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April 26, 2023 / barton smock

deer as permission to die in ohio, chapbook, 43 poems, April 2023, available now

new privately self-published chapbook available

deer as permission to die in ohio
43 poems, pocketbook style
April 2023

collection is pay what you want
can be purchased via: 

paypal (
or Venmo: @Barton-Smock-2
or CashApp: $BartonSmock

cover image by Noah M. Smock

January 11, 2023 / barton smock

( privately self published, apartures, Jan 2023

Have privately self published a new collection titled apartures

Pocketbook style, 125 pages, January 2023

collection is pay what you want

can be purchased via paypal (
or Venmo: @Barton-Smock-2
or CashApp: $BartonSmock

August 23, 2021 / barton smock

Poem-A-Day at

I have all the words that have gone missing to say that I am thankful for being in the August 2021 run of Poem-A-Day at as guest edited by Kazim Ali

Read my poem here

about the poem:

“I can't speak for all fathers, but my own fathering is littered with necessary and fake finalities. As such, I wrote this poem by hand on a small piece of paper while worrying about the long and short lives of my children. In the spacing of the poem, I tried to honor the little room I'd given myself for its projected concerns.”
—Barton Smock
May 24, 2023 / barton smock



Lightning and earthquake feuding in an untouched doom where two angels, birthmark and bitemark, still dream of killing their tattooed sons. 

I know this place. Place is a bomb that other bombs find. 


The tattooed sons are in love. Son bitemark doesn’t have a tongue; birthmark does all the ironing. Their dead child speaks to them through a fishhook that is always hot. 


Faith is an eating disorder. Mothers faint in threes. 

I teach my brothers to suck in their stomachs and a junkyard refrigerator becomes our clock. We smell like a dead child. We smell blank. We search online for images of hands and for the word missingness. Flies made of wind and glass show us to our food. 

Our eyes go without.


Our invaders had no language. Your mother was suicidal until she told you how moved she was by her own birth. The needle had its moment of recognition. A fetus opened its mouth in a paint can.

Replacement can be a city. But here it’s a form destroyed for being described.


So many dead bodies, and no one has died. 
City of the predicted present.
The sons count hoofprints left on a whale.

May 18, 2023 / barton smock

will it never end, this dream where I die

a spider tapping on a fingernail
tooth tooth
to the glass
May 16, 2023 / barton smock

animations of my poems done by Noah M Smock published in Issue 5 ( hush: a journal of noise )

Happy to have some animations of my poems done by my son Noah M. Smock in Issue 5 of hush: a journal of noise. Good work over there, check it out. Deep thanks to poet Erik Fuhrer for their eye there, and words elsewhere.

Animations are HERE. 

Below are the poems the animations are from:


Memory only eats in front of god. Mothers and daughters smoke together from tornado watch to warning trying to pick up on voice changes in a neighbor's fish and in doing so make of each cigarette a ghost kite that leaves me longing to miss a more specific balloon. There aren't enough of us. Every suicide surprises loss.


I am small asking if I can bring some snow with me into the bathtub & someone starts to say no but because we're outside nothing gets finished & later to my mom someone explains how frostbite has been using our handwriting for suicide notes & pain in its unfound egg is drawing its take on pain.


We kiss because we don't know whose eyes got here first. I walk one hand until it limps and the other until it doesn't. Babies pray all the time. I move my son often and pretend the bath doesn't give him away. Each movie is longer than god.


Grief cuts itself from the movie it wants to make about wind. I design, sometimes, hats in a dream. I don’t mean every word. I thought loneliness would be taller, that’s all. Not this god who knows we exist.


In the dream that my brother calls his haircut dream, I have a tail I'm not allowed to touch. I tell him no haircut has ever taken this long. I tell him that god wanted more kids. I am trying to make him laugh, or pray. Far mice are eating the noise from your wrist.
May 16, 2023 / barton smock

from the book of hiatus


Ohio erotica:

A face left between the shoulders of a humanlike deer.

Touch as a death too small for a ghost.

A resurrected toddler who still can’t make a fist.

on frostbitten 
May 15, 2023 / barton smock

from the book of hiatus


There are many ways to be afraid. 
All of them are the stomach. 


When there are enough people in hell, 
there will be a hell.
May 12, 2023 / barton smock

nakedness wants you to see the last of it

A crucifixion, a unicycle, a young pair of handcuffs. A stomach that’s faster than god. Fever, or a thunderstorm trying to belong to a puppet show. A surgeon shared by two who only touch at funerals. Blue xrays that softened my ankle.
May 9, 2023 / barton smock

against artistry

I cannot enter the dream. Not with my toy stomach. This is how we don’t meet. How we don’t pass the age our children were when they died. Jesus rubs a scarecrow the wrong way, or better yet a burned boy presses a tick into his own head to silence the field of his father’s empty helicopter. Jokebook, bible, kingdom. I don’t know where we are. A bullet and a tooth are found outside of the sheep they touched in. The ocean is the ocean mistaking blood for god’s hair. Longing gaslights nostalgia. Underwater, Ohio looks like an ear. I give my son a television to throw at the television, but he forgets. Orphan, widow, elevator. Every time we go to hell, an animal gets its noise.
May 4, 2023 / barton smock

