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freewrite (9.28.14)

and then one day you wake up
and realize that
you’ve spent more of your
light dragging your
sorrows into sunshine —
bought more stock in your
pains, and angers, and
darkness, the relics that you keep
dutifully
carrying
with you each morning, than you’ve invested
into your smile —

one day, you will reach down
to grab your bags before walking
through another threshold, toward another
same-old-new-thing, your hands
will start shaking,
will look up at you,
will grow mouths,
will grow teeth,
will snarl “no,”
will ask
how you could be so stupid; how
you could believe
that the pieces of past you wear
like dog tags
dangled lazily across your breast plate
have ever actually spared or saved you; have ever not
just been your own blood painted like a bullseye around
your soft tissues and fears —

your hands will look
up at you and ask whether you
are better off, or whether you
just acclimated to
breathing angry and pushed-to-fringe as if
it were an altitude shift, and just
learned to find comfort in the places
that light doesn’t go willingly —

when your hands
look up to you, lifelines crying, asking why
you have forsaken them, I’m just begging
that you listen.

they are trying to save you.

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
believed
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
baptisms,

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

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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Freewrite Prayer 8.12.14

Father,
In the end if I remember anything, let
it be everything, but if my memory
of my human life is going to stay here
in my body after I leave it behind,
please help me ease into the when in which I will
remember nothing,

I pray, I ask
let me spend my last moments
not fighting, unless it is for you,
not fighting, unless it’s with you,
not fighting, unless it’s to get to her to kiss her goodnight,
I’m so tired of fighting, Father. I don’t
want to do it anymore
but I will do it forever until I know my sons
and daughters won’t have to
but whenever I lose this here
I don’t want to feel it slipping through my fingers
I don’t want to be scared anymore

I don’t want to leave my last movements as
empty grasps at the memories of their valuation,
swatting at the cold hands gripping the back of my neck,
or resisting wherever they’re trying to guide me

I don’t want to feel empty without my anger at
the silence of my friends who stood
quiet as we bled out in the streets
of the country they. call. home. too.
as they walked by and looked at us turning a color
we should not be able to turn,
and cocked their heads slightly
and said “howdy neighbor” before returning to their
text messages.
and as we hung like tire swings with natural hair from the trees
they let their kids climb like they were their own, and
said: “it’s just a tree,
you didn’t invent it.
nature is for everyone.”

I wonder if they pray like this.

I hope
the last thing I see might be of you,
or of her,
of someone who’s love has not given me pause
of someone who has already given their life to the kind
of love worth dying for.

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freewrite 8.6.14

i don’t know how to
comfort humans, I don’t
always understand them, us, we
don’t find history or truth
to be gentle, respectful of the sweet,
the way we prefer
our medicine; our neighbors don’t
lend out even spoonfuls of sugar like
they used to, and all the gates and triple-locked
doors make the transition from momma’s house
to the warden’s all the easier,

i wouldn’t have known how to
tell him his momma wasn’t coming
she was going to find out about this from
a phone call from a doctor
who wouldn’t pronounce his name
right, no familiar hands were
going to help carry him into his chariot

but when he was laying on
the cement, having been dragged
out of the car that flipped twice
by people who were “basically
paramedics, and knew they
didn’t have to stabilize his spine before
moving him,” who were basically just
used to paramedics not showing up
when they called, when he was
laying on the cement, he never called for his
mother or father or sister or
any one else who might have found a way to leave him, he
just screamed out
at
or
for
God,

and either way, I just kept mumbling
“preach.”

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(IV) Notes on Loving a Homeless Man

IV

The hesitation that you hear in my voice is just that I’m used to alarms going off when I’m near doorways. I’m used to police approaching a crowd, and somehow always asking me what I’m doing there before they ask anyone else. I’m used to them asking me to leave, and leaving others to their business.

I’m just more comfortable standing outside. I feel more like things happen the way they are supposed to out here. Did you know that you have to be inside to die of a stray bullet, or in a house fire, or of a heart attack while you’re laying in your bed next to a woman who calls your heart her heart, and doesn’t sleep as well when you’re not there? No one ever burns to death in a house fire under a freeway overpass.

I’ve learned that jail is more likely than electrocution. I don’t often find myself living by natural trees, and lightning only strikes telephone poles in movies with time-traveling cars. I’ve learned that thunderstorms are unavoidable and aren’t all that bad.

I’ve learned that thunder is only dangerous when it’s the echo of a gunshot.

I’ve learned that stray bullets always hit who they were aimed at. I’ve learned that stray bullets are aimed at “everyone.” I’ve learned that they will only call them stray bullets if they kill children. They only get called stray bullets when they are found lodged in or near someone who has a name… Someone who will be missed.

If a bullet tumbles through a concrete forest — if it hits a man most humans couldn’t say wasn’t a tree square in the chest — does his life make a sound as it falls off his tongue?

I’ve learned that the only deaths here are murders, and overdoses, and hypothermia, and starvation. The only deaths here are ‘of natural causes.

I want so badly to die of natural causes. And so I’m standing outside. I don’t want you to miss me, but I want to be worth missing. If I never create space in your life to fit myself in, I will never create a void in your life when I leave.

I will leave.

I don’t want to go. But I don’t know what staying feels like. And so I’m standing outside. And wondering if alarms will go off when I walk through the door, or police will tell me to 'move along, if I know what's good for me,' or if you might make me the type of man who can die in his sleep, who could have an early death — who could die unnaturally — the type of man who could give a name to a stray bullet — the type of man who was expected to live.