This Is Not A Power Play by Janna Grace

My white upper middle-class male professor told me no one is interested 
in reading poetry about male/female power 

He shook his head over my past
like a sad sheepdog
and said I should really try 
to stick to nature and “moments of quiet.”

I smiled, marked a moment
and left.

Another time, with a beer, I said I wanted a room
of my own,
that maybe that would help me get it all
and he straightened, slid his glasses to his eyes so he could focus,
this pub room teaching moment.
Didn’t I know that so many men have been poor 
and written hundreds of masterpieces 

by the time they were my age?
No one at the table said a word when he listed several
long dead white men.

Maybe it’s because his moments of quiet are filled with ripened plums and speckled birds, soft seascapes and giant billowing clouds that might marinate in an afternoon’s reflection on being a poor father figure or son…

Maybe it’s because his moments aren’t daring not to breathe because a man might hear him on the other side of a bathroom door, or maybe it’s because his aren’t in the pause after another he finishes up and says, “if you didn’t want it why did you wear a dress?” Or, maybe his have never popped with the small bubbles of spittle that slide down his chin when another he releases hold of his throat.

No, you’re right. If I want to be read and maybe win a big man’s award
maybe I should just stick to nature and those sweet, sweet moments
I hear about silence.

A moment I am throwing away is that upper middle-class white men are not interested
in male/female power 
That’s trite man
and I’ll take out my moments
with the trash if I want to.

Because I know that every poem you make us read from your bespectacled brethren
and of your own perfect moments
tell us the gray that gently tinges your hair is from time, 
not trauma.

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