sunrise yin & yang

Coming soon from Korrektiv Press, a two-volume set of poems and pictures chronicling a year of rising with the sun — by Jonathan Potter

Cover Art by Tiffany Patterson

Design by Thom Caraway

For the book by Mark L. Anderson

Soon to be published by Korrektiv Press

Scarecrow Oracle, Coming Soon

Mark Anderson’s Scarecrow Oracle (coming soon from Korrektiv Press) opens by “Going Backwards to Where It Starts” and then takes us forward through the speaker’s childhood into his early adulthood, traveling through time as he stays rooted in place–the Spokane Valley, The Empyrean Coffee Shop, the Rockford Fair. The question the speaker is always asking is how to live in a world steeped in loss. Early in the collection, the young speaker asks a dandelion this question, and in response, “it lets go of everything it has ever been.” Towards the end, the older speaker, less stunned now by the dandelion’s quick vanishing, tells us as he performs the ordinary act of making his bed, “I want to be ready to be a ghost or a nothing…./ And when the time comes I part the curtains / and let in the astonishing day.” Anderson’s book translates the silences and fears of childhood and early loss into a series of images that answer, beautifully and without explanation, his difficult question. — Laura Read

When you live inside Mark Anderson’s poems, someone a bit like an oracle speaks to you in almost but not-at-all ordinary speech, you give up sleep for most of your life, death crowds close but the poet bravely writes it away, you feel the terror of a crawl space and the patience of a jellyfish with the “body of a half-sealed / Ziplock bag / flushed down the / grime filled gutter, / inexplicably filled / with life / instead of a sandwich,” and you learn “We came to the Earth to have / feelings.”  And you have feelings. It’s an extraordinary place to be.   — Kathleen Flenniken

Mark L. Anderson lives and writes in Spokane, Washington. He co-founded the popular Broken Mic spoken word poetry series and has traveled the United States performing at open mics, poetry slams, taverns, coffee shops, and libraries. From 2017 to 2019 he served as Spokane’s poet laureate. Scarecrow Oracle is his first book.

sunrise a momentary dream field

sunrise image

december

1.
humanity’s trees
will see what happens
in the middle of nowhere

thanks for the update and for
the only thing that
the only thing is

[all but the first line written with keyboard suggestions]

2.
southeastward yellow
sunrise unfurls its
brief banner of buoyant blue

sky a longing lavender
ladder to climb out
of darkening thoughts

3.
clouds above below
the morning fog that
rubs its back along the hills

sunrise a momentary
dream field of faintly
glowing marigolds

4.
again great river
bring down new colors
ravaged tinged periwinkle

blanched silverfringed brakelight orange
long-distance lovelight
mirrored memories

