Social Justice Poetry

Coffee with Mr. Conscience | A Social Justice Poem by Donal Mahoney

There are a lot of people like me
neither rich nor poor, idling
in the middle who have never wanted
for anything in our lives.

We were reared by parents
who fed us and sent us to school.
We graduated and found jobs
and then moved on to better ones.
We raised families of our own.

We have pensions now
and can pay our bills.
We can buy a new recliner
when the old one breaks.

Which is why I hate to stop
for coffee at Pete’s Diner
and find Mr. Conscience there
sipping his and waiting to ask me
what I’ve done for the poor lately.

He’s an old caseworker who
worked in the projects until retirement.
He volunteers now with a group that
caulks the gaps public grants don’t cover.

He never gives me a moment’s peace,
always after me to help a needy person.
He’ll take cash or a check, isn’t fussy.
He’s Mr. Conscience and he drives me nuts.
But I wouldn’t have coffee with anyone else
after watching the inauguration.

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