november blue november

a jonathan potter project

mellow apricot
sky spreads out above
the hills of stevens county

a watercolor world wakes
all hallows’ morning
layer by layer

my mother saw the sun
rise on her birthday morning
rise behind the gray november

veil that spanned the eastern sky
my mother stood on
the mountain and saw

from gray to gray-blue
sapphire cobalt slate stone spruce

november blue november
blues blending into
the blues the blue blues

exact sunrise time
postulated in
drizzling misty mystery

fog’s gloom-gray estimation
of time’s abacus
raindrops on branches

from eastern time zone
comes love’s explosion
of blood orange rose gold light

awakening the darkness
of pacific sleep
with love’s time travel

between a weeping
willow and tall pine
orange sky-soup like titan’s

organonitrogen haze
sci-fi saturday
waking from strange dreams

yellow on turquoise
dark horizon line
roiling clouds gentle hills trees

then becoming enormous
otherworldly peach
and plum pudding sky

amid the azure
and alice blue clouds
filling the sky this morning

a golden ghost of fried egg
emerges sunny
side up and lovely

redeye flight waking
orange horizon
could be another planet

the alien cityscape
river of methane
or is this philly

saint lawrence river
catches the image
of this candle flame sunrise

morning drifting to the south
the sky clinging to
decreasing daylight

marmalade guitar
amber-blue cloud strings
stretching to infinity

opening into music
honey-gold and bright
upon the river

start at the bottom
the river’s secrets
dark blue darker skyline tells

saint joachim’s bronze bells to ring
to bid the silent
blue-gold day start here

screen of trees and poles
silhouetted there
on lakeshore road a jogger

back turned on radiant beauty
pink-orange burning
dangling carrot sky

pale bright scarlet veins
of pomegranate
stains on a dark blue napkin

in a billowing moment
a gold incursion
a strict horizon

desultory gray
rising of the day
cormorant besprent swims by

under the gray layered sky
dives and disappears
the rain’s whispered cheers

give us this day our
daily slur of sun
rising like a lonely loaf

we graze on with eyes and skin
touching each other
in the lonely light

red-orange luminance
white cloudwisps wafting
above and below dark hills

calm atomic yellowing
deep breath expanding
effortless slate-blue

can sunrise be willed
no thy will does not
govern the planet’s turning

could it be the force of love
taking a deep breath
without intention

saint john’s cathedral
the sun’s sentinel
pokes its pointy spying spires

up at the naked blue clouds
the gold fringed hem of
god’s skirt proclaims love

no sign of sunrise
the rain it raineth
every day to quote the bard

aloof the sky refuses
these bare ruined choirs
my mind’s leafless limbs

i didn’t see the sun today
but i saw a star
tonight cold and bright

i woke up but stayed
in bed at sunrise
to venture out at moonrise

the sunrise has slouched
further south rough beast
but the fog comforts the hills

prodigal the ochre sun
behind the mountains
marigold the clouds

standing in the street
looking southeastward
sunrise time but clouds are thick

but falcon and falconer
tell me it’s right there
slouching toward solstice

river railroad bridge
rolling sunrise clouds
this train ain’t bound for glory

but still the smothered sunrise
hints at beautiful
blue dreams and journeys

train crossing river
sun rising without
intending to turns the sky

and its reflection
into something never
seen until this moment

thanksgiving morning
on the great river
railroad bridge like a zipper

binding the searing beauty
of the rose-gold sky
to watery earth

hephaestus rises
forging molten gold
on the eastern horizon

above my alma mater
my great grandfather
smiling down on me

mirror of river
grasps at burnished bronze
angelic yellow garment

pink threads of fire cobalt blue
wielding a flaming
sword to kindle day

guests of the sunrise
trespassing to see
the unnameable colours

gaudily manifesting
neon banana
alien lava

eighteen sunrises
viewed from steptoe butte
each year in my mind

since the day that you were born
and the world became
stunningly lovely

end of november
cold aquamarine
watery cobalt serene

early morning clouds swimming
above seabottom
hills sunken city

A Month of Sunrises

a jonathan potter project

radio towers rising
in distant foreground
orange sky bruised clouds

aftermath of last night’s storm
pine limbs dangle down
into soft darkness

this phenomenon
of the sun rising
tears open the eastern sky

even if obscured
by the horizon of sleep
or the day’s darkness

sunrise on game day
the sun a fiery ball
blazing from the east

god throwing a curve
across reality’s plate
and the day’s at bat

canal bordering
my mother’s backyard
snakes towards the rising sun

thumb-smear of orange horizon
inkblot trees ghost clouds
gravel road ready

sky salmon spawning
vermilion moments
ponderous deep lavenders

reality bearing down
lifting up the sky

morning pink and pale
pauses to wake up
contemplating the meaning

of the dream before waking
driving the wrong way
down a one-way street

garbage day dawning
the sun hidden like the week’s
discarded debris

behind the residential
slumbering malaise
faintly peach to blue

orange reptilian eye
burning through the pines
this early autumn

sunrise from the highest point
i could find at hand
crawling out of sleep

memory of trees
darkening up the mountains
hills like ocean waves

the city below
people opening their eyes
an orange turning

overcast autumn
cloudshapes form an eye
or mouth’s ambiguous lips

masking the sunrise drama
as reality
comes up behind me

airport sunrise through
the glossy glass of
half past seven’s fluorescent

rectangles’ tangle with the
underlying sky
i’m about to fly

jet lag bronze meringue
morning’s calm glowing
debussy blue-film distance

layer on layer lighting
the thought of dreaming
of coffee and cream

beaconsfield backyard
tree creatures greeting
the golden island rising

from earth’s insistent turning
from last night’s gloaming
this rose-mauve morning

