Quote Iconplease forgive my quiet.
I’ve been listening to God,
and men, and
trying to live down
each of my
days, my dreams
haven’t come ‘round
as often as nightmares have; it’s scary
when you can’t let go, and you
have more reasons to wake
up tomorrow than to
sleep tonight.
Niles Heron, Freewrite 9.15.14
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Freefragment, 8.29.14

she was like walking
up to the edge of a cliff
and letting your toes dangle
taste freedom; giving them
a chance to plume, or learn
they were always every-only human, she
was a dream on a picket fence
straddling, struggling to name
itself as either flying or
the other thing.

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freewrite 8.26.14

until I watched her at low-tide, I never
she could pull water from the rocks

until I walked to the shore at dawn, and
found her moon-lonely, floating
above the empty remnants of a river once home
to a town-full of

until erosion turned her cheeks to
aqueducts, pouring herself back into

until she looked at me and asked
if I thought they would notice that
from now on the Mississippi would be salt water,

until I looked into her eyes, hollowed and
cored and caved, and
all of the things I had drowned or orbited
in her over the years was looking back
at me

I didn’t know that running
just leads
to caught

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What Kind Of A Name Is That? (freewrite 8.20.14)

Do not be alarmed, Jim,
I know how you feel
about silence, but it’s not
what you think, we have simply
chosen to begin
counting our dead in the words
they lived, and in our own
languages; ones
built with more light
more love, more
than the ones you gave us.

We are tired of watching
pieces of ourselves ascend
to Heaven, only to have their
dispatch demand that we pay for
the opportunity to stand
closer to God.


A Beautiful Night Sky,
With More Stars
Than You Have Bullets.

Don’t question the way
my heart, or my eyes, or
my fists know love, these
hands only fetch how
you taught me, these stripes always seem to paint us like
blood stains dripping parallel
from the bullet-holes, forgive me
for growing tired of playing
catch in a yard without grass,
or not trusting the names and sharp objects thrown
at my brothers.

If this photo doesn’t win every award, well… Those awards are rigged like the other ones.
(at www.nilesheron.com)

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When a black boy falls
onto a black gun’s bullet, fired into
a heart we forgot to hear on an
unlit inner city street corner,
does he even make a sound
as his hands claw at concrete
gasping after his last breaths?

Will we raise our hands
for him, too?

Does his life not
carry the same

Niles Heron, 8.15.14 There are levels to this war. The value of black life is not as black-and-white as we want, sometimes.

What if we marched for all of the black boys dying?

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What do I tell my children? Which laws are theirs?

So this video has been circulating on facebook of a man (I’m presuming white, but he could be off-white) arguing with the police about his right to bear his firearm as he walks the streets of some city called Portland (could be Maine, or Oregon, or some other land of Ports).

I’ve had a number of discussions (pre-and-post-Ferguson) about the opportunity to interact with Police, specifically as a Black Male, with contempt or combativeness BUT within the law. We are so often taught-and-reminded to prostrate ourselves before the badge in fear of the consequences that a failure to do that will produce – not that compliance with this philosophy will unilaterally produce positive outcomes (see: a list of Black men seemingly shot while laying on the ground on their stomachs).

It’s my feeling that there is a real impact that the threat of being the next Mike Brown/Rodney King/ (or the litany of lesser harassment and violations). The probability that it will happen to us as opposed to them that is an active dissuasive presence in our minds when we deal with the cops. We are never unaware of where any even routine interaction with the law can escalate.

Lots of us don’t know the law (I accept that, and more probably don’t than do for a range of reasons), but in this video — a man carrying a gun in public… If he were black, would he have been approached and spoken to calmly? Or would he have been treated as a threat, and would the interaction have been escalated as that.

Comparing anecdotes… Here we have a video of a (we presume) white man brandishing a firearm, who has been reported by the public as being a safety concern. He speaks aggressively to the Police, and is clearly combative – It’s important to note that this is after they have already seemingly peaceably disarmed him of his actual-real-life-shoot-and-kill-people weapon (the video starts after they take his pistol). He is given the opportunity to not be a threat to the police, and to argue his case on the basis of legal right/wrong. He is afforded this opportunity (I’d argue) because he is not perceived as an imminent threat (or however you’d like to describe the way “we” are so often projected/perceived).

Meanwhile, outside of Dayton, Ohio, a young man is walking around Walmart with a not real, not shoot and kill people TOY gun. He is reported as being a threat, and police arrive (to a call I’m going to assume was not a passive, oh by-the-way call, but I recognize this is an assumption influenced by my bias). He is then shot dead while trying to explain to the officers that his gun is not real, and that he is not a threat. He is not given an opportunity to say: “Officer, why is it illegal for me to hold a toy? Why are you harassing me in the country that I live in, where I have the right to proceed about my private business unmolested – I am not a disturbance, please leave me alone.” We don’t/won’t know what he might have said if discussion was an option, and are-too-often-denied-the-opportunity-to defend ourselves with rhetoric.

It is not my argument that these are comparatively the same circumstance (could be tangerines vs. oranges; I would argue the video is probably much more “dangerous” than the Walmart incident), but I think it highlights a probability and perception that influences our (peoples of color, specifically Black Americans) ability to feel as though we are allowed to interact with law enforcement with anything but the fear that anything we do will be perceived as rage and impending assault-to-be-met-with-force.

All of this begs the question. As a Black Man what am I supposed to say to the cops when they catch me with a toy gun in my hand? As a Black Man interested in having sons who will be black-and-not-by-their-choice, what do I tell them to do?

Talk to me. I’d love to know your thoughts?

Anonymous asked:

Hi Niles, What is your astrological sign?

Hi Anon,

I’m a Gemini.

For a long time I didn’t think that I had multiple personalities or whatever, and I still don’t. What I think is we each have a personality spectrum, across which vacillate over minutes, days, months, years – we are not paintings, we are live painting sessions. We are rivers, or we are standing on the banks of the rivers, and either way the same place is never quite the same place as it was the last time we stood her looking at someone, or they dipped their feet at our banks (or did their laundry, or whatever… blah… metaphors).

The point is that recently I’ve realized that being a Gemini, for me, is that my personality spectrum is shaped like a horseshoe, and it’s easier for me to get from one end of the spectrum to the other than it is for some people (because I can just jump the gap between the ends of the horseshoe, as opposed to travelling the full range). Think about it like the mouth of a lake. Some people have to circle the lake to get to the other side. I was given a bridge. Which means it can seem like I have two personalities, but really I can just actually write a love poem, and then actually be furious because my love poems never seem to save Mike Brown, every time he dies.

That was dark, maybe, given your question… Sorry, not sorry.