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September 22, 2019 / barton smock

Glen Armstrong of Cruel Garters on Ghost Arson

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

ghostarson1

 

One Comment

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  1. barton smock / Oct 2 2019 2:09 pm

    Reblogged this on kingsoftrain.

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