One the last day of my childhood, I decided to go visit my best friend Jon Zimmerman. He lived a few miles away, but the suburban New York weather was pleasantly cool. I don't remember what I planned to do at his house, but I imagine something of the "hang out" variety. I walked over and cut through a neighbor's yard as I (and every other kid in the neighborhood) had done for years. Jon wasn't home. I started to walk back home when a police car approached me. The neighbor lady had called the police saying I was trying to break into her home. I explained that I wasn't, but another car arrived. And another. More and more arrived until seventeen vehicles blocked the entrance of the street, including unmarked cars and the Fire Chief. They questioned me for about an hour in the street, but refused to believe my story until Jon arrived home and vouched for me. I left New City the next day and have rarely returned since. The episode was humiliating: to this day (over 20 years later) I still get upset thinking about it.
When I wrote What I Want to See, I remembered that day and wondered how close I came to Trayvon Martin's fate. I also wonder how close my daughter has come. I don;t think I want to find out. I wrote a lyric essay about Trayvon: Lunch Ticket (Antioch University) will publish it in June.
[Note: Since this original post, we're changed the name to Wince: George and Trayvon. Publication is set for June 15.]