Sunday, November 8, 2020

Harvest Day

Every Wednesday is

harvest day on our block.

After fighting through traffic

in the over populated streets,

parking by my building gets scarce

on Wednesday

because the garbage cans

are out on the curb

taking up the spots.


Once the sun goes down,

I can hear it: the squeak of the grocery-cart,

my recycle bin being opened,

and the bottles collected for scrap.

Clink, clink, smash!


Sometimes the glass and cans wake me.

I get up and look out the window.

I see the streetlights glow on the huddled flesh,

or the police lights down the block strobe that

sick glow on my walls.

It’s harvest time.

I think of all the bottles of beer from the week before

that have helped me get over my hard work, and helped me

live with myself as I pay for this room.

Toasts of joy, and hits of sorrow,

to feel something, or feel nothing at all.

Yet this is the best feeling: knowing that I am giving something back,

even if it’s just recycling bottles for a few bucks per pound.

Now some shadow person can get a meal, or just as likely more bottles,

or some powder stronger than what I know.


I’ve been a bum, well hipster-homeless.

I’ve played guitar on the corner for change.

I’ve slept in warehouses, and on scaffoldings in the rain.

But that was a long time ago.

Now I work at an office where no one has any idea who I was.

Sure, I live in a cheap room just above the curb, but

I play the game to stay in it… and I no longer need to bother

to recycle my own bottles for change anymore.

I can let them go

to the army in LA who rules the streets.


Every Wednesday is

harvest day on

our block.


Westley Heine is a writer and multimedia artist. He is known for his documentaries Poetry in Action and Trail of Quetzalcoatl, the latter of which has a companion book of poetry. Publications of his work have been in The Chicago Reader, Gravitas, Beatdom, Verse of Silence, Bleached Butterfly, and Wellington Street Review. His writing examines love, death, street life, class oppression, madness, and everything from the disturbing to metaphysical revelation. He grew up in Wisconsin, was educated in Chicago, and bummed from New York to Mexico to California. He now resides with his wife in Los Angeles.
Instagram: @westleyheine
https://www.facebook.com/westley.heine