The dream world of 'Ghost Arson’, by Bart Smock

‘Ghost Arson’, by Bart Smock, reads like a dream world, which the reader is invited to piece together. For Bart, these visions are old news: ‘I saw nothing fantastic’ but as his readers, we are given insights into his deepest thoughts.

‘A Gun Goes off in a Dream I Don’t Have Anymore’ is a poem which dismisses an idea, before it has time to develop. The reader is left playing catch up, answering questions about what ‘darkness’ this poem refers to. Certainly, imagery of God and religion is a key theme in this collection. Bart suggests that we are cloned apes and our unoriginality has disappointed our creator:

‘as spotless as the dog left it, the baby’s room has come to

mean today. above a different dog, people ask us what we’re

having. we do our jigsaw of darkness. clone the ape that

created god’s boredom.’

There is certainly an unhappy relationship with faith and the concept of God, ‘I have never seen an attractive god.’ The lack of capitalisation of ‘God’ suggests a lack of disregard for the title.

Fatherhood is also explored - but it’s not all fun and games, with several black dogs hanging over:

‘a father has these dogs:

death, sound, & ageism.’

and we get a hint that Bart’s childhood was troubled:

‘four pounds

of my birth

were missing’.

Above all, it is the shared vulnerability in this collection which draws the reader in:


can I miss

my body

with yours

our blood

the loneliest


Despite Smock’s cryptic style of writing, I was able to get an insight into many parts of his life and his deepest thoughts.

Pre-orders can be made via paypal to or by using link:


***all copies will be signed

or one can send a check to:

Barton Smock 5155 Hatfield Drive

Columbus, OH 43232

#bookreviews #Ghostarson

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