Social Justice Poetry

Shelly Blankman

The Affair | A Social Justice Poem by Shelly Blankman

You’re in bed with the NRA,
shades drawn, door locked,
no one can hear, no one can see,
but we all know it’s lust that drives you.

Dollar signs glow like gold as you gaze
in their eyes, entangled in covers, flushed
in their web of deceit, blinded with promises
of cash with your tricks.

Your web spreads past the walls of your
tryst, where schoolkids are killed
while you’re getting paid and dams of tears
burst while you seal the deal.
Blasts of gunfire by the mentally ill
still ring out like some sick New Year’s
welcome as you toast your new flame
with wine the color of blood.

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.

In the Bathroom Mirror | A Social Justice Poem by Shelly Blankman

She traces her lips with
the precision of Picasso,

strokes her silky brown
hair, carefully tucking stray
strands behind her ears,

smoothes her new pink
dress and matching heels
that hurt like hell.

She pretends not to notice
the giggles and gasps.
she’s heard them before.

She’s seen mothers hurry
their little girls to flush
and wash; they must
escape the danger in a
dress lurking in the mirror.

The bathroom door shuts
slowly behind her, laughter
leaks into the aisles and replays
the acoustical nightmare of
playground taunts and pranks
that seem to have no end.

Her mirror reflected the person
she was born to be, her truth,

they don’t know danger doesn’t lurk
in a pink dress with matching shoes.

Danger lurks in the broken
brains of average men
who feed on fragile egos
of little girls in pretty dresses.