The Denver Tick Talk

The Denver Tick Talk

a live scribe poem by Molina Speaks
a reflection of Bree Coco Davies’ live podcast launch
“Hello? Denver?” Are You Still There?”

walking through the eyes of time, tick tock
tick talk, people talk
gentrification now The Rhythm of the Rockies (?)
“my, how times have changed” constant.

so what’s the tick talk?
She (elder woman of color) does not feel safe,
locks and chains when you see
a certain white man coming. bulldozers,
oversized cranes and increased police presence
replace the real street tacos, abuelitas,
street gangs with hood pride,
Civil Rights and

the only Denver “natives” are Indigenous,
them and the dinosaurs.
we are speaking openly now about white folks,
or rather constructed “whiteness”(?)
recognize the tick tock because it’s timeless—
displacement of Color.

the problem is not white people.
it is white racism. period.
gentrification is the new white flight
in reverse: “New Denver”
equals new problems for the Old School still struggling.
new politics feeling old as fuck, outdated
like the 1950s,
dare I say the 1850s(?),
like the ghosts in the machine that
enslaved the human soul,
enslaved the human mind,
enslaved the human body.



is Colfax,
the outgoing bus routes, an Everyday Denver bus pass,
North and South Federal, Lowrider Sundays(!),
Tamales y Tortillas,
Colors flying high on Cinco de Mayo,
Old School Summer Days Just Cruising,
Cafe Cultura, Slam Nuba,
Green Chile, Pho, Graffiti, Murals, Punk and Hip-Hop,
Corky Gonzalez,
Opalanga Pugh,
The Chicano Movement,
Black Lives Matter,
my brothers and sisters “Queer As Fuck” and Proud To Be,
Black and Brown Children,
Blunt Smokers, Activists, Artist Collectives,
Nu Skool Policymakers, Hip Hop Congress,
B-Boys, B-Girls, Abuelitas and Mamas,
First Nations, Afros and Braids,
and yes
white folks, hipster newcomers, politicians and developers—
We are all Here.

there is so much more than this moment
and We will fight, write, speak, paint, dance and stamp ourselves
into this Future.

Denver is so many eras:
it is “Ashara Ekundayo, noise and warehouses,
Earth, Wind and Fire, India.Arie,
Phillip Bailey, Bobby Lefebre,
Coco Davies, Ru Johnson,
Sheree Lovemestiza Brown,
all of Youth On Record, Think 360 Arts and Lighthouse Writers,
it goes on and on—
we are First Fridays on Santa Fe Drive,
Street Festivals and Saturday Brunch,
Sunday Dinners on the East Side,
weddings at the Mercury Cafe…”
forgive me if I haven’t yet shouted out your name…

YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE and this poem is out of time

but WE
are not.

We got love for this city, everybody got a reason—
Every Day Denver Watching Clouds Change Seasons.

Bronze Future Poetry Chapbook

Bronze Future Chapbook by Molina Speaks

The Bronze Future literary chapbook is now in print in limited edition.  You can access the digital chapbook here:


In Future

Bronze Future: Letters for 2045 was published on YouTube in 2012 .  It is believed to be the world’s first Video Chapbook.  Each of the eight entries was filmed by Nathan Schmit in a different barrio in Denver, Colorado.  Just four years later, many of these neighborhoods are unrecognizable through the process of gentrification. At the time of writing, developing and filming, I saw this project as a Time Capsule to the Future.  As more time passes, I continue to see new layers of this historical and futurist work; this Poetry, these definitions and redefinitions, these Rituals of Storytelling.

We are made up of Stories, Cultura.  We must document ourselves, for our Future Selves.  We owe it to them.  We owe it to Us.  In recognition of the importance of our documentation, this experimental work will now be published in literary form.  Read these Stories aloud.  Observe your Rhythms, your Breath, your Soul’s response.

Through the Artist Lens, I say, if the Digital Age is to be all encompassing, let it be Artful.  And let us not forget, the power of the tangible, the physical, our Bodies, Earth—the abundant gift of Presence—Essence, in these defining Times of Future.

Mexica Tiahui,

Molina Speaks

Indigenous People’s Day, October 10, 2016

A Poetic Tour of Denver’s Shifting Landscapes

Stompin’ Ground Games: A Poetic Tour of Denver’s Shifting Landscapes, by Molina Speaks

In collaboration with Warm Cookies of the Revolution, I have completed and printed a new chapbook of poetry dedicated to the city of Denver.  This is a limited edition chapbook.  There are now 300 copies in print.  Following is the Forward, or as I called it here, For Word.


