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Jonathan Potter

Jonathan Potter (1965- ) lives about a mile from his birthplace in Spokane, Washington.

When Potter was a boy, he found some of his father’s large caliber rifle shells, took them out on the back patio with a hammer, and pounded on them in an unsuccessful attempt to extract the gunpowder for the production of homemade firecrackers. The same urge later led to writing poetry.

  • Read an interview with Jonathan Potter at The Fine Delight.
  • Listen to Potter read “Turning Twenty-Five” from House of Words.

    Turning Twenty-Five

    Bringing me and Mom home from the hospital
    In 1965, my dad ran out,
    Hey-ho, of gas, hey-diddle-diddle,
    Son don’t cry now, it’s nothing to cry about,
    He sang at the top of the hill. We glided

    Into town on angel breath and I decided
    To be an astronaut or cattle man,
    Roam prairies undivided,
    Drive the lunar module into the sun.
    I followed my sister, down the path we’d race,

    Past Mead’s and the strange abandoned house
    To the orange brick school below.
    We moved to the city and found a place,
    Went every weekend to the show.
    Careening on skateboard into the empty pool

    And sailing up the vertical wall,
    Sixteen feet up, then into the air,
    I found myself above it all,
    Turning to descend I knew not where,
    And all those friends now gone,

    Gravity moves us not to return.
    I went to college, feigned deceits,
    Prayed to God and tried to pawn
    My very self for gross receipts—
    Which God in turn rolled up into a riddle.

    from House of Words