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Here in the United States
                 African-hyphenated-American means
we ourselves
are part of the problem we’re trying to solve

though we have fought large & we won’t forget

When we look at where we come from
it’s still not nowhere nor has it been
                                  forgiven (only umbrage
undulating between two fixed points)
                                  : the wingspans of our dead
                                          their desiccated bones
bearing the evidence of our burdened weight


Survival instinct
              : we turn ourselves into smaller targets
                                  : false markers for change
when nothing has really changed


From the iron treacheries of slavery
to the desperate pride of Obama-nation
                        : the red gnaw of disappointment
rough in the distant glitter
            of the January sun


                    The din we’ve dropped into despite
we revel in our kinked &
matted hair our curved statures & melanin-
                                                     tinted skin
                                      A voice
                    not unlike our own (interwoven in
hoodoo smoke : the past the present &
                                                          the future)
          reminding us of what we are to each other

& we grow
into the slaughter
we were born for

Note: Italicized fragment from The Snow Man by Wallace Stevens.

henry 7. reneau, jr. writes words in conflagration to awaken the world ablaze, free verse that breaks a rule every day, illuminated by his affinity for disobedience: a phoenix-flux of red & gold immolation that blazes from his heart, like a chambered bullet exploded 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 work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

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