10+ questions with matt parker

by Laurin Macios | November 2016

Matt Parker was featured at Mass Poetry's U35 reading in January 2015. // 10+ Questions! is a series in which we catch up with poets who have been featured in our programming.

It's been a while! What's new in life?
The world is the same just more cameras, I’ve been more involved in community organizing and art, trying to fuse the two passions.

What are you working on these days?
Artist In Residency at CityPop Egleston, working on the SOUP Boston chapbook, helping dialogues on youth of color and police.

Is your poetry different now than it was then, and if so, in what ways?
More intent, I think my poetry is more on reflections of the world and not just myself. I am digging deeper, to write from my lens of seeing things and not just my initial feeling.

Who/what are you reading lately?
New jim crow- Michelle Alexander, Reach-Ben Jealous & Trabian Shorters, Our kind of People- Lawrence Otis Graham

Any major publications, readings, etc. we should know about?
Looking for a publisher for my next poetry book, and for the SOUP Boston chapbook.

And in the style of early 2000s email surveys…

What’s your favorite animal & why?
Lions. They are so chill until it’s time to eat or fight.

Rain or sun?
Sunny rain

Beach or mountain?

What’s the last song you listened to?
Picture Perfect- Eric Roberson

What’s the longest you’ve gone without sleep?
About 73 hours. I don't recommend it, I think I started hallucinating.

What’s a habit you’re proud of breaking?
Leaving the toilet seat up

What’s the best thing you ever found at a thrift store?
A tie between a jacket and microwave

What’s a word you hate?

Pancakes or eggs?
Eggs. but if a third option was belguin waffles I’d go with that.

If you could have a super power, what would it be?
Time travel

Is there a poetic form you feel strongly about? Love, hate?
Love cinquains

What’s your favorite flower?
Various orchids

You’re stranded on a desert island but luckily you have these three things with you…
Solar powered charger, satellite dish, and tablet

A New Poem

My Sun

I enjoy taking pictures of my sun...

always wanted my sun to do as I've done
afraid of him holding his toy gun so he's not allowed to play with weapons
or play fight
so he can't play as I grew up
good vs. bad
Cowboys and Indians but
I scream afraid that the cop on patrol will see him as a threat before I reach
but he's only age 3


they say dads aren't in the picture
as I push on the shutter and the ISO match the f- stop
the speed slowly drops the curtains to capture this moment

he's innocent and I won't  make it to jump in front
to protect his innocence

from a badge that promises he's doing his job
while the media that don't help are lie about our family history of issues
so the public wonders, do resources to really help

I keep taking pics to keep up with his growth
he smiles, frowns, laughs, & cries
I sadly have to tell him to not scowl
he must look as non-threatening as possible

each time his face shows aggressive bewilderment
I can recall the way the cops beat me one strike away from death
told myself I will take that pain so he will never have to
teach him civil disobedience, question everything, and no such thing as authority,
knowing that there will never be reciprocity of a respectful anything

has me thinking they on the hunt for me
broken system....
naw it ain't broke, that's why it ain't being fixed

intentionally me and my sun is on the short end of the stick
my sharpest weapon is a sharp tongue
yet I lack a shield to protect my sun, my sun, my sun

the peaking glow of why I fight
giving all I have passages of rites
the next chapter of my lineage

because he is what he is
so I have to be courageous and strong
and lie to his innocence about life's rights and wrongs

how the same policeman he wants to be for Halloween may jack him for wearing a hoodie and
no mask for no reason past

you fit a description
because a cop need quotas

even though numbers do lie
no matter how much there is truth

and I can keep talking in poetry
or I can speak this truth

I am black, therefore my sun is black
I take pictures of him and enjoy his smile now
because I carry a fear of not making it to him every day in my chest

so I have mild heart attacks every time I hear sirens and feel flashes and my first thought is to
look at his picture and tell him I love him...

as he grows then I will be afraid of the moment that he goes out and faces that same
unwarranted experience and hope he makes it back to do it again another day

so I take another picture of my son
so I remember him as he is a great black boy
every day

About the Poem

“My Sun” is a poem I read more often now. It’s a strong poem that I am proud of, telling my love and fears I have for my child growing up in our society now, compared to when I did.