This collection of poetry is for and about the people of Denver.  As Live Poetic Scribe of Warm Cookies of the Revolution’s Stompin’ Ground Games, October 2015 – August 2016, I have been walking the city’s streets, visiting her corners and cafes, listening to her stories and her heartbeat, her conversations, her sounds, her poetry, her secrets, her trees and weeds, and the jackhammers and bulldozers that are redefining our experience within Denver.  It has been my job to transform observations and realizations into poetry and prose.  In addition to readings and performances in the neighborhoods reflected, these writings are compiled here as a time capsule to the city.

I did not set out with an agenda or a particular story to tell.  Yet as I began the process of choosing and editing material for this chapbook, the theme of swift, defining and dramatic change was evident.  The cultural, political and economic changes within this city within this moment are a microcosm of the shifts that are redefining social and structural landscapes across the planet.  In these mechanized times of comfort for the few and survival of the many, my goal here is to present threads of our humanity.

We should not fear change.  We are self-defeating when we loathe in our perceptions of powerlessness.  We also should not feel compelled to accept change that does not serve us, we the people, the community.  As poet—as architect of the palabra—I recognize our power to inspire ideas that provoke conversations that lead to intentions and actions that Manifest our outcomes.

We are in need of new realities for humanity.  We cannot remain within the old frameworks and old tropes.  We must speak, write, and create new stories for our seeds, our cultures, our townships, and our planet.

In palabra, in celebration of Denver’s history and future,

Molina Speaks

August 10th, 2016

A New Poet’s Row?

has word reached the heard, nouveau?
under the roar of the nu city bird, crane?
above the hum of the Jack hammers bang
next to Allen wrenches panhandling change
gentrifying Neal, Opalanga, and Lalo’s city?
did the hipsters or the yuppies or the smokers
brief you on the roaring development of
A New Poet’s Row?

word en la calle is
housing, public space, and keys to la ciudad
for the cultural architects of denver

ah shit they said westword and ums were gonna showcase the ppls shit now and that is wasn’t just about beer sales and that jupiter’s weed tax was gon trickle down to the masses so the dope folk actually living her present future past paving the stories into her streets and writing Beats into her cloud atlas could actually afford their fuckin rent. palabra.

Stompin Ground Games: “Own Your Story”

This poem was written for Warm Cookies of the Revolution’s Stompin’ Ground Games, storytelling edition at Four Mile Historic Park, November 2015. 

Own Your Story

who are you if not a story
growing legs
that cannot
be seen
walking memories
among the particles?

a story
slip out the back door
of your mouth
never to exist

your stories
your stories
your stories
to your children
with values.

tell them
they are butterflies
their stories
they are boulders
their stories
they are wings
carrying colors
you can plant
into the land.

your story.

~ Molina Speaks

Stompin Ground Games: Ruby Hill Park

Molina Speaks is the Live Scribe for Warm Cookies of the Revolution’s Stompin’ Ground Games, a monthly event series 2015-16 that highlights Denver’s historic neighborhoods. 

Ruby Hill Park was highlighted in October.  Molina is accompanied on these poems by Randy Runyan on trumpet.

“Dear Ruby Hill”

“South Fed”

Bioneers 2015 Live Poetic Scribe

Intellectuals Interested in Post-Dystopian Post-Dichotomous Discussion, Discourse, and Dialogue to Determine a Different Destiny for Interconnected Intersectional Intergenerational Humanity and Harmony…
…this is actually an abbreviated title of this poetic reflection (jaja) – a live scribe piece derived from panels, workshops, lectures and conversations at the Bioneers Conference at CU Boulder on October 24th.  There was a call and response audience participation portion which has been left out of this transcribing (appropriate for this medium of translation). 

[Bioneers is a fertile hub of social and scientific innovators with practical and visionary solutions for the world’s most pressing environmental and social challenges]

I concluded Saturday’s conference proceedings with some poetry, spoken word, and live scribe musings. 

(read on…)


Continue reading

“Welcome Signs” (Biennial of the Americas)

By Molina Speaks

(This poem was scribed to reflect a conversation about “International Arts Presenting”.  Molina was commissioned as the live poetic scribe of the Biennial of the Americas 2015.)

