A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

“The American Dream” by Landen Scott

At 8 years old I sat in the corner
Knees to my face not making a noise
Sent there due to my “disorder”
When I said I liked a boy
That three-letter phrase
Set my world ablaze
For this is just the start
Of a continuing story
Matthew Shepard, a teen
Was tied up, beaten, and left to die
Because being gay made you the “bad guy
Harvey Milk, a politician fighting for all
Whose assassinator
barely saw the inside of a prison hall
Say Their Names
Cassidy Nathan Vickers
Whose killer got away
and did the exact same thing
The very next day
Charlie Hernandez
Who was shouted at and called slurs
stepped on a pair on sunglasses by accident and said sorry
Who knew those would be his very last words
Say Their Names
So maybe they are too old
You say these people are in the past
Well let’s come to the present
Where queer people are still being harassed
In the Colorado Bar
where the room was bright as the sun
not because of lights or rainbow flags
but a rapid-fire Ar-15 gun
Derrick Rump
Daniel Aston
Kelly Loving
Ashley Paugh
Raymond Green Vance
Say Their Names
Amongst all the change
like how gay people can get married
We seem to have forgotten
How queer people are still being buried
I want to be able to walk in the street
dress how I want and be who I am
But how can I
When people are out to get to me
even Old Uncle Sam


This poem was written by Landen Scott, a 2023-24 Youth Poetry Fellow. Performed at the Seattle Arts & Lectures Literary Arts Series event Steve Inskeep on Tuesday, November 28th, at Town Hall.

Posted in Student WritingWriters in the SchoolsYouth Programs2023/24 Season