I Didn’t Mean To Write About Trayvon Martin

Trayvon Martin

I’m not sure how to say this
But I feel compelled to try
Maybe if I just say it
You’d see this through my eyes

America, it hurts my feelings
Each time it’s implied
That we can look the other way
Each time a black boy dies

I hear the chorus singing
A brutal melody
Altos and sopranos
Not a single one in key

He must have been a thug
A petty criminal
He must have had a gun
Or been an imbecile

I’m sure he carried hate
Somewhere deep in his heart
Did you know that he smoked weed?
I bet that nigger wasn’t smart

Look at his gold grills!
George isn’t to blame
He was probably in a gang
I’m sure I would have done the same

Terrified to interject
To try and sway the crowd
I’ll keep this to myself
Won’t say these thoughts out loud

Watch the trial in silence
With a lump inside my chest
“This is fucking awful”
How could I leave this unaddressed?

He was suspicious…
Walking home holding a snack
He was suspicious
Walking home while being black

What could he have done differently?
How could he have been spared?
He should have worn a button down
He didn’t belong there

He should have kept his mouth shut
He should have never turned around
Prosecution says his mother’s scared
That it’s his fault he’s in the ground

Where should black boys go?
To find safety and resolve
To find justice and fair treatment
When the fuck will we evolve?

From Martin the King to Martin the Child
Not enough has changed
Feeling helpless towards that end
Though I’m not assigning blame

No race cards in my deck
No tricks left up my sleeve
Just a sadness in my heart
That makes it hard to breathe

He was not a perfect boy
That much was made clear
As we watch him prosecuted
For the fact that he’s not here

You see Trayvon is on trial
It is him we’re left to judge
You saw it coming from the moments
That those headlines blared on Drudge

But I can’t even blame Matt Drudge,
I’m as much at fault as him
I was mugged at gunpoint by two black boys
And my near-rapist had black skin

Somewhere deep in my heart
Those stereotypes exist
I’m sorry for them, Trayvon
I don’t want them to persist

Though I’m told there will be riots
And while I sincerely get the urge
I pray there are no riots
That we might summon the courage

In the event that Trayvon Martin
Is found guilty of his crime
If justice isn’t served
Let us make it the last time

Not the last time that a bullet
Finds a way to someone’s heart
Not the last time a trial ends
But the last profiling starts

Dozens dying in Chicago
And yet we don’t blink an eye
What sort of tragedy must pass
For America to cry?

These black people are your people
They’re your fellow citizens
And if they don’t matter, I don’t matter
Because I am one of them

So long as that distinction
Continues to exist
Then every single one of us
Must promise to insist

That we will be relentless
In the fight left to our time
Not a fight with guns or sticks and stones
A fight of the heart and mind

I suppose I am a dreamer
I’ve been told I’m not alone
Though I feel bitter in this mess
And the wind has blown and blown

The answer’s in there somewhere
But the truth remains within
We have it in us to be different
It’s a fight we’re meant to win

I didn’t mean to write about this
But now I’ve said these words out loud
Because you should know, America
I Am Trayvon Martin and I’m proud

Image by Samuel via Creative Commons

27 Responses to "I Didn’t Mean To Write About Trayvon Martin"
Jane Hamsher | Friday July 12, 2013 07:57 am 1

Wonderful poem Sara, thanks so much for writing this. It’s such a painful moment.


Brian Sonenstein | Friday July 12, 2013 10:04 am 2

beautiful job sara


sapphirebulletsofpurelove | Friday July 12, 2013 10:23 am 3

Beautiful. I couldn’t find so many words..thank you for finding them for me.


arcadesproject | Friday July 12, 2013 10:27 am 4

George Zimmerman, soaked in his fears and infantile fantasies, lurked, armed and dangerous, in that neighborhood until he killed Trayvon Martin. Trayvon, his family and friends, have been on trial for Trayvon’s murder. I only hope that the jury does the right thing and finds Zimmerman guilt of manslaughter, at a minimum.

