“My Nature” by Gregory C. Wilder Jr.

“I’m not used to being in Nature”

   Is what comes to mind as I stand here at Still Point 

   Staring up into space – Feeling somewhat out of place.

I’m not used to being in Nature –

I’m not used to such sounds of silence.

   Not even in my own mind.

I’m used to 3 AM neighbor screaming matches, 

Screeching tires, and Fire and Rescue sirens –

   I’m not used to this.

You see, I’m not used to being in Nature –

   The only R and R I get is Rehab and Running 

   From Bus Stop to Bus Stop, From Classes to Court.

   The fear of prison system Recidivism Rates.

   May I not be another Statistic.

Because Nature for me isn’t spiritually serene – 

   It’s Wine and Spirits stores on every street, 

   The Homeless and Hustlers on every corner.

My Nature isn’t Campfires and S’mores or Sleeping Bags and Tents –

   My Nature is Dopesick and Poor and Sleeping on a Bench,

   Or Slumlord random stop-bys since you’re still late on the rent.

My Nature is Back Alley littered with broken furniture and mattresses.

   Garbage Bag Tumbleweeds blowing in the breeze.

My Nature is big dogs barking behind fences at everyone that passes, 

   Squirrels tearing through all the trashes, and of course

   The Raccoon in the Backyard who ran up on our porch 

   For a pack of Newports and snatched it…

   I can’t make this kinda shit up by the way,

   Cause that ACTUALLY HAPPENED!

My Nature isn’t Row Boats, Fishing, Rope Swings and Swimming Holes –

My Nature is the polluted pond in a lower class Suburban Neighborhood

   That hasn’t been safe to swim in since I was six.

My Nature is a Wilderness of Concrete, Steel, 

And Red Brick Low Income Housing Developments – 

   The unknown, which lies in the Jungle 

   Of the abandoned building’s lawn next door, 

   That hasn’t been mowed in 5 months.

My Nature is crowded Cell Block Summer Camp –

   I’ll be locked in at 10 o’clock in “Cabin #206.”

So as I look around at the forests and farms – I’m not used to all of this…

I’m not used to being in Nature – In case I haven’t made that clear,

I’m not used to being in Nature. But I guess it’s better than being here…

 Hudson Mohawk Supportive Living

August 27, 2018


Gregory C. Wilder Jr. (also known by the stage name Slay! the Dragon) is an award-winning writer, full-time student, and spoken word poetry performer, currently residing in Schenectady, N.Y. After a long, downhill battle with alcohol and drug addiction, Greg entered treatment in June of 2017 and rediscovered the therapeutic potential of art and writing. Today, with over three years clean and while interning for a drug and alcohol treatment center, Greg now shares the healing power of poetry with other recovering addicts. Greg received an A.S. in Human

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