poetry

The Other Side. {poetry}

 

I used to be a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Male
Heterosexual, a cop, an ordained minister
A pillar of the community, representing Character, Strength, and Integrity
Yeah, that was me

I didn’t know I had it so good.
Because, you see
Heterosexual Protestant White Men have a lot of power
and that power, I believe, is based upon credibility

It seems that White Men always tell the truth, right?
Has a White Man ever lied to you?

White Men have built a deception based on the perception of
Integrity… Loyalty… and Honor…
White Men endure storms of ridicule and hate
because they insulate themselves with
glass ceilings
thin blue lines
gated communities
iron curtains
and circles of fear

These kinds of White Guys
these short-haired, straight, conservative, prosperous
athletic, competitive, Type-A’s
Who preach traditional values
conservative agendas
military strength
laissez-faire economics…

All the things that put them on top
and you on the bottom
And if you’re not like them
they’ll fuck you…

I know this…
I used to be on the Other Side

The Other Side of the glass ceiling
I used to walk the thin blue line
Yes, they sing songs of camaraderie
They pay homage to brotherhood and loyalty
But let me tell you
the mortar that sticks those bricks together
stinks of shit…

Because White Men play a hellish game
mutually indebted in shame
With the shit they get on each other
they build walls of silence
and behind those walls they screw people
They cheat on their wives
And when things get really out of hand
they’ll rape the effeminate guy
And they will still call you
A fag

I know this…
I used to be on the Other Side

Where I saw the lies and the way they sell their souls for power
And now I know that homophobia, racism
prejudice, and discrimination are not just words
I know that discrimination is alive and well in our nation
I know that prejudice and fear hold hands
And I know that White Men don’t really want to meet you on the level
within reach of the mask
because they fear exposure to the truth
They are Equal
Not superior to you and me

And now I know how much it hurts to tell the truth with resonant sincerity
only to see that they won’t believe me
because I am outside their walls with everyone else
where I heard a Black Man say
“Welcome to the real world.”

And now I can see how we can be denied the commodity of opportunity
because we lack credibility in the eyes
of these select White Guys

I know this…
I used to be on the Other Side.

***

Paula Sophia retired from the Oklahoma City Police Department in 2014 after 22 years of service. She was the agency’s first openly transgender police officer. She is also a defrocked Episcopal Deacon, an activist, a writer, a teacher, and a friend. She published a novel, Shadowboxer, with Etopia Press in 2011, and Snap Judgment featured a spoken word story, Tough as Nails, in 2012. Her work has appeared in various literary journals and web-zines, including The Molotov Cocktail, Red Fez, Bicycle Review, The Legendary, and many others.

***

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