Transcendent and written in a compelling prose, Baker’s poignant debut is highlighted by moments of startling insight into life’s journey as it explores relevant and complex themes of love, death, dreams, sexuality, the nature of the universe, cosmic energies, and tyranny. Powerful, grim, and revealing, the opening poem, “Wipe-Out” uses the unusual strikethrough technique to convey the turbulent emotional intensity of the protagonist’s individual experience: “My body was/ Waterboarded with alcohol,/ And then/ Darkness wiped me out like/ Black marker on a / Dry erase board.” “Polite Society” delves into the futile niceties of upper society. There are meditations on the wonders of nature; talk about human sexuality, religious suppression, love, life, death, and devastation; and ruminations on the nature of the universe, cosmic energies, and the connection between humans and gods. “Galloping” is hopeful and uplifting whereas “Cystoscopy” and “Stretch” take the readers into a dark territory, exploring personal invasion and infringement. In “Homo Lazarus,” Baker delves into his protagonist’s resurrection that leads to death again and again: “I have died/ Again,/ And here I/ Am,/ Once pale-skinned, white/ As the moon,/ Now charred, as black as a,/ Starless/ Night sky.” Readers seeking meditations on life, nature, and death won’t be able to resist this perceptive, deeply engrossing read.
An evocatively written, poignant work that deserves a wide readership.