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December 24, 2019 / barton smock

~ year, esque

~

EXILE ACHE

I didn’t lose a tooth, says the child, there’s just one you can’t see. not a single horse has remembered to spy on the devil. that fish went right through me and I dream it back. mom never has a stick. the food in our stomachs dies at different speeds.

~

TRINITY ACHE

not a yesterday goes by I don’t pretend to know everyone. mom has eaten the snail. her father is still being shot.

~

GUIDE ACHE

if I could love them all, they wouldn’t be here. movies make her father angry. he asks her what is always trapped but never surrounded. her heart is an owl with a heart. mirror, she says, but doesn’t. a rain relearns the earth.

~

FAST ACHE

not every tooth makes it into the group of teeth I know about. a mother is told by god that her writing appears read. you eat like a bird then eat the bird for saying nothing. I warm a hand on a burning fish. our water seems distracted. by the ghost of what he’s killing.

~

LANDMARK ACHE

the skull of a child who can’t swim. whose friends

tried.

a horse for my puppet. a shadow’s first bone. the pill

in the egg in egg’s dream.

forgetful
lightning.

the deer dad resurrects.

~

HURRIED ACHE

after slamming my fingers in a car door, the hand looks for days as if god has tried to pry a nail from a piece of bread. people kiss me and I tell them my footprints can’t breathe. when a bug hits the windshield, my blood gets a star.

~

CARRIED ACHE

I like to think of my grandmother as always on her way to an obstacle course for invisible children

(as combing her hair in a spiderless wind

~

PLAIN ACHE

I write to missing things of knowing what took them. given the chance, what could god describe? I don’t know if what I hear is a sound or sound’s hostage, but it’s enough to make light remember losing a child and with it a boy and with him the fourth wolf he killed in his sleep. we don’t come from love, but we love.

~

STOP ACHE

patient me above a footprint with my spoon and my fork and then old jawing at nothing us as food misses our mouths in the after of an almost deer and then for a very long time an emptiness a kneeling a here and there balloon and now it’s just this falling asleep on trains that are also asleep that are manned by ghosters of the misgendered who misgender you me what knows what their sleep is sleeping with and I guess it’s possible to be alone if possibility goes years maybe without experimenting on nostalgia and now it comes to you how it didn’t seem to me to be a turtle until we saw it eaten by a shark and then I needed a name to give to its friends its turtle friends all dead in a kind of before

~

ACT ACHE

as a telescope
skips
loneliness

please love
this octopus
embracing

the outsourced
beehive

~

ORIGINAL ACHE

younger, I skin my knee in the museum of the dropped jaw. you say blue is a color and I say it’s a clock. god is there and is asking no one we know to leave space for a birthmark. we are somewhere between my grandmother dying and my grandmother dying. a noise outside could have come from this painting of three window-washers kissing the same egg or it could have come from outside.

~

CLOSING ACHE

you were born that you could be shown where you were left. wasp didn’t get that way trying to move a scar

but a spider can dream

~

CESSATION ACHE

A little
off the ears
my crucified
barber-

The more I sleep, the more there is of the future.

~

KNOWN ACHE

I won’t keep you in suspense. I was born and then at a strip club crying for those tender people whose children put in private the final touches on god. also there is a meal being prepared that you won’t be able to finish before you die. the preparer of that meal has a least favorite creature and believes hundreds of corpses were dragged from eden by animals that were trying to experience joy. save it when you can

the last of the robot’s short grief

~

CORRECT ACHE

an angel leaves heaven to touch paper as a circle from my childhood rolls toward an empty jack-in-the-box. I am old enough to be sad and too old to separate deer facts from church facts. my children fall asleep before their hands fall asleep.

~

CLEAN ACHE

punched in our stomachs for remembering the sea, we are in a church that goes to church. it is here that a drop of god’s blood can change paper into plastic and here that bread is the bread and butter of hunger and hunger the oldest child in nothing’s choir. here that I count for a son who cannot count. for a son who sleeps on land on the lamb of his illness. (water is still the smallest toy and our mouths still come

from the same
noise

~

SALT ACHE

perhaps I am the thing that overtook me. that in its becoming was able to feel guilty about doing so. what if death is just looking for the one it’s named after. lonely I can almost see my eyes.

~

RABBIT ACHE

I can’t sit
for very long
without wanting
to smoke.

this is the flower
I pick
for my ghost.

~

REALM ACHE

I stand in a ruined field and preach longevity to a god that stares through me at the empty highchair of some freckled thing. my age is with me, there, and there to mean how far can I throw my food. if I close my eyes, I can see touch as a mirror that’s been used by my mother to describe sleep.

~

LIT ACHE

upon waking, my son knows he’s been moved. beside him I am crooked until he bites my arm. he is as heavy as the stomach of the angel that nightly kisses mine. illness has the patience of a shadow but cannot teach my eyes to kneel. time is god’s tenure as the lost tooth of sleep.

~

BEGINNING ACHE

the crow’s fear of inclusion. eve’s perfectly forgotten ribs. the nothing I mean to my dentist. the cemetery where all the un-boyed went to eat paper. the band-aid in the belly of a baptized child. yawn of kites.

~

DRAWINGS

i.

a mosquito
on the thigh
of god

losing
its mind

ii.

an old
idea
one had
of stars

iii.

waiting with an uncle
for any
colorblind
doll

to pass
the salt

iv.

child in a hospital asking does time have enough food

v.

is snow
the mother
of distance

~

YEARS ACHE

my children haven’t gone a day without their stomachs. sometimes I lift my shirt and I think they mind. I want to tell them but won’t about the party we can’t throw for a dog whistle. fish are still building the sea.

~

ELDER ACHE

show me
the fireflies
of yours
that get
sad
around human
stomachs

(there is
a table

rain
will set

~

WITH ACHE

a lonely child makes no fist and snow arrives to draw a snake. I mean to chew but forget. your knock-knock jokes have gotten better. I don’t hate your stories. the head-kisser’s

bowling
score.

tornado that lost our emptiness.

~

CLAW ACHE

the soft spot
god has
for the nest
of a fasting
bird.

the stone my brother
saw
give birth.

aspirin
that will put

plastic
in your stomach. crucifix,

or the kitten
unseen
by swan.

a clump of hair in the newborn’s hand.

~

DIETS OF THE RESURRECTED (entries through 12.24.19)

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.

~

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.

~

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.

~

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

~

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.

~

Ohio we:

save pills as a god might
the eggs
of a ghost

~

And what would you have me say? That I feel it was given to another, the meaning of my hidden life? We name people every day. Our yearning, overlong. Our mother’s mothering of poets and of the creatures they can’t use. This priest with an ant farm. Eating’s moral theft.

~

two
Ohio
types
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.

~

pregnancy
dysphoria
has been found
in angels
to spread
like fish

do you remember
in an oyster
the arm
of a squirrel

mom
is a dream
leaving
a pack
of cigarettes
under
an Ohio
pillow

or,

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

~~~~~

~~~~~

some, other, things, this:

i

PDFs of self-published collections Motherlings and Animal Masks on the Floor of the Ocean available upon request made to bartonsmock@yahoo.com

ii

Ghost Arson (Kung Fu Treachery Press 2018), is here:

on amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Arson-Barton-Smock/dp/194664286X

at barnes & noble:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ghost-arson-barton-smock/1129931893?ean=9781946642868

iii

TINYLETTER

https://tinyletter.com/BartonSmock

 

 

 

 

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