5.
morning’s rhythmic
glacial paradox
speed of light and enormous

infinitesimal near-
ness near pausing
distantly changing

6.
drab slab of monday
sky like a weak nudge
when a hammer’s what’s needed

to crush the brain’s hard dark beans
and steep them in light
to negate the night

7.
the bridge to winter
carries my gray dreams
over the great gray river

reflecting the absence of
the consolation
of sunrise or sleep

8.
immaculate sun
rising in the wind
bursting from under blankets

of clouds a woman waking
on her fortieth
birthday breathing light

9.
the disappointment
of seeking sunrise
in the sadness of a town

a pretty how town but sad
in its brushfire heart
and cloud drift dream light

*
cauldron of morning
burning through bare limbs
over unaware rooftops

distant furnace fire glowing
deep in the heart of
impending winter

10.
the gods’ persimmons
glowing in the east
queen of heaven pray for us

and clouds like fermenting plums
storing drunken sleep
for the winter blues

11.
a river’s disguise
of cloud-cloaked sunrise
at the railroad bridge at dawn

a light afoot that muggles
don’t notice climbs a
dark enormity

12.
humble lovely bridge
unassuming violet
clouds with creamy bright

curlicues of light
dispelling autumnal night
and darkness’s arc

13.
cable bridge sunrise
black dog rabbitbrush
river flowing in the now

carrying gifts to the sun
frankincense skyline
clouds of mystic myrrh

14.
the sun is rising
behind a curtain
of dark and light shades of blue

behind the blue bridge that spans
the big blue river
glistening with birds

15.
beguiled by colour
three time zones away
when i woke far too early

and my co-conspirator
televideoed
what i then screenshot

16.
thin band of faintly
gleaming alice blue
sandwiched by bland grey above

and the numb brown of autumn’s
somber surrender
to winter below

17.
words are too worn out
or not worn enough
insufficient to the task

they can only fall prostrate
to the snowy ground
and stammer eastward

18.
approaching solstice
no sun evident
just snow and fog and the sound

of the day reluctantly
getting underway
and blessëd coffee

19.
this is what passes
for sunrise winter
standing at the door smiling

grimly icy sickle teeth
somber cloudy shrouds
and christmas cookies

20.
flying towards sunrise
breathing burning coals
glowing from last night’s campfire

clouds are smoldering ashes
powdery and dark
the airplane my tent

21.
reconciled to snow
back yard relaxes
into the mind of winter

pandemic blessings
glad isolation
gold nugget sunrise

22.
jesus in the snow
nature’s new year’s day
you want to travel with him

and you want to travel blind
across the water
to that paradise

23.
clouds stained with the night
drift casually
over sweet potato skies

the river used to freezing
this time of year gives
itself to sunrise

24.
tanager-like sun
beginning its slow
migration from solstice day

towards the spring equinox
furtively orange
bringing glad tidings

25.
sun costuming clouds
on christmas morning
out the window all we see

is snow falling on the warm
antiquity of
self and flakes of love

26.
behold the sunrise
masked to protect us
from deadly december rays

the virus of happiness
that would infect us
if we dare let it

27.
no one waiting here
hear the beating heart
now here now nowhere no one

the heart of winter waiting
no one hearing now
here one sunrise pulse

28.
winter means something
snow some nothing thing
hiding something underneath

sunrise hidden like a bulb
a magic nothing
a secret something

29.
there is no sunrise
no rise no risen
sun hidden within itself

keeping its own secret safe
for the hills and trees
frozen in their dreams

30.
the bleak midwinter
the bleak midwinter
the bleak midwinter the bleak

midwinter is in my soul
sunrise on my mind
the bleak midwinter

31.
we wake up and drive
to the horizon
to inspect the frozen fog

concealing the last sunrise
of this year of grace
the day of your birth

november blue november

a jonathan potter project

1.
mellow apricot
sky spreads out above
the hills of stevens county

a watercolor world wakes
all hallows’ morning
layer by layer

2.
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

3.
from gray to gray-blue
cornflower-cyan
sapphire cobalt slate stone spruce

november blue november
blues blending into
the blues the blue blues

4.
exact sunrise time
postulated in
drizzling misty mystery

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

5.
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

6.
between a weeping
willow and tall pine
orange sky-soup like titan’s

organonitrogen haze
sci-fi saturday
waking from strange dreams

7.
yellow on turquoise
dark horizon line
roiling clouds gentle hills trees

then becoming enormous
otherworldly peach
and plum pudding sky

8.
amid the azure
and alice blue clouds
filling the sky this morning

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

9.
redeye flight waking
orange horizon
could be another planet

the alien cityscape
river of methane
or is this philly

10.
saint lawrence river
catches the image
of this candle flame sunrise

morning drifting to the south
the sky clinging to
decreasing daylight

11.
marmalade guitar
amber-blue cloud strings
stretching to infinity

opening into music
honey-gold and bright
upon the river

12.
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

13.
screen of trees and poles
silhouetted there
on lakeshore road a jogger

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

14.
pale bright scarlet veins
of pomegranate
stains on a dark blue napkin

in a billowing moment
a gold incursion
a strict horizon

15.
desultory gray
rising of the day
cormorant besprent swims by

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

16.
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

17.
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

18.
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

19.
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

20.
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

21.
the sunrise has slouched
further south rough beast
but the fog comforts the hills

