Literature 3-31-2008

What Light: This Week’s Poem: Adrian S. Potter

Read "Mistakes" by Adrian S. Potter, this week's winning poem selected by What Light veteran poet, Jen March.

Adrian Potter
Survival Notes


Stairwell slips, misguided hammers, uncaught fastballs,

our bodies have collected a billion bruises, enough that

everyone has grown comfortable with the sad-luck damage
of their screw-ups. Secrets scrawled in margins, undressing

by moonlight with people who don’t deserve to see us nude.
It’s easy to err, to forget how all promises are broken soon enough,

to place faith in the lies we tell ourselves, to deny the existence
of the truth as it shrieks and spits in our faces. Smile falsely

and continue on; swallow enough gin to survive, or drown.
Wait for good fortune to reappear like a deadbeat friend.

It’s not luck, not exactly. More like hope, or the illusion of it.

A hatful of magic tricks with a wink and a smirk. When we die,

regret will stifle the bliss of the afterlife, remind us of abandoned
lovers who once slept against the curve of our restless bodies.

The rain will mutter stories of affairs, loss. Maybe then
we’ll appreciate mistakes, in all their exalted glory. Maybe not.


A baccalaureate in engineering and graduate schooling in business keep me grounded in what can be documented, studied, and compared – above all, dissatisfied with superficial explanations. I believe this shows up in my writing. I’m constantly tinkering with my style. Lately I’ve drifted from the conventional narrative of my previous poems, and toward something less linear, more disjointed. I try to take some from the imagists, a bit from the confessionalists, stir in personal angst and allow words to rub together until they produce friction, or maybe fire. Add liquor and squeeze in a hint of cynicism. Voila.


Adrian S. Potter writes both poetry and short fiction. He was awarded first prize in the 2007 Saturday Writers One-Page Poem Contest and the 2006 Červená Barva Press Fiction Chapbook Prize. Previous publication credits include Reed, Cherry Bleeds, Main Channel Voices, Blue Earth Review and Poesia. His first fiction chapbook, Survival Notes, is now available through Červená Barva Press. Additional propaganda about Adrian and his writing can be found at

This week’s poetry and wine pairing: Nora de Neve Albarino

Nora de Neve Albarino has its origins in a sensational barrel fermented Albarino rated by Jose Penin, the “Robert Parker of Spain”, as one of the best wines he has tasted from the region. A wonderful non-Chardonnay Burgundy alternative that will seduce and charm all who drink it. Miniscule hints of oak are a real secondary complexing factor to the lush, tropical, mineral fruits.