Social Justice Poetry

lack of empathy poems

LORCA | A Social Justice Poem by Stefanie Bennett

Not even the dream hand
Unknots you. I stretched it out
Never to placate you but
Take the wanton aback.

In your blind state… blind
Of a different kind
I fingered nose, eyes, mouth
And the ear’s sounding tribunal.

Your heart I felt. I wanted
Its telling above others.
The roar it gave forth – worse
Than any air-raid. The manning of guns.

I surmised the pulse of your being
Should be aligned with hollyhocks.
I surmised
A free flighted bird.
I surmised
Storm clouds parted –

But there, on your brow
Something painted
A peal of bells
Where your mind struck five times

Not hours spent, never the dream hand,
Neither my grace or its own
Beguiled wretchedness could impede
What was, or isn’t, there.

Survival of the Fittest | A Social Justice Poem by Guy Farmer

It was done to me,
So I’m going to
Do it to others.
I didn’t have it easy,
I had to fight for
Everything I’ve got.
I pulled myself up
By the bootstraps,
I shouldn’t have to
Support anyone else,
They’re all lazy,
I’m hard working,
They don’t deserve
Success like I do.
Let them shrivel
On the vine if they
Can’t figure it out,
It’s survival of
The fittest.

Redistribution | A Social Justice Poem by Guy Farmer

One guy fumes at
Giving his hard-earned money
To people who don’t deserve it,
Freeloaders leeching off the system.
He calls it an unfair
Downward redistribution of wealth,
Rewarding slackers instead of
Individuals who work hard.

Another guy considers
That you can’t create an equitable
Society out of people who are
Only looking out for themselves,
Where wealth is
Exclusively channeled upward
Instead of apportioned
For the common good.

Blue | A Social Justice Poem by Anna Kander

Ladies and gentlemen, place your bets!

Blue-chip companies take their name from the color of the highest-valued chips at poker tables on October 28, 1929.

(we’re reliable, all-American, safe)

Then comes October 29, 1929: the day the stock markets crash.

Then comes October 30, 2009: me, new to a minimum-wage custodial crew, learning that the most important thing, when you clean the headquarters of a multibillion-dollar corporation, is the executive washroom.

The questions are not: Are floors swept? Are counters and toilets clean?

The real questions are: Is the trash empty, even if there were only three paper towels in the bin?

(they don’t want to see trash)

Did you wipe away any fingerprints left when you opened the shiny chrome stall doors?

(they want you to be invisible)

And, is the water in the toilet bowl a reassuring, disinfectant-blue?

No? We’ve no time. They don’t pay us enough to stay any longer. Night janitors got to hustle to the next job.

Just spritz some blue in there, let’s go.

(they don’t want to see)

(they’ll never know)

Visit Anna at

Civility | A Social Justice Poem by Guy Farmer

Corrosive obsession with
Maximizing profits.
Feverishly channeling
Rivers of money to
Investors –
Private equity firms –
Executive bonuses,
Rather than
Supporting employees
Who will then have money
To spend and help
The economy prosper,
Or provide value to
Consumers who will be
More loyal and make the
Company more successful.
Scream communism when
The words fairness or
Sharing are mentioned,
Though they aren’t
Political terms,
Just basic civility,
Treating hard-working
People with respect and
Giving customers an
Honest deal.