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June 13, 2017 / barton smock

{tentative, re:}


The War On Unicorns, Brian Dawson, Words Dance Publishing

They Were Bears, Sarah Marcus, Sundress Publications

Imagine Not Drowning, Kelli Allen, C&R Press

The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib, Button Poetry



(in which I softly attempt to bring a journal into the middle of my son’s sickness. entries one thru seven.)


one day my son is dying, the next he is not, and the next he is. day four: prayer is dismissive, but welcome. whose past is how we left it? body is delivered twice. beginning and end. nostalgia and wardrobe. middle eats everything. it snowed and I thought my blood was melting. could be the way you reason that happens for a reason. I was a kid when mouse was a kid. there’s no hope and I hope.


his weight a cricket on a piano key


disability as competition, jesus. and then these over here are arguing about the use of the word, disabled. here we will coin transformative indifference. a body is not a teachable moment. as a parent, I think I’ll take the shortcut. meanwhile, I have a glossary of terms you’ll never need that you can read beneath a dog-eared, thumbless god.


sickness in the young is god’s way of preventing nostalgia from becoming the god I remember


there is sickness by repetition and sickness by living once. echo hasn’t the chance to go deaf. you breathe and say god gives out no more than that which I can handle. the next breath is mine. god gave us god.


I was beautiful but now I’m ugly. (now) being the most recognizable symbol of the present. this is the silence I speak of. my son says (more ball) and you hear (moon bone). he is very sick. his moon has bones.


aside: we don’t come out faking our death, but are born because birth can’t sleep




we are in the wooded areas
when the taken baby
to the crib

our numbers decrease

a stage curtain’s hook
or the many palms
that draw
a womb
to kick

(of slow black dogs long with youth / of a shadow
beneath a snake
where even)

trails off


[country young]

sick, my son says he has an eye behind his eye. says he can see it. at night we huddle in separate corners of his mother’s bedroom and take turns pretending to be on watch. mornings we cup the mouth of our dog and shake the rocks into our palms. when my son’s health returns I will need some help throwing the rocks, but for now I can manage. the city has gotten closer but it’s a secret I’m okay with.

scary how almost nothing can happen. when I was a kid I had a neighbor boy to poke holes in and a brother to give him to.



before the suicide, it is just a note
my brother leaves

on the made
of our mother’s

once you are absent, your absence
is long.


[the gospel]

I lose the fat hero to thoughts of my own weight.
I make the bully too evil.

I shy from death
to be made
its lure.

I have a wife
what else
a train
to transport
the sadness
a penis

my son
if all females
are mothers.

if animals, talk.


[jesus on the cross]

my sister is sometimes obese. she has mild heart attacks in cramped third floor apartments. she gets beaten by schoolmates who impersonate hospital staff. I am always going to see her it seems when she is in someone else’s bed. it is to this thought she has recently clung.


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