Social Justice Poetry

inhumanity poems

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.

The Second Son of Nasir Ahmed | A Social Justice Poem by Katelyn Thomas

She brushes his becalmed lips before
she lifts his spirit-slipped
shell into her husband’s hands.
What do her neighbors say
as they anchor, hearts furled?

Take comfort as if your womb does not
still clench only months after he gasped
his first salutation to the world.
Your son is but a small ship that
has been impaled upon a huge
iceberg of misinformation
and now floats upon the ocean of
blood that flowed in our streets as
he joins those who have already
been broken and shattered on the rocks
jutting from the shores on the far
side of the Bay of Bengal.

A Conservative Shouts No! | A Social Justice Poem by Donal Mahoney

Bill’s a conservative
upset that Meals on Wheels
and Medicaid face possible
cuts in America’s budget.

He yells to colleagues
who also have money that
we shouldn’t mess with
elderly folks who depend
on one good meal a day and
shouldn’t say no to the poor
when they need a doctor.

Making these cuts won’t make
America Great Again.
Making these cuts will make
America sadly inhumane.
Let’s break some day-old bread
with the old and poor and
revise that budget again.

Visit Donal at

Nooning Tree Estates | A Social Justice Poem by Keith Hoerner

$10,000 down
Gets you in
Your choice of
Ranch or two-story
In prestigious Nooning Tree

“Is there one, a Nooning Tree?”
“Of course,” the saleslady answers
Loose strands of hair catching
The corner of her mouth
Like a lie

Tempered by talk of tradition
She motions; I follow
Slipping on the deceptively
Green sod
Outside her display home

She points, arm outstretched
Fingers fanning
In a ta-da moment
“There …
The Nooning Tree”

Under that very shade (weather permitting)
Noon meals were served
To plantation workers
Every day

Quaint, now, isn’t it?”

Yes, if
It were true

If *only* it were *true*
For a few of us
Still know fact from fiction
About this suburbanized
183-year-old black walnut

Its gnarled branches

Midday laughter filtered
Through this centurion’s autumnal rush
Frenetic excitement hung thick in the air
Frozen families, slack-jawed gawkers, jeering landlords *gathered*

On what is now
Lot 241 (backing to woods)
Where a barbarian’s buffet
Was laid

Blood-shot eyes
Subtle smells of rope-
Burned flesh
Slaves *lynched* on the strike of *noon*

On a *tree*
S  t  r  e  t  c  h  o  f  L  a  n  d

Honoring My Grandmother | A Social Justice Poem by Shelly Blankman

I sit in the grass by my grandmother’s grave
as I do every year, leave a stone, a Jew’s way
to show respect. I feel our souls touch.

I speak to her, about family events she never saw,
great-grandchildren she never met. I tell her how
much I love her, miss her, and I leave fulfilled.

This year, I tell her I’m sorry she is forgotten…
her pain, her struggles, her terror, her arduous journey,
her American dream destroyed in a cyclone of hate,

where swastikas and slurs swarm like bees, effigies
hang like ornaments, and Nazi chants draw cheers.
This year I mourn for her and for all those like her.

I am sad for those who say get over it.
Wounds have left scabs that are being picked open.
I feel chilled, my spirit broken.

The stone of respect I left behind seems crushed
like the fragile bones of fledglings under
Nazi boots in fresh dirt.

Don’t tell me to move on. Not yet.
Don’t judge, listen.
Don’t tell me you know. Hold my hand.

I want to feel protected. I want to feel safe.
My grandmother sacrificed more than you know
so I could live unafraid. She deserves that.

I do, too.