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A tear soaked pillow is my comforter in the midst of life’s continual storm.
Not a victim, but victimized by tormentors,
oppression being the norm
Uneducated, abused,
raised amongst the perils of alcohol and drug addiction,
silently praying for death. Wanting, waiting, wishing

Opportunities scarce, happiness a mere fantasy of the mind
Little to look forward to, but nothing to be found from behind.
Chin up, toes down.
No time to sulk in life’s misery and pain
Like running stark naked through a fire, no shame
The sun too far away, not enough light to escape the insanity
Help, help, somebody help!
Nobody to help me. The silence too loud, unable
to escape the rage in my head.
Today I walk amongst the living.
Inside, I’m dead.
I’ve seen too much; I’m too hard to rebuild what they’ve destroyed.
I’m a Black man, you damn right.
I was George Floyd before George Floyd.
Protect and serve to the flag they salute.
Hands up, man down.
He’s Black? Shoot.
But what if it’s a little boy playing in the park
or a woman asleep in her bed?
They give a murderer justified homicide, another African dead.
Tearful expressions of pain from deep within —
convicted at birth, my skin was my first sin.

Torn from the fabric of society,
worthless they suppose.
Caged like an animal, my deepest fears exposed
Unshackled from the wrist,
replaced with mental chains.

Stripped of our beliefs and forced
to take a tormentor’s name
Steeped in darkness, my heart there is a void.
The struggle continues, that’s why
I was George Floyd before George Floyd.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Global Forum Online has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Demore’e J. Evans is a writer and the founder of R.E.A.C.H., a rehabilitation and mentorship program for at-risk youth. He is incarcerated in California.