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May 8, 2020 / barton smock

{ older, oddly, sorry }

/

IMP

the man digging in his yard is looking for his dog. this is my lucky window. in this much silence, a baby could get a tooth. a mom a finger if a car door slams. the man digs and the ice comes for its heartbroken road. wounds move in a deerless world.

/

DREAM SAW AND DREAM TOOTH

to be
as asleep
as a father’s
left leg

as a birthday
for a window

/

from OHIO DEATHS

you’re getting better but birth is still a joke that grief gets wrong. that luck forgets. dog is too old to look at the animal it younger replaced. care is mostly silent. a cricket in a cake. my tiny saw.

/

NEGLECT

it didn’t take long for the frog to become real to those around me. some would bring it back and pat me on the head and some would laugh when I told them it’d never tried to hop away before. some would say it was the frog that was depressed and some would pray for the frog I was lucky to have. when it began to speak, I told myself that’s just how frogs talk. god came to me sooner than most. mom joked that he must’ve known I had a frog to get back to. my sister maintains to this day she had no intention of eating the frog as she was only trying to impress the snake her eyes were made for. by the time I woke her up, her hunger had ballooned and she leapt at me the odd leap of grief.

/

May 3, 2020 / barton smock

afternotes

There is a part of my left hand that seems to know a fish with a nosebleed. If I could open the book of touch, I would open the book of touch.  My son has a cough that haunts the leg of a wasp and his singing lives in a blank mother’s bottle of glue. Death recognizes more creatures than god.

April 28, 2020 / barton smock

{ The Flavor Of The Other ~ poems ~ Clara Burghelea }

ISACOUSTIC*

The Flavor Of The Other
poems, Clara Burghelea
Dos Madres, 2020

~

Clara Burghelea’s The Flavor of the Other is both a progressive exit and an appearing act. Inside of each, stillness awaits no inheritance. Full of confessional reserve and prayers that maybe begin with amen, these poems carry the exaggerated possessions of location as the divided theft of void and oblivion. Burghelea knows taste as a portal through which one can swap hungers, and makes of self an otherness versed in the familiarities of a becoming not saddled with being. If it is here that migration and exile are two birdwatchers marked by the same talon, then a reader may place themselves as one combed by any scar that holds hair as the body’s longest fire while another counts backward then forward using absence as census.

~

reflection by Barton Smock

~

book is here:
https://www.dosmadres.com/shop/flavor-of-the-other-by-clara-burghelea/

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April 28, 2020 / barton smock

.afternotes. (previous entries)

 

i.

of her son’s feeding tube, she says the shadow in her stomach has pulled off its ears

distance is the god of those who don’t need rest

would any one of you cut the baby

into thirds
to make

me a mother?

is that circle dead?

ii.

about the baby,

has it forgotten how to smoke

mom she rolled ache into our socks at a gas station

there’s no one to tell
my eyes

I’m early

to the quiet of egg sac

anthill

are ankles
lost

iii.

and here I tell my son, who’s never heard a cricket, how long I believed in god.

iv.

a circus worker
smokes
as one
who dreams
of being brainwashed
in Eden

the details
need some space

every bee sting
has a ghost

v.

wash oh please
my forehead
with a mother’s
handprint, be

as sweet
as my brothers
fawning
over the belly
of the lover
who’s by now
removed
their matching
imaginary
tattoos, score

the earlobe
of a nail-biting
infant,

die.

the angel in the mirror
is not alone
all the time

vi.

you die
in this poem
so often
by my
unwrapped
hand
that god
promises
to salt
them less
the tornadoes

vii.

I thought having the child
would change
the child

old soul, some said, and sickness
a dream
god rents
to ghost

viii.

Worm got itself worm hearing sound beg god for a shadow. Hold tight I guess what glows with desertion. They never ran did they

them trains
I was pretty on?

(I miss you telling me who to miss)

ix.

it had to happen
your birth
for us to know
how much
of our breathing
was changed
by a mask

stay small, leaf
dying is death’s way

of asking
to be buried
does it hurt

that we visit
your dog

 

April 27, 2020 / barton smock

afternotes

and its use? this yearning, this alien attendance to the unsupervised moment? a childhood, perhaps. rugburns on the bellies of those who fall asleep to the song of you swimming from the water in your body. god returning to find again that our absence has been rearranged by the last infant to receive nostalgia. our self-harming sock puppets fresh from the diary of touch. an egg in the churchbell’s brain.

