“Our Plutos” (Biennial of the Americas 2015)

by Molina Speaks

(This poem was scribed to reflect Astronomy on Tap, a chat over beer about Space with American astronomy experts.  Molina was commissioned as the live poetic scribe of the Biennial of the Americas 2015.)

Our Plutos

Pluto, the abandoned child, we have cast you
out of our Solar System, but still we cannot let you go,
we string you along when it’s time for show

Pluto
fa show, fa show       Pluto
fasho, fasho
                                                          Pluto

we imagine you in the darkest corners, the forgotten
supernovas of our indigenous american diaspora

yours are the souls we launch to the furthest reaches of our light zones
kept in the blackest holes still identified an unseen by the bluest eyes

but right here in the brownest dirt we find america’s oldest bones

a wonder that we marvel at returning images of planets and satellites from afar
out in the very darkest solars, without caring for our own Plutos here at home

“Titan’s Stream of Consciousness” (Biennial of the Americas 2015)

by Molina Speaks

(These poetic ramblings were scribed en route to and during space age conversations about art, science and technology.  Molina was commissioned as the live poetic scribe of the Biennial of the Americas 2015.)

What is this “Biennial” business?
I keep hearing?
Is it about Art?
Is it about Music?
Business?                 Conspiracies?
Energy?

Spectators speculate
about the spectacle Now downtown.

What is a “Biennial”? and
What is “America” beyond the United States?

Most are just along for the ride
and I can dig it.

I ride my wave of unstandardized time
in my Lyft
back to the “Pavilion” in Rush Hour
reflecting back all these rushed hours
and how the last minute Lyft saved me from biking down-pouring rain
but then nearly made me late to my date
with the mic and the trumpet
watching traffic trickle down the gentrifying streets
of Denver’s first monsoon season.

break

The Planet is Warming and the Weather is Changing.
Millennials, what are YOU going to do about it?
The Tech Industry wizards say that YOU are the answer.
But no hologram machine can give me back the time I lost to it today
or the 10,000 species we have lost to the Oil and Technology booms
so 1 billion cars can go Vroooooom
So that mechanized time can go
Zoom
!

break

Boom
I’m back up in the mix
In front of Satellite Screens
thought-skipping over memes
on Titan, Saturn’s moon, walking through random cloud drawings
of some Thought Leader’s Universe,

  duck duck goose
  i choose
  for the moment
  to ride the caboose

Busting off letting loose with the words
What could be better than a Poet from the curb
getting paid Now just to serve you
Perspective—
a blessing to have the chance to color your Edges
on this dazzling dance towards imminent death,
planting seeds in your quick steps
that you might resurrect
any day at any time to remind you
that Life

is a miraculous Gift.

“A Poetic Ode to S.T.E.A.M.” (Biennial of the Americas 2015)

by Molina Speaks

(This poem was scribed in reflection of conversations about S.T.E.M. and S.T.E.AM. in Education.  Molina was commissioned as the live poetic scribe of the Biennial of the Americas 2015.)

A Poetic Ode to S.T.E.A.M.

(science, technology, engineering, ARTS, math)

mi poesia es mi corazon
mis artes, mi cuerpo
these relics, these stones
what is life
without these poems? 

what are your numbers worth?
sin musica?
sin danza?
your math, without design?

what are your buildings worth
if they don’t stimulate my mind?

mi alma, my technology
mi sciencia, the wings of las mariposas
the songs that keep my dreams alive

what are your lab results worth
without appreciation for the particles
that dance across my skies? 

mi poesia es mi corazon
mis artes, mi cuerpo
these relics, these stones
what is life
without these poems?

“Opening Sounds” (Biennial of the Americas 2015)

By Molina Speaks

(This poem was scribed to reflect the opening night street concert by the band Flobots.  Molina was commissioned as the live poetic scribe of the Biennial of the Americas 2015.)

I want to be free from this history
I want to be free from this history
I want to be free from this history

I see you,
I too
want to be Free
yet I am tethered
to a reality paved for me

Ya Basta!
I take a sledgehammer to past paths I did not lay

Ya Basta guay!
Ya Basta!
I take a sledgehammer to future paths I did not lay

Railroad tracks
for trains of thought
conveyed Now

I am an agent of change
yet I am tied to my history,
unforgotten
and unforgettable

I hold our people’s struggles and victories as my Truths, so I
fight with fight with fight with
Tools

break

The conscious performance landscape
has changed:
a milieu of arms crossed and fists raised,
who is who?

Fists don’t fly free to the sky the way they used to
like flags melting down the molten ticks of our times
speaking urgency
unrecognized

The boom lights rise to the righteous sound bouncing
through the darkness off the corporate towers downtown
juxtaposing,
contradicting,
conflicting,
merging,
communicating Love into the confusion  and chaos
of Now

break

“Opening Words” (Biennial of the Americas 2015)

By Molina Speaks

(This poem was scribed to reflect the Opening Symposium of the Biennial of the Americas 2015.  Molina was commissioned as the live poetic scribe of the Biennial.)

Suit Jackets and Ties
Live at the Americas
Cocktail Dresses and Heels
Costume and Curtain Time, Shine

The Beautiful People shuffle truths and disguise Now
Live at the Americas

Let us talk Money
Let us talk Business and Big