the veil of the sky
horizons river
mutes the unbrazen sunrise

unheralded by trumpets
ducks swim languidly
near the lapping shore

astronomy tells
me the sun rose this morning
while i was sleeping

i take the sunrise on faith
the grey morning dull
the sky unscripted

hunting the sunrise
over saint joachim
the sky as god’s cast-off thought

on the day of rest
the sky as a placebo
for work’s medicine

the clouds are keepers
of the buoyant secrets
of the morning’s silent bells

mount royal lookout rises
above the city
breathes crimson questions

what is the color
of morning itself
green dark-green light-green yellow

luminescent bright-fringed shades
of lavandula
pink-white hints of red

rising with the horizon
flying away from
the morning being

borne on nothing but
air which is a kind
of nothing that is something

planets turn suns rise
clouds hills trees mountains
converse in color-tinged tongues

somber ocean-gorgeous
tangerine language
tastes reality

cathedral tower
where humans climb stone
gold-railed steps to the golden

sky enjambed with particles
and waves of searing
syllables of light

god spoke from the clouds
the universe spoke
you yourself spoke marigold

luminous amber mumbles
breathing enormous
breaths of thought and love

jackolantern cloud
october’s charm turns
dismal dismally charming

candle sun struggling wick
blue on blue on blue
trees suggest christmas

before the sunrise
i open one eye
glance at the sliver of faint light

at the edge of the
closed window curtain
resume sleep dream the same scene

cobalt autumnblue
umbilical cloud
cerulean slow fury

lamppost lastleaf powerline
smokestack freewayscape
darkhope beginning

morning tells orange
secrets to blue sky
with goldfringed inuendo

foretells the day’s falling leaves
prospect of early
sunset and slumber

wallowa mountains
look up look up a message
drifts in drifting wisps

of morning’s inscape
of migrant cloudshapes’ shifting
dim dazzling light

like dante i put
one foot over the
other for some hard climbing

up out of confusion to
the moraine ridgetop
to see the sun rise

morning gathers grey
debts and spreadsheets them
above money-colored trees

grey makes rain earn a living
sky a blank check no
daylight in savings

  what does the sunrise
     mean just the turning
of blind mechanical forces

resulting in a beautiful
orange accident
blessing our nothing

silhouette of trees
against a pale cantaloupe
sky slowly turning

bright with distant light
as the sun rises below
beyond direct sight

The Alt-Middle Corrective

Above the trees, the sky is bright

Potter on Sabbatical


For Elizabeth, on her birthday

God plays your life like cards upon the green;
His mother cuts the jokers from the pack —
And who could follow suit with such a queen?

Worldly diamond kings court an exit scene
When a better bid shows how, Ace to Jack,
God plays your life. Like cards upon the green

He flips your years, push by stay, to convene
Today’s array of sequenced red and black —
And who could follow suit? With such a queen

As Mary banked within your heart, no mean
Or clever gambler stakes in blood the stack
God plays. Your life, like cards upon the green,

Is counted, ranked, a paper mise-en-scène
Of diamonds (flick!), clubs (click!), hearts and spades (smack!).
And who could follow suit with such? A queen

Of openings, you fold your hands. Your chips — all in —
Declare the trump that heads the devil’s trick:
You play your life like cards upon the green —
Oh, who could follow suit with such a queen?

The Greatest Gig in the World

Being alive … you get to eat at Denny’s, wear a hat, whatever you want to do …

September 11, 2001

On a bad day you can’t see anything
Beyond the Hudson and Jersey side of things:
The grey arroyos of steel, concrete, and glass
Seem brittle as paper houses in Japan.
On a good day you can see the outline
Of rebar emerging, rib-like, in sunlight,
A tensile flex of tendons steeled against
The streets below. These, dissected neat and square,
(The Big Apple as a Euclidean sheet cake)
Feed into the grid’s one blemish, a green
Mistake, an ink blotch of oaks and paths
That spill peace into hidden picnic spots
In Central Park — not nearly far enough
From the baffled wash of the Atlantic
Caressing this fragile fortress island,
Its towered tips serving sentry duty
Over the sleepy waves sloshing at piers
And abandoned pilings where garbage and foam
Congregate like idle prayers to Neptune.
Ignoring news of the day, tidal currents
Comb through a stranded forest of pilings —
A salt bath that soothes an old lady’s sore legs
As she does commerce with the eternal sea.

Today, the skyline was especially free
And majestic (perhaps some noticed this).
Today, the air had a clean crisp in-betweenness
(Perhaps no one would forget at least just this),
A September day, like the bubble
In a level, waiting to nudge either way,
To become an incomparable day — for good
Or bad.
               One might oversleep only to wake,
Like an angel an hour late for Creation,
To the explosion of mid-morning traffic.
Or one might crawl to a stop, and sniff the air
On the drive to work, hesitate a minute,
And cock one’s head, unaware, as sirens
Encompass the passage of roaring shadows,
Like knowing beasts with instinct’s machinery…

Today, the gods of war sang with jet-black hair;
One flew east, one flew west, one fell down and
One slammed into our national interests,
Extracting suum cuique’s random plan
From a populous which, until now,
(Friends and enemies both say) escaped history,
Unable to nail itself to a moment.

So, today was a good day, and yet,
The Manhattan rising in everyone’s mind
Is all that remains.
                               Pelée, Krakatoa,
Vesuvius, all momentous.
Nineveh, Jerusalem, all righteous.
                                                      And now,
Lower Manhattan, lower and lower still,
Like ash that adds itself to endless ash —
Zero’s strict calculus of dust to dust —
Forever falling, stretching, touching ground.


Taking the Ball and Running with It

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