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Doug Potter Oct 2016
The scent of your breath across
the horizon of my sternum

& the pull & clench beneath,
is tectonic; white birds
rise & fly, die
& descend.
Doug Potter Aug 2016
I will bake you a raspberry creme cannoli
if you bite my earlobes nimbly;
I dream your skin tastes of
Doug Potter Sep 2016
There are thirty of us under a torn canopy
where the sound of wind blowing against canvas
assaults me as if I were being beaten. We will
soon ride into the hills and **** pine; to fell
the mighty as if the mighty are horseweeds.
Every callused man here  hates his weapon;
worn chainsaws that would make  better
tools to fight  wolves than walk the earth
clearing  stands of timber.
Twelve of the original thirty loggers come back
for our 48th consecutive day; it rains as if  prehistoric
elk hover over the camp and **** a lake upon us.  Six men
go home within an hour because farming and stocking
cans of tuna at grocery stores appear more plausible than
wallowing in mire with saws, wedges, and chains with links
the size of your mother’s fist.  It is work and *******
every man  needs to eat or help feed a family.  The money
is not good, conditions like Czechoslovakia WW II.  

The six of us who remain, leave.
Doug Potter Sep 2016
Don't talk to the old man
on the ladder he's likely
cleaning eavestroughs

end to end full of leaves
kite string & black

He may mumble
teetering on the rungs
but don’t interrupt work

he has enough to handle.
Doug Potter Jan 2017
There are  fingerprints burned
into these kilns, leather hands
once held  waists of women
with wide hips who gave
birth to children

with gaunt  faces;  now, the bricks
lay across America’s streets
Doug Potter Oct 2016
We could have buckled to the sin;
two or three times before
the cost

came due.
Doug Potter Jan 2017
Your mediocre dog
does not partake in birthday

parties or attend weddings,
theatrical  events

bar and bat mitzvahs
nor dabble in oil paint,

yet the pooch makes
the most out its twelve

years of life and appears
happy when compared

to the seven billion
humans on earth.
Doug Potter Oct 2016
Son, you were feral to remain within your sac;
the doctor slit your mother’s perineum
and you gasp breath.                                                          ­    

My  secret to you on that  day is the same
as I whisper today;  be the rare
pearl but do not

couple yourself to a strand, I did not raise
you to be like me,
not one bit.
Doug Potter Dec 2016
Mothers are drowning their
children and piercing
hearts with nails
because they
fear ISIS

and Jordanian
military will
them like

Doug Potter Jan 2017
I search for the best lay of land
nestled between hillsides
beyond concrete

where dirt roads wander
a place of birdsong
and gut laughter

few  fence posts
and sleep filled
Doug Potter Nov 2016
We stand on the sidewalk
cousin Jamie and me, with

a bible in my right hand,
I drape my left arm

around her lopsided
shoulders and cold brace;

she seldom smiles,
even as the shutter clicks.
Doug Potter Oct 2016
Morning Sunlight keens like a mother
cries for her dying child & leaves
abandon their trees

while fall presumes winter
will glower like black

hard from

where the promise
of spring seems
Doug Potter Dec 2016
Tonight, I pray tomorrow
an orchestra brazenly
plays, and hounds

bay in tune, the sun
melts a path in the snow,
blue morning  stars glow;

all, so I can find my
sad and lonely
Doug Potter Oct 2016
I listen as trucks
rumble past

hauling broken
concrete to fill a bog;

the sound tells me to go
to the backyard

to hear songs from  
hummingbird's wings.
Doug Potter Dec 2016
Her home was clean, immaculate
summed the place,  like  washed china

pearl polished, Estelle’s maple floors
smelled of good soap & right

after Sunday lunch, before dessert
she would saunter

to the bathroom
& throw-up.
Doug Potter Dec 2016
Said a good Christmas Eve is sitting
in his recliner, TV cranked, drapes
barely parted,

bottle of Nyquil in one hand,
remote control in the other,

for the evening news
to end and football
to begin.
Doug Potter Sep 2016
Dark against glacier blue
formed like a Crucifix
silent as  stone
Bald Eagles are numerous where I live in Iowa.  Never a day goes by that I don't see dozens, if I want.
Doug Potter Dec 2016
Winging on thermals
across river valleys

counting days until
death hones-in;

lead pellets

Doug Potter Oct 2017
Hair mottled like
an aged mare

she descends
the steps

one withered leg
dangles from

a  purple dress like
a frost nipped

Doug Potter Oct 2016
I wish all my writing  depicted gaggles
wedging south over mossy lakes.

