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Syndic Literary Journal


Social Justice ~ 4 Poems

By Gordon A. Gilbert, Jr.

Her Black Reality

Mornings she rises
Full of hope again
As she makes their breakfast
Sends them off to school
Daydreams she will live
To see them rise above
The place her life has led her to
The place she only occupies
By constant toil and struggle
All of it to bring them up
Give them a chance
At the American dream
She never has achieved herself
Though not for lack of trying
But always in dark recesses
The nightmare lurks
The awful possibility
She may outlive her sons


To Those Whose Task It Is
To Protect and Serve

we as a community
appreciate your service
and want you to protect us,
please be advised:

It will no longer be permitted
to assume the worst
and act upon that premise!

No permission granted
to shoot first and ask questions later.
Frontier justice cannot pass for law and order!
From now on it will be called what in fact it is:

No longer will it be enough to say
“I feared for my life!”
when there was no cause to be afraid,
the use of deadly force no longer excused
when the victim was unarmed,
not justified because
“I thought I saw him/her
Reach down or to the waist
Or make a sudden move
As though to draw a gun.”

No longer will it be allowed
to answer a thrown rock
with bullets.

No longer will it be allowed
to answer a pulled knife
with bullets,
unless that knife is close enough
to cut you.

From now on,
all that’s out!
You will be expected
to stop
regarding those you serve
as criminals.

If you signed up to be a cop,
it’s to serve and protect.
You’ll have to stop
thinking like a gunslinger,
thinking kill or be killed,
thinking it’s a war out there,
thinking civilian casualties
are justifiable
collateral damage.

You must not kill
when there are other options.
You’ll have to
start thinking like a firefighter,
ready to lay down your life
to save others,
not so afraid of dying
that you kill.

If you want to fight,
join the military.
Face a real enemy
who really wants to kill you
and get out of the police force!


Why Are We Not Surprised?

Have robbers ever helped them out,
The ones from whom they steal?
Why, yes they do, and when they do,
We call it charity.

For which we heap upon these thieves
All kinds of public praise,
So even the most evil men
Can pass for good these days.

Even vultures want for some
To live while others die.
Some dead right now to feed upon,
The rest, eat by and by.

Ungracious robbed, ungrateful dead,
So self-absorbed with their own plight!
So undeserving of good will,
And such a sorry sight!

Put them back in harness,
And put them through their paces.
Run them hard until they drop,
And place bets on the races!

Evil men go blameless,
While those whose homes and lives were took
Are soon forgot and soon forsook,
Anonymous and nameless.

So robber barons’ hallowed names
Grace all our public places,
And monuments are raised to them
In all our public spaces.

Why are we not surprised? Indeed,
A dog bays at the moon,
And we are told that we must dance
While the fiddler calls the tune


Wonderland, Reopening Soon

Desperate streets now gentrified,
The young and new and well-to-do
Take their seats as we lose ours,
And everyone must move,
Just like poor Alice.

This tea party has been hijacked,
Bought up and sold out by March Hares,
Sleepy Dormice and Mad Hatters,
Crazy as ever, but (sub rosa) a new agenda.

All shadows and smoke,
A Cheshire Cat that hides behind its smile,
Projected holograms.
Alice saw through it, why don’t you?
It’s all a pack of cards! A pack of lies!

Let this be a prelude to
A revolution soon to come!
Take another mushroom bite,
Grow large again, and scatter them!
These queens and kings and jacks and knaves
And all their numbered servants!

Hold the deck within your own great hands
And cut the cards, declaring a New Deal!
Shake up this universe, this rigid hierarchy
Of values arbitrarily assigned.
Make deuces wild? That’s not enough!
In the end, it’s still the same old game,
Just someone new and different at the top.
Better to declare all cards to be of equal worth,
No card more valuable than any other.
Ah, now that’s a game we all can play!

Look around distrustfully,
And hesitate to sip the tea,
And never drink the kool-aid!
Even musical chairs, unsettled seats,
Sheer lunacy to untrained eyes,
Unveiled, betray beneath a subtle hand,
Crazy as a fox!

Fear the Great Oz! they cry,
Don’t look behind the curtain!
Pay no attention to the little man!
Dorothy knew better:
We’re not in Kansas any more.
Do something! Dorothy did.

Like the good witch said:
She always could, and so can we!
It has always been within our power,
And now it is our time!
We must take back what always has been ours!
Let’s go back home.



Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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