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September 26, 2016 / barton smock


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mine, self published, are here:

some recent poems:

[credit sequence]

hunger my contraceptive

my wristwatch

someone to boil
the mannequin’s



afraid of its shadow in a previous life. the drowning of nothing’s




her child
in a lifeboat
after egg, her memory

that dream
to which
the hangman
his word



the untouchable redness
of certain

the sunburnt scar on a fisherman’s arm


[no wolf]

I was a doorstep baby and brother a treehouse.

moon of the injured. moon of the blind.



the nude’s failure to stay awake in a laundromat. the suicide of the copycat toddler. nine types of catfish. a worm’s tongue. god’s last name. the orphan’s timekiller.



mid polygraph, I lose
the baby

/ the loneliness
of its food


[dark earth]

animal then man then woman. god was the god of grief. one saltwater thing to another

a garden?


you unusable


[his impressions of the experiment]

my closest frat brother looks at the toad and says frog motherfucker. tackles me. fact: there is a certain kind of toad that by staying still can kill a drug dog. in this country, a man can sell doves from the back of a white van. a man can run out of doves. my ghost is obsessed with caterpillars. it doesn’t matter what you say. they found that woman.



infant, the sooner
than expected
for god.

I have this baby I’m not afraid to use.

you pretend to shoot
and I’ll pretend
to fall. we’ll make a day

of never talking.

the missing crow of thorns.



they wanna put my teeth on a billboard. mom doesn’t care. cremate the moon.


[I lose you when I sleep]

I’d have gone grey
his hair
and he
to smoke
during the gospel
of the bruise



being alone never hurt anybody. I ask online about a coat hanger. in person about a stork. symbolism is dead. it’s not that kind of garden.


[I am, emptiness, out of breath]

in a wet dream on fire
the arsonist
the mouth
he is trying
to leave

(it is not hunger that eats the horse)

I am past the age of what
in a former life
I died as, a spoon

is a fork

asleep in the hand of god


[the museum of minor fictions]

simpler, then

the seizure
that set
your father
to music

the baptized
of your mother’s

the book I brought to burn
as always

the pair deciding which hand
would come between us
which hand
would enter…

I caught the poor mask
on its own

I am ugly and you are not


[a dream for the blue pen in my father’s wrist]

her handwriting
it was being



she remembered
his suicide
but her brother’s
cough, how it ruined

the scarecrow’s

but the etiquette
of the crucified



sex, make your face.

my father returned a clock
fell from
a birthmark…

deaf as a housefire
my brother was raped
in two
tents, he pulled our mom

from a clown car
a tornado
in hell


[her impressions of the experiment]

his animals hiccup somewhere within the contagious yawns of god. his tumor is the crow of the ocean. the foot they hope to find me with is not yet purple. I shred a tiny pillow but your baby ain’t blind.



a bird watches my brother eat a parrot

my new diet requires me to have
the same

language is a broom

between the legs of a showered orphan
is a sponge

from the story of her stomach’s exile



the hole we’re in has disappeared. we sleep on the gospel of baby mudlung. I pray mostly for people to get hurt. I don’t have a brother. he’s all alone. sister will smoke anything. a worm from the vacuum, the lice from nostalgia. I have a tv in my room that wants to play piano. I have a toy car and a turtle. it takes forever.



I burn
for dreaming

/ forgiveness

you empty


[the red church]

I babysat for children whose mothers didn’t want to come downstairs. I was driven home by men so drunk they knew my house like a muscle. the children ate what I made. I taught boys how to fake an illness and girls how to ask for pets. I could change a diaper and smoke at the same time but then it got away.



a mongrel circles the stump of a tree. a spider from the angel’s dream goes on to spin a caterpillar. mom slips in and out of pregnancy. it’s my first time hearing a groundhog hate itself. you won’t crawl to anyone you haven’t seen swim.


[no after]

and what would you have me imagine? a change of tense in a tale of abuse. a baby licking the palm of a doll. a spoon. a robot’s broken arm. a chalk outline of a worm. hunger’s tacklebox. our allergic sister’s suicide note. a calf eating its first canary.


[swimmer of the blue snow]

a bowl of soup bleeds to death
in the eatery
of my praying

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