April 24, 2020 / barton smock

no, image

SELF:

Animal Masks On the Floor of the Ocean, 124 pages, 10.00
poems, June 2019
can be purchased via paypal (bartsmock@gmail.com)
or Venmo @Barton-Smock-1

MOTHERLINGS, 52 pages, 4.00
poems, June 2019
can be purchased via paypal (bartsmock@gmail.com)
or Venmo @Barton-Smock-1

an old idea one had of stars, 58 pages, 8.00
poems, February 2020
can be purchased via paypal (bartsmock@gmail.com)
or Venmo @Barton-Smock-1

*be sure to include your mailing address in the comments of the order. any questions can be directed to bartsmock@gmail.com

~~

NON-SELF:

Ghost Arson
15.00
Kung Fu Treachery Press, published Dec 2018

orders can be made via paypal to ghostarson@gmail.com or by using link:

PayPal.Me/ghostarson

or via Venmo @Barton-Smock-1

*be sure to include your address in the notes field
**all copies will be signed

or one can send a check to:

Barton Smock
5155 Hatfield Drive
Columbus, OH 43232

on amazon:

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

~~

SOME REVIEWS AND SOME PRAISE OF BOTH CURRENT AND EARLIER LIES:

reviews:

review by Dd. Spungin: https://kingsoftrain.com/2018/11/28/dd-spungins-review-of-ghost-arson/

review by George Salis: https://kingsoftrain.com/2018/12/17/review-by-george-salis-of-barton-smocks-ghost-arson/

~

Barton D. Smock’s poetry speaks with a complex and implicated simplicity, it speaks a world somewhat surreal and intellectual, but nevertheless imbued with all the complexity of these strange rages of human emotionalism that strike us at inconvenient or strange times…

~ David McLean

/

The work of Barton Smock, a prolific mid-western poet, modifies the meaning of Christian Wiman’s idea in that it seeks unceasingly for the spaces between those ‘annihilative silence[s]’ that would pursue us, and for the watchful reader opens some door into human experience in a way that is at once intensely personal and detached. Through the manipulation of both common and cerebral language Smock’s poems maintain a dance between the familiar and the unspeakable. They act as a shout to the silences that curl up in experience- offering some view from the inside of that experience, but never in an expected way.

…The themes of family, abuse, poverty, and alienation figure heavily in the book, but to call this confessional poetry seems a bit out of keeping with what is traditionally considered confessional. He speaks of mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers while also utilizing the first person, but the reader can never be exactly sure who these characters are. They are changeable, and often engaging in nearly surreal activity that might confuse more than enlighten. The key seems to be finding some language to quantify suffering, or some way of qualifying experience out of context – which at moments brings it ever more sharply into sight…

…Smock has found a way to speak for those who don’t perhaps know that they have something important to say; to share. The marginalized child, the grieving mother, the ailing child or sibling- they will all find a voice here, and though it might not be the way they would voice the affliction that rests within them, they are sure to recognize their faces. Whether this is a burden or a blessing remains a judgment to be formed by the individual reader, but I find the poetry…to be full of the intensity of experience in a way that I can’t help but identify and empathize. Something preserved so as not to be forgotten, and perhaps repeated.

~Emma Hall

/

Speaking of being captivated, when I was in Cleveland’s most exciting new independent bookstore, Guide to Kulchur, I picked up on a whim a few small volumes that appeared to have been published by the author using Lulu. I was so entranced by the seemingly simple but endlessly complex, prickly lyrics that I wrote to the author, Barton Smock, through his blog, kingsoftrain.wordpress.com. He’s been sending me books now and then and his latest, Eating the Animal Back to Life, is just knocking me out. These poems are desperate, tender, wry, alarmed, god-obsessed, and musically driven. Smock is not published by others, he does it all himself…

All the advanced degrees and publishing credentials in the world can’t get you the unspeakable duende that Smock somehow taps into, poem after poem.

