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July 29, 2014 / barton smock

On the past

my death a warped photograph of a former awe, my life

four children
drinking water
from glasses placed on either side
of my sleep-

it is on these nights
when I am sick
that I become the sound of my ears
my mind’s
thoughtless position
on time, that I am ably

here, ably slow
in sight of
the aging

I’ve given
a sporting chance

July 27, 2014 / barton smock


I relayed the lie I was told about paint drying to my brother. he put his hands on my shoulders and resumed a sobbing he didn’t start. I couldn’t see the wheels turning in his head but he could. he drew for me what I thought was a sketch of god’s little tormentor. it wasn’t a sketch. our future interactions were followed.

July 25, 2014 / barton smock

On devastation

brother, there’s not a cigarette

on earth
that you
can surprise

July 25, 2014 / barton smock


we keep missing each other.

I’m no you.

my favorite sport is god.

my father
drops a bomb
referred to
as common
on a place
he makes

in the dream, I had a baby and left it there.

is the part of my life
you’re in.

July 24, 2014 / barton smock

final say

to my most disabled boy-

the girl’s name
we couldn’t
decide on.

to the curled woman
smoking her last
in the photo
she’s brushed from-

baby yours, or baby mine, how important
it is
we focus.

July 24, 2014 / barton smock


the parents he doesn’t believe in tell him he is god.

I ask him
if it’s true.

for your own good,
two people meet in person after person.

convinced of its shadow,
the heart

I ask
before I ask
again. the holiness

of my disrepair
belongs to a city
where none are killed
by my son

for being

July 24, 2014 / barton smock

not the mystery of god

I will be pumping gas into a make of car I call off-white when a passerby of guessable hostilities won’t know enough to ask if it’s my dog coming dazed for every one of its legs down the road at me like at a spot it senses I’ve disappeared near and I’ll have to agree with my mind it’s the damn dog for sure and it’s not far from where my boys are huddled in a borrowed blanket smelling smoke and I gather it won’t be long before the dog is nothing more than its best instinct so I let the lever and reach through the space where a passenger should be blowfishing on a window for my last gallon of milk to pour on the car like a rehabilitated pyro to give that dog something to see and something to lick.


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