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December 14, 2019 / barton smock

from ( diets of the resurrected )

The boy, before going to bed, has me kiss every toy in his room. If one is not there, it is missing, and its absence is more vaccinated god than bad child or raccoon’s eye. More mother than sister on wrist number three.

December 13, 2019 / barton smock

from ( diets of the resurrected )

Every life is long. Honestly, I think I just wanted to see my handwriting. I sang for my children. Never cooked for my mom.

owls okay with needle sharing
would explain
Ohio
trees

December 13, 2019 / barton smock

from ( diets of the resurrected )

The coordinates a son’s illness leaves for God. Cigarette

and a mother’s
secret

typo. Camera the consoler of miracle. Elevator worship. Our food’s invisible dark. The gag reflex of his favorite astronaut. For whom we carry

goodbye.

December 12, 2019 / barton smock

from ( diets of the resurrected )

My son writes to me about the piece of glass they can’t find in his ear. He says it is like a dream. That he can describe its shape between the hours of this and that a.m., and its size to a newborn making a grocery list. He says they have people who look like him, which helps. Like her, which doesn’t. My writing isn’t even close. Aponia, I write, and also, ballet. Everything in the cold is cold.

December 9, 2019 / barton smock

from ( diets of the resurrected )

Not much happens before you can say Ohio. Still, we keep quiet. Depression breaks a mother’s toes and we listen, in a stickless field, to what we hear.

It continues. The misgendering of past selves.

December 6, 2019 / barton smock

{sic

/

I have some poems up at Cultural Weekly, here:

Barton Smock: Five Poems

/

a reading from Animal Masks On the Floor of the Ocean / MOTHERLINGS / Ghost Arson, here:

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Animal Masks On the Floor of the Ocean, 124 pages, 10.00
poems, June 2019
can be purchased via paypal (bartsmock@gmail.com)
or Venmo @Barton-Smock-1

MOTHERLINGS, 52 pages, 4.00
poems, June 2019
can be purchased via paypal (bartsmock@gmail.com)
or Venmo @Barton-Smock-1

*be sure to include your mailing address in the comments of the order.
free PDFs for review upon request
any questions can be directed to bartsmock@gmail.com

/

am deeply thankful for the saying of this seeing by Glen Armstrong at Cruel Garters in regards to my collection Ghost Arson:

https://www.facebook.com/Cruel-Garters-162917133824108/

I’ve been reading “Boy Musics,” a prose poem in the book Ghost Arson by Barton Smock. The poem perfectly captures that rarely whispered vulnerability that comes with being a boy (being human.) The poem opens with the speaker and his companion “counting cigarettes on the roof of a closed sex shop in Ohio,” an apt setting to explore what is open, what might be okay to share. The speaker shares that his father is gay; the companion shares “three poems by [his] dead sister, the third of which she called dead sister.” These kids are doomed, as left to their Mid-American whatever as Ohio, as passed over as the lower middle class. It’s “too late for crow and all the deer have been hit.”
Still, there’s a tenderness here. Poetry survives unlikely odds, as does sex. Smock confesses only what needs confessing. The poem and its companions in Ghost Arson never fail to surprise in their detail, and they never flinch as they stare down the big themes: “a vacuum runs below us. you ask me if I’ve ever wanted to see her handwriting. it’s nothing like yours but maybe one day.” These lines that conclude the poem give me shivers. This whole business is visceral. I love the book, but seeing the handwriting might break my heart.

Glen Armstrong

/

DIETS OF THE RESURRECTED

~

The baby has jumped. The baby is trying to find its place in the home of having done. The baby will land and maybe you can say something over it in that voice you do. In that voice your mother loves more than ruined gender-reveal balloons. Cold prom balloons. Than your father’s spit. Than a star. Horse’s forehead. Than a horse clapping for a lap-dancing horse.

~

The baby will be dead and bleed like a dream. For now, it licks without you the insides of a tree. Have you read its book? It wrote a book.

~

When an Ohio rabbit stops eating, every couple not married thinks they are. This is how baby, not how rabbit, happened. How babies not how rabbits. Ohio.

~

The baby was on a date and began to feel sick. Suddenly, the baby’s date was able to crawl. It crawled into the sea, or something nearby. Something nearby is always the sea. A neighbor girl in a pillowcase. All of her, the whole thing. And then the sea comes that thinks it’s the sea. She is saying we have bones because angels don’t know how to eat.

~

I love the baby. Apple’s footprint I love the baby. You love the baby and you lord often that you’ve a more alien emptiness. The baby can’t see mirrors. That’s not why it jumped.

Jesus wants to come back, but god isn’t old enough.

~

I remember as a brother I fought with mine for the number of toothbrushes we could spot in a horror movie. I can still tell what’s caused a bruise by the baby it’s on.