~Kazim Ali, from

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/harriet/2015/11/reading-list-november-2015

/

~~

April 23, 2020 / barton smock

afternotes

At the end of the day, it’s a very long day. The mirror believes it’s covered its belly. You ask me what hurts and I say earshot and show you the traffic cone my mother lifted from the world of tire swings. Everything you’ve written about the void being free is true. I secretly want your fingerprint and you secretly collect stock images of the born again. Will god never finish

the wind

April 23, 2020 / barton smock

{ diets, and the year our son }

~

THE YEAR OUR SON THOUGHT HIS BELLY BUTTON WAS GOING TO EAT HIM

was a fast year, a goldfish

trapped
in a doorknob
kind

of year, our daughter

cut her heels
on the bottom
of a pool

that was there

~

THE YEAR OUR SON THOUGHT HARD ON NOTHING ON A FARM MACHINE

I bought myself a nailgun
telling the people
at church

it was for
a movie, also

a child
in hell
asked

to tie
my shoe, and a neighbor

brought it up
the baby
inside

the baby

~

THE YEAR OUR SON ATE ONLY MEALS PREPARED BY INSOMNIACS

was the same
possible
year
he tried

to kill himself
because I couldn’t
stop him

but back
to the insomniacs

they weren’t

family

~

THE YEAR OUR SON SPOTTED DEER ON THE MOON

it made
some sense
then
to cut
our past
in half

~

THE YEAR OUR SON THOUGHT WE LOVED HIM

lasted longer than most dogs
but there was
this one
stray
we saw
often

it had one
abandoned
healthy
eye
inside of which

our belongings
were small enough
to have

~
~
~
~

DIETS OF THE RESURRECTED, entries through 4.23.20

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

~

While close, this is not your messiah’s insecticide. Are you happy with my body? Sex is the breathing my teeth do for your hair. Faith a stork in a sea cage. Food is no expert but grows anyway

brevity. They say crow after an apple sets a stone on fire. Lonely people for appropriate play.

~

I want for my son a more regular sadness. Not touch with its vacant déjà vu. Not the stutter, untapped, of his far beast. More the fasting of an unknowable fish. A marionette

gazing
at a toy

car. Are these hands? They say so little.

~

Ohio auctions:

The unseen wildlife of the ill. The handwriting of a moonless toddler. A whole language saved on an angel’s thumbnail…

~

I can’t tell if I have nothing or if I’m down to three photos of God.

I sleep
to know
that you’re
asleep.

~

I will take for my childhood a mother’s unicycle, a father’s raincloud.

The broken moon of any man on crutches. A dog drinking water in a white house.

Brothers
who draw me naked.

Bones from her smaller baseball.

~

Sorrow a glove. Grief a mitten. I see in fire the small

for a whale
whale
that my son
saw
in a wave.

Ohio gets to keep its hidden season. Poverty

its sixth
finger.

Childish, but everyone who’s looked out this window has died. Our family was too close.

~

Ohio stories:

I am fondest of recalling my sister when sister in her sleep
could sell drugs to angels.

Men walk away from their fathers one of two ways with our favorite being Stars Reading Snowfall Before and After My Career-Ending Injury.

Our mother was a spider
once
it’s why
she smokes.

~

Their translating of the terrible things we’ve said has created elsewhere animals that don’t need to eat but bite anyway anything that moves. Neither silence is real

but both belong to God. My son

my moodkiller
of ruin

in no dream I’ve had

pours gasoline on himself and leads an abandoned bear onto an empty school bus. Am I pretty this third

time

if my parents are yesterday and grief?

~

Her Ohio of war and sleep:

what if I said
I see
in a land of tire swings
your fishboat father
rubbing perfume
on the knees
of stowaways
would you consider
the cricket
God is trying
to land

~

My mother knew she was pregnant when from a darkroom her surgeon emerged holding a piece of chalk. Before I had hair, I had hair my sister sang to. Interesting men didn’t make it to earth.

~

Early for foster home karaoke, she announces God as the exit sign over the door of her body and sleep as a museum owned by death. Because I am lonely with not being there, I call it her best scene. She doesn’t clap. A ghost gives birth to a chair.