They more often wander to  legs,
tangerine tongues, the taste

of sweat and smell of cheap hairspray;  
for thoughts like these, I feel no
Doug Potter Jan 2017
I know she does not dream of me
nor should she;   there are so
many beautiful things other
than whiskey *****.
Doug Potter Sep 2016
She sat on the carpet with a bowl of Lucky Charms
on her lap watching ******-Doo when she
swiveled and asked, “Why do I have
a cleft palate?” Before I could
respond she sang,  “Frosted
Lucky Charms, They’re
Magically Delicious,”
and flipped

to the Flintstones.
Doug Potter Oct 2016
Awakens and
rises from his recliner.

Peels off diaper, ******
a bronze-orange  stream.

Drinks Sanka with cream,
eats two Little Debbie cakes.

Views MSNBC from 7 a.m.-noon,
consumes a can of tuna and glass of milk.

Sleeps  from 12:30-4: 00 p.m., television drones,
supper—a bowl of oatmeal and an onion sandwich.

Tapes on a new diaper, watches MSNBC at 4:30 p.m.,
falls asleep, he is 87 years and four months old, lives alone.
Doug Potter Nov 2016
You tied  shoelaces together
and tried to hang yourself
from McMillin’s

The neighbors talked about
it for years over flapjacks
and grits.  

They couldn’t understand why
anyone would attempt
suicide. I knew
the reason;

you were homely
and dull, kind of
foul smelling

too.  You failed
at  death, me
at life.
Doug Potter Oct 2016
She boils animal bones
for one  day,  up three
times a night to check
the rolling calcium

and within the mineral water
she believes are the dreams
of cultures like Jews
rising from

mass graves, missing faces
from family portraits, no
violence against young
or old;

she drinks.
Doug Potter Nov 2016
Two  and one half flights up a home built
in 1899, and eight steps on a pull down
staircase,  enter an attic, upon the pine
floor are carved the words,
I hate mommy.
I helped my brother-in-law move into a home in Corydon, IA. several years ago and in the attic of the home were carved the words.
Doug Potter Oct 2016
With  fly rod in hand
grampa slowly walks up the hill.

I search my hair for ticks because  
cousin Charlie said your **** stands

a chance of falling off if one
bites you in the fall of the year.

Gramma’s hands
shades her eyes as she squints

from the screened-in porch
toward grampa, he is on his knees,

gramma’s arms
fall and she runs;

this will probably be my last trip
to the loch with my grandparents.
Doug Potter Dec 2016
My classmate Martha walked our school’s
halls for thirteen years, few students

talked to her because she drooled,
walked like a puppet, and had

greasy hair; there are  poems
I can not finish.
Doug Potter Dec 2016
These winter days go one by one
and seldom does much happen;

yesterday my cat murdered and ate
a chickadee on the deck and the blood

and snow mixture left a pattern
similar to what a painting of

Vincent Van Gogh’s severed ear
might look like on fresh linen.

I let the killer inside, she licked
her paws--curled on my lap.
Doug Potter Dec 2016
No sound for hours,
looked under the sofa
behind two woodstoves,
beneath the sink where only
mama goes; finally, in the cellar
covered in a week of ***** clothes,
                   ­                         kitty, Bella.
Doug Potter Sep 2016
We sit three stools away and can not talk
bold enough to understand
one another.

She moves to the seat next to me and asks
if my bacon is crisp.  I say more
or less—want a bite?

There is a tattoo of a cross on her forehead.
My cousin Beryl done that to me when
I was 12, horsin’ around, he was 19
and no good.

She goes to *** or powder her tattoo; I pay
my bill and walk outside under a sky
so blue I want to cry.
Doug Potter Oct 2016
On their third date,  Sue forgot
her diaphragm; the infant died at birth.  

Second child was touched,
she & the boy moved to town.

