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May 18, 2020 / barton smock

from ( diets of the resurrected )

These are my hands,

spider’s yawn and blueless blue.

A son’s belly cradles the crushed eye of god.

Even in a glass,

looks lost.

May 14, 2020 / barton smock


age three inside of my arm there is a dark cloud that longs to live in a fingertip. age seven I am told there is a cloud but darkness belongs to my arm. age eight I forget which arm and ask no one. age now god uses a mother’s grief to eat the tail of a ghost. age then the angel of insect discipline has more newborns than teacups and blows on the bird-rolled dice. whole bodies fall asleep playing dead.

May 13, 2020 / barton smock

person Emma Alexandrov, two poems


Emma Alexandrov is a student and a writer currently rooted in Atlanta, GA, Portland, OR, and Poughkeepsie, NY. She edits Windows Facing Windows Review.


Labyrinth Project

Sharp of being, you are embroidering my heart in the hollows
of our silences. We are tracing paths: by night, you take me
in your hands, a fish arcing muscular in capture.

Then, moored on a table, my core loosens in a dish of light,
whistling as it’s flooded and emptied of air. As you watch it
from across the room, threading the needle, it bristles to unfold.

It’s in the stitches that cell slush means body and
carbon whirrings mean soul, I know, but my throat can only
splutter at the spoiled water dripping from our thread because I know

I must be placed, unbalanced, back into the grey
with your golden line binding shut the new window in my side,

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May 13, 2020 / barton smock


the ocean is god’s shadow.

the eater
of those looking
for food.

the hole has one dream.

I’ve love
for your mis
gendered Cain.

May 8, 2020 / barton smock

{ older, oddly, sorry }



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.



to be
as asleep
as a father’s
left leg

as a birthday
for a window



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.



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


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 }


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:

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April 28, 2020 / barton smock

.afternotes. (previous entries)



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?


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


are ankles


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


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

the details
need some space

every bee sting
has a ghost


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

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

the earlobe
of a nail-biting


the angel in the mirror
is not alone
all the time


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


I thought having the child
would change
the child

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


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)


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


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


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

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

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

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



Ghost Arson
Kung Fu Treachery Press, published Dec 2018

orders can be made via paypal to or by using link:


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:




review by Dd. Spungin:

review by George Salis:


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, 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