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February 12, 2016 / barton smock


: some new, some old, some reconsidered:

On birthmarks

and the glacial
of god

the abandoned books of women

hurry, grief, your mice
to a nearby

close, silence, your mouth
in the virgin scar
of mine.

distill, wind, the river
your nude

if I am worn, let me help you


loss of the family dog

be alone. enter snowfall as a heavy breather in a white dress
window shopping
for a red.


that in between heaven and hell, there is war. hell thinks it a nightmare, heaven thinks it hell. hell sleeps more than your sister in love. heaven counts warriors and can’t put an angel on why the numbers keep changing.

as increased chatter is good for morale, call your mother and say you are her appetite.

scoop the brains of your buddies into a helmet.

annotations for daughter

the second coming of self harm has entered a town called Both.

having a baby is a mouthful.

think of yourself as a journal death keeps.


: some recently read and recommended:

(from poetry collection Fire Sign, by Katherine Osborne, Electric Cereal 2015)

I was
encouraged to write a letter
to my boyfriend who died
in a fire. The therapist crossed
her legs, sat upright in a chair

I saw her one time. She diagnosed me
with grief. I don’t take anything for it,
I don’t do anything about it. I just keep
writing and writing and writing
and I won’t go back, I won’t
show her. It says terrible things

we did terrible things, I keep
telling them your voice

changed. And I get his voice and your
voice confused. I’m looking out my window,
the one in the kitchen, the one that looks out

at no particular tree, but if I wanted to
hallucinate, really bring myself to my knees,

I’d choose an almond tree. Or one of those once in a lifetime
trees you see out in the Northwest, you’re the kind of
friend that will correct me, or tell me this is the funny part
of the poem because I’m really funny?
But it’s not, this is the part where everyone just realized
you killed a horse.


When A Happy Thing Falls (by Tim Kahl, from his collection ‘The String of Islands’, Dink Press 2015)

It is not an angel but a feather
falling on a field in winter. The rain,
still weeks away and now
the fog the hawk must sift through
as it waits sitting on a fencepost for
the mist to settle. Nothing passes;
nothing is present except the vague
threat of the imminent. Something
is going to happen- the marks of it
are already beginning to emerge
through the gloom. The hawk is
expecting it, geared to any sudden
movement. And its vigil continues
in the field where the fence is broken.
The fog rolls over the standing clumps
of earth like white linen for wrapping
the dead. It is almost futuristic,
a scene where anything may take place,
where the silence echoes,
where the numinous occurs and something
significant is nearly ready to descend.
But what falls is not an angel.
In the sky a creature blindly hunts
for anything alive in its instant of joy.



for those interested, I have 15 signed copies of my full length poetry collection ‘earth is part earth and there’s a hole in the sound I made you from’ (Dec 2015, 98 pages) and 8 signed copies of my full length poetry collection ‘eating the animal back to life’ (July 2015, 316 pages) that I’d love to mail, free of charge, for sharing and/or for burning. send a physical address along with the collection desired to if this is something one hand or two of yours would like.

~ Barton


also, my daughter is 17 and wrote this:


and also, re:

what with its bookends of birth and death, a certain silence, is poetry. want to thank both judge and judgment for being quiet long enough to cast a partial shadow on said silence. anxiety is not exclusively for the anxious. please know, you, please know, me: I will not call, every sound, speech.


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