henry 7. reneau, jr.
Civil Insubordination, or Where In Amerikkka
Are Black People Safe From Racism?
Fish-eyed in the cut, or drunk on Praise Jesus! Praying their thousand, thousand mighty prayers, like pouring the river’s promise into stone jars. The crawl space of post-Jim Crow, neither freedom nor equality, withholding the Dash-Cam footage that shows a Chicago cop shooting a black teen 16 times. The automatic reflex: If someone is media-labeled one way, then that is all there is to them. A prismatic scatter of storefront glass, refracting our las’ nerve tried—the lesser of the plural dichotomy, looting the liquor store across the street. Always, what feels like salvation, can be made to sound like savagery. An affinity for disobedience, like a telephone cord whorl of spiraled down, or the ballistic ricochet of cause & effect. The riot & rebellion a spent shell casing away. All the windows of all the shops, riotous as drunken mouths with broken teeth. The hidden narrative like a nicotine fingerprint, smudged the oily residue of fear, running alongside, or just beneath, strip mall America. A signpost on the highway: 13 miles to the audacity of Hope. A road plowed clean & gleaming black magnetic, the gravity of promise. I treated it as a warning when I entered Integration. The population, 20 & odd Negroes, had been crossed out. The omen of frayed rope that dangled an historic threat from the ancient oak in the town square. Something ominous, meant to harbinger, like tadpoles propagating in stagnant water. Between hallelujah! & are we there yet? The pale promise of Hope, before the fire next time.

henry 7. reneau, jr. writes words of conflagration to awaken the world ablaze, an inferno of free verse illuminated by his affinity for disobedience, like a chambered bullet that commits a felony every day, an immolation that blazes from his heart, phoenix-fluxed red & gold, exploding through change is gonna come to implement the fire next time. He is the author of the poetry collection, freedomland blues (Transcendent Zero Press) and the e-chapbook, physiography of the fittest (Kind of a Hurricane Press), now available from their respective publishers. Additionally, he has self-published a chapbook entitled 13hirteen Levels of Resistance, and his collection, The Book Of Blue(s) : Tryin’ To Make A Dollar Outta’ Fifteen Cents, was a finalist for the 2018 Digging Press Chapbook Series. His work has also been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

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