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August 11, 2020 / barton smock

a slow land

in the mother’s dream
a brother and a sister
watch a movie
without a name

a movie that between them
is called
This Is Not
A Dream

there’s no one
in the movie

water holds an animal
and sometimes
there are buildings
that buildings

death gets to name every baby but its own

August 7, 2020 / barton smock

prolonged attempts at coping

mostly this movie is about what I don’t want to see in a movie

son is trying to hold behind his ear a slice of orange (however long you think a day is

his hands are by it
getting smaller

talent doesn’t keep God awake

what the angel does with its half of the caterpillar…

(is it still
all about

the shop
of your

August 6, 2020 / barton smock

my eye lost in the yield of yours

a raindrop
in ankle’s

August 3, 2020 / barton smock

{ Poetry Against All ~ a diary ~ Johannes Göransson }


Poetry Against All
a diary
Johannes Göransson
Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2020


I am no expert and have little idea what to say about impossible books. Johannes Göransson’s Poetry Against All is one such book. Is many such books. Little idea does not mean I can be quiet. What is impossible? A safe child. A coroner who disappears to plan simple kidnappings for the elaborately still. I continue. I stop. Göransson keeps this diary alive. Fossil porn. A more exact resurfacing. Some things poke through; holes in movies, a mask thrown from a moving dream, a photograph taken by a hand. I don’t know how this draws, but know I am drawn. But am also, surrounded. Held and carried. I might have it backward. Some prenatal eternity, some austere intercourse, some uprooted sickness ghosted by certain immunities unique to the tourist’s stunt double. I have only recently forgotten how to…

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July 28, 2020 / barton smock

second notes

a birthmark the shape of a bird’s cough
inside of which a wound
is bidding

on a shadow…

I don’t know when sleep became the movie I put on to fall asleep.

children are the past.

July 26, 2020 / barton smock

first notes


sleep became sleep when it missed its audition for death. what keeps a mouth in place? think loneliness, say dream.


what the ghost does over and over is bring suicide into the story of angel.


when you have no one, creation devours your discovered hungers.

eat fast, and let god believe.

July 20, 2020 / barton smock


I don’t think it was ever a child, my body. more a changing loneliness. a thing dreaming of its planet while being held or not being held by a thing distracted by a comet. this is how I worry that what I’m reading is elsewhere beautiful to others. I die and you know or you don’t. I pray of course that in the stomachs of the ghost and the angel the same spiderweb is found, but longing is a mirror that looks itself to sleep.

July 18, 2020 / barton smock

(percent sign


from animal masks on the floor of the ocean

long gone are the insects
you forgave

this storm, the whale
of oblivion’s
white feast, this moon

the word


I go places
in my ghost
that are children
when I arrive. they call me

high grass, lord
of the wind’s
blood. most of them
have lost
with dog
to birth
or touch, our brief

to déjà vu


to be unthought of is to be one more person away from pain. no cricket you hear is alone. in my boy’s drawing of jesus, the ears are all wrong. his first sad poem is about an oven. his second calls dust the blood of a seashell. his third is so terrible that I tell my friends I’m just a gravedigger who wants to open a hair salon. my friends they are made of grief and brilliance. they say they like mirrors that have in them, how do I say this?, a lost theft. I sleep and my sister paints my nails. kisses my head. she is no shape and then a shape that occurs to a horse my son thinks will live.


from Motherlings


to photograph
an Ohio
bathtub, my father
in a stalled

(a peephole

and a rabbit’s



soap carvings
of birds
pulled mostly
from a son’s

here and there
a worm
wrapped around
a stone.

all imagery is the same.

if the food
is in your mouth

it’s too late.



as a zombie

a star (why

would an angel
to eat


from an old idea one had of stars


we died
in that dream
but continued
to understand.

I thought
with my children
would cure
your fear
of flossing. every bomb

touches god.

I forgot
to be in pain.



and here I tell my son, who’s never heard a cricket, how long I believed in god.


from Ghost Arson

Wrist Musics

this crow
with its black
knows your father
feels loss
in the neck


Stopping to Pray

how angelic
the nervousness
of insects
offering acne
to god

/ to glacier, crow is not
yet a thing


for purchase:

Ghost Arson (Kung Fu Treachery Press, 2018)


via paypal (
or Venmo @Barton-Smock-1


privately self published:

animal masks on the floor of the ocean, 124 pages, June 2019
Motherlings, 52 pages, June 2019
an old idea one had of stars, 58 pages, February 2020

FREE or donation made to:

via paypal (
or Venmo @Barton-Smock-1


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July 17, 2020 / barton smock

tinyletter entries (some, gaps)



ENTRY 7/16/20

I thought there would be more of these.

I’m sorry.

I worry of course that the holders of the information are now the same as those whose moral data was based on an erasure.

