“Martin Luther King Jr. Mourns Trayvon Martin” by Lauren K. Alleyne

For you, son,
I dreamed a childhood
unburdened by hate;
a boyhood of adventure—
skinned knees and hoops,
first loves and small rebellions;
I dreamed you whole
and growing into your own
manhood, writing its definitions
with your daily being.
I dreamed you alive, living.

For you, America’s African heir,
I dreamed a future
of open doors, of opportunity
without oppression,
of affirmation and action,
I dreamed Oprah and Obama
I dreamed Colin and Condoleezza
I dreamed doctors and dancers,
lawyers and linebackers, models,
musicians, mechanics, preachers
and professors and police, authors,
activists, astronauts, even,
all black as Jesus is.

I dreamed you dapper—
the black skin of you
polished to glow; your curls,
your kinks, your locs,
your bald, your wild,
your freshly barbered—
all beautiful.

I dreamed you wearing whatever the hell you want
and not dying for it.

For you, brother,
I dreamed a world softened
by love, free from the fear
that makes too-early ancestors of our men;
turns our boys into targets,
headlines, and ghosts.

I had a dream
that my children will one day live
in a nation where they will not be judged
by the color of their skin
but by the content of their character.

Sweet song of my sorrow.
Sweet dream, deferred.
For you, gone one, I dreamed
justice—her scales tipped
away from your extinction,
her eyes and arms unbound
and open to you
at last.

LAUREN K. ALLEYNE is the author of Difficult Fruit and the forthcoming collection Honeyfish, the assistant director of the Furious Flower Poetry Center, and an associate professor of English at James Madison University.

Poem via The Atlantic.

Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968)  was killed fifty years ago today.

5 thoughts on ““Martin Luther King Jr. Mourns Trayvon Martin” by Lauren K. Alleyne

  1. Mike Mirarchi

    This took my breath away, too, Christy. So poignant! Thank you so much for sharing this. The story of Trayvon Martin breaks my heart. 😥 This poem written in his memory really moves me:

    Reverse Garland Cinquain for Trayvon

    I wish I didn’t have to write
    about you in past tense
    once again, so

    your story is too familiar
    we keep returning here
    this pain should not

    Today you should be in your school
    Your parents’ next visit
    should not be your

    Until there is justice I will
    wrap you in my stanzas
    cradle your name

    we will not forget your trip home
    beautiful son man-child
    let us repeat
    your name

    Your story is so familiar
    When your parents visit
    let them cradle
    your name.

    — J.P. Howard


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