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May 23, 2022 / barton smock

blood to bathe us in its blue past . poems new and selected . self published . available now

My new and selected work blood to bathe us in its blue past is available now.

Noah M Smock and Aidan C Smock did the cover images, and Noah also did a few animations for some selected verses/poems. 

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


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

Copies for review are available upon request made to

Animations are here, here, and here

Covers 1 (Noah), 2 (Noah), and 3 (Aidan), below:

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
July 2, 2022 / barton smock

( edits, deletions, very old, WE BROUGHT HOME THE WRONG DYING BABY, a failure, but, 2017


I trade it for a microscope that can see ghosts. I don’t know how old I am but I know what year I want it to be. An eel collapses at the thought of a play being performed in a stone 

and there, at the bottom of grief, a cup of dirt with nothing to bury


Mother is chewing gum like something fell asleep in my mouth. I pray for things I know will happen. For your stickmen to share a toothache.


The darkness has many stomachs and we’ve no one to tell my son he’s lonely.


The mouth is born after eating a blindfold. Name everything.


Entries from the dictionary owned by the first angel to be bitten by a mosquito:

a girl with a marble who answers to overdose

a rooster ghosted by an elevator

in my years with the poor, I wrote nothing down

the scalp will baby its grief


The clapping boy from the cult of thunder rolls his wheelchair over a doll in a mask then touches noses with the last rocking horse while putting two words together

like ghost
and exodus

for the second coming of a handcuffed animal


Picking flowers for my shadow, the boy loves no one. Everything I touch remembers being my hand. The world has ended, or started early. God’s heartbeat. Sound’s watermark.


overtook no cigarette. surprised no sleep. keyed the car

of a minor

radar is getting possessive.


Three times she says the word brain to her stomach's blue mirror while scoring sight's wardrobe of rags in earworm's dream


there’s a comb
in my narrative, a goldfish

coming to
in a beheaded
July 1, 2022 / barton smock

( words on some films, toward, or away ( all my puny sorrows & we’re all going to the world’s fair

Talking itself into and out of the unanswered blue, All My Puny Sorrows guts both the nearby and the distant using the same hunger for recovery as bellied by any lost sister of loss. Alison Pill and Sarah Gadon glow wounded in performances that separately heal, and Mare Winningham keeps detail as something some god has locally misplaced. I was glad for all of its conversations and for its half open way of unburning books, for how Pill baptized the submerged, for how Gadon let others believe they’d invented the headlight, and also for how director Michael McGowan left often the camera alone to become its own silent letter.


We’re All Going To The World’s Fair has to it an unworried precision that had me thinking I might have forgotten to shut down, in another life, an electric toothbrush. If any pulse is taken, it’s the pulse of separation and director Jane Schoenbrun is songbook tender and secretly protective enough to hum the art of this film into the disconnected wrists of those whose online has no off. Schoenbrun and lead Anna Cobb make of knowing a current terror and no sky here falls that hasn’t been dropped. Cobb, with deadpan abstraction, gives a performance worth of sleep’s eternal jump-scare and works with the film outside of the film to put an end to vice-versa that we might more blankly keep those who are constantly notified away from those who appear by looking at the vanished.   
June 30, 2022 / barton smock


maker 10

I know this poem is old. I know also how many footprints there are on the machine that's looking for your child. I use what I know. The poor can sleep through anything, but don't. We pass only a few things. The mouse still breathing in its trap. At least until the trap is okay.
June 23, 2022 / barton smock


maker 9

language learns of a second person and god does nothing. Rabbits

asking swimmers
for permanence
June 22, 2022 / barton smock

( sad and said

when others say things about the things you've said


rocks have the softest shadows, 237 pages
poems, Dec 2020
can be purchased via paypal (
or Venmo: @Barton-Smock-2
or CashApp: $BartonSmock

untouched in the capital of soon, 187 pages
poems, Sept 2021
can be purchased via paypal (
or Venmo: @Barton-Smock-2
or CashApp: $BartonSmock

blood to bathe us in its blue past, 217 pages
poems new and selected, May 2022
can be purchased via paypal (
or Venmo: @Barton-Smock-2
or CashApp: $BartonSmock
June 21, 2022 / barton smock


maker 8

the movie before it gets to the scene where it'll show us how deeply to miss the ghost of a dance floor. 

June 17, 2022 / barton smock


maker 6

the boy intent on crushing his privates with a seesaw is the same boy who sees you next week to put stars in your belly. There is still a boy you aren’t 

when you’re sick 
of stars  


maker 7

your dog losing color in a clean midwestern bank after being shot by a trigger-sad teller. Dog

a nervous dog with a last name and its dog-like hope to be unheard of
June 15, 2022 / barton smock


maker 5

three nondescript dogs
in nowhere's
poem. Hungry handheld

June 13, 2022 / barton smock


maker 4

the ghost of your rooster's god 
chokes a hand-shaped flame. Pain

touch's twin
June 12, 2022 / barton smock

( some further words on caregiving in the a.m. w/ odd but maybe not so odd appearance by Ethan Hawke

more, on


so up late/early with the hauntspeak of worry and general sense of appropriate doom but also appropriate play and how there is laughing and being silly and the reason no one tells you how lonely it all is beforehand is all in the words before & hand so here I am still in the mathafter of this dream where I was being chased by a demon and I had this oversized tote bag with all my stuff in it and I'm running in and out of closets and jumping turnstiles and the bag is just keeping me from being my fastest self and I end up in a hotel room hallway and out of a door on my left emerges Ethan Hawke and he takes the bag from me, empties it, and in the bag is a smaller bag...and he puts all my stuff in the smaller bag and says…

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