I do hope you are safe.  I do hope.

Poems shaped like poems:



fog’s invisible feast, a flashlight

kissing the itch on the face
of god, the toy

baths our machines worship, the hunger

that returns my ear to my father’s
stomach, the soundless

of owls, the first camera

that knew what would happen



A palm overtaken by the long audience of touch, a hand

left for god
by a spider, a child

packing snow into the dream of a mother’s knee,

a shadow
eaten by a rock, a rock

eating nothing
in a church, the angel

to a lost
microscope, the order

in which
we’re imagined



Knowing one will have a seizure that the others can watch, ache invents three empty-handed people who are closely based on the two still dying on the roof of a strip club. My first thought upon seeing any horse is that each horse is all the time thinking of its mother. I wait not to be taken but to be taken by the alien attracted to god. The family we don’t talk about burns trash in a silent film. No woman loves grief, but will check its facts.


what nightmares might boats have. do small bits of Hansel and Gretel enter the oral history of stowaways. oh pacing son of god, why does father worry his belly over an ant at peace

of a worm. what if our whales are mostly absence and death passes me like a room


At the end of the day, it’s a very long day. The mirror believes it’s covered its belly. You ask me what hurts and I say earshot and show you the traffic cone my mother lifted from the world of tire swings. Everything you’ve written about the void being free is true. I secretly want your fingerprint and you secretly collect stock images of the born again. Will god never finish

the wind


and its use? this yearning, this alien attendance to the unsupervised moment? a childhood, perhaps. rugburns on the bellies of those who fall asleep to the song of you swimming from the water in your body. god returning to find again that our absence has been rearranged by the last infant to receive nostalgia. our self-harming sock puppets fresh from the diary of touch. an egg in the churchbell’s brain.


There is a part of my left hand that seems to know a fish with a nosebleed. If I could open the book of touch, I would open the book of touch. My son has a cough that haunts the leg of a wasp and his singing lives in a blank mother’s bottle of glue. Death recognizes more creatures than god.



A mid-day animal on land dumbstruck by the holy effort it takes to forget god. The nocturnal grief of apples. Alien and angel having a quiet moment before abducting from the high-dive our least favorite swimmer. The naming of the star my cigarettes worship. A pawprint sleeping on a heartbroken whale.


has a father worshiping a balloon animal and a mother caring in her sleep for sleep. has a sick son relearning in church how long a past life lasts. has you writing this beside the ghost of a fish to a god whose thoughts on children have changed. has in it no maker who hasn’t already made field recordings for those who miss emergency rooms. has in it owls lost in the attention span of the gentle. owls born with all their teeth.


ENTRY 1/23/20

interruptions, this new year.  and pauses.  my youngest son was hospitalized with flu and pneumonia, and he is immunocompromised, so plenty of scares to haunt fear.  all are okay.  recovering.  a grandfather died.  not so much an interruption as a finality.  silence, with a semi-colon.  last year will always be the year my grandmother died, and this year will always be the year my grandfather.  they loved each other.  grief plays, at least, leap frog.  have continued to write what I am calling ( diets of the resurrected ), along with some other aches and afternotes.  as such, will be below.  I hope you all have space, or are close to something.


further, from ( diets of the resurrected )


of sleep

the bee
that stung
my bee


Eating is magic.  Hunger a rabbit removed from its environment.  I can make some sense now, I think, of death.  Of a grandmother’s life of cooking and loss.  We wore our frostbitten noses.  Did things with frogs might an infant laugh on the inside where a nothing was still in boxes.  Took from blood

its blue
now.  Which was wrong.


Ohio sexuality:

Cain faked her death.

Ghost is that itch the wall can’t reach.


has been found
in angels
to spread
like fish

do you remember
in an oyster
the arm
of a squirrel

is a dream
a pack
of cigarettes
an Ohio


facedown, a photo

of God
with braces…


Ohio solastalgia:

In hell I am passing a cemetery when during a housefire she makes a memorial to the last time you won a staring contest


While close, this is not your messiah’s insecticide.  Are you happy with my body?  Sex is the breathing my teeth do for your hair.  Faith a stork in a sea cage.  Food is no expert but grows anyway

brevity.  They say crow after an apple sets a stone on fire.  Lonely people for appropriate play.


I want for my son a more regular sadness.  Not touch with its vacant déjà vu.  Not the stutter, untapped, of his far beast.  More the fasting of an unknowable fish.  A marionette

at a toy

car.  Are these hands?  They say so little.


Ohio auctions:

The unseen wildlife of the ill.  The handwriting of a moonless toddler.  A whole language saved on an angel’s thumbnail…


I can’t tell if I have nothing or if I’m down to three photos of God.

I sleep
to know
that you’re


I will take for my childhood a mother’s unicycle, a father’s raincloud.