Baby the thinking man’s miscarriage. Lung’s lookalike. Lung’s missing lookalike. Psalm the plural of palm.

~

The baby slept on and off in a prop oven. In Ohio, holding your breath underwater is called insomnia. We wrote poems with lines like does anything look more abandoned than a table of contents? Titles like priest of snow, pipe tobacco w/ showerhead, and abuse was better as a sitcom.

~

On tv, the baby guards a salt lick while wearing the crown of thorns as a belt. Outside the tv, a random sister pulls her thumbnail loose and a paper doll starts to breathe. The fish watches all of it through a hole in the fish.

~

Its favorite movie is the wind. Its mother found its father waiting for a cat to die.

Is there no one to hold its mouth?

Even god is afraid of sex.

~

Mom I am the third boy to finish my wolf. Mom the baby likes you when you’re eating. Mom the snow has picked the water clean. Mom Ohio. In the food you couldn’t help.

~

Some history:

The baby had heard of a quiet glacier searching Ohio for the lost belly button of nothing and so left us in God, the capital of Death.

~

Some current:

Absence spares no one and birth keeps a record of who birth skipped.

~

Loss is just an absence that’s outlived its helplessness. I say this knowing there is a tree that my mother keeps two of her teeth in. I say this unsure of the shape my stomach makes when on the moon my siblings gather the bones of god.

Our skin is afraid of angels. Have the baby that makes your ghost cry.

~

The baby holds its breath beside a bag of blue flour. My stars I didn’t mean to die so plainly.

~

This rabbit hole we use for the shadow’s mouth. These squirrels bowing in the priesthood of sleep. Do we have briefly what we want? Each of us a bad hand that drops a baseball? Is fasting a weight class?

A tadpole is Ohio’s nightlight. Babies, when touched, belong to the same alarm clock.

~

Ohio:

Sounds from the childhood of god’s vocabulary. Animal hair in a father’s shoes. Lightning. Brothers reaching into scarecrows for ice.

~

The baby tells me in its own way that its mouth is sad and has been for longer than mine. I need proof, but the movers eat their moth then come for the dark.

~

You know that spotless child, dead from swallowing a question mark, who believed you could scratch a bullet with blood? She says we all have a second body sleeping in a hole that never comes.

~

The color of my toothbrush. To miss god. Which bible stories still have nudity. Small things, new to the history of my forgetting…

Those creatures, that boat.

A smaller vessel with one of each.

~

In the mouth of one who opens a sentence with the word verbatim, there is a sorrow searching for the breast of a shadow. Overheard is not the name of an Ohio street. The baby is no cook but is the only knower of what my eyes will eat in the dark. No one in Ohio laughs when you say bornography to your sister who says orbituary. One can be pregnant and study the wrong children.

~

Jesus was the world’s worst ghost. I hold my son but can’t say what I hold him like. Dad paints with ache. Mom with grief. Our empty babies rate the void.

~

In most of her dreams, someone else is falling. Sound is the child of two footprints that lose an earring. If there, see my wrist signal yours.

~

I am allowed one imaginary friend as long as it’s a boy when I share it with my brother. This story has no bones. Its seesaw turns to salt. You can’t watch porn and say you believe in ghosts.

~

Ohio introductions:

A god finds its mother in a joke about the food chain and is no longer sad that human babies don’t walk right away

Hunger remains your painting of the angel’s predicted appetite

The wind gets that way by looking for its twin

~

I think of my mother in her block of ice summoning a curling iron and of my father sending a robot to prison. Of a leafblower named mercy hugged by my brother for outing my sister’s electric chair. Of nakedness, poor nakedness, always playing itself in the story of had we not been invented we would’ve had to exist. Of how daughter she highlights an entry on hair loss in the cannibal’s diary. Of how one holds the owl and one pours the paint and how both, knowing how to dream, choose this

and how they are both a boy in a bottomless mirror asking if death is still known for its one mistake.

~

I was not in love but I did go all the way to heaven to tell someone I was tired. They were there, of course. But there like a sister. Sweeping a church.

~

Ohio exits:

Owl is maybe a lamb that’s having non-lamb thoughts like did I forget inventing the bruise?

~

Every mother wants a five letter word for grief but has instead a son whose thick hair grows when yanked. Outside means either tick season or John the Baptist. My blood type is God became trapped in an Ohio dog when the color blue saw his ghost.

~

I quit smoking and bought a fish I was told had stopped eating. No one noticed. I got angry and then got angry for the fish. The fish did nothing. Like God when it snows.

~

The name of this church was Mouth but is now The Baby Holds Things Up For Us To See. No reason has been given for the change. Ohio disappears from two places at once as a mother might from two hospitals. We will never be as young as death. Even now, our eyes touch under a roof that mourns thunder.

