I Blues tha Rain, 40 Days & 40 Nights by henry 7. reneau, jr.

. . . let ’em swoller you till they vomit or bust wide open.                                                                 —Ralph Ellison

I Blues a segregated country holla’
with its ramshackle string of jook-joint & ho’ house
I Blues Richard Pryor in shadow dialect
playin’ tha dozens wit God
I John Lee Hooker Boogie Chillen’
tha Blues
to nigga please! cry me a river into a corner
I dirge Mama Gospel holy ghost
& Blues a mojo hand from Hallelujah Amen!!
I Blues splayed Black bodies
that sorrows sadness:  Tha hoodie under urban street lamp &
blood splattered everywhere
I Blues so many white people are alive because
I ain’t done to them what they done to us

But the Blues ain’t s’posed to make you cry

I Blues the back door man
fled out the second story window
wit his rusty drawers in his hand
I Blues the dirt road distance
in increments of worn shoe leather
I crossroad dirt
a magnetic somnambulism in tha pale moonlight
I Blues the some/sum of our parts
flowering up like a pyramid
laughin’ out loud to keep from cryin’ me a river
I Blues meta-phor semi-auto Glocks to knife fights
every Saturday Nite Special
exhaling tha loosed caliber of upraised fists
& gunsmoke

There’s a ferocity in oppressed
that fear teaches predatory skills
to pull open arteries with teeth

I bruise blackened Blues tha matter of Fact of it:

There is no evidence of Black institutional racism or
systemic racism against White people
as those phenomena take an amount of power to inflict
that Black people, and people of color in general,
lack in the United States.

I Blues a change is gonna come
like a long wait for a train don’t come
tha sound of struggle
like a dull Spade pummeled into hardpan

I Blues a mudbound sound of punctured lung
marching boot-shaped footprints
across a tilted playing field

Encrusted knees &
Hair &

But the Blues ain’t s’posed to make you cry

Italicized quote from “Racism: Simple Answers to Complex Questions” by Nicholas Mitchell.

henry 7. reneau, jr. writes words of conflagration to awaken the world ablaze, an inferno of free verse illuminated by his affinity for disobedience that commits a felony every day, like a chambered bullet of immolation that blazes from his heart, a 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), the e-chapbook physiography of the fittest (Kind of a Hurricane Press), and the self-published chapbook 13hirteen Levels of Resistance. 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.


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