[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

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!!