Category: Poems & Creative Writing

Should I Invite You to My Graduation?

By Steven Turner-Parker

For a second, the car was completely quiet. We were heading back to UMass, swerving on those darkly-lit backroads, when I thought to myself, “wow, this is the first time my dad has ever done anything for me.”

It was a surreal moment that I never thought would happen. But as that realization hit, I found myself shedding a few tears in the front seat, thinking about how my biological father was actually being a dad for once.

This moment didn’t just fall into my hands magically. I actually worked on reconnecting with my father’s side of my family for awhile. But it all started with my intention of never seeing his face again. He hadn’t been there for me growing up and I had no reason to include him in life. Or so I thought…

It wasn’t until I heard Hov (better known as Jay-Z) talk about his situation with his dad, that I started to rethink my own relationship with my father. In his short documentary, “Footnotes of ‘Adnis’,” inspired by his 2017 album 4:44, Hov said:

“What happened to you…what happened? I start thinking about [when] my uncle got killed it put my dad in this weird place. He went through depression and he started to use drugs and it became this slippery slope. He couldn’t face his children at some point. It wasn’t that he was leaving, it was ‘ooh I’m embarrassed now, I’m not even myself anymore.’ And that was [our] separation.”

In his words, Hov was saying that your parents are people too. They make mistakes, faces challenges and fall into situations that affect not only their relationship with their child, but with life in general. It was a message that resonated with me.

The last couple of years I’ve begun to forgive my father for not being there for me when I needed him the most. Now, as I get closer to the next chapter of my life, I do want to build some kind of father-son relationship with him. But since he’s just now coming back into my world, does that mean he gets to come to my college graduation?  

It’s a question I find myself asking more and more as the days pass and the end of my undergraduate career approaches. I’m just not sure whether I can let him in fully.

Should I let him be a part of my greatest achievement when he wasn’t there to watch my back during my toughest times: dealing with gangs, friends dying around me, navigating a drug infested community filled with too many bad influences and stray bullets with no names. All of those experiences I survived without him.

He wasn’t there for the bad parts but he certainly wasn’t there for the good moments either. I remember the smell of the fresh hardwood floor on the basketball court, wiping the sweat out of my eyes while I watched other fathers giving their sons love for having a great game. I sat with a few kids on a cold silver bleacher near the sideline, thinking about what it would be like to have those moments with my dad.

But I was lucky enough to have an amazing mother who would go to the moon and back just to see me be successful. I was privileged in that way, because some of the other kids on that bleacher didn’t even have that much. But, in my heart, I still wanted my dad to be there.

Now, sitting in the car staring up at the stars as they light up the black western Massachusetts sky, I suddenly heard Vybz Kartel come out the stereo. I looked back at my dad with my eyebrows high and a smirk saying, “Steve, this is the music you be listening to?” He smiled back and replied,“Yea this what I would listen to!”

This surprised me for two reasons: the first being that Vybz Kartel’s music is usually played by younger people at parties or during the ride to the party, so I genuinely wasn’t expecting my dad to be listening to him.

The second reason was that music, specifically hip hop and dancehall, have had a huge influence on me. Making the connection that my dad and I had similar taste in music was a big deal. It made me start to think if we had other things in common that might explain why I act the way I do.

It’s a thought that honestly scares me—just knowing that I have links to my identity connected to my father without even knowing it until now. I grew up feeling so much resentment towards this man that I honestly thought it would last forever. But, having him around the past three years, I find myself going back to being that kid on the bleacher hoping for a relationship with my father again.

Pulling into the Southwest horseshoe, looking up at the towers, my mind was racing about what I should say to him as I got out of the car and entered into a whole different reality from the one back home. I stepped out with a heavy heart and my body fueled with all types of burning emotions that I had to come to grips with in seconds.

All those years of hate I had for him slowly faded away by the end of that car ride. Instead, when I looked him in the eyes as we said our goodbyes and reached out for a handshake, I simply said: “thank you, Steve, for coming all this way.”