We are living in an increasingly dangerous world, surrounded by armed and dangerous neighbors and increasing numbers of frightened, desperate people who are being crushed by the New Economy. This is a combustible mix. Every American (excluding the 1%) is at risk. If we fail to get justice for Trayvon, we are all in peril.


bluedot12 | Friday July 12, 2013 10:39 am 5
In response to arcadesproject @ 4

RevBev | Friday July 12, 2013 10:40 am 6

Thank you for the forum and the thoughts. I have been unable to let go at all of this case, and Ive not been sure what all has been so gripping. Early on it was the class and “privilege” that was so obvious in the presenation of friend Rachel….how dare anyone laugh at her. Then the arrogance and rudeness of West and Om. took over. Something has been exposed here that had mostly gone underground, I think, and maybe I have just been very naive. Thank you for the page; Certainly we all still have work to do to embolden justice and kindess.


newcarguy | Friday July 12, 2013 10:47 am 7
In response to bluedot12 @ 5

Thank you for that research. I recommend everyone read it. You are valuable member here at FDL.

This IS a troubling case. Most people are coming down hard on one side or the other. Many had a simple expected knee-jerk reaction. But as the article points out, the facts should be analyzed not the emotions.

One life has been lost. Let’s not ruin another one.


nixonclinbushbama | Friday July 12, 2013 10:47 am 8

Thank you for your expression of emotion. I hope somehow his mom and dad see this.


Knox | Friday July 12, 2013 11:01 am 9
In response to bluedot12 @ 5

What a load of bullshit. A lame set of arguments, mostly built on circumstantial nonsense.

Nothing going on in that neighborhood suggested that a neighborhood watch volunteer needed to carry a gun. Zimmerman knew he was not supposed to pursue anyone or get out of his car. He pursued a kid for no reason and, by getting out of his car, all but assured that a confrontation was going to happen.

It’s also not true that all neighbors saw Trayvon on top (not that that is conclusive of anything in either event) and it’s very reasonable to think that it was Trayvon calling for help (I would be if some jackass were pointing a gun at me).


Knox | Friday July 12, 2013 11:04 am 10
In response to newcarguy @ 7

We live in a society where people are armed to the teeth thanks to the NRA. They need to know that they can’t roam around with their guns and shoot someone who was doing nothing more than walking home.

Zimmerman deserves to be in prison.

Sending him there will save lives.


Ironcomments | Friday July 12, 2013 11:32 am 11

The George Zimmerman trial is one of the most absurd displays of American jurisprudence.

How can a trial be about whether the defendant acted in self defense, when the defendant created the situation in which he killed someone. In particular when the officer on the phone told the defendant not to engage the boy. This is voluntary manslaughter at the very least or second degree murder. Following someone and then confronting them for no other reason to either harass or intimidate and then claim self defense is completely “bizzaro world” law.

Can anyone today who is losing a fist fight pull out a gun and kill with impunity? Serially battered and abused women are barely afforded this type of defense it at all when they kill their abusers.

This is on top of 40 plus days and mass outrage that occurred prior to Zimmerman even being properly questioned and charged with a crime.


jedimsnbcko19 | Friday July 12, 2013 11:40 am 12
In response to Ironcomments @ 11

I agree with you.

Every criminal in Florida, will use the Zimmerman Defense

Criminals will say, Yes I started the conflict

the Victim started fighting back, and basically started kicking my butt

so I had to kill them?

like the Prosecutor said this is not Stand Your Ground. this is Stay In Your Car!


jodo | Friday July 12, 2013 11:41 am 13
In response to newcarguy @ 7

Zimmerman is a big fat lying loser. What no remorse from him? It was God’s plan? His life is f*#ked no matter what the verdict.


Knox | Friday July 12, 2013 11:53 am 14
In response to jodo @ 13

His life is f*#ked no matter what the verdict.

If he is not found guilty, he will be celebrated openly as a hero by everyone who thinks that everyone in our society should be buying and carrying guns.

If he is found guilty, he will be celebrated in the shadows as a hero by everyone who thinks that everyone in our society should be buying and carrying guns.

