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November 8, 2017 / barton smock


[L A I T Y]
116 pages
published August 2017


some poems from {L A I T Y}:


on the shell of my brother’s first turtle

the inscription

at the end
of the world


[his body a small sorrow]

the proofreader
of grief


[annotations for son]

a small creature was shot
and became
my handwriting.

two of my legs
need god.



a moth attacking the ear of a white horse

[on a family farm
with oar-beaten

baby talk
in a suicide note

sign language, mosh pit, 1991


[high-dive. dusk.]

as if any father
could heal
a cigarette
or remove
for a grey-eyed
the stitches
from a dream


[cocoon has its own name for suicide]

age I’m at
I go
from bath
to funeral
to bath-

that made
a fist


some more recent poems:


absence and removal, the parents
of nowhere

they don’t


[the stone]

sack race. minotaur.

(the stone)

a before
and after
of absence.


[my quiet quiet son]

“Probably I’ll die like this,
a long time ago.” – Franz Wright

I will never forget hearing god pronounce your name
to a ghost obsessed with wolves

out there in the dogness



I would look in the mirror to see if people knew I was ugly and maybe now my son does the same. in mine, god had no soul. in his, god’s soul has nowhere to go. I love you. I don’t matter. I love you and I don’t matter.

if I could go back in time, I’d help her take care of me


[teacher of dolls]

sister has to use her body to care for her body. teacher of dolls. believer in the grenade become star. her blood she is told could ruin her baby’s nose. her thumb is a comma. god’s is a crow.


[desire, footnote]

drunk above a son I cannot feed, I don’t long to swim

but do
to have my mother’s hair
by a horse-

oh when
was I tamed




no one in heaven is named after god.

place is an animal. animal a cure

for déjà vu


my hands
are the hands
my hands
could rescue


I was wrong. now is not

the afterlife
of the present.



our towels are asleep in the oven. our surroundings


/ mom severs mother from the nude vocab of our nakedness



I believe my mother when she says we are here to forget the girl god was trying to impress. that we are to follow starvation to its wrongly named foods. that breads are condemned

birds. scissors the writer’s churchbell.



imagine having to haunt doom. sole cornstalk in the dreamworlds of tree. I cannot track the beauty of my children. it’s as if they are egging the model airplane of a pilot who loves matches, declawed cats, and wax museums. imagine chickens. leaving the anthill.


[untitled] for Kaveh Akbar

all this time, ghost, we’ve been writing about the wrong body. poems talk of me like I’m here. nostalgia adrift on an oyster boat. empty acne on the face of god.



heaven wasn’t called heaven until it was full. we are made of water and there’s glass between us. when my son is asked to rate his pain he says his blood feels like a feather. I sleep at the foot of his bed often, a crooked something, a melancholy numeral…
his body- I don’t know. it repeats what most are made to recite. my brother has a ghost can see cats.



we are brave
one at a time
we are brave
but the mother
eats her young…

these mouths
in a dreamless


[soft facts]

we peck
in the darkroom
at the wrist
of a fish
our body language
the baby’s


[soft facts]


like some use an alias. fingerprints

for hand.

I was dreaming I guess
in the face of brevity

of god’s glassrabbit ocean


[soft facts]

at a time
unlike this

the father
is all

the chicken, gone
he points

to its ghost…

my mouth
is a church, my clock
a Sunday spider

in a dry

(I’m passionate about my grief)

your shadow

dolled up
in the yard

cyborg, minotaur

not once
did I watch
them sleep


[soft facts]

the cause of this grief escapes me and I worry can tunnel breathe. the snake in your love letter sounds real. it takes my belly to things

that are also


[in me the pristine bearing of her later mark]

some medicines / don’t work / how lonely

change diapers

you invent

suicide, all those dates I didn’t

formless herself, she makes an image. animals

were the end
of god


[tree of nothing’s apple]

I know a woman whose shadow will never be the same.

we are eating from a bowl that wants to go home.

One Comment

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  1. barton smock / Nov 10 2017 12:15 pm

    Reblogged this on kingsoftrain and commented:

    thru November 13th, Lulu is offering free mail shipping or 50% off ground shipping with coupon code of SHIPIT2017

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