Skip to content
March 22, 2016 / barton smock




dying of young age, your brother nurses at the breast of the stage hand’s version of a mother. the stage hand is off arguing with a lamp on the impossibility of attracting moths. beside a tall cake, a groom with lockjaw and a stiff neck has to take life’s high point on faith. if you remember, brother made for the groom a bible so light it could be held by a cobweb. and then it was.


things are desperate because they are beautiful.

my transparent sister
wants to be a surgeon.

[holes in the kingdom]

sitting on a decorative toilet in her child’s front yard, the mother scrubs her left wrist with a dry toothbrush. her right wrist squeals to be cut. there’s a wet spot on the grocery bag she wears on her head and the spot spreads. her flower print dress is optimistic. with a crow ever so lightly on his mind, my father writes the address of the electric company on a notecard and slips it into a pocket bible. he tells me to forget what I’ve seen and I wonder if I get to pick. my heart feels more like a broken light bulb the more I breathe and goes to my head the less. beneath the malformed crow my father culls, he gives me the sex talk. he includes that most crows are manna from hell or holes in the kingdom.

[his fastball]

he wants to know what he collects. he prays. he is blindfolded by the parent he rarely sees. he is taken on foot to an empty showroom only he can imagine. he is hugged. not asked, he goes into detail about his outfit. parent flips through a notebook. parent leaves to find a pencil. outside in a miniature snowstorm another parent throws an egg through the tail end of melancholy.


a person goes dark. night shifts disappear. a lone panic capsizes the anatomically correct. men fill up on mouthwash. men float. women bite their tongues in half before they can say women and children. insomnia becomes more than the over-hyped novelization of insomnia. a boy draws a cutlass in a broom closet and is told he can’t sleep. I begin to want more from a diagnosis. a kite being flown in hell by a son gone pro.

[creative types]

a dog is not barking. father, no mystery. mother is telling a woman that what the woman has is a child of god. I’m in my room like the sort of thing exists in certain parts. porn, doghouse catalogues, the animal that saw god finish. my real friend has imaginary muscle control. I want to touch him but am not sure how much my fingertips have. my brother’s sanity is how a baseball bat makes it onto a crowded subway. in the dream, my father irons my mother’s back with his palms and his palms are scarred. in my friend there are magnets.


on a clear day
my father
is the face
of absence.

how what I mean
cuts the finger

my mother

how porch blood
is not the same blood
the body
faints with.

how copperhead, how rattlesnake, how lisp

says I myth
my sister
who is still

to shoplift

from the thunderstorm
we gave her.


most recently failed to burn:

eating the animal back to life

315 pages
published July 2015

of which Kazim Ali says:

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 and so the only place you can get his books is here. 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.



& Chickenhouse

84 pages
published October 2015


earth is part earth and there’s a hole in the sound I made you from

98 pages
published December 2015


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: