there is a line, 
indistinct but there, 
and there, and 
over there: 

I knead the 
merging and 
melding impetus, 
your legacy, 
my heritage, 

and then watch 
and ferry those
efforts of 
and word.

Ina Jean Garner, Austin, Texas
Photo by R. Baker 2012

Poem © 2012 R. Burnett Baker

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Fear Of God(s)

Ballpoint pen/color pencil doodle 
by R. Baker, 1999

lords of the universe 

omnipresence must be 

spewing stars
across darkness, 
horizons of city lights
along highways:  what 
nebula guides wise men
to an image feared 
across heaven? 

guilt is a face 
in the night sky
that answers, 
or not, 
prayers from 
the sparkling 
mass of minutiae.

Poem © 2012 R. Burnett Baker 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Inspiration From A Conversation

as we question
(response to L)

still, your 
formative years
are your cocoon
and open mind,
that contradiction
not lost on either
of us.

yes, dead poets
of insanity's genius
glamour our teary
eyes, but I have my 
doubts about insanity
and genius:  
               that the two are 
               creator/creation and
               interchangeable is 
               nothing more than 
               an excuse for abdicating

I say embrace your
past lives that scream
from your pen and 
encase your heart with
interpretations of 

do not fear your 
sadnesses, but do not
confuse them with 
the sadnesses of those
who've passed before

theirs, yours, mine
will reveal themselves
neatly, our words a 
panacea for this 
silent written 

Poem © 2012 R. Burnett Baker

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Magpie Tales 107: Oceania Lovers

Image by Sarolta Ban
Shared by Tess Kincaid

Airstrip One 

Winston Smith is every person, 
every corner, street, mall, lot, 
motel hallway; 

every elevator shaft, subway,
train, plane, bus, 

each iWad is watching, from 
phones, cameras, monitors, 
smart, smart, smart; 

let me duck into the room, 
kill the lights quickly
before she fingers the brim
of my fedora-cloaked 
bald life. 

Poem © 2012 R. Burnett Baker 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Life In Snapshots 3: The Poetry Of Cousins

The Cousin Bond

Cousins often are the first meaningful bonds of friendship we encounter in our lives.  I have six cousins, all of whom are still living.  We were all close as children.  As we grew older, that closeness became more memory as we lived our lives and went in different directions.   I've been trying, (not too well, I must admit) to reconnect with those cousins, and strengthen those bonds.  We're somewhat scattered across the country, or within the state of Texas, so it isn't easy to keep in close touch with relatives. 

My cousin Sharon and I had an especially close bond from our earliest childhoods, and that has remained strong to this day.  She's also my dentist!  (There may be a dental story come from that later.)  Here are a few old photos of us through the years.  As for the second photo, Don Johnson had nothing over me, Miami Vice notwithstanding! 

Sharon Garner, Rick Baker, 1961 
Photo By Jean Garner

Rick Baker, Sharon Garner, 1988
Photo by Betty Baker

Sharon Garner, daughter Gigi, Rick Baker, Betty Baker 2011
Photo by Ed Browne


we didn't know of connections 
in those days.  we never questioned,
reasoned, or analyzed moments:  
innocence played its role. 

we were connected in ways we did not
and do not think about, let alone understand. 
but that is of no consequence.  understanding 
is not required.  we are family and more than 
just blood in passing. 

we are the infinite quality of 
brother, sister, father, mother, aunt, uncle, cousin. 
we are not compromised by 
time, circumstance, status, or age: 

we are children laughing, 
then, and forever. 

Poem © 2012 R. Burnett Baker

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Life In Snapshots 2, Great Aunt Clara: Am I Your Twin??

Over the past couple of decades, my Aunt Jeanie has been writing stories about her life and the lives and episodes in other family members' lives.  These have been typed, copied by her at Kinkos, and bound by her hand, to be sent to all of us every Christmas.  What a treasure!  

One year I received my copy and several Kinko copies of old family photos.  One of those photos is of my grandmother, Ina, standing with her sister, Clara, in 1922.  The moment I saw the photo I was struck instantly by something about the image of Aunt Clara. 

Perhaps it is my imagination, but I don't think so:  I could almost have been her twin brother!  I immediately thought of a photo of me in Arabia in the 1970's and dug around for it until I found it.  I did the Kinkos thing, made a copy, cut it up and taped it next to the image of Aunt Clara. 

That's the bottom photo. 

Click to embiggen.

Take away the facial hair, and Aunt Clara's hat, and I think I've made my case!  Anyway,  I think it is just cool!  I want to know more about Aunt Clara.  My next conversation with Aunt Jeanie will include that story!   See what you think: 

Click to embiggen.

We tend to not think much about our ancestors and heritage until it's nearly too late to learn the stories.  There is much to catch up on....