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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Endangered At 17: Poem For Trayvon Martin

I remember being 17, living on Lays
Potato chips, chili dogs and Wonder bread…
Would never be caught dead
Or seen without
My Swedish knits and
Chuck Taylors… with Stevie
Wonder blasting Superstition
In my head. I remember

Playing Spades, and scratching myself in
“Nasty” places, full of raging
Hormones, adrenaline and
Silent fear. I remember how it feels

To live in Black skin. Being told
By my mother, I was “beautiful.”
Being told by teachers, I was “Artistic”
And yes even “Gifted…” but
Never once told I was invincible. I remember this
As surely as I recall walking
Home from the movies, at night, and

Being stopped by local cops
Because I fit the descript
Of some hot-
Wired black boy who might just
Was up to some no good,
Criminally-minded shit,
When it was neither my behavior,
My nature,
Nor my actions but
The color of my skin which
Dictated this.

I remember feeling diminished, and
Embittered, enraged,
And endangered for the first time
At age 17... when I should have felt
Young and wild and free
And full of possibilities… Like you,

Angelic-faced manchild
Of a brown-skin hue. Almost
Brand new in the world,
Caught up inside that swirl of
Confusion... and yet
Another senseless
Victim to the paranoia of
Another racist fool.


Did you fit that tragic
Descript too, Trayvon?
Hoodie-clad and armed with
Skittles and iced tea? How dangerous!


How deadly
You must be. How deadly!
How..? Deadly?

How dead.



© 2012 by L.M.Ross moaningmanblues All Rights Reserved


Mizrepresent said...

This was well penned my friend. It is sad that we even have to write about this, but in doing so we not only honor the memory of a innocent boys life, while raising the consciousness of this world by letting them know we do indeed care!

Lovebabz said...

Thank you. As always you bring the healing words...a balm needed for the pain and anger.

Val said...

Generation after generation this just keeps happening. At some point we will collectively get tired of this and there's going to be trouble.

I tried to comment this morning but I guess blogger ate that comment.

Roger Poladopoulos said...

The circumstances that led to these eloquent words are both regretable and tragic. A beautiful and fitting tribute to Trayvon Martin.

Roger Poladopoulos said...

I was so moved by your poem that I'm featuring it in my blog post for tomorrow, March 26, and linking my readers here.

Moanerplicity said...

@ Miz:

Thanks, Sista Pen. I too wish there was never a reason for me to write pieces like this one. But looking back, sadly, I've had to write them for the last TWO decades!

The more things change, it seems the more they stay the same. :-(


Moanerplicity said...

@ Lovebabz:

If only writing poetry for the Trayvons of this world would in some way help to cure this global sickness. If only! Then my work on earth would be done.


Moanerplicity said...

@ Val:

I agree, Val. There's only so much pain, grief and anger people can or will take before something within explodes! Thankfully, those engaged in the numerous protests have collectively been keeping a cool head. Thus far!


Moanerplicity said...

P.S. @ Val: Not sure what the hell is happening w/ this site & its the comment section... but I sense something is definitely amiss.


Moanerplicity said...

@ Roger:

Thanks so much for reading, feeling & wanting to share this poem with others. I appreciate this, knowing that there are so many out there, perhaps millions of us, who feel the exact same way.

One Love.

Chet said...

Thank you my brotha for scribing this for our little brotha Trevon. Tears cloud my eyes.

Reggie said...

That was very touching and well written my brother.

J said...

This gave me chills Bro. Beautifully penned.

Moanerplicity said...

@ Chet: Thanks for reading & for feeling, my brotha.


Moanerplicity said...

@ Reggie:

Thanks man. I'm sure many of us can recall what it felt like to be male, Black & 17 in America.


Moanerplicity said...

@ J:

Interestingly, while writing this, when the focus of the poem turned to Trayvon, I too caught a case of the chills.

Thanks Bruh Pen


A Free Spirit Butterfly said...

Lovely poem!
Got me reminiscing about my youth :-)

Although I'm in Law Enforcement, it's still a hidden fear that I hold for my son. He's 24, living in the inner city and is not exempt from the sterotype. I've told him time and time again to be safe and very aware of his surroudnings. Not to get gas at night or use the ATM, etc... I trust that the Lord will cover his comings but in today's society, a crazed man with a handgun and free will is a dangerous combination.

We never think that we'd have to tell our children to be careful walking down the street minding their own business and enjoying a sugary treat.

Love for a great day!

Moanerplicity said...

@ Free Spirit Butterfly:

Thanks so much or your unique perspective, as both a Law Enforcement Officer & as a Black Mother.

When I was younger, I once worked in retail. The manager of the place had a code he used whenever young Black men entered the store. He would get on the intercom & announce "220!" (meaning 2 hands... 20 fingers = stealing!)
Suddenly, all the workers would report to that floor to eye the black cats, follow them closely, do their best to make them feel uncomfortable & under suspicion.

Being a young black man myself, I hated it.

This practice always made me cringe, especially since many times the non-blacks were getting away scott-free w/stealing because the eyes of the watchers were always upon the young black men.
Ironic, I know.

Of course this pales in comparison w/ what happened to Trayvon and so many others.

But it's little things like this which slowly chip away at your soul.

Yet, that's the society we live in. People expect the worst from us, whether or not it's in our nature or if it's really even warranted. That's just the way it is.

Thanks for your reply.

And as for your son: peace, good luck, & please travel safely.


thegayte-keeper said...

You have such a way with words!

Moanerplicity said...


Thanks. Only when I'm motivated, my Brotha.


Princess Tinybutt said...

moved. touched. thanks moanerplicity....


Moanerplicity said...

@ Princess TB:

You're welcome. Thanks for reading... & commenting.


Anna Renee said...


I went to a prayer circle held at Justin Herman Plaza here in downtown Oakland.
Brenda Grisham, the mother of slain child Christopher called the circle.

I was late, but they opened the circle and included me anyway. There were 15 of us. The uncle of slain nephew Oscar Grant joined us as well.

I'm glad that when 2 or 3 are gathered in the Lord's name He dwells with them. I'm also glad that if 1 can put a 1000 to flight, then 2 can put 10,000 to flight.
Help us Jesus.

Moanerplicity said...

I thinks we do what we do because to sit by & wish & hope for this miscarriage of justice to suddenly heal itself seems hallow & useless. I'm glad you made it into the circle.

You's a good woman, Anna May Ruby Pearl Opal Belle Ollie Bess Clampett! *smiles*


Princess Tinybutt said...

yes my friend, i received the first one. THANK YOU. please feel free to come back.

be well :)

HoNeyBlikk said...

oh yes!!! How deadly can one be? Brotha- Twin awesome words from your pen. Cause this could have been any one of us!!!

Moanerplicity said...

My point exactly, Karen. And in the past it has been, in the present it is, & in the future it could very well be any one of us. Mindsets have to change or else there will be many more Trayvons among us with tragic ends.