Life Poetry: Justice in Life by Gary R. Hess – A Slam Poem

This poem is about life. It follows a man who grew up poor, was molested, and went through life trying to do the best he can given the opportunities he was given. This poem isn’t a happy poem. It is the reality. It is the reality we all live in and we all choose to ignore. We ignore these sad facets of life because it helps us make it through the day without breaking down into tears and asking God, “Why is life so cruel?” God wouldn’t answer, but if he would he’d say, “Life is cruel because there’s no justice on Earth.”


I knew a man who grew up poor
in a small town in rural America.
His parents worked hard and provided
but they still struggled.
This man was molested when he was little
and harassed while at school.
He walked through life with his head down,
his shoulders curled,
and a frown upon his lips.

No one knew his hardships.
No one knew what he faced.
And when he arrived to adulthood
he was called lazy
all because he, too, was poor.
Working two jobs and odd jobs
he struggled.
Making near minimum wage
in a city is hell.
Living his life, he thought, was hell.
And when he finally thought
he got his break,
got his girl,
and got his life settled
he became ill.

You see, when you’re in America
and don’t have money,
paying bills is a struggle,
living is a struggle,
and even dying, too, is a struggle.

He died three months later
in a small house
in a small town
surrounded by no one.
Not even me.

Gary R. Hess

Gary was born and raised on a small farm in rural Kansas. Today, he is teaching various nationalities English in Southeast Asia. Get his newest poetry eBook here.

Leave a Reply