Welcome Signs

All themes are International
The times, International
The Now is changing ever constant out loud

Question: Are we more honest with ourselves

Who fits here?
Who belongs?

The “Welcome” insignia says “Open”.  So
how do we make our Cultural Arts and Events signs feel

(what is an “insignia”???)

She said on the panel she was the only gringa
working con los Chicanos en el Teatro
and she spoke of feelings

Speaking of a feeling
in times of cold data
In walks the dusty foot philosopher
appearing with few words   stuttering out   interrupting
He questions aloud his place in this space, His
right to be
his wooly hair,
his dark curious eyes,
white clothes smudged with street signs
Does he see a lack of Color?
Or the color of Class?

(We are all “going Green”)  

“This is a diverse space”
“We are All welcome”

He is unconvinced, solemnly
he contemplates his existence here

He is not an internationally presenting Black Artist
not Black Violin
not an Award-Winning Vegan Eco-Hip-Hop Legend in the Making
nor rolling deep with a well-marketed Afro-Brazilian dance troupe

He is just a man, a young weathered African dream
wandering through American wilderness
searching for truth in cultural quotes on white walls,
searching for truth in a panel or a workshop or a Ted Talk
or a cultural cakewalk…
maybe a poet who can relate
to His Story?

History, you are eclipsing now
as Confederate flags are lowered
beneath the surface
as we surge ahead,
as times change and we become
more honest about our designs
and the colors
on our beautiful Welcome signs

We are all trying
We are all doing better
And yes we are sincere

We still must face our challenges
and our challengers
as we build the new



“Democracy In Motion” (Biennial of the Americas 2015)

by Molina Speaks

(This poem was scribed to reflect an international conversation about the intersections of Art and Democracy.  Molina was commissioned as the live poetic scribe of the Biennial of the Americas 2015.)

Democracy In Motion

We are born of legacies
Of genocide in the americas.

Is democracy our way out?
If art is democracy than Yes.

Here in the deserts of Justice
We conserve space for Interaction.

In these modern shapes we have fashioned
We do not function whole, fractured.

Questioned and driven to be relevant
We create allies out of the clays we mold.

Without support, it is merely our desire sold, so
We meet creative chaos with necessity.

In the land of plenty we are well supplied with fancy words
But sometimes short on laughter and tears.

Shedding our fear we seek return to raw emotion.
Our artistic energies, Democracy in Motion.

“Resilient Communities” (Biennial of the Americas 2015)

by Molina Speaks

(This poem was scribed to reflect a a conversation on Art, Culture and Community among “local” and international artists and non-profit leaders.  Molina was commissioned as the live poetic scribe of the Biennial of the Americas 2015.)

Resilient Communities

in panels and classes on race and class we talk about resilient communities
i reflect back that my original community does not use the word “resilient”

but we lift weights and do our pushups every day,
we script hustles to pay
the bills,
we specialize in mean mugs and tough talk as body armor,
spit rhymes with forked tongues,
sometimes scraping by like roaches
while convincing you we are butterflies
on street corners,
in trash dumps,
under bridges,
in prisons,
in homeless zones,
and in gentrifying apartment homes,
on tattoos on working bodies, holmes
turning our very lives into Art as though the body is truly the only thing you could take with you to the grave

and for this the hood is proud
cuz we survive
cuz blood is thick
cuz cops are shooting and jailing
and the schools are failing our youth
and the


all that noise is not what this conversation is about

we talk programs and markets for boardrooms,
strategic planning
and the challenge of attracting patrons without patronization,
accessibility and diversification of funds,
out of necessity

The Question:

how do we get around the uneducated guilt of the masses in the museum halls of our own office walls?

The Answers:

honesty, tell me anything, speak your truth
as long as it’s not racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise oppressive

let us write an Artist Bill of Rights and stick to it on principle

let us infiltrate the symphony, infiltrate the excellence,
proliferate the relevance,
give the comped tickets back and bring the museums directly to the neighborhoods,
pair the ballet with spoken word,
pair lyrical hip hop with violin strings,
commission walls of art on businesses by local street art kings,
and pay us for our work, you mine us for our work product, work
to pay us what you would pay the stars,
and underwrite our marketing cuz artists don’t really care about that shit, seriously
compromise some of the banquet shine for a little real world grit,
hire a Mexican,
hire an African,
hire an Indian,
and listen to them when you ask for an Opinion

the only solution for the administration
is to take risks that put you in the seat of the artists him or her or of