Social Justice Poetry

state sanctioned violence poems

A Familiar Truth | A Social Justice Poem by Gil Hoy

For so long as the NRA
controls Congress

With its pumping

Mutant
Pecuniary
Poison
Lifeblood

Corrupting souls
Buying silence

Innocents will
continue to die

From high-powered
Weapons of War

Bought in America
like a bag of groceries
from a grocery store

While Wayne LaPierre
Scribbles his want list
for Republican

Bought and sold
baby-kissers counting
their bankroll gore.

If Congress had lead balls
in its hearts, brains
pelves

If images of dead
school children grew
so palpable, so intimate

That their fever
opened a passageway

To eternity and back
Would the madness
Stop then?

Would lone wolves
Still sing their rancid
Noteless songs

A Witch’s Brew of shrill
staccato tempo

Tentwentythirtyfortyfifty
Pigeons intheblinkofaneye

That numbed ears
don’t see anymore

That tastes forgotten
and too familiar
anyway.

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.

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,

rattling,
nose snorting,
choking almost guttural–
like food stuck in your
windpipe
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
anymore.

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.

I Had a Nightmare Last Night | A Social Justice Poem by Gil Hoy

I had a nightmare last night,
A nightmare deeply rooted
in an American nightmare.

Where churches and schools,
theaters and city streets
were dying.

Where military weapons
were firing into unsuspecting
innocent crowds

Tentwentythirtyfortyfifty
pigeons intheblinkofaneye.

I awoke in a terrified sweat
as bleeding children wailed
and cried and screamed.

While those to protect us tasked
slept soundly in their beds.

A nightmare deeply rooted
in an American nightmare,

I had a nightmare last night.