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“Power and Control”: A Poem

By Colton Jonna Manley


I am without my body, but a soul. 

How could they ever know, 

The fate that lays beneath my skin.

It leaves me ill, trapped with its intent. 

For I know the plans they make for me, 

But I have created my own reality. 

A soul grown to a sun, producing the world’s energy. 

To be, left behind in the mold of the society, 

I have become one with my strength, my love, my softness, my creativity. 

On my own. 

I am one with my body and my soul, 

Letting them know, 

I am strong despite being bound to power and control. 




“Power and Control” is a short poem, about how my intersecting identities, being black, being trans and queer, being lower class; our society has been molded to set it so that I belong nowhere. So those odds may be turned against me. However, I am resilient, I am strong, and soft. I must move so that I can defy the odds, and become who I want to be, and walk through life challenging those obstacles to make a seat at the table for me. Learning to be real and vulnerable with these emotions and feelings, and experiences because I am human and there are so many more like me. The identities I carry are important, but I wont allow them to dismantle what I want in life, and what I want from life. There is so much more I could go on about how this piece, though short, has so much more attached to it, but I will run out of characters!

When I was younger, I faced many aspects of adversity, as I said before. Of course it made this world difficult to navigate. I was given the opportunity to express myself through creative means, by my grandpa Frank as a kid. He saw my struggles, and he wanted to make sure I grew with intention, and love, and a way to relieve my anguish. My grandpa started buying sketchbooks and showing me paintings his daughter did when she was a kid. I was very fascinated by all of it and that began a long journey to discovering I love being creative, it was where I started to find my voice in something. As I got older, I wanted that to be a career for me, not sure in what field, but something creative. I learned how to paint, do wood burning, draw with all types of materials, play guitar, and now as an adult I have been honing in on the skill of tattoo artistry. Being an artist is what gives me a voice, and a purpose. For that I am ever so grateful!




Colton Jonna Manley (he/him) is a current Ally at Public Allies Indianapolis.

This piece is part of Public Allies’ campaign to highlight Black voices in our network in honor of Black History Month.