Social Justice Poetry

women’s rights

No Longer Silent | A Social Justice Poem by Peggy Turnbull

We converge in a large room
to honor literature
and those who write it.

Most of us are white.
Most of us are women.
Most of us wear glasses.

Margaret Atwood reminds us
that if today’s government
were truly theocratic
most of us would be at home tonight.

We would not read novels.
We would not read,
would not have been taught

Looking at each other,
women of many sizes
and ages, we realize
that here is a rebellion
that suits us. To read
is to resist patriarchy.
And to write, even more so.

In this gathering,
I take the silent vow
of the insurgent:
to never again
feel shame about splashing
my life and thoughts upon the page,
to push past the boundaries
I find that shut off subjects
or voices from me.
I will resist the desire
to stay safe behind them.

Remember the young men,
painfully thin, despised,
purple lesions a pink triangle
of perceived transgression,
how they wrote poems
about their short lives
and left voices that still speak?

From now on, that is me.
Brave in intimacy with pen
and screen. Fearless
about what others think
of me. Ready to spit,
to surge, to erupt
with words.

Visit Peggy at https://peggyturnbull.blogspot.com/.

Before Roe v. Wade | A Social Justice Poem by Marsha Owens

I didn’t know the girl
raped by her uncle, the one
who told her dirty jokes,
the neighbor women whispered
poor girl, eleven, disappeared,
gone to ‘the home.’

I knew about The Home out on
the highway for girls who got
themselves pregnant,
as though they caught
a disease because they
didn’t wear a jacket.

I didn’t know the girl
on the sidewalk downtown,
her head lifted to catch
moving air in the wrinkles
of her shiny black neck, road tar melting
in hot July, baby
in her 14-year-old belly.

I didn’t know. I stuffed my white
gloves into my pocket, went back
to my whiter-than-white neighborhood.
hung my white blouse in the closet,
coat hangers jangling
their impatience like little girls who
just want to play outside.