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 metastasized 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 & decide 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.