The History of the Path of Thorns


Illustration by Ashwin Pandya

In every new frontier the devil never goes hungry.


the villain who believes himself

to be the hero of the story:

                   & He was looking at himself & He was looking

like a movie.     He had

a pleasant elevation & He was moving

                                                             in all dimensions.


Back when the firmament was drying under

a newborn sun.            Back when one-celled organisms

swam the seas dreaming legs & wings & slither;

                                                                     & animated clay

with no blueprint soon walking into every trouble there was

                                                 like a prayer

with a safety-pin stuck in its lip.                 A beached whale

drowning on dry land.


The innocence of a child like moonshine filling the spaces

between the fear & hate.       Like blind faith that starts with

roll back the stone that seals the sepulchre.


Starts with

be patient . . . waiting is

the only time a gnat is still is when it is asking for death.   

The man who wore the long black coat &

spit-shined boots.

                                                                          A dark angel

glowing trustworthy the color of plastic & power

once came to my school & he did not talk like a creep or

look like a “perv,” & he smelled like global-I-zation.


Heard tell of preaching blue-eyed Jesus wept & democracy

over the Iron Curtain of the Cold War

                                                            until MLK

interrupted the broadcast

with homegrown acts of outside agitation: he spoke of

a Dream,

but it was the most real thing we ever felt,

like a bridge collapsing under the weight of an ultimatum,

                                             so aroused by its own power

it became dangerous as

                                        the ease of changed our mind.

Back before our devastating hope fell in love with our rage.

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 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, 2014. He also has an e-chapbook, entitled physiography of the fittest (Kind of a Hurricane Press, 2014), which was released in December, 2014. Additionally, he has self-published a chapbook entitled 13hirteen Levels of Resistance, and is currently working on a book of connected short stories. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee.

ASHWIN PANDYA is a sketch-artist and illustrator, whose work has graced many book-covers. Acknowledged for his digital art as well as musical compositions, Ashwin Pandya can sketch given any situation, description or character. You can visit his website here.