The latter is the best we can hope for and, frankly, regardless of the verdict, Zimmerman can and will rot in a hell for what he’s done.


gannonguckert | Friday July 12, 2013 12:03 pm 15
In response to bluedot12 @ 5

Emptywheel is merely making the same mistake defense lawyers (and all the white supremacists) have been making, which is to focus on Trayvon’s actions in the 30 – 90 seconds before he was killed. Of course, our only eyewitness to that time period is the defendant.

What Ironcomments @11 is addressing is the alternate view, which says we should focus on the ‘chain of events’ beginning with armed GZ getting out of his truck.

Adjudicating these things along lines of the more complete chain of events is common in law, and common sense is usually why. I bet GZ gets a long sentence for at least manslaughter (carries up to 30 years in FL).


newcarguy | Friday July 12, 2013 12:17 pm 16
In response to Knox @ 10

Guess we will have to agree to disagree.


bluedot12 | Friday July 12, 2013 12:22 pm 17
In response to gannonguckert @ 15

You may be right. We will see shortly. I am wondering about the history of break-ins in that community and the fact GZ was a watch captain or some such. That 30 to 90 seconds is an unknown. But as I recall wasn’t there a witness to that?

Ps I am not invested in the outcome only to say GZ is innocent until the jury comes back?


bluedot12 | Friday July 12, 2013 12:29 pm 18
In response to Knox @ 10

Did I read that right? You think his conviction will get guns off the street and save lives?


gannonguckert | Friday July 12, 2013 12:32 pm 19
In response to bluedot12 @ 17

I should have originally said 5 – 90 seconds.

All the witnesses are peering in the dark on a drizzly night. No witness got close, only one stepped outside their porch area, none knew either defendant and hence was unreliable as to which was where, who was shouting, etc. Other neighbors opened a door or window briefly, then shut it. All the neighbor witness statements were for non-continuous stretches of time, with intervening interactions with other members of their own family within their abode, etc., etc. I would expect the jury to find all the neighbors’ commentary to be unhelpful, and ignore it


bluedot12 | Friday July 12, 2013 12:39 pm 20
In response to gannonguckert @ 19

Still, they may have seen enough. You only need reasonable doubt. And you need all six jurors to convict. I’m not going to make book on it.


Knox | Friday July 12, 2013 01:14 pm 21
In response to bluedot12 @ 18

No, you did not read that right. I do not think that his conviction will get guns off the street. Not what I said.

Be careful lest you end up in a society where human beings get shot for walking home, the criminal aggressor armed with a gun and starting the fight claiming on a technically that he’s defending himself.

“My God, it’s coming right for us!”


Knox | Friday July 12, 2013 01:18 pm 22
In response to bluedot12 @ 20

There’s a good chance that he’ll get off because his lawyers did a decent job of confusing just enough of the facts that one or two on the jury who have a twisted sense of what’s reasonable will want to acquit.

Not the first time that a criminal will walk, probably not the last.


bluedot12 | Friday July 12, 2013 02:22 pm 23
In response to Knox @ 22

Yes there is a good chance he walks. Also good chance he is convicted. Give it fifty fifty.


bluedot12 | Friday July 12, 2013 02:24 pm 24
In response to Knox @ 21

Ha! I suspected you had something else in mind.


SharonMI | Friday July 12, 2013 02:42 pm 25
In response to gannonguckert @ 15

emptywheel’s (Marcy’s) site, but it is bmaz authoring (whew, I met Marcy once and was hoping she wasn’t writing anti-Trayvon stuff)


Funnydiva2002 | Friday July 12, 2013 03:55 pm 26

Thank you for this, Sara.
I clicked over to this post expecting to be moved to outrage, yet again. Instead, I’m moved to tears. And I’m really glad that your poem touched my heart, because my spleen has been too dominant lately…I was starting to not remember the very heartbreaking loss at the root of this trial, or the hard and heartbreaking truths about my culture and my country that it shines such a bright, harsh spotlight on.


RevBev | Friday July 12, 2013 07:12 pm 27
In response to SharonMI @ 25

Glad I didn’t see it….


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