3 social justice poems by Samantha Terrell

Advocacy

What happens when all the advocates are gone, and those who profit
Unknowingly from battles fought by others, must learn to cope
Without
The hope

Of realizing change? Then,
The ones whom martyrdom didn’t spare,
Will no longer be enslaved by the victims
Who took for granted their wares

And the rest will be left
Questioning their fates.
But those who sought their downfall, while victorious,
Will find the only game they won was hate.

Who We Are

We are the terrorists,
Who condone the murders of
Innocent children on their school buses, or
Lock them away from parents and loved ones,
Giving them a foil-blanket
Substitute for comfort.

We are the unreasonable,
Who close off
Our safe harbors—
The same ones our ancestors
Were offered—
From others.

We are the presumptuous,
Supposing the world
Will keep giving to us
Without repercussions
For our actions, while we
Continue our greedy consumption.

This is what it means
To be American,
In the land who shot the man
Who said, “We shall overcome!”
So, if this is who we are,
Who, then, shall we become?

Hurry up, Justice!

Hurry up, Justice! Haven’t you tarried long enough?
Masses wait in silence,
Or rage, or somewhere in-between
And still you taunt us with your absence.
Still, you mock us with your lingering, looming sense,
Withheld from our grasp.

But, you were never ours to hold.
So we push and prod to no avail.
We pray and
Wait
For you to prevail.
But Justice,
We’ve heard your arc is long.
We beg your Narrator to keep us strong.

Find Samantha at @honestypoetry

My book “Vision, and Other Things We Hide From” is due out from Potter’s Grove Press on March 9 th

Samantha is a widely published American poet whose work emphasizes issues of social justice and emotional integrity. Her collection “Vision, and Other Things We Hide From” is forthcoming from Potter’s Grove Press. Samantha and her family reside in Upstate New York, where they enjoy kayaking on still waters.

Featured photo by Gayatri Malhotra


2 New Poems by Elizabeth Castillo : New Start & Black Dolls for Christmas

New Start

In all my languages, I have found there is no word for you. Although most vowels are the same, no matter where they sit on your tongue,
and life goes on, I’ve noticed, and tries to drag one along with it. But my bags are not packed. This time I do not travel light, or alone.

You’re mistaken if you think I’ve folded all this up neatly behind me.
You’re an idiot if you think I don’t know your twitter feed by heart.

I want to be like that crab that builds itself from bits of detritus- that decorates its shell with rubble from the sea floor. To feel and not feel, and breathe while underwater, to be a hundred people, a hundred creatures, and not be anyone at all. 

Who said that healing from mishap and mischief is linear? Who gets to decide the shape of my bruises but me? 

Such a tiny thing! Such small, such humdrum hours- all rolled up together into a quiet avalanche. Like a leech, I can’t shake this nuisance from my ankle, beneath each stone, battalions of fire ants advance. If I can’t carry this on board, I will sew it to my ribcage: (I’d like to see them try and prise it off me then!) Dawn is just the start of another day, when the
aircraft shudders, then dips, then plunges into the horizon. Down below, in the cargo hold, I’ve packed most of myself safely away.

You’re deluded if you think I’m not taking you with me. You’re a fool if you think I’m ever leaving this alone.

Black dolls for Christmas

A pair of black dolls sit under the tree,
waiting for my girls,
with a gripe about how hard they were to find.
And this is veal. Do you know veal?
Oh look! Another book,
Collected short stories from West Africa.
And… is that… a pot of shea butter?
Oh no, false alarm. It’s body cream.
A fruit-based concoction of some kind.
Smells like that pineapple I’ve been asked to carve.

They mean well, his family,

(although their ancestors didn’t.)

It’s the thought that counts
What thought was that exactly?

(I know what their ancestors thought.)

They don’t mean anything by it,
they want you to feel at home.

Home, my home?

(I thought they’d taken my home.)

In the lift, I nudge, and nod towards them,
the mixed-race couple, she- brown, he- white.
He- a tourist, she- a local delight.
“Do you see us?” I ask. You shake your head
and pull me close. I believe you.
But this is what they all see.

They mean well, these people,

when they called me bold. Exotic. “Audace!”
When their eyes snap to you for confirmation
as if you speak for both of us.
They mean well, these people,
with their books and black dolls
and explanations, and pineapples.

They mean well, these people,
But their ancestors didn’t.

Elizabeth M Castillo is a British-Mauritian poet, writer and language teacher. She lives in Paris with her family and two cats. When not writing poetry, she can be found working on her podcast or webcomic, pottering about her garden, or writing a variety of different things under a variety of pen names. She has words in, or upcoming in Selcouth Station Press, Pollux Journal, Authylem Magazine, and Tuna Fish Journal, among others. 

photo by Elian Jushari on Unsplash.com