Social Justice Poetry

despair poems

A Visit Seeking Charity | A Social Justice Poem by Roy Pullam

She moved uneasily
From one foot
To the other
Outside the Salvation Army office
Shouldering a child
Squirming in her arms
Her bruises still fresh
Her husband in jail
Once too often
His drunken temper
Struck out at her
The child wanted down
His impatience showing
The mother broken
Never in her imagination
Would she need charity
But here she was
Desperation vanquishing pride
Waiting for a food order
Some money
To pay the rent
Another woman
Passed her
Her plastic bag full
Meat, bread and can goods
Hazel smiled
As she welcomed
The reluctant lady
Soon tears
Accompanied her story
Hazel took her hand
Offering a prayer
And a shoulder
Hazel had heard the story
The plot the same
Only the names different
Filling the order
Giving a bear
To the boy
The woman thankful
Promising future generosity
When things were different
When her husband changed
She left
With a thanks
Over her shoulder
Hazel knew
She would be back
The story never changes

Elect | A Social Justice Poem by John L. Stanizzi

The air has mass. We breathe in a thickness
made weighty by the acicular words
that roil and topple, and the black rags of
loathing snap, and multitudes of wretched
screaming mouths wrest what light there was from the
eyes of the hopeful, wrapping it in hate,
in sotted shadows, dimity nylon
masks that stretch over fear and anger, the
noses bent and twisted, recognition
vanished, a horrid molding of neighbors’
faces into gnarled and grim phantasms
tumbling like Frost’s magnified apples, the
rumble of discontentment, and whatever
trepidation I must overcome I
can’t name, though each sense seems lined with despair.

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