father oh

The bones of a golden something
A fingerprint on a trap door

The toothache and the soul and the toothache

A grey hair, god’s, from the unreached
of lightning

Baby blur asking blue 
for mercy
while choking
in a snowglobe

I will change 
that line
May 1, 2023 / barton smock

( WORKS re: permissions, bluepast, sooner capitals, apartures

All below collections are privately self-published and are pay what you want. Be sure to include your mailing address in the comments of the order. If not comfortable providing a physical address, you can request a PDF copy with an inquiry made to

paypal (
or Venmo: @Barton-Smock-2
or CashApp: $BartonSmock


untouched in the capital of soon, 187 pages
poems, Sept 2021

blood to bathe us in its blue past, 217 pages
poems new and selected, May 2022

apartures, 125 pages
poems, January 2023

deer as permission to die in ohio, 43 poems
chapbook, April 2023


FROM ( untouched in the capital of soon )

city 115

Ballet or the lost
of a snowstorm


city 116

Oh how gone it is the ghostjoy of lighting a mother's cigarette in a dream that gets my mouth wrong


city 117

Death maybe saw Jesus as a way out of watching God kill


city 118

God comes to me in a god. 
Sleep is a footstep worshiped 
by a mother's ear. 

The baby is asking for more time. 

I don't know what to add. 
Poor mom. It's not a trick.


city 119

Not until there is a city 120 will you have the dream that gives death its memory back. I wouldn't describe it as easy. We sent the wrong hand to study your hand. We had a grandfather walk in place before we knew he had a dog and all we could do with his wife was watch. Rain wrote a spaceless poem. If it was like taking a toy phone from an angel, we never heard.


city 121

My memory isn't what it will be.

Povertavoid, avidsad, handbefore. 

She wants a flowermysonisdead.


city 122

We get our thunder from snow's dream.

A baby

with a fork and an outlet.

The wind is slowly eaten
by what


FROM ( blood to bathe us in its blue past )


A drop of blood lands in an eye-sized field. 

waking up
to cry.

Hide the hidden ant of your son’s loneliness.



in the dream
is a small
on a decent
but the dress
code isn't



God can't read grief's handwriting. This is where most of us come in. We tell the kids they're dying because one of them is. I hope it helps. Find a hole in three of your father's shadows. Lose the rabbit.



I was touching people with other people and my movies were getting made. Pain drank my sons away. I remember my daughter asking god what's the hardest animal to be. Her drawings got better, and then worse. We knew what to do, but did nothing. You haven't seen anything until you've seen an angel reenact running out of ghost blood. Aliens grieve in dog years. 


FROM ( apartures )


We walk to the car. Sometimes the car is different. If I look closely, I can see that I’ve put my son under my shirt. A video of a mother’s finger getting shut in a car door gives me a toothache. Searching lessens the find. There aren’t many pictures of us with our mouths open. There are things we can to do make it look like we don’t go outside. Choice is a medicine. You can eat or you can write, but you can’t do either. Clearly, thunderstorm, jesus had such a short memory that god became necessary. All babies in my dream, dream.



Time gives itself a childhood.

Alien, animal, beast, breast.
God loves 
a beginning.

Painkilllers don’t age.



We buy mirrors instead of art.

The wasps 
scrape and gather

then drag themselves to a higher emptiness 

when I hold
the baby.

Men lose first
a button
second a broom
then love
a dog.

Everyone outside is sick.

A paper cut 
sets fire 
to a ghost.



A hand left alive on the floor of a snow-moaned barn. The quiet ice that keeps the still death of a dark orange dog. A boy so recklessly loved that he loses an eye burying spoon’s double. Not the eye that is rain’s last egg. Not the toy car with the baby inside.



In the shower, I hold a plastic sword. The ways I am here are few. A neighbor kid says that god hates twins and it’s going to stick. We are years away from our daughter. After church a woman hops softly out of her shoes and walks into the high corn. To her, her shoes are missing. Silence has an extra stomach. The bird can scream if you hear it.



a puppet box
for some 

crucifixion, a dress

the exact
of most
hands, death and sleep

to touch, a blank



FROM ( deer as permission to die in ohio )


In reverse, the baby looks like it's helping the doctors build a machine. I smoke on the roof and my brother gets a nosebleed in the cellar of a house we're not going to buy. Art invents time to impress pain.



Cannibal on the 
moon, ghost at the piano.
The rain gone missing.
April 30, 2023 / barton smock


Press the button to touch god. It won’t go anywhere. As for god, re-imagine the ghost of the last person to have a double life. Pull any Ohio animal. Eat it, then kill it.