~

Ohio prolonged:

My drug use writes to a jellyfish

~

There are certain rooms I walk out of to make my son heavier. Certain campfires disguised as nests. God is here but has forgotten sending Death to fetch the infant brainwashed by sleep. Death is here but location lasts forever.

~

Ohio cut short:

I am gathering the eggs and giving each one a name as if each is a body part favorited by those angels of the geographically vacant and then my mom calls to me and then accidentally to my brother and her voice it never comes back

~

Ghost and angel are never together when they see God. Their loneliness keeps us apart.

~

In our hair are the bugs that believe they’ve died on god’s skin. Does emptiness dream of its original? I still think babies learn to talk by saying they itch from being looked at. One of our children will deserve to be lonely.

~

A stone waits for its absence to mature. I count for the infant my knees and do my hair. What I know of tornadoes can be forgotten. God was naming your bones when you started to bleed.

~

Ohio sexuality:

X mourns outdated baby monitor by scoring a commercial for rabbit mascara

~

When it gets cold, we tell each other it’s okay to use a photograph instead of soap. It is not common for language to keep its word. If you’re poor enough, snow takes the pulse of the moon. We don’t believe in the soul. But ate something to bring it back.

~

As grief swallows those insects made of repetition and As god locks herself in the bathroom built for her father and As I mimic choking on the cord that wants to belong to the phone that reads your mind and As her baby waits to hear if it’s a boy or a girl who meanwhile touch and As the beekeeper befriends for reasons known to homesickness the owner of a gun

that was used

~

Ohio children pine equally for ice and for cigarette. They have hated the holy spirit for dying and have loved it for tracking blood loss in those with longer shadows. I don’t think we’ll ever be young. Even the fires you set are shy.

~

Ohio sexuality:

A private pencil erasing nobodies from a blue past. A way for fish to keep passwords from God. A toy car from the world’s saddest drive thru and sirens in silent movies overlooked.

A pink light. How it cared for snow.

~

Poverty created the moon as a place for loss to process God.

It helps to have no one.

~

Some future:

A pop-up book about Ohio mosh pits is lost by a beloved chiropractor who has by default become an expert on unicorn pregnancy and who is wearily attracted to cures excluding those for bicycle legs as present in our newborns

~

Ohio alibis:

Two sisters learn from the same angel how to use an insect bite as a fingerprint

~

Ohio introductions:

Listening to the rain as it runs interference for echo’s disappearing hair

is Satan with her mousetrap

~

I want to sleep again on the kitchen floor beside my brother who is reading to himself from a book of baby names for the dead as if such a book exists and I want to imagine the velvet life of the thing that stirs itself so immediately soft in the garbage disposal that it becomes your fear of swimming and erases mine of having bones

~

Ohio exits:

When you find prayer, ask music how touch knows where where is. Ask hand if it was ever more to blood than a lost slipper. Ask ghost why its miracle spared the angel. Ask horse anything. You are dear to me. If horse is even there.

~

Satan was the first to name the animals. I know we watched ours die. Anyway, I’m not sure there were two of us. The child was a footprint trapped in a shoe. I disappear and still you vanish.

~

Ohio math:

A museum of mothers who sleepwalk to get there.

A father’s collection of crying insects.

Yes I forgot to love you.

~

Oh moral permanence, oh distracted beast- no one asks God about baby number two. We make guns together in the dream of the stray hand and there are exercises a mother’s puppets can do that will bring a doll peace. Angel can, but won’t, let mirror look out the window. I still wrote all that stuff. I’ll touch zero if you trap its tongue.

~

Ohio auctions:

A dress worn by the child who ate sadness. A gas station snow-globe prayed away by a father’s dying goldfish. A town,

or three people surrounding a dogcatcher.

~

Get a blood clot and sister will say on the moon they worship these. If you sleep too long, you’ll become a color. Rate your pain from one to ten, with five being the highest. God still thinks we don’t know.

~

Whose death got you into heaven? The baby is older now but has the kissing wrists of a failed skier. Your children don’t love you because they will.

~

Ohio postscripts:

Shy, I could not collapse in front of mothers who were born on the moon. As for the children, they’ll die for baby. For any last fact that others exist.

~

Dream supply:

A pile of white leaves in the corner of my father’s mind.

Wind and skin, or the angel’s
forgotten
spells.

No longer a fire hazard
the wagon’s
grey hair…

The suicide of God’s first.

~

December 6, 2019 / barton smock

from ( diets of the resurrected )

Dream supply:

A pile of white leaves in the corner of my father’s mind.

Wind and skin, or the angel’s
forgotten
spells.

No longer a fire hazard
the wagon’s
grey hair…

The suicide of God’s first.