~

Jumping rope in Ohio:

We burn the house might God see everything we own

Her movie puts them all in one place
the photos
a photo
prays to

When I kiss my son, his ankles glow

Mom I did not succeed

~

As if speaking were a way of taking back what one has yet to say, the people are quiet. A group of smokers, perhaps, expressing their fear of needles outside of a funeral home. Who know of no god that can bury a swimmer. Whose children say birth as bird and are not corrected. Whose food is a memory of water gone sick. Whose dogs get passwords from dolls that blink.

~

Moon’s hair on a hospital plate:

oh with the eyes
of a lost basilisk
does god undress
in deprogrammed
rivers
my son’s
deer drunk cow

~

Shaking the breadcrumbs from his pipe, grandfather goes quiet on pointing out the weak spots of passed over anthills. His poetry disappears but not before it buries half a baby in the backyard of a surprised mouse. He is not sure what surprises a mouse. Nearby, I am only here to chew the distance from the foods my kids won’t eat. I have with me a change of clothes and a lunch box named God in three toothaches. The fish aren’t biting, and we say it’s because grief must be getting an x-ray and that it likely looks a ghost praying in the last of its birthday fog.

~

Moods for dying wildlife:

Missing pacifier spotted in fishbowl. Barbershops on fire in the childhood of your puking shadow. Abusers who rename their dogs.

~

By poor, I mean they are strangers to brevity. Like babies and glass.

By rainfall

the bomb
maker’s map.

By god, our kiss blown god. By death

that it’s been
replaced.

~

Ohio poetry:

Escapism
loses everything.

With what other formless art
could one address
nothingness?

Infants
in the phantom fit
of a rolled
tire. A mercy

the knee
in kneel

~

How we end up in Ohio is

I saw in hell a star

that in heaven
I did not

~

Moods for whale watchers:

As god’s gift to the suicidal mother, a stuffed crow goes a long way. Balloons here lose their mannequin air.

~

Mother as one who gives birth to avoid confrontation. Years from now, I exist. I want a cigarette, a puppy, and Jesus

on the cross. I wrestle the brother who wrestles as if he’s sobbing inside an elephant. People die on purpose. The world’s smallest inventor tries her thumb at bulletproof bullets. Pray puppets for puppet rain.

~

Moods for bloodflow:

The skin listens to itself pray.

I am never more than a peephole
taller
than my brother.

Overheard in god’s pharmacy
(that’s
gonna leave
a star

~

Baby Teeth, Ohio:

I have
in the rain
long hair
like your mother

~

Ohio math:

If born, your baby has given your name to God. If not, not so fast, your baby has a sister who has two sisters and together they eat what can only be described as a chameleon abandoned by its ghost. Here are things to keep apart: My understanding of musicals and my brother’s of bulimia. He and hymn.

~

Perhaps, in another past, she cares for those beasts removed by God from the path of her loneliness. And maybe it was there you listened for her supplier’s footsteps

when it was lost in the move the empty bird of your faith

~

there were three in the garden
they were sharing
a cigarette

their god
had said little

no names, no pets

no lonely, allergic

baby

~

Ohio puberty:

they sing
in the locker room
to what
is mine, a scarecrow
for insects
etc
and then

they are saying
it backward
my safe
word

~

make death
fear you, not me

we all hear
that kid
& poetry

can’t be
the birthplace
of god

~

Ohio religions:

someone I don’t know
described you
to me
not
recently
but anyway
there were animals
not created
by god
confused
by the naming

~

Moods for closure and then the thing itself:

The one I’m destroying and the one you’re saving are not the same. I was ugly, once, but they called me a lifetime behind my back. Poor, twice, but took over for a clown abused by a ghost. On three, my sister’s flashlight takes its little spot from the world. Many of our dead will switch gods.

~

Ohio aggressions:

I’ve only to pinch myself
to get into
the dream

into the drop of blood that loves my eye

and I hope
it is there

my brother’s
suicidal
chameleon

there,
in the lap of my mother

who was the last
thing noticed
by time

~

Ohio moons:

the child we could not bury
and the child
like it

a ghost crying over the loss of a plain colored pet

unmothered sisterlight

the time between oranges

~

How we leave Ohio is

the first angel
it protects
an erasable
birthmark, the last

angel
a campfire
both

en route
to mother’s
sunburn

~

Moods for the vaguely exiled:

our leaflike
leaf
was once
a leaf
a shadow
as its
brain

~

Moods for slate:

memory
is a young
king
whose god
eats
to forget

the pain
our pain
was in

~

Moods for slate:

touch
to father
was a white
apple

long
on the tree
in his mother’s
dream

~

A poem for every ghost I am dead to:

god has grown your teeth in blank fruit

~

Moods for the outgoing:

Poverty’s extra owl.

