| words that get in your teeth

Just Is by Daniel García Ordaz

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It’s not enough to rename a street
Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.
What we want is for government to cease its regard
For a system of justice that’s blind to injustice:
Blatantly biased—based on class, rank, and status—
Unabashedly obsessed with the names of one’s kin
Perpetually fixated on the color of one’s skin
Instead of focusing on fixing a broken system
That brokers a guaranteed win for the people within
Its circle of acceptance—
Where fortune favors not those who are bold
But those who are brazen enough to bow like lapdogs before old
Monuments to past lapses of leadership,
Dedicated to drive the different among us out
To face the cold, hard realization
That ours is not a nation
Of the people, for the people, and by the people,
That the Gettysburg dead may’ve indeed died in vain
Used to fight to preserve not ostensible freedoms
But to fight anyone with the nerve to redeem ‘em,
Made to fight to protect a new form of reign
That feigns liberation while built to detain.

Daniel García Ordaz is the author of Cenzontle/Mockingbird: Songs of Empowerment and You Know What I’m Sayin’?. He teaches English at La Joya Early College High School in the borderlands of deep S. Texas. Social media: @poetmariachi (Twitter/Instagram/Facebook)

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