• Call + Response

Gumbo Ya-Ya, The Comet In Us All by Henry 7. Reneau, Jr.

Image by Mike Von

Gumbo Ya-Ya, The Comet In Us All

for my baby girl, Asia Korey Reneau

Our children are always watching, like the day moon caught in her torpor of euphoric reflection, this urgency to bear witness to the world, & find the poetic connections in our semantic dis-connections, all the beauty & the ugly in the things which most are afraid to admit they see, or cannot see, our courage a politic be still, be quiet!! the spinelessness no longer frowned upon, but status quo so many of us afraid to act.

Our roar of indifference an obedient fear of drowned in a half-empty whiskey glass, lubricating the dead weight, like gasoline kaleidoscopes water, burning our bridges to the rubble of hope, & unrequited love, while all the others around me were building walls, not one someone standing for another, but brick & mortar the foundation for the congenitally bequeathed vitriol to come, the eugenic science of superiority, finding imperfections, & echoes of insinuations, within the vocabulary of the long & brutal history of those whom we thought they were, was only us, & in our cubicles, such unspeakable desires . . .

But I don't expect that you'll accept my point of view, though I proliferate your every act of self-preservation, the dangerous assumptions & intractable denials you employ, to remain fixed, a compliant pillar supporting the methamphetamine delusions of status quo, the harbinger of the accident waiting to happen: a gun-safed Glock behind the dis-remembered safe combination, as the guv'ment goons no-knock break in the front door, & you in your rusty drawers,

like the strategic advance of riot goons met by the impotent umbrage of protest signs & social media, arisen from gunshot splayed & demonized Black frustration & anger—the fervent wish to kill with a thought, gone viral, ignites a crystalline clarity of poetic epiphany—I could hear me signifyin' from my daughter's mouth: plotting comeuppance in the form of a 2019 Chevrolet Impala V6 Premier edition that has a trunk space sooooo big, my youngest daughter quipped, morbidly, “Daddy, you can fit four bodies in there.”

Henry Reneau Jr. is a writer based in California. He does not own any social media.