Love is…

Love is when her mood affects your mood, It takes over your body
A feeling of no control,  though none is wanted
Love is the uncontrollable smile that comes across your face when she’s around,
It’s so genuine no way can you can have a frown
Love is being chest to chest, heart to heart 
Matching pound by pound 
Lovely synchronized with each passing moment 
and when the pounding of each others heart is apart, 
it stays consistent
Love is many wonderful things but one thing it is not is a One-Way street
Nor 50/50 more 100% from from both sides
So when Love like this comes along in your life don’t take it lightly because 
Love like that may only come around once in a LifeTime

Lost All You
I want to feel ya warmth 
Tha feeling of your body touching mine
sparks a fire within me and I believe your fire merges with mine,
It’s crazy that I feel this because I thought this feeling was only one of a kind.I look up to stars for guidance but nothing can be seen inside the grey skies 
So instead I chose to look into your beautiful brown eyes, Falling deep into an abyss 
Where I found your warmth and I start to want it to be mine
My five senses tangle and I feel the opening of my third eye, 
Just the smell of you triggers me and I don’t know why 
and the thought you alone makes me want you to be mines

To the girl that couldn’t give my all too.

The first thing I want to say is that I never met someone as incredible as you. I mean your presence alone lefts my spirit and mind, Every time we are together you touch my heart and I hope this feeling is neutral. I mean honestly I never thought I’d smile when someone flips me off but when you do it I can’t help it

Thoughts from Fear and Curiosity: A Collection

By Nathalie Amazan

Lately, presently feeling surreal
Something I am doing, or not?
How can I fix it, or not?
Is it the flower?
Is it the sleep?
Is it the isolation?
Are these explanations or the solution?
Interrogating myself, my care, my love
How do I relate
Or not?
Feeling my eyes lowering
forcing my body to relax, ease the tense of the day
or prepare for it
Take in the fatigue, the euphoria all at once
know that whatever you may call it
it is something felt
and that may be enough for now.

Stop trying to write the universe.
Let the universe speak in all the ways
even the mundane can open up galaxies.

The things we do not know are mysteries quite literally
If and only if one is in pursuit of Truth
If not,
Ignorance may very well be bliss but it will never fix the pain of tomorrow’s unknown
Or enjoy its beauty
I live to seek and I will surely find
Truth through the mysteries
Unfortunate events of life.

A poem by Nathalie Amazan. To see more, visit her blog:


By Nujhat Purnata

I am from the orange mountains

From the land of political correctness

I am by the smelly farms

In the midst of the college bars

The liberal arts,

Where the whiteness arrives after the foliage

And pretends to stay forever

Only for the emergence of greenery

To melt every snowflake

And make way for Spring

I am from the Summer months,

An isolated town and its grassy terrain

I am from the trails,

The wet woods and the squirrels,

The occasional deer

And the surrounding villages

Where the strangers smile

And people hike

     (and bike)

And watch their dogs run

Across the Seven Sisters

And into the sunset

I am from 7000 miles
Away from home

Silence is Violence

On September 24, 2018

An incident broke to the students of UMass Amherst that occurred the Saturday before, on the day of a home game tailgate. This incident that occurred was a racially targeted threat aimed at the African American students in a first-year dorm. This is their response to the threat in a dialogical pantoum:


“Silence is Violence”


We’ve been “frightened” and we’ve been terrorized

By a “racial terrorist” who refuses to look us in the eye

We’ve become an “inconvenience,” as we watch our scholars cry

We refuse to let a cover up, hide a “hate crime”


By a “racial terrorist” who refuses to look us in the eye

What do we tell our parents when we “fear” for our lives

We refuse to let a cover up, hide a “hate crime”

We’ve been targeted to be “hanged” with our stereotypes


What do we tell our parents when we “fear” for our lives

We are tired of “violence” and being scrutinized

We’ve been targeted to be “hanged” with our stereotypes

It is “criminalization” to threaten a minority racial type


We are tired of “violence” and being scrutinized

We’ve been “frightened” and we’ve been terrorized

We’ve been targeted to be “hanged” with our stereotypes

Let’s not be silenced, let’s face it, because UMass knows it was racist

By Brie Bristol