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October 20, 2016 / barton smock

[circa i thru xxix]

{circa i thru xxix}


circa (i)

I went through a period of sticking things in my ear. not too far except this one time mom said it sounded human but also like all sound had lost its memory.

being poor is a myth.

a fact
with self

a father was running circles around a baby.


circa (ii)

ghost stories:

sleep learns to eat quickly. an ice-cream truck

drops in
on the ocean.


circa (iii)

it came over me like a face that maybe god was ugly

a.m., the half-life of a country ghost

p.m., chainsmoker
of blindness

the woman
who drugs
the saw


circa (iv)

our prayers go only so far
in marking

we say infant when two things at once warn a symbol

we call it bird
what was done
to the bird

we plate crows from black market microwaves

burn a wheelchair
to mow
the lawn


circa (v)

I don’t know how to feel bad for people anymore. I’m 40 now but grew old near some woods that had in them a creature whose name came outta nowhere. it brought babies to those close to me to have them raised on stories of missing children and by the one movie we were allowed to watch. not since stone number three have I been a spitter.


circa (vi)

I watched television for three hours then went outside for what seemed like three more.

I’ve been feeding the kid in different areas of the house.

falling asleep is forgetting to eat.

the naked mailman
he didn’t die
after all.

the church has begun to remember the world.

melancholy has its own mosquito.

yesterday, the kid wheeled himself in front of the fan and opened his mouth.

things burn where they land.

I wasn’t born but have to see for myself.


circa (vii)

a tacklebox in a prison yard

a wasp
from scarecrow’s
childhood, also


the forgetful native
to absence


circa (viii)

a collarless dog fetching a grounded kite

trauma’s original boredom

the search parties
wind and blood


circa (ix)

at a therapy session
for those
to dream
I am handcuffed
to my mother
whose imaginary
has lice

a baby born with a wig
rattles on
about sleep

death’s eyepatch


circa (x)

on these bikes these boys are beautiful

/ passing men under spell of god, the order

maybe dissolved

of the bent

/ I will not miss art

five-thousand fathers
to burn
a fish

but ease, but hunger

a girl putting all her pain in a turtle
or in anything
from the hood
of her sister’s

/ a firecracker
by a bone


circa (xi)

what a ghost knows about giving birth
powers on
a mechanical bull

father says there is nothing
like it
in Ohio
this giving


to a jack-in-the-box

there is a word my mom makes
from a word
she can’t

/ orbituary

/ brings it all


circa (xii)

the human dream

god’s attempt at a short story

the animal


/ the elephant
in its ruin
takes up
for whale

yeah, it rains here

adult diapers
are fishhook

/ tell your sister
nothing happened
to mine


circa (xiii)

imagine how long god must’ve been left alone to be named after the first person whose name he said. how hungry the mother to swallow hair. how bored her baby to remember. how small the television that spitballed hell. hidden the horse to keep its church. black the water to transport fish.


circa (xiv)

the black eye
to the moth-catcher’s
most attractive

what a woman predicts
becomes false

the plus side
of trauma

her mother’s


circa (xv)

a smallness
that skips
a brain

a stuffed creature from god’s cage

sickness, the second person to forget my dream


circa (xvi)

the water here, brother, is flat. drinkable when it weeps.

what you hear is a mom moving her baby.

god / you can switch
him off
like a bug
in a coffin.

I saw yesterday
your daughter’s

I saw today something using its gums
to open a briefcase
and something else
its teeth
to crack
a beetle.


circa (xvii)

in more
than two
I’ve been
towel dried
by a father
whose baby
was given
a brick
for sounding
/ scrapegoat /

this word
at mirror’s


circa (xviii)

by the time the robots believe in god, some of us want to be here. Misty keeps ripping her clothes off to make us think she’s cutting herself. I am not in love with her.

my son
his stomach
is a nightmare

Misty says making it hard is like pulling ticks from an owl. Misty says it is up to us to find the woman carrying the statue of her frozen brother.

a. act like a baby, not an indian
b. eat the way eating was born


circa (xix)

acolytes of the short leash, light

has more
to say
than god / think of me

as a hand
from a haunted


circa (xx)

to the man whose face can do things mine cannot, I give my son.

silence has no creator. pictures

of god
don’t sell.


circa (xxi)

the boy
in another

marks again
its territory

grief beds sorrow, sorrow’s

dream only
of discovered


circa (xxii)

the rapist, day one: I have every photo I’ve ever been in. mom is a wreck. her and the dogcatcher keep mailing each other the same knife. death worries it will be made to visit the ghost it promoted. dad lets christ use the oven. I can’t get over this idea I have. an entire language to mask a word.


circa (xxiii)

hunger is a clock devoured by worship

the rabbit hole


circa (xxiv)

“Everyone you see
lives somewhere.
How is this done?” – Franz Wright

I am wearing a bomb and she is wearing a bomb. we are going to the same empty place.


circa (xxv)

we’ve had trouble conceiving an ugly child. the stray will come back when it wants to play dead. name the third mother in Solomon’s nightmare. places I’ll never be

I’ll vanish


circa (xxvi)

in the not
of deserving


the mother’s

are coming

to observe


circa (xxvii)

I had a doll
kept me
from believing
in sunburn, ideas

for the same


circa (xxviii)

I had the longest dream

you were there and mom
was in your head

our pets had all gone blind

dad was bathing
a baby jesus
in the basket
of a bike

I began to forget
things, the toy

that ate
its young


circa (xxix)

to spoonfed

three teeth
if that
into ceremony / how early

one must be
to not


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