“Gray Shades of Justice” by Gerard Johnson

This week, the Beat continues posting work from writers in the Writers in Baltimore Schools (WBS) program. This work was created at WBS’ Young Writers’ Summer Studio, a six-day writing camp held each year in August. This year, the Beat’s Lisa Snowden-McCray and Brandon Soderberg worked with the students for two of those six days. Some of the work here and much more will be published in WBS’ Writers’ Studio anthology out soon. We began with a piece from WBS founder Patrice Hutton and so far we brought you poems by WBS writers Abigail MokubaJahi HeathChristian Pearson, Kenniah Woodson, and A.H. Berry. Today, we have a poem by Gerard Johnson…

There is only justice for the strong.

Thraysmachus’s proposition still holds.

Justice for black people is often prolonged.

I hope in the future we break this unjust mold.

Socrates and his students talked about justice.

They believed the strong’s interest to be just.

Socrates’s caste system will fester injustice.

They forget that power can lead to the unjust.


In MockingBird justice does not win.

Atticus failed, but is praised as a hero.

An innocent man on death row is a sin.


Shades of Gray Justice

There is only justice for the strong.

Thraysmachus’s proposition still holds.

Justice for black people is often prolonged.

I hope in the future we break this corrupt mold.

Socrates and his students talked about justice.

They believed the strong’s interest to be just.

Socrates’s cast system will fester injustice.

They forget that power can lead to the unjust.


In MockingBird justice does not win.

Atticus failed, but is praised as the best.

An innocent man on death row is a sin.

But a real lawyer for justice is better than the rest

There are still good people left that can beat the powerful,

Justice can be restored from the rubble.


The reason for the title is that justice is gray.


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