prodigal the ochre sun
behind the mountains
marigold the clouds

22.
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

23.
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

24.
train crossing river
sun rising without
intending to turns the sky

and its reflection
into something never
seen until this moment

25.
thanksgiving morning
on the great river
railroad bridge like a zipper

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

26.
hephaestus rises
forging molten gold
on the eastern horizon

above my alma mater
my great grandfather
smiling down on me

27.
mirror of river
grasps at burnished bronze
angelic yellow garment

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

28.
guests of the sunrise
trespassing to see
the unnameable colours

gaudily manifesting
neon banana
alien lava

29.
eighteen sunrises
viewed from steptoe butte
each year in my mind

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

30.
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

1.
radio towers rising
in distant foreground
orange sky bruised clouds

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

2.
this phenomenon
of the sun rising
tears open the eastern sky

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

3.
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

4.
canal bordering
my mother’s backyard
snakes towards the rising sun

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

5.
sky salmon spawning
vermilion moments
ponderous deep lavenders

reality bearing down
imagination
lifting up the sky

6.
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

7.
garbage day dawning
the sun hidden like the week’s
discarded debris

behind the residential
slumbering malaise
faintly peach to blue

8.
orange reptilian eye
burning through the pines
this early autumn

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

9.
memory of trees
darkening up the mountains
hills like ocean waves

the city below
people opening their eyes
an orange turning

10.
overcast autumn
cloudshapes form an eye
or mouth’s ambiguous lips

masking the sunrise drama
as reality
comes up behind me

11.
airport sunrise through
the glossy glass of
half past seven’s fluorescent

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

12.
jet lag bronze meringue
morning’s calm glowing
debussy blue-film distance

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

13.
beaconsfield backyard
tree creatures greeting
the golden island rising

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

14.
the veil of the sky
horizons river
mutes the unbrazen sunrise

unheralded by trumpets
ducks swim languidly
near the lapping shore

15.
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

16.
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

17.
the clouds are keepers
of the buoyant secrets
of the morning’s silent bells

mount royal lookout rises
above the city
breathes crimson questions

18.
what is the color
of morning itself
green dark-green light-green yellow

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

19.
rising with the horizon
flying away from
the morning being

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

20.
planets turn suns rise
clouds hills trees mountains
converse in color-tinged tongues

somber ocean-gorgeous
tangerine language
tastes reality

21.
cathedral tower
where humans climb stone
gold-railed steps to the golden

sky enjambed with particles
and waves of searing
syllables of light

22.
god spoke from the clouds
the universe spoke
you yourself spoke marigold

luminous amber mumbles
breathing enormous
breaths of thought and love

23.
jackolantern cloud
october’s charm turns
dismal dismally charming

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

24.
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

25.
cobalt autumnblue
umbilical cloud
cerulean slow fury

lamppost lastleaf powerline
smokestack freewayscape
darkhope beginning

26.
morning tells orange
secrets to blue sky
with goldfringed inuendo

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

27.
wallowa mountains
look up look up a message
drifts in drifting wisps

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

28.
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

29.
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

30.
  what does the sunrise
     mean just the turning
of blind mechanical forces

resulting in a beautiful
orange accident
blessing our nothing

31.
silhouette of trees
against a pale cantaloupe
sky slowly turning

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

Above the trees, the sky is bright

Potter Young and Old

Pre-Plague London

Brian Jobe Hiding Out on Twitter

If I Could Fly on TWA

Burn and Break: An Insomniac’s Anti-Aubade



The three pre-dinner martinis
Compete with the two strong coffees
That brought a cheesecake to its knees;

Eating away at emotion,
My Dead Sea, a bitter ocean,
Nauseates at the mere notion

Or romantic coincidence
(Discount the eclipsed resplendence
Of shared bed space as indolence

And our dawn walks in Radio Park,
Dead signals in a channeled dark —
Like a coronary infarct.)