The broken moon of any man on crutches.  A dog drinking water in a white house.

who draw me naked.

Bones from her smaller baseball.


Sorrow a glove.  Grief a mitten.  I see in fire the small

for a whale
that my son
in a wave.

Ohio gets to keep its hidden season.  Poverty

its sixth

Childish, but everyone who’s looked out this window has died.  Our family was too close.


Ohio stories:

I am fondest of recalling my sister when sister in her sleep
could sell drugs to angels.

Men walk away from their fathers one of two ways with our favorite being Stars Reading Snowfall Before and After My Career-Ending Injury.

Our mother was a spider
it’s why
she smokes.


Their translating of the terrible things we’ve said has created elsewhere animals that don’t need to eat but bite anyway anything that moves.  Neither silence is real

but both belong to God.  My son

my moodkiller
of ruin

in no dream I’ve had

pours gasoline on himself and leads an abandoned bear onto an empty school bus.  Am I pretty this third


if my parents are yesterday and grief?


Her Ohio of war and sleep:

what if I said
I see
in a land of tire swings
your fishboat father
rubbing perfume
on the knees
of stowaways
would you consider
the cricket
God is trying
to land


My mother knew she was pregnant when from a darkroom her surgeon emerged holding a piece of chalk.  Before I had hair, I had hair my sister sang to.  Interesting men didn’t make it to earth.


Early for foster home karaoke, she announces God as the exit sign over the door of her body and sleep as a museum owned by death.  Because I am lonely with not being there, I call it her best scene.  She doesn’t clap.  A ghost gives birth to a chair.


Jumping rope in Ohio:

We burn the house might God see everything we own

Her movie puts them all in one place
the photos
a photo
prays to

When I kiss my son, his ankles glow

Mom I did not succeed


As if speaking were a way of taking back what one has yet to say, the people are quiet.  A group of smokers, perhaps, expressing their fear of needles outside of a funeral home.  Who know of no god that can bury a swimmer.  Whose children say birth as bird and are not corrected.  Whose food is a memory of water gone sick.  Whose dogs get passwords from dolls that blink.


Moon’s hair on a hospital plate:

oh with the eyes
of a lost basilisk
does god undress
in deprogrammed
my son’s
deer drunk cow


Shaking the  breadcrumbs from his pipe, grandfather goes quiet on pointing out the weak spots of passed over anthills.  His poetry disappears but not before it buries half a baby in the backyard of a surprised mouse.  He is not sure what surprises a mouse.  Nearby, I am only here to chew the distance from the foods my kids won’t eat.  I have with me a change of clothes and a lunch box named God in three toothaches.  The fish aren’t biting, and we say it’s because grief must be getting an x-ray and that it likely looks a ghost praying in the last of its birthday fog.


Moods for dying wildlife:

Missing pacifier spotted in fishbowl.  Barbershops on fire in the childhood of your puking shadow.  Abusers who rename their dogs.



a circus worker
as one
who dreams
of being brainwashed
in Eden

the details
need some space

every bee sting
has a ghost


wash oh please
my forehead
with a mother’s
handprint, be

as sweet
as my brothers
over the belly
of the lover
who’s by now
their matching
tattoos, score

the earlobe
of a nail-biting


the angel in the mirror
is not alone
all the time

ENTRY 12/12/19
keep a look out for Dylan Krieger’s book, Metamortuary.  I had a chance to reflect on an advanced copy, and it it is emptying and restoring and riotous and detached and possessed.  also, The Mothercake Cycle by Kolby Harvey is just a standalone thing that cancels beast.  I hope the holidays don’t mean too much to any of you.  and I hope they pass as some vivid calm.  I am somehow sorry for speaking so much and also for not saying more.  is capitalization a thing?  this brings me to how I am glad that my children introduced me to Juice WRLD.  there is a new vanishing in these soundcloud musicians that make the blips of our notified lives seem starred and starry.

here are some small things from (diets of the resurrected):


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

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

The suicide of God’s first.


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.


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.


ENTRY 12/5/19
so here are some recent things.  the films Love, Antosha and Greener Grass are not as different as they seem.  both are dedicated and fleeting.  also you should read Kolby Harvey’s The Mothercake Cycle and S. Brook Corfman’s Meteorites.  I think they need someone to talk to.  or someone needs them.  regardless, there are four someones in need.  this is the kind of math art pretends it cannot do.  and mine that is not above anything is at least very below:

from ( diets of the resurrected)


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.





July 16, 2020 / barton smock

country silence

has a father worshiping a balloon animal and a mother caring in her sleep for sleep. has a sick son relearning in church how long a past life lasts. has you writing this beside the ghost of a fish to a god whose thoughts on children have changed. has in it no maker who hasn’t already made field recordings for those who miss emergency rooms. has in it owls lost in the attention span of the gentle. owls born with all their teeth.