We are the freedom
that is nothing we can put our finger on. Some
are bamboo survival instinct
                                                     that bends, who
learn to breathe in
whatever the hurricane breathes out, but
most an army of ourselves, the bravado of oak tree
biding time 
before the lightning strike
                                                /:  our genetics load the gun &
the environment pulls the trigger, the accident
waiting to happen, like a chronic misfortune of
                                                                       quantum singularities
that slows time to three strikes, to ankle monitored parole,
or probation—
like prey animals, every instinct wired to escape.

We are the consequence
of incorrect merciless impulses, our pain
not to be seen
or acknowledged, but
institutionalized, juxtaposing blackness
with the disembodied
spirits of our ancestors, the progeny of kidnapped & iron-
bound dispossession/:  sold & tortured & raped &
murdered, after Massa worked they asses
like a Georgia mule,
                                       the convict leasing
                                       to genetic memory,
                                       to the discordant tense of nihilism
                                       like crepuscular sunbeams
                                       cloud-busting the turned askance face of God.

When white people speak of terrorism, every time
they kill one of us,
it is not now, nor has it ever been
a figure of speech,
but blackness
next to dope sack & semi-
automatic, side by side
with fuck you!
penitentiary chances
like the bitter phlegm of anger
crowding our throats.

We are shown our own grave site &
not to be born into a nation
of voicelessness sears the air like fire.

                    We are bound to this world
                    the way color is bound to the dark, the midnight hours
                    of anger fumed quietly, at dawn or
                    dusk, like some other time of danger—stealthily
                    ambiguous & full of hidden agendas,

                    like a cracked shard of bone
                    protruding from playground dirt.

henry 7. reneau, jr. writes words of conflagration to awaken the world ablaze, an inferno of free verse illuminated by his affinity for disobedience. He is a discharged bullet that commits a felony every day, the spontaneous combustion 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, 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 is published in Superstition Review, TriQuarterly, Prairie Schooner, and Rigorous. His work has also been nominated multiple times for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.