Bennett Nieberg

CW: Discussions of suicide, violence, and assault.

nox nihil donat nothing is night’s gift [Non-Fiction]



contra ius interea solum nocte against the law yet only at night


In Arapahoe County, the law prohibits minors from being out after 11 pm Sunday-Thursday and 12 am Friday-Saturday. Minors who violate the curfew may be detained by a law enforcement officer or their parents may be required to respond and take custody of them.



quidquid nox aufert whatever night grabs


The very first time, I was in Long Island and his mother was upstairs. We had agreed on this beforehand; to get it over with and not regret it. We were fifteen and it was night and we were nervous and I was dry and he was big and it didn’t feel like I thought it would. The moment between night and day. In the morning we waited in a gas line and his mother took me to the train. Night and its greedy hands tucked away.



parenti potius quam nocti obsequi to obey one’s parent rather than the night


In the late 60s, the PSA “Do You Know Where Your Children Are?” became popular preceding the late-night news due to growing crime rates. It is said to have become less popular by the late 80s, although it crept its way into the early 2000s. The persistent fear of night. Sitting in our living room on dated floral couches with my parents, the TV would ask “it’s 10 pm, do you know where your children are?” I always laughed. I never understood why you wouldn’t.



nocte fratris quam ipso fratre miserior: made sadder by the brother’s night than by the brother himself


When my brother was born we started sharing a room and didn’t stop until I was eleven. Every single night he insisted we keep on a night light, or the closet light or anything to avoid being consumed by darkness. Every night I would unplug it or turn it off. Darkness promotes sleep. He would cry until I put it back on. I begged my parents to move into my own bedroom. When it finally came time, I almost changed my mind. Alone in my room, everything was so dark.



media nocte abis: hoc decet?  you go away in the middle of the night: is that decent?


In 2013, Daft Punk released the song “Get Lucky” which featured the lyrics “we’re up all night ’til the sun, we’re up all night to get some, we’re up all night for good fun, we’re up all night to get lucky.” I turned sixteen that year and held a party at my house. From my bedroom, we could hear the music in the basement. He promised me he was single. When I woke, it was still half-dark out. He was going for a cigarette. He said he would be right back.



ad noctem: in time with the night


The Torah states in Genesis “and it was evening, and it was morning” indicating that night comes before day. To this end, all Jewish holidays begin at sunset and end at sunset. The Jewish calendar considers all days to begin at sunset. To usher in the darkness; to keep time with the night.



noctis satietatem trado here is my opinion of night’s satiety


All three times it was night. The third time, I woke up to two police officers at the foot of my bed. Someone shook me awake. My parents were there in the doorway. I wanted so badly for the night to take me. My father drove me to the emergency room. In a 2014 study, it was discovered that suicide rates were the highest between two and three o’clock am. The endless appeal of night.



et dubitas quin sensus in nocte nullus sit? and do you still doubt that consciousness vanishes at night?


In a study on dreams, researcher Matt Wilson found that mice who learned two separate mazes while awake began combining the mazes to create a new maze to run in their dreams. Upon these findings, he said, “this gives us the thought that sleep is this unique opportunity to run through events, to put them together in ways that may not have occurred while the animals were awake.”



similiter atque ipse eram noctuabunda just like him I was a negotiator with night


We were leaving a party and he was very drunk and I was a lot less drunk and trying to drive the stick shift. I stalled the car three times before we left the neighborhood. He insisted I let him drive. From the passenger seat, I could see his eyes dilated, drunk as night. I begged him to let me out of the car. When he finally pulled over, he opened the passenger door and threw me onto the side of the road. The screaming woke the neighbors. To disrupt the silence of night.



nox diem adimat the day would not be long enough [night confiscates day]


In humans, melatonin functions as a hormone that promotes sleep. Our brains naturally begin to produce more melatonin at the onset of darkness. However, nocturnal animals also begin to produce melatonin at the onset of darkness. The chemical is not specifically a sleep hormone, but instead a set of instructions for what to do at night.



quod homo est non est hoc nox a man is not a night!


In the 2014 movie Nightcrawler, Jake Gyllenhaal plays Lou, a photojournalist who chases footage of gruesome accidents to sell to local news stations. Most of these accidents happen at night. Fatal crashes are four times higher at night than during the day. Later in the movie, Lou becomes desperate and angry with another journalist for beating him to a plane crash. He sabotages his truck and videotapes the accident. To take the power of night into one’s hands.



debita nocti munera gifts owed to night


The first time it was night and cold enough to see my breath. The house was quiet like sleep when I cracked open the basement door and left. I met him at the King Soopers down the street and we sat on a picnic bench and got high. I was shaking. The rush of escaping with the night. Nobody ever noticed I was gone.



odor tristis night smell


The Night-Blooming Jasmine (cestrum nocturnum) is said to be one of the most strongly scented plants in the world. Its flowers bloom only at night and close during the day.


All translations from Latin come from Nox by Anne Carson.


Bennett Nieberg (they/them) is a queer Jewish poet living in Boulder, CO. They are a Pushcart Prize nominee and their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Entropy, Permafrost, Western Humanities Review, The Indianapolis Review, and Birds Piled Loosely, among others. They are a co-founding editor of the journal What Are Birds.

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