Social Justice Poetry

resistance poems

The Resistance Will Not Be Livestreamed | A Social Justice Poem by Joshua Factor

You will not be able to remain ambivalent, brother.
You will not be able to drop in, egg on or cop out.
You will not be able to lose sight of who you are and
Sneak out for a bite or two between buffering sessions
Because the resistance will not be livestreamed.

The resistance will not be brought to you by Nordstrom
In 17 parts with limited commercial interference.
The resistance will not show you pictures of an orangutan
Banging on cymbals and leading the charge for equality alongside
A Keebler elf, a general with nowhere left to go and a man with his
Head so far up his rear end, he tries to put people in jail just for being themselves
While they sit in the throne room eating cronuts confiscated from homeless shelters and orphanages.
The resistance will not be livestreamed.

The resistance will not be brought to you by the Dolby theatre
And will not star Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin or Archer and the last man on earth.
The resistance will not give you sex appeal, although it will make you a decent human being.
The resistance will not get rid of all the scum, but it will vanquish most of it.
The resistance will not make you lose weight but it will result in us getting rid of 250 pounds of useless lard.
The resistance will not be livestreamed, sister.

There will be no pictures of you and A-Rod hitting the last homer in a game that’s long since been won
Or trying to slide a hideously disfigured portrait into a stolen limo.
Fox will no longer be able to go around spreading their lies and deceit
Across 78 separate districts.
The resistance will not be livestreamed.

There will be no depictions of how pigs were
Able to get from the sty to the white house.
There will be no depictions of John Lewis hiding
In some back alley from a world that seeks to lift him up.
There will be no abstracts or pointillism of Cornell William Brooks
Sauntering through Charlottesville in a red, white and blue blazer
That he had been saving for a more optimistic occasion.

The Fosters, Blackish and Superior Donuts will no longer be
So damn relevant, and women will not care if Booth finally
Gets down with Brennan on Bones because African Americans
Will once again take to the streets in search of a brighter tomorrow.
The resistance will not be livestreamed.

There will be no recaps on the antiquated boob tube
And no pictures of up-in-arms feminists and Michelle Obama
Speaking out about everything wrong with our society.
The theme song will not be written by Alan Menken
Or Katharine Lee Bates, nor sung by Conway Twitty,
Frank Sinatra Jr., Bob Dylan or Adele, or Led Zeppelin.
The resistance will not be livestreamed.

The resistance will not be right back after some YouTube advertisements
That people always skip if they can about the latest show or movie coming
Out on Netflix or how you can save hundreds by using Groupons.
You will not have to worry about a killer clown stalking you at night
Or being discriminated against due to forces beyond your control.
The resistance will not be better if you leggo of someone’s Eggo.
The resistance will not enable you to get your hands on some Doritos.
The resistance will place you squarely in the cockpit, and leave it up to you to fire the first shot.

The resistance will not make itself scarce on anyone’s account.
The resistance will not build walls but, rather, tear them down.
The resistance will not be livestreamed, will not be livestreamed.
Will not be livestreamed. The resistance will not be syndicated,
My brothers and sisters, and there will be no reruns because
The resistance will be live.

American Rattlesnake | A Social Justice Poem by Anna Kander

“A federal investigation found that deputies had used stun guns on prisoners already strapped into a ‘restraint chair.’ The family of one man who died after being forced into the restraint chair was awarded more than six million dollars… The family of another man killed in the restraint chair got $8.25 million… after the discovery of a surveillance video that showed fourteen guards beating, shocking, and suffocating the prisoner, and after THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE WAS ACCUSED OF DISCARDING EVIDENCE, INCLUDING THE CRUSHED LARYNX OF THE DECEASED.”

(Evidence against former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, pardoned by President Trump on August 25, 2017, as reported by Margaret Talbot in The New Yorker.)


the American rattlesnake is shedding its skin
revealing another layer

sticky with newness and sharp-edged with scales
the same, deathless serpent

brown-on-brown like a Western Diamondback

with each molt, the snake adds a segment to its rattle
sloughing skin into wads of dead keratin

dragging shed skins like history or taken scalps


from 1993–2016, in Maricopa County, Arizona
Sheriff Joe Arpaio reigned

proclaimed his jail a “concentration camp”
in his custody, a hundred men died

on surveillance video, Scott Norberg slurs, dehydrated
barely conscious, strapped to a “restraint chair”

as fourteen police officers
shock, beat, and suffocate him to death

the good ol’ sheriff excused them all
and now the president has pardoned the sheriff

when lawyers started to investigate Scott’s death
the sheriff seized Scott’s body

the evidence of abuse—Scott’s crushed larynx


a larynx, also called a voice box
resembles a rattle segment

pyramidal and hollow
without them, you can’t make a sound


picture them: larynxes
strung like rattles

pieces of victims
clattering after a car like tin cans

someone celebrating
a marriage of evil and convenience

mr. and mr. and mr. complicit:

Joe and Donny
Mitch and Ryan

maybe back to Adam
a circle of snakes

in business suits and fig leaves
paired with red power ties

red, like apples
and slithering on pinstripes

or slipping from breathless bodies
like leather restraints


imagine—me, the serpent

surviving years between meals
you can’t starve me out

horses and cattle know:
you will have to trample me

your voices like rattles

Visit Anna at

Words from the Subject Lines of Emails Received Today | A Social Justice Poem by Tricia Knoll

About the Mother of All Bombs (MOAB)
crime statistics by neighborhood –
working on these still, ever editing
tiny words of resistance recess.

Coming soon the cover-up in Trump’s taxes.
Yes, you can measure white privilege
telling our stories through the storm
to read the natural world.

This safe space, our circle we’re (almost) on,
speaks up for the end. In the beginning,
make polluters pay. Join resilience marches
all across the country.

No white supremacists have birthdays today –
active and more everyday specials.
A right-wing think tank’s letter
to someone living 50 years from now.
What song should we sing?

Psst! We’ve released #Resist with us.

Visit Tricia at

Hypocrisy, or Just a Simple Understanding? | A Social Justice Poem by Tara Lynn Hawk

Break my back
Rape my humane considerations
Barrage my mind with all this “news” that is not news
And it’s all
Just another form of slavery
Hijacking our innate motivation to determine our own conclusions
We know well of your need to keep us all stuffed
Crammed into your crafted paradigm
Emotional selfish poison to digress one’s consciousness
Back to an infant needy state
Push me down with the heel of your eight hundred dollar shoe
Paid for with my sweat equity forced tax “donation”
Stranded on the lower rungs
Threat of humiliation and isolation
Of being a “nobody”
Insignificant even to those of our own blood
Rats in a cage shaped like a shopping mall
We time our days by what we consume
Swapping cabins on the Titanic
I want to grow, expand
Move on, forward, off, away
I love the fog
But the kind of my own creation
Not your mindless misery polluted stew
Wake up

Visit Tara Lynn at

Compass | A Social Justice Poem by Diane Woodward Dorff

sometimes it is best not to raise your eyes
to the horizon to the world above and beyond
and far to the east and west and north and south
sometimes it is best to keep your eyes straight ahead
to your brothers and sisters and all the children
growing up around you

for I cannot travel far
and I am only a symbol a cypher
to those who hold the reins
who grip the steering wheel
but this is my world our world
and I will welcome all
and I will hold on tight