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Syndic Literary Journal

Social Justice ∼ 4 Poems by Bob Cooperman


Social Justice/Injustice

4 Poems by Bob Cooperman

Narration by Charles Rammelkamp


A few years ago,

I asked our nephew

what those numbers meant,

supposing a reference to the Bible:

smiting Amalekites, the Song

of Solomon, or burning witches,

in one sacred book or another.


He informed me

it had to do with smoking pot.

Why those particular numbers

he wasn’t sure, something,

he thought, about the time of day

someone in Amsterdam

had once fired up a joint.


A relief, since I’d feared

4:20 referred to Hitler’s birthday:

April 20th, something kids thought cool,

Nazi salutes and goose-stepping—

jokes their idiot parents wouldn’t get.


A woman I knew went into labor

late one April 19th; and ordered

her doctor to perform a Caesarean.


“I will not have my son

born on that monster’s birthday!”

the memory of the numbers

burned into her mother’s arm

still a blue-hot flame,

even while we’d smoked

lotus-dope in carefree college.


A Bar in Bamberg, Germany, 1962

You and Billy Young—

G.I.s from the base—strolled in,

ordered shots, a couple more,

when three white soldiers blocked the way.


“What,” they demanded of you,

“is he doing here?”  Bamberg’s bars

segregated as Alabama’s.


“He’s cool,” you assured them,

“a good friend of mine.”


“Yeah?” the smallest, meanest looking

guy shot back.  “Let him take his cool

black ass where it belongs,” nodding

at his friends, they stomped out.


One more shot apiece

and you tossed bills on the bar

and hoisted your belts to leave.


“They’re waiting with knives,”

the barmaid warned, and you recalled

the black G.I. stabbed in the wrong bar,

a few weeks ago.  She led you

to a back door, down stairs to another

door that opened onto an alley.


You both tried to hand her some bills;

she shook her head and said,


“This is how my father smuggled

Jews out, when I was a little girl. 

I still have nightmares;

I don’t need any more of them.”


Rex Calhoun, Former Class President of Underwood University

Comments on His Blackface  Graduation Photo


I honestly don’t see what the big deal is.

So I wore blackface?  It’s not

like I lynched anyone, or draped

a noose over a limb of the Commons Oak,


under which I used to make out

with Lydia Garfield between classes.


What a sweet piece she was,

even if I had to convince her going all


the way was what she really wanted.

But anyway, blackface?  Really?


I was trying to be funny, but Jeez,

some people just seem hell bent


on reliving the bad old past,

before we had a black president,


who I didn’t vote for

and am damn happy for Trump now,


who knows how to handle things

and doesn’t let shit-hole countries


or sniveling minorities boss us around,

with their whining, “You owe us!”


For what?  Slavery ended,

like, centuries ago.


The Billionaire Arrested at a Massage Parlor

When the cops caught the gook bitch

going at my All Day Sucker,

I thought they’d apologize

as if interrupting Billy Graham

in mid-sermon.  But they let her go! 

And when I demanded,


“Do you know who I am?”


They told me I was under arrest

and threw my silk shirt at me

that cost more than those bozos

make in a month.


“Your boss will hear about this,”

I warned, but they didn’t blink.

“Why are you busting my chops

while treating that illegal whore

like Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush?”

Still not a word, so I tried some sugar,

my voice smooth as aged scotch,

“Can’t we reach an agreement?”

But the bastards slapped the cuffs on.


Once my lawyers start digging,

they’ll find shit to smear these fuckers with

the rest of their lives.  Plus, my security

boys will take care of the flat-chested

broad if she tries to testify against me.


At least my grandkids are too young

to know about massage parlors,

and my ex has gotten her claws into

all the alimony she thinks she deserves,

for, and I quote, “Marrying a scumbag!”

Hey bitch, what does that make you?








Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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