Image by Christine Renney

The Investigator steps back from the scene and exits the house via the front door.  He moves out onto the street and beyond the barriers.  He stands amongst the onlookers allowing the others to get in close and to do what they need to do.  He won’t move again until they are finished and have gathered and extracted all of the trace evidence and the DNA; the blood, the fluids, the fibres, the particles.  Not until the body has been removed along with everything else the others deem to be pertinent and their work has begun elsewhere will he re-enter the house. 

For now, the Investigator waits patiently and he listen to the excited chatter of the crowd, of the neighbours, the people who live on this street.  Of course, what they are saying is merely conjecture, they are speculating.  But they keep mentioning a woman’s name and they all seem to agree that whatever has happened in this house, she is the victim.  The Investigator takes out his notebook and he writes it down.  It isn’t very much but it is something, a name, a place from which he can begin. 


Image by Christine Renney

Memories we hold dear

And the memories of a loved one lost

We shall share

Remembering as a child

How she held you close

The heartbeat of mother’s love

Keeping away your fears

The way she kissed your scraped knee

The pain disappearing

The way she wiped away your tears

Bringing a smile to your face

As only a mother can

Even though she is no longer here

We keep her memory alive

Her spirit is with you

Your loving mother still

Memories of her to pass on and share

Henri wrote and dedicated this poem to his spiritual advisor’s family following her death. She had been a wonderful support to Henri and he wanted to commemorate her in the only way he could and he gave the poem to her son as a sign of love and respect for them all.

I would like to share with you that Henri’s poem ‘Song Birds’ was entered into a poetry competition run by the Wing magazine which is published quarterly and includes art works and words from Death Row inmates, and he has won! Thank you for liking and commenting on the poem – he was so happy to know that his words are being read by you.

Christine Renney


Image by Christine Renney

The Evidence Room is located in the bowels of the building.  In order to reach it the Investigator hasn’t any choice other than to make his way down.  The elevator at ground level goes up only and into the light, where there are windows and corners of sky and people working in front of screens.  But sometimes it is necessary for the Investigator to get his hands dirty and work through the effects of the missing and the murdered.  The clothes they had been wearing and the things they left behind. 

The staircase is narrow and steep and he thinks about all the boxes that have been carried down over the years, over the decades.  All of those belongings sealed in plastic and languishing undisturbed. 

Stepping into the room the Investigator, as always, is impressed by the orderliness and the symmetry.  All of the boxes are identical in design and the same size.  The labels are front and centre and the handwriting in black biro is clear and concise.  The name, if known, and a reference number and the date when the evidence was first logged. 

Many of the boxes are tightly packed without any space to spare but there are others containing just a few items; a handful of loose change perhaps or a single bank note or an empty wallet or a watch, the face cracked and scuffed and unreadable. 


Image by Christine Renney

Listening to the most beautiful 

Song Birds I’ve ever heard 

Two suns shining on me 

When I hear their voices, 

My mind is free as if I 

Were riding in the sky 

Alongside my Song Birds 

The answer to my prayers 

Their voices lift me up 

From the Dark Abyss of Life 

On a cloud carrying me 

To a blissful, peaceful and loving World 

Where love, happiness and forgiveness dwell 

Their songs are my lifesaver 

Becoming my magic carpet 

Floating away on their 

Soft, soulful voices 

This poem was written by my penfriend, Henri Cartier Broadway, who is incarcerated on Death Row in Angola Prison. I hope that you will read his words without prejudice. Thank you.

Christine Renney


Image by Christine Renney

We are divided but we all believe in the City.  How could we not?  The evidence is everywhere.  We have the artefacts and the photographs.  It is our story and, if we are unable to understand yet, we can at least know it and we are putting it in order, into sequence.  It is a good story filled with great feats, a catalogue of achievement but it is the City that has invaded our thoughts and has captured our collective consciousness.  Yes, we believe in the City but it is more than this.  We worship it.  The City with its tall buildings and narrow streets teaming with life, all nationalities and cultures colliding and co-existing and surviving.  The City is that to which we aspire. 

But we are divided.  There are those who believe we should begin again and rebuild the City, no matter how long it may take.  But there are others who are convinced that the City still exists and we know of course that there was more than one, possibly hundreds.  And this growing faction insists our mission should be to search for it.  To find the City and infiltrate it.  That this is the way in which we should begin again.