Justice?
William Stapleton

 In round and lofty tones we speak
so broad of social justice, never knowing
we are not just, or for that matter,
very social, save it serves to break
with momentary deprecated glowing,
the self-absorbed, insipid theme; the daily patter
of life, stuffed full of everything we need and want,
except meaning.

Bodies painted permanent, identity we seek
pierced through with many sorrow, always showing
individuality, outward face of confidence – groupthink at its best –
we memorize the slogans, ready-made cause, without critique
whether from our own empty-hearted guilt or owing
to some darker mood, the poor become a medal on my chest
a jewel in my crown of privilege, an undeniable sign
of my entitlement.

Who is the one controls these things:
This poverty, oppression, lack, of which we speak
to each other in such grave and condescending words?
Is it He or we: Thee or me, colludes, conspires and wrings
the life-blood from these children whose names exist in chalk
on broken concrete for easy erasing?  Perhaps we, the lords
of industry have trumped, for our own convenience, the justice
due these slaves.

Serial killer does his deed, then takes a place
inside investigation of his crime.
He points the finger, rises above, then fades
into the background; awaits the chance again to chase
and find, and kill to satisfy his soul-sick addiction.
And we, with faces unabashed, raise wealth and tout the cry
- social justice is our lie -  to salve the burning, broken
life’s affliction.           

Just as searching for God is cool, but finding Him is not,
the quest for justice is a noble cause.


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Justice? by William Stapleton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.