Now the heart’s a hopped up toad;
The blood flows, arteries corrode,
And the night’s black caffeine cathode

Twitches the clock and tricks the brain
To confess the blunted edge of pain
That bleeds through dark a darker stain.

This vigil’s tortured entropy
Breaks the stars’ monopoly
And burns a private astrology

Of headlights that loom, flash, and crawl
Slow tracers down the bedroom wall
To speed the car of Ezekiel.

In fading hiss of passing wheels,
The Doppler hum of engines feels
Like time reversed in movie reels.

These hours are hounds that found and treed
That possum called sleep — and the need
To meet her fangs becomes a creed

In a molten heat each bitch moans —
And this magma liturgy groans
Tenets my inner ear intones.

Too easily, antacid quit
And its pink liquid conduit
Chalks my tongue on a turning spit:

So are Cupid’s barbs chemical?
Is Venus a blocked ventricle?
(Maybe Mars is too clinical.)

But the bedroom’s uneasy poise
Snags my conscience — just so much noise
Light may know but the dark enjoys.

My fingers range across the quilt
That you had stitched against my guilt —
The flowered pattern in constant wilt.

Then monotony blinks an eye:
The lampstand yanks alive to try
Fabricating my alibi.

With ceiling’s conclusions foregone,
I lie and write this poem on
My heart as upon volcanic stone

Tied with pups in a sack and cast
In a sullen lake, deep and vast
Enough to digest the shotgun blast

Square in the chest which, burning, breaks
With too much love, too many cakes,
And whatever in hell it takes

To leave me waked by dawn. Forget
Reasoned search for scorched regret —
I’ve made my bed. I’ll sleep in debt.

Tulips Sans Chimneys

Tulips for Elsie cover image

Mr. Potter’s given us a bold adventurous book with plenty of sharp turns at high speed, with some gestures toward Neruda and Merwin but also “Sk8,” a gr8 skateboarding poem, and sonnets, and brave ventures into rhymed verse, poems for friends and relatives, “Stopping by Blogs on a Frosty Evening,” and poems of passionate love with angels looking down from above. Plus tulips and Elsie. —Garrison Keillor

I have enjoyed the company of Jonathan Potter’s poetry for years and rejoice at the arrival of this new collection with its unabashed delight, authentic intimacy, and emotionally convincing, often playful music. Potter is at turns a graceful, organic monologist and a wry, deft formalist. These are poems of generous mythmaking, self-deprecating humor, passion, and the glories of fatherhood. They inhabit a Seattle of historical icons and the poet’s own skateboarding youth, a London of “tidy grime” and love, and the derelict and divine streets and poetry community and waterfall of Spokane, this poet’s answer to Williams’ Paterson. By the time Potter wishes he could “become myself with vengeance / and take you with me,” he has done both. —Jonathan Johnson

In an era of poetry that plumbs humanity’s darker depths, it is a pleasant respite to read Jonathan Potter’s Tulips for Elsie, a collection that wears its pathos and its prosody lightly as it confronts life’s familiar concerns—love, sex, family life, and his beloved native place (Spokane, Washington)— with full-bodied affection and gentle irony. Many poems here are sonnets—not just Petrarchan or Shakespearean but also Onegin stanzas!—yet Potter makes rhyming in these conversationally-toned fourteeners look effortless. Particularly engaging are the portrait sonnets featuring poets and writers associated with Spokane (Alexie, Howell, Walter among them), the longer poems about the poet’s lively and accomplished daughters, and the poetic palimpsests replying to or parodying well-known classics. By the time we finish reading, we may feel ourselves, with the poet, to have “co-authored  . . . a beautiful book of longing.” —Carolyne Wright

When I Was Broke

GK Reads JP

https://www.garrisonkeillor.com/radio/twa-the-writers-almanac-for-march-30-2021/

Coming in April

A reading of Sherman Alexie’s “That Place Where Ghosts of Salmon Jump”

Tulips for Elsie

Source: The Writer’s Almanac, 2/1/21

See Also: Dappled Things, Pentecost 2012