Social Justice Poetry

Joan Leotta

Standing at the Edge of the World | A Social Justice Poem by Joan Leotta

I stand at the edge of the world.
You may think the world is round:
“What comes around, goes around.”
But in these last days, sinkholes
of horror have opened up.
High tides, high winds
fill the hole
until water spills out
racing across empty spaces
in my heart,
rolling across my flat, flat earth
stopping just before the fires,
just before spilling over the edge
where I stand, sweating in the
heat of the flames.
Other winds whip up the fire
exploding sparks that devour
greenery, turning air into hellish heat.
Flames race to where the water stops
threatening to dry up what hides in
those black holes.
Earth shakes with anger
at their efforts
spewing lava as argument.
How long will it stay
together? If it were round
it would burst apart
So I remain, alone
wondering if
all is truly flat while
listening to the wind
whose bluster tells me
he is sure that he,
alone, is in command.

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Do Not Spread My Ashes Yet | A Social Justice Poem by Joan Leotta

You cannot spread my ashes yet,
No, do not plan to spread them.
I am not yet dead, crushed, gone.
You may want to tie me to the stake
as you did my namesake, Joan,
bury heart, stomp ashes into ground.
Yes, I am sad now for choices made
But, hear me, I will work
To protect those left bereft.
I am not inactive.
I am not at rest.
I am working, working, working.
I will not give up
My vision of America
I will not give in
to hate, so
do not make plans to
scatter my ashes yet.
The principles
of our democracy
have been set aflame.
I will douse the flames of hate,
not fighting fire with fire,
but with a blanket
of good works.
Yes, they might come
For me, after all, I am olive
skinned and of
independent mind.
But, I shout, do not plan to
scatter my ashes yet
for I am still alive –
and fighting.

Old News | A Social Justice Poem by Joan Leotta

Tonight’s the debate –
a news event?
My mind instead will take a rest,
concentrating on the good, the best
of what I’ve
seen and heard
over weeks past
bits of news
stuck in my mind
of people trying to be kind.
This old news is
what I hope will repeat
in weeks, months,
in future years –
rescues from wrecked
cars, earthquakes, floods
I hope these bits of old,
accumulated goodness
will overtop the rocky
shore of acrimony
in a tidal wave of love.

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