This painting
not called
Jesus
and his last
birthmark.

A broken
his and hers
umbrella.

Two birds, two stones.

A god whose parents meet.

~

While counting the same sheep, one of us will die. It’s okay. One baby eats another baby’s message to god. I still don’t know how to write. Babies are like that everywhere. Dad had this tattoo I couldn’t see of a simple fish and that’s why your mom not really but maybe taught herself how to keep her eyes open underwater. My simple is not your simple. I fell asleep once on a lost arm and I hear it sometimes in piano music. We’ve all been old.

~

As time moonlights as indoctrination’s sole souvenir, hunger and sleep have again been separated by death. Let us say a movie was for years being made about my church. I did nothing. I sat with my mother between bathtubs and faded in and out of child. And children. Both needing the before of that first bear.

~

Moods for neurology:

snake that can fetch a bone can mourn lightning

~

Time won’t be poor forever:

the child of a former smoker
makes
for frog
a cup
of her hands
no matter
that no
frog comes
nor frog
like it

~

Lying to the basilisk:

You spoke to me through an egg for so long that the back of my neck changed moons. If I think hard enough, I can still see your mother putting in her mouth the glove her god treated like a baby’s hand. I cook a mirror. I cook for an orphan made of sleep. Will our breath always be the bone that didn’t make it into the wing of thirst? If it’s a boy, pick for an alien a flower. Dogs forget their human year.

~

Moods for believable midwestern symbols:

When we realize that water cannot take us to where water lives, every television in Ohio stops what it’s doing to wash a ghost. Our friendless baby calls no one. I am not kind, but put my body between mine and yours.

~

Moods for nigh:

Sipped from worship, a mother will hide in her throat the lost paw of thirst. How long are we? No one says loss anymore.

~

Lone high, Ohio:

stars, I guess

and a trapdoor
for a certain
kind
of turtle

and stars
for sure

~

Ohio’s underwater cure for hiccups:

how sorry
I am
that ghost
is bored

swim
in a way
that says

~

Most boys in Ohio have carried that rare dog that can worry about growing old into a store that only accepts prize money. Ohio can’t be everywhere. A hole falls out of the wind and the abuse stops.

~

Moods for screenplay:

It is always just before the sadness that I stop brushing my teeth
It is always just before the sadness that I stop brushing my teeth
It is always just before the sadness that I stop brushing my teeth
It is always just before the sadness that I stop brushing my teeth
It is always just before the sadness that I stop brushing my teeth
It is always just before the sadness that I stop brushing my teeth
It is always just before the sadness that I stop brushing my teeth
It is always just before the sadness that I stop brushing my teeth
It is always just before the sadness that I stop brushing my teeth
It is always just before the sadness that I stop brushing my teeth
It is always just before the sadness that I stop brushing my teeth

Small again
the star is little

~

We had over two hundred children and gave the same name to each. We were both impossible and lazy. Bedtimes, fuck me, were harder than funerals. Sometimes a story would go around nearby about Jesus pretending to put his dad in his phone and we could almost see it. No one died waiting to be the first.

~

Be eye:

be eye
the nest
of an unmade
god

wrestling
the wrong
shape

~

I want to write about grief in the way another writes about grief. For example, your mother avoids god by telling god what the dead do when they miss their dead and my son has an idea that is also a scar that was once a ghost too gentle to land a kite. Something simple. A dog three times around a pool. Four, if no one has baby news. You cry like a star.

~

April 22, 2020 / barton smock

new salts

part rust
part rust from a star

/

tongues
that sense
loss

April 22, 2020 / barton smock

afternotes

what nightmares might boats have. do small bits of Hansel and Gretel enter the oral history of stowaways. oh pacing son of god, why does father worry his belly over an ant at peace

inside
of a worm. what if our whales are mostly absence and death passes me like a room