2 Social Justice poems by David L O’Nan (Archaic Motorcycle Breath and Like Bullets From the Cowboys)

Justin Bernatek (unsplash)

Archaic Motorcycle Breath
The whistles of brakes
Now here comes the burning oil
The grinding petals to the street
Polluted with archaic motorcycle breath.
Across the bridges
They spread disease in the ripples of the river
The script flips
Over that mountaintop
When freedom is disrobed of crimson dress.
Let’s believe in the burning of the privileges
To the disease of a racism mentality
Blowing up the baby boomer birthday party
Around the curve,
The flames eat through the winds of malice.
How to become one? When?
When reduced to living behind the fence
Cannot see, cannot breathe
In the flesh that should feel free
But the enemies are loud
And they assassinate without hesitation
Living in fears –
That feeds the dictator’s stomach.
No one is here for your entertainment purposes only
And no one under this sky
Was put here to feel less than human
So hard to fly within the radar

When the sunlight dies –
You cannot tame the bird to go hide in the nest.
Never a prisoner
Never a suit
Never a believer (in the power of the badge)
Mixed in the blood of your boots (in your fairytale dream)
The skeletons show from the closets –
When you think all your bones are hidden.
Will it all come out in the wash?
With help from black robes on blue-lit streets
The skyline begins to burn like paper
A new revolution bubbles out from the crisping seas.
The chariot to heaven –
Doesn’t include stops to hide in the tunnels.
When your name is called
Remember those whom you’ve made suffer
When your name is called
Your lips won’t rest in the quakes and quiver.
But love will come from the ashes
But equality will come from the ashes
But the truth will come from the ashes
Honor will be
Humanity will be
And the American eagle coins meltdown like rain
And monetary status becomes irrelevant

Like Bullets From the Cowboys
I’m burning inside
I’m caving in
The laughter heard as they stole my mind
You want the skin to be the demons
I can’t escape the hills of your bones
I’ve lain in the flood, in all of the blood
Like bullets from the cowboys.
The angels want more resistance
The breath they want,
And the breath they will take.
That speed through the body faster than the viruses.
Hidden in the badges, the hood, or the graveyards
Like bullets from the cowboys.
In the rapture, they trap in and capture – the Christ
In cave walls or tiny mansions
They white-out biblical passages
Replaced with Americana ink
The idolatry gospel spouts –
From the mouths of the wicked
And they still like to play cowboys.
The outlaws in Mercedes
Papas in rough trucks
Mamas painting hate over the tracks
Loose trails that lead to the next shell casing
Bullets from the cowboys
Or infantile swimmers stuck in the mind of a Civil War Newspaper.

The Plague never left.

Wolfpack Contributor EIC Bios: David L O’Nan & HilLesha O’Nan

3 social justice poems by Samantha Terrell : “Advocacy” “Who We Are” & “Hurry Up Justice”


What happens when all the advocates are gone, and those who profit
Unknowingly from battles fought by others, must learn to cope
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
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