Social Justice Poetry

Tricia Knoll

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.

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Nevertheless, She Persisted | A Social Justice Poem by Tricia Knoll

Rosa, Malala, Coretta, Michelle, Winona, Angela
saw the barriers, jumped the hurdles or stood in front of them
saying I’m not jumping any more. I’m standing here, a woman,

who learned from my mother and her mother and her mother before her
that to persist is the same as resist. To go the long way, to step up and out, go high where they go low. I’m standing here, a woman,

to say the words I must say.

Walled Off | A Social Justice Poem by Tricia Knoll

Chips of the Berlin Wall in my drawer,
spray-painted blue and pink, pieces come
home. One side of that wall named shame,
the other anti-fascist protective –
concrete come down
with sledge blows, muscles,
earth movers.

The year the Mexico border
wall comes down, run
the marathon over
the World Trade Bridge,
one Laredo to the other.
Of the rusted metal
make church keys
and bicycles.
Cross the big river’s flow
of history,
freedom and perhaps

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The Night I Didn’t Stand Up | A Social Justice Poem by Tricia Knoll

That rock concert in New Haven, Connecticut took me by surprise
and why – the national anthem and the crowd was ready,
as one the many stood and hooted for the band.

I didn’t, a white girl whose knees knocked and never thought
of kneeling. Short of breath under the video of carpet bombing
of Cambodia, over the top, over the edge saturation
killing in Cambodia. And this was my country ’tis of thee

I sat in protest. Forty years later the black man kneeled
in more courage than I had in a pot-smoke crowd.
I ducked when some guy yelled I should stand
but there are times when you can’t, when the wrong

is too great, and the great isn’t great enough. So when
Judge Ruth says it’s wrong not to stand but not illegal
I know it can be right and the only thing you can do,
and perhaps it’s better to let wrong drive you to your knees

than sit like a numb ass.

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