[Thomas] Jefferson may have believed that black people wanted to be white, but in this he is “dreadfully deceived—we wish to be just as it pleased our Creator to have made us.”
—Quotation by David Walker in The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter
If blackness is a state of mind, how does it reveal itself? As thermonuclear warhead, awaiting its appointed time of riot & ruin? Blackness as titanium conviction speaking what’s on our mind. Blackness as jubilation, as wrath, as enduring flame of phoenix-like perseverance. Blackness as monolithic plummet of thundercloud veined electric from within. See blackness uncoiling whips of lightning. Each the hurtful truth of consequence swallowed by the inner reflection of our faults. Each a further burning away of Can’t. This is blackness unveiling the collective pride of a far-flung Diaspora. A fortuitous stranger who says: stop there, bright thing . . . be still. This is the blackness of so many trying to fit in, but left with nothing & holding anything said, or done, against. Each the speed of light crackling through shivery atoms, with multitude of spoons dredging dignity from injustice. Blackness, starving so as not to suffer every demeaning swing of stick, as language that sprouts fangs, devours every bigot of thrown stone, as insensitive word pummeling their hearts to break them. Each as dark Providence: a maiming maybe, a dismissive because or, the conjecture of what if? See blackness in scabbed-over scars of whispers & rumor. As echo without a body. As the mercy that is metaphor for collateral damage, like doubt is the beggar who hungers for certainty. As wish upon wish upon day upon day. See me the way I stand by you: neither compass nor shadow, but who I wish to want to be. An intricate machinery balanced on the lynchpin of dreams, & hope, like an arrow, moving into the longer light. The diamond-blue brilliance of being, of causing to be. Blackness as stairway, as distant, beckoning shore.
As the tower is tall but the fall is short.
henry 7. reneau, jr. writes words in fire to wake the world ablaze: free verse illuminated by courage that empathizes with all the awful moments, launching a freight train leviathan of warning that blazes from the heart, like a chambered bullet exploding inadvertently. His poetry collection, freedomland blues (Transcendent Zero Press, 2014), was released in September of 2014. He also has an upcoming e-chapbook, physiography of the fittest (Kind of a Hurricane Press), to be released in 2014. now, runantellyomamaboutdat!!