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May 30, 2015 / barton smock

themes for caricature

a broken raccoon
in the black hair
of a toppled
trash can. god

the tie
to the eardrum.

father and the stick he swears by.

an iron. the washer of the foot

that will touch
one bag
of an erased

home run. and. the soft

the washer
of the anxious

May 29, 2015 / barton smock

notes to abuser

I have had to tell time using only repetition.  there is a tattoo I want on a body I don’t.  I can see what you see in me.  none of my sounds echo.  I have a son.  I prepare for him past meals that leave nothing untouched hoping he’ll learn to chew on his own.  he has three rooms upstairs and three down.  when his bed can’t move, he says something to a door.

May 27, 2015 / barton smock

(from Misreckon)

from self-published collection Misreckon (December 2014)


history is a timeline of appetite. I have rubber bands at the ready for when my mother yawns. I cover my baby brother like a grenade. he was born without the potential for further muscle tone. father calls what I do context. I appear like a bruise into a delayed game of hot potato. my sister’s hands are an oven mitt’s dream. I know you’re a hitchhiker and your girlfriend a cannibal but here we suck our thumbs.


the zero courage
it takes
to be
in pain. or to be

for that matter

born. it has devoured

by now
my son’s
of silence. but he had

didn’t he

a moment
while the animal


clear heads

while smoking a cigar in the shadow of a nervous minotaur, my father wrote the book on moral isolation. in it, he predicted there would be a television show about hoarders and that it would turn god into a sign from god. my mother read the book cover to cover during her fourth and fastest delivery. if there were edits, she kept them to herself and put his name beside hers on seasonally produced slim volumes of absolute shyness.

fascinations of the upright

a ramshackle

is my father’s

the angel’s mouth is a mouth to feed.

a man
packs a baby
in snow.


he beats the mother and calls it practice. the washer breaks and he throws the clothes into a full tub and stomps on them while smoking a cigarette. he provokes my image to send him back to his rightful nose. my thick skull is high on my spit.


the mechanics of the beheading begin in isolation.

exiled from what it bumps into, a form
for scarecrow.

my mother’s dream doesn’t burn.


the boy balances a basketball on his head outside his father’s bar. his mother is somewhere a girl set to play the moon in her school’s version of talent night. his sister is giving birth so calmly her midwife is a male blown away by the fact that it’s only her second time wearing the blindfold I wore to fish. his brother is in therapy to process the loss of others who think we’re gods when we smoke.


my mother as a young woman once attempted

in the car of the train her father took to work

to eat her hands.

it was a story she put an end to
but not before
I lost a tooth
putting my baby
in my mouth
to keep
them warm.

my brother as a baby
was far
too small. one might say
he had the brain

of a snake.

May 27, 2015 / barton smock

continuing themes for uncle

wrapped in a sheet from my mother’s bed, I make my way to the outhouse to show my brother there is a future in smuggling the skin of god. my father is scraping leaves into an empty pool and the earth with a rake. if death speaks briefly, I am in two places that cannot exist without exposure. gone long, it spoke once on the loss of loss.

May 26, 2015 / barton smock

themes for uncle

dad loses a brother while drawing a straight line for a haunted circle

I tell
two jokes

in the shadow
I’m in

no one replaces my father like my father

May 23, 2015 / barton smock


it is god’s job to keep the world flat. I stand on a wheelchair to change a light bulb while my brother goes down a hill on the sled sister disappeared from. my parents are the bread and body of arguing sweetly. they eat only when there is more food than can be thrown away. I am hoping the sled does for my brother the nothing it did for me.

May 22, 2015 / barton smock

themes for slang

the blood
the spiritual
of the woman’s

here is what it said, it said
I think
I have
a mother
whose hands
he tells

christ I’m close to my face


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