Social Justice Poetry

Gil Hoy

An Unjust Law | A Social Justice Poem by Gil Hoy

Can’t get that execution
out of my head, damn.

Took 26 minutes to kill
him, some new-fangled
poison not the usual,
a half-baked horror show.

Sour drugs flowed through
blue veins, the prisoner
strapped to a gurney gasped,
vacant eyes staring,

nose snorting,
choking almost guttural–
like food stuck in your
on and on, convulsions.

By all accounts, he was
a horrible savage man

25 years ago,
raped, tortured and killed
a young woman with child,

just married, still to live
and be enjoyed.

So nothing cruel or unusual
here, an eye for an eye,
a tooth for a tooth,
Lex talionis, as prophesied.

But this death, more
like a Macabre blunder
at a public square picnic
hanging from days of old,
when the man’s head
in the too-tight hemp noose
might come clean off.

Minute after lingering
minutes, following terrible
60 second minutes
Strangling from the inside,
a mammal gasps for breath.

Heard that his blood in the
crowd had to cover their ears
and wipe their tears from
soaked ashen faces,
I say listen up, after what he did.

If you agree, show the
video play-back to your son,
so he can see what we do,
Though slow suffocation
is not for the squeamish,
something to Hide?

Murder: premeditation
and unlawful killing,
the state does you one better,
premeditation and ceremony.
Who are we to tell
the state what to do,
sounds A-OK to me.

Much ado about nothing.
Throw to hungry lions
crush them with fat elephants,
devoured by wild sweaty-toothed beasts
does the trick.
Tear them apart by Galloping horses,
burn him like an over-cooked
headless turkey for your Thanksgiving roast,
crucifixion, decapitation, boil until cooked.

Firing squad? Pass the loaded Gun
please. Stoning? A duplicitous
contest to see who casts the first
stone. Disembowelment, OK,
dismemberment, tie him to a
cannon and set the charge, so cool

your mouth just drips with blood
like a stale English Pudding.
Gas, hangings, electric chair,
That covers it.

But somewhere I read and
believed to the marrow, now
shaking terrified: Turn to him
the other cheek also, or we
will all be Toothless and Blind.

No one’s listening or caring

Blood red Hearts disgorged on a
winding cobblestone trail that leads
to a distant dream.
That our eyes don’t hear anymore
and that tastes forgotten anyway.

Searching for Presidential Biographies Christmas Coming | A Social Justice Poem by Gil Hoy

Looking for a Christmas present for my son.
He wants to be a politician.

Not the merriest of Christmases
nor the happiest of New Years
for politics in America.

Abraham Lincoln is neatly
standing next to Teddy Roosevelt
at our local bookstore

With best-selling volumes
of FDR and Washington
stacked comfortably nearby.

With another somewhat dusty
book sitting far to the right

On another shelf in the non-fiction
biography section titled
“Donald Trump: America’s
Failing President.”

Sitting next to a few dull
panned volumes excoriating
Richard Nixon.

My son is a passionate
progressive Democrat.
He is wondering how a racist

With his money God, occupies
the White House in America
with Christmas coming?

As billionaires get tax cuts,
beggared sick lay dying
in their beds

Anti-Muslim venom spews,
gay pride flags are burning,
the NRA controls Congress.

Did our President really just
tweet that a New York
US Senator is a whore?

Did our commander in chief really say
that Rocket Man will be met with fire
and fury like the world has
never seen before?

Looking for a Christmas present for my son.
Not an easy choice to make. Perhaps FDR,
but he seems so far away.

My son wants to be a politician.
He’s a sophomore in high school
and wants to save America.
He’s always been such a good boy.

I Had a Nightmare Last Night | A Social Justice Poem by Gil Hoy

I had a nightmare last night,
A nightmare deeply rooted
in an American nightmare.

Where churches and schools,
theaters and city streets
were dying.

Where military weapons
were firing into unsuspecting
innocent crowds

pigeons intheblinkofaneye.

I awoke in a terrified sweat
as bleeding children wailed
and cried and screamed.

While those to protect us tasked
slept soundly in their beds.

A nightmare deeply rooted
in an American nightmare,

I had a nightmare last night.

Song of America | A Social Justice Poem by Gil Hoy


I see you, Walt Whitman, an American
Rough, a cosmos! I see you face to face!

I see you and the nameless faceless
Faces in America’s ageless crowds of men
and women who you saw in your mind’s eye.

I see you crossing the river on your ferry.
I see you walking down America’s public roads

Where everyone is worthy. Neither time,
Place nor distance separates.


For you once saw the corrupt currents,
Fast flowing into the land that you loved.
And you once saw that which had departed

With the setting sun, half an hour high,
For when another is degraded,
so are you and I.

You once saw what had flowed in with the
Rising flood-tides feverishly pounding,

Sea water soaked—saturated,
With exploitation, bribery,
Falsehood and maladministration.


When you saw the motionless wings of
Twelfth-month sea-gulls, when you walked

On Manhattan Island, when you watched the
Great ships of Manhattan, north and west—

Did you see Wall Street banks seizing
Homes of your beloved countrymen,
Crossing in their fragile ferryboats?

The carpenters, the Quakers, the scientists,
The opium eaters—the immigrants, the squaws,

The boatmen, the blacksmiths—-the farmers,
Mechanics, the sailors and priests?


Did you see monstrous megaton
Corporations feasting on America’s flesh and
Blood, nameless faceless parasites sucking the

Marrow from the bones of your beloved land,
Like a malevolent disease?


For you saw very clearly the political and economic
Malfunctioning mutant ties that connect us.
Neither time, place nor distance separates.

And you saw very clearly the sickly green sludge
Secreted by lobbyists to their bought and sold

Henchmen soldier baby-kissers—slowing,
Stopping the flow of nourishing rushing sea
Tides into your revered democracy.


You saw dark evil patches—the clinging selfish
Sinister grasp of the flourishing one per cent
Oligarchs, who lusted, grubbed, lied, stole—

Were greedy, shallow, sly, angry, vain, cowardly,
malignant—Seeking only to hold on to their
Spoils and preserve the status quo.


Each still furnishes its part towards the death of
America’s democracy. Each still furnishes its part

Towards destroying her soul. The mocking bird still
Chants his tearful musical shuttle to the barefooted

Bareheaded boy, and the final word superior for
America may still be her Death, Death, Death,

Death. And you, lonely father, graybeard more
Beloved—the generous sea, she’s whisper’d me, too.