The Horror Found In Every Inexpressive System / Something Vile and Dangerous Slithering In The Dirt

By henry 7. reneau, jr.

With this poem
I wanted to impeach the proclivities of the savage , Amerikkka’s

poltergeist inhumanity to Black folk . Is an epigenetic , post
-traumatic stress disorder , which is to say a spectral tremoring

that fractures memory into trauma , into horror
repressed subconsciously , the erratic fragments of recollection

that appear , usually , as a cold sweat-drenched night terror
, the terrifying images , the forever falling

into the bottomless void of an abyss , that startles us to scream
into what we believe to be awakened , then jump-scared  


(in films or television shows) a sudden or unexpected
event , typically involving , or accompanied by

a loud , jarring sound , intended to startle an audience
) , only to again reawaken , disoriented  

, by the nightmare buried within the dream . The ghostly
whiteness that invented a pseudoscientific category , a lower caste

, and spread a prejudiced contagion of e-race-ure , spook metaphors
, or even , at times , just the night terror effect of a legal lynching

—reminds us that anyone who doesn't struggle , declare war
against the enemy , can be replaced

, a visceral sense of Edgar Allen Poe , the horror
that is all that we see , or seem , is but a dream within a dream                    

that cannot be translated into compromise or compliance
—a persistent haunting


. The wild animal of life broke loose and was struck by the out-of
-nowhere speeding car [like a video of twelve-year-old Tamir Rice
being shot] his guillotined laughter once the guileless language of
joy , now pleading with each startled last breath , terrified , despite
his struggle to go on living , as if with each split second he absconded
deeper into a thorned tangle of tall grass [the tiger moonlit on the horizon
moved closer , slinking from the forest to rend , to rip , to devour the
child] as dashcams and bystanders , who wide-angled their cellphones
to only bear witness , suspended his assassination in the executioner’s noose
of Time , a Danse Macabre colored by the ricocheted echo of gunshots
in a city that terrorized all Black people , and I

am seeking an attitude , against the leadership of my country
for its inertia and its silence and , therefore , its complicity with
the evil of racism


. How many will the ghost of darkness pull down , before
Black folks take to the gun



henry 7. reneau, jr. does not Twitter, Tik Tok, Facebook, Snapchat, or Instagram. It is not that he is scared of change, or stuck fast in the past; instead, he has learned from experience that the crack pipe kills. His work is published in Superstition Review, TriQuarterly, Poets Reading the News, Prairie Schooner, Zone 3 and Rigorous. His work has also been nominated multiple times for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.

Next up...

When I say God is a woman, I mean

By Sunshine Meyers