Dave got the house, Chrysler
& an unfinished chicken coop.
Doug Potter Sep 2016
I don’t want to be present
when any child figures out

that much of our world
has descended into

dead toads atop a white pillow
where those children must lay their heads

to sleep at night for
the next eight decades.
Doug Potter Nov 2016
Two Snowy Egrets land.

One is lame.

Surrounded by cattails.

The other ascends.
Doug Potter Oct 2016
Remember when we buried a stray
dog under the old church bell
in your backyard?  You said

the dog belonged to the *******
mechanic  south of the school
& his mom set the animal

loose because she was jealous;
it did not make sense
then, it does, today.
Doug Potter Jan 2017
In every American state
county and town

women walk barefoot
on broken glass

looking for an
open door.
Doug Potter Jan 2017
Entangled in plastic
and  fishing line
eyes pecked by
crows; a new
Doug Potter Sep 2016
I gather smells from
the garden near
the well
every drop drank
will be worth
my toil.
End of year gardening.
Doug Potter Dec 2016
Your hair falls
on my chest,

I call you

you say giddy-
up horse,

Doug Potter Oct 2017
I encircled her waist
with my hands and
lifted her, not as
a trophy, but
to  kiss.
Doug Potter Feb 2021
Brother, this all you need to know about my life --
I live near a river where hawks **** & coyotes
run past with varments in their jaws
to be eaten-- fur, sinew
& bone.
Doug Potter Sep 2016
There are no ****** Rottweilers tethered to steel poles
outside  basement taverns.

No emaciated men  picking **** mites
on  their  faces or  women staring
blankly into the fog of their day.

Not a bad smell, a dead bird on a lawn,
an old person wearing a sweater too tight
or a poor kid with a cleft palate; not in Euphoria.
Doug Potter Jan 2017
From a straight back wooden chair, I see
a cyan-blue ceramic bowl filled with
tangerines next to a desktop radio
tuned to NPR &

out the kitchen bay window
birds bicker over seeds
overflowing a feeder,
& a raccoon scours
the earth below --

I keep in mind the fact
all of these things will
be absent from my
sight one
Doug Potter Nov 2016
If things worked out I might have
stood on an Olympic podium
holding a gold medal or

awarded a ten thousand dollar
check and a mahogany framed
certificate for winning

a Pulitzer Prize; instead, on good
days I run down alleys looking
for **** spots and comb

streets for drunks and lame
people who make for
interesting pictures.
Doug Potter Aug 2016
Atop a quilt
beneath  an oak

gauze dress
a pillow.

Hair a muss
Scent of rye;

no camera
only memory.
Doug Potter Nov 2016
Canada Geese wedge over the river
this evening as four Snowy
Egrets fish bankside; on
the Sixth Street
Bridge, a man

dangles  his pecker between the rails
and streams jaundice yellow, a Ford
squad passes, flashes a red
beacon and drives
Doug Potter Nov 2016
Leaves mound like
wheat  in silos,

I’ve trees that need pruning,
weeds in the fence line

beg to be yanked, a coyote
caroused in the chicken

coop and slats should
be nailed over

the void; seventy degrees
is predicted today

and no work will
be done.
Doug Potter Sep 2016
I lean against a stucco building
that has a turquoise  whale painted
on the sidewalk in front and pop in
a piece  of Wrigley’s as vendors
unload eggplant and plump onions,
two women walk past, one isn’t
wearing a bra and the other
should be wearing two,
I see a neighbor listening as three
Jamaican bucket drummers argue over
cigars, my neighbor nods and flips his
Pall Mall into the street, a gal walking
a Lhasa Apso snuffs the cigarette with
her heel, the dog hikes on a crate of
cabbage sitting atop a guitar case;
bravo to you God, a better morning
I could not have lived.
Doug Potter Oct 2016
Her first name did not fit
she wore cloddy shoes &
knees & elbows were

dead skin & lived
above a bar with
a pockmarked

brother & invisible mother,
she ate cardboard, chalk,
paper & paste;

Glory was her name.
Doug Potter Aug 2016
One day while ******* beer from the curb into the street
you were hit by a Toyota. Split your forehead like
a cleaved melon.  You are officially a gimp;
your left eyeball wanders & you live in
June of 1986 & talk to the radio.
Hope this is read to you,
your friends wept
years back.
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