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August 31, 2016 / barton smock


25% off all print books at LULU thru September 5 with coupon code of MORE4YOU

my collections are here:

below are some recent poems, none of which can be found in said collections:


the phantom butcher hides another pregnancy test

an egg reminds me to bathe my teeth


[waste lore]

death makes two beds

father and son give food a choice

mother mothers moth and math

I count
for a cannibal

nowhere to go to have stillness removed



I think at night my bones are making glue

did my pain
mention me
at all

not to a hymn of madhouse flies


[having a disabled child]


I don’t have hands and my eyes are trying to kiss.


a drone’s
for a landmine.



the stone’s wait-listed heart

a god with something to prove

the common telescope of a haunted cyclops

a round of leap frog
played in poverty’s





the angel
made to sing
the alphabet

the hummingbird’s



the map my birth destroyed
for trying
to mother

the swallowing sound my father starved beside

coming he said from a stone

mourner at the tomb of insect



the demon shits a child in the dream of yours where it first appeared

the mother gets less and less attention for being born

the baby uncrosses its eyes

at a lone urinal, I lose hours to the handstand
the occupiers
of my city

proof a mosquito in the gravedigger’s ear


[nostrum] for Mary Ann

there are more dolls
than people

remember, daughter, our jack-in-the-box

how it studied
all kinds
of music?

pain is religious
is not


[credit sequence]

hunger my contraceptive

my wristwatch

someone to boil
the mannequin’s



afraid of its shadow in a previous life. the drowning of nothing’s



[circa (i)]

I went through a period of sticking things in my ear. not too far except this one time mom said it sounded human but also like all sound had lost its memory.

being poor is a myth.

a fact
with self

a father was running circles around a baby.


[circa (ii)]

ghost stories:

sleep learns to eat quickly. an ice-cream truck

drops in
on the ocean.


[circa (iii)]

it came over me like a face that maybe god was ugly

a.m., the half-life of a country ghost

p.m., chainsmoker
of blindness

the woman
who drugs
the saw


[circa (iv)]

our prayers go only so far
in marking

we say infant when two things at once warn a symbol

we call it bird
what was done
to the bird

we plate crows from black market microwaves

burn a wheelchair
to mow
the lawn


[circa (v)]

I don’t know how to feel bad for people anymore. I’m 40 now but grew old near some woods that had in them a creature whose name came outta nowhere. it brought babies to those close to me to have them raised on stories of missing children and by the one movie we were allowed to watch. not since stone number three have I been a spitter.


[circa (vi)]

I watched television for three hours then went outside for what seemed like three more.

I’ve been feeding the kid in different areas of the house.

falling asleep is forgetting to eat.

the naked mailman
he didn’t die
after all.

the church has begun to remember the world.

melancholy has its own mosquito.

yesterday, the kid wheeled himself in front of the fan and opened his mouth.

things burn where they land.

I wasn’t born but have to see for myself.


[circa (vii)]

a tacklebox in a prison yard

a wasp
from scarecrow’s
childhood, also


the forgetful native
to absence


[circa (viii)]

a collarless dog fetching a grounded kite

trauma’s original boredom

the search parties
wind and blood


[circa (ix)]

at a therapy session
for those
to dream
I am handcuffed
to my mother
whose imaginary
has lice

a baby born with a wig
rattles on
about sleep

death’s eyepatch


[circa (x)]

on these bikes these boys are beautiful

/ passing men under spell of god, the order

maybe dissolved

of the bent

/ I will not miss art

five-thousand fathers
to burn
a fish

but ease, but hunger

a girl putting all her pain in a turtle
or in anything
from the hood
of her sister’s

/ a firecracker
by a bone


[circa (xi)]

what a ghost knows about giving birth
powers on
a mechanical bull

father says there is nothing
like it
in Ohio
this giving


to a jack-in-the-box

there is a word my mom makes
from a word
she can’t

/ orbituary

/ brings it all


[circa (xii)]

the human dream

god’s attempt at a short story

the animal


/ the elephant
in its ruin
takes up
for whale

yeah, it rains here

adult diapers
are fishhook

/ tell your sister
nothing happened
to mine


[circa (xiii)]

imagine how long god must’ve been left alone to be named after the first person whose name he said. how hungry the mother to swallow hair. how bored her baby to remember. how small the television that spitballed hell. hidden the horse to keep its church. black the water to transport fish.


[circa (xiv)]

the black eye
to the moth-catcher’s
most attractive

what a woman predicts
becomes false

the plus side
of trauma

her mother’s



if touch can end its own pregnancy

if it was
in fact
the strawman’s
during which
I gave
as instructed
to what
would repair

then yes

the wary



mom in the hospital is asking a half-lost boy if he knows about the band-aid keeping her skull together. the boy is afraid and I get that. her hands are confused or small or both. I give the boy a cigarette but yank it back when I see he’s been here before. could god maybe leave a thing untouched. behind us a mummy with one ear

still visible

is crawling with parents to a place.


[circa (xv)]

a smallness
that skips
a brain

a stuffed creature from god’s cage

sickness, the second person to forget my dream


[circa (xvi)]

the water here, brother, is flat. drinkable when it weeps.

what you hear is a mom moving her baby.

god / you can switch
him off
like a bug
in a coffin.

I saw yesterday
your daughter’s

I saw today something using its gums
to open a briefcase
and something else
its teeth
to crack
a beetle.


[circa (xvii)]

in more
than two
I’ve been
towel dried
by a father
whose baby
was given
a brick
for sounding
/ scrapegoat /

this word
at mirror’s


[circa (xviii)]

by the time the robots believe in god, some of us want to be here. Misty keeps ripping her clothes off to make us think she’s cutting herself. I am not in love with her.

my son
his stomach
is a nightmare

Misty says making it hard is like pulling ticks from an owl. Misty says it is up to us to find the woman carrying the statue of her frozen brother.

a. act like a baby, not an indian
b. eat the way eating was born



her child
in a lifeboat
after egg, her memory

that dream
to which
the hangman
his word



the untouchable redness
of certain

the sunburnt scar on a fisherman’s arm


[circa (xix)]

acolytes of the short leash, light

has more
to say
than god / think of me

as a hand
from a haunted




a stoned woman
for every
man / nostalgia,

a baby
by the mother
we see


[circa (xx)]

to the man whose face can do things mine cannot, I give my son.

silence has no creator. pictures

of god
don’t sell.


[no wolf]

I was a doorstep baby and brother a treehouse.

moon of the injured. moon of the blind.



the nude’s failure to stay awake in a laundromat. the suicide of the copycat toddler. nine types of catfish. a worm’s tongue. god’s last name. the orphan’s timekiller.



I am with my wife and son and we are drinking from the shell of a turtle a soup the locals use to dilute a rain’s grief. I kind of know that something bad is going to happen to both twins. my wife is looking for a wheelchair and then for a place to hide it. my son is saying grace in the only spot he’ll ever be. some of his white pills turn blue as a laugh track denies three times the thunder’s loss.

/ barn etiquette. a rabbit a volcano’s dove.


[circa (xxi)]

the boy
in another

marks again
its territory

grief beds sorrow, sorrow’s

dream only
of discovered

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