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November 22, 2021 / barton smock

self, selfsame

So, my brother Noah Smock wrote the below kindness about me a few months ago, in regards to my poem SOONISMS being featured at Poem-A-Day, and I said thank you and cried to myself and to others but meant also to put it somewhere for good.

Also, please check out the work he does for the Baltimore Community Toolbank HERE


What Barton says about this piece: 'I hand-wrote this poem on a small piece of paper while worrying about the long and short lives of my children.'

Barton has been writing and putting in work as a self-published author for years. He has built an audience when and where he can. He's done so around a *few* other commitments (namely working full-time and being an  incredible, committed, engaged father of four). 

My brother is also the biggest supporter of anything I've ever done. He regularly donates to the organization I commit myself to daily. He shares any victory of his brothers broadly. He is kind and giving and only curses when he's cooking or driving. My life's pursuit is to make him laugh so hard he falls to the floor.

This little story is the perfect description of who he is: 

When he was eight, his younger brothers wanted to play king of the mountain on a dirt pile located at a construction site near our housing complex. It was the 80s. Construction sites were playgrounds of endless possibility. 

But on this day, Older Boys were already playing on the 'mountain' we wanted. So as the oldest, Bart was nominated to Go Talk To Them. I don't know what was said, but an arrangement was made: Yes, we could play on the mountain *if* Bart let one of the Older Boys punch him in the stomach. 

So Bart looked briefly back at us, then stiffened his gut to accept a single blow below the ribs. He hobbled back to us, holding his stomach. Through clenched teeth he said, 'You guys can play. I'll be right there.'

poem is HERE

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