Category: Poems & Creative Writing

I AM FROM

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

t h e q u i e t

Alisina Saee-Nazari

 

The world my mother brought me into

Shows no resemblance

To the world that she left.

Upon her departure

She gave me a gift.

To find humanity within my own hands.

To hear the wind fill concaves in the air.

Her silence touches the earth

Like the candle in a dark room.

Her absence

The reminder of another day.

Bamboo by Oshiomah Oyageshio

Oshiomah Oyageshio
Bamboo

This bench I sit on was once a tree.

Maybe it was a forest

Can it feel nostalgia?

Does it remember how it feels

to be wild?

To be nourished by loam

while earthworms wriggle

around its roots? For its leaves

 

to relish the sun for breakfast?

I am surrounded by tall green skinny bamboos

as I watch fat koi with the tinct

of flaming persimmons swim aimlessly.

 

As I bask in the glory of this humid paradise,

I can only wonder if I deserve this blessing;

To be the only one in this cage of glass

sequestering me from the horror of winter.

 

To be surrounded by this tropical flora

of  breadfruit and starfruit,

cocoa and rubber,

shell ginger and banana.

 

Is this lush bliss aware

that I sit on their dead brother?

That was uprooted and hacked, carved,

shaped, sharpened and shaved

 

to make a bench I sit on?

They must be angry.
Their leaves are screaming. Their
roots are squirming.

Do they know

they are manipulated to grow

In a land not their own?
I can feel the koi

 

staring, they sense

the invisible tension.

The humidity here

is entrancing. Closing my

 

eyes I

lay my drowsy head

between two bamboos

and close my eyes.

 

In my reverie they wrap

around me,

and I too become a

bamboo; limbs

 

fusing to thorax, thorax

to a piston, heartbeat

and blood replaced

with water, lignin,

 

and sugar. From root to

Shoot my skin

mutates from black

to green, leaves begin to sprout.

 

These bamboos are malicious;

These vines are vicious.

 

The koi boom

from the pond.

I snap

from the trance and

 

I am now a human

cross in a sea

of bamboos with vines, tugging

my arms and

feet. Sacrifice

 

or savior? The room is

smaller, the trees

are closer. This humid

haze has made me

 

weary of reality. The Banana

look sinister, the cocoa tree

grins. Everything alive

grimaces.

 

They advance.

 

Suddenly

 

I

 

am

 

rooted

 

to the bench.

 

Then

 

I

 

am

 

Uprooted.

 

from the bamboos

 

to be skinned alive

 

and hacked,

 

carved, shaped,

sharpened and shaved

then fused to a bench

 

of bones. The bamboos

 

sit

 

on me

 

pondering

 

if my ribs
are

 

screaming.