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May 18, 2017 / barton smock

{those names}

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my most recent collection is {name calling}, and is here:


some poems from {name calling}:

[entries for tone]

it learned to read by being called every name in the book and it wrote eulogies for the children of getaway drivers and it knew nail as the light bulb of a dream journal and it did not know which palm print went with which birthmark on its mother’s vision board and it had its hair pulled out in a cornfield by a boy / god was too / young to have


[keening (xxii)]

killing the firstborn is so yesterday. let’s be lonely. maternity leave for clowns. ant farms on airplanes.


[entries for listen]

to window
we’re moving


[entries for intimacy]

things I said when I stepped on a nail
things like
a spelling bee
is underway
in hell
and how deep
it goes
the thumb’s


[no one looks for lost warnings]

a one-legged boy
and a lame

in a roller


[entries for vertigo]

let surgery leave something in your mouth.

weigh them as a whole, the clothes of the smallest person who died on your watch. the blindfolds. the dreams of your stick population. down the pill

yet inside
the black


[entries for Ohio (ii)]

how absence is to me a bowl and to you a basket. how brothers fight over the last fish and the first snowflake. how sisters arrive whole from the museum of shortcuts. how a baby dressed like another baby is not abused. how a father slips a bear into his story of a mousetrap. how a mother points a set of wind-up teeth away from a square of wet cement. how on a soundstage I roll my ankle while you lift alone a magician’s birthweight. how porn. how it listens in a bathroom stall to the click of a viewfinder. how they horse. and ache.


[entries for surrender]

sorrow the mudwrestler of my drought

whose tooth fairy

can we erase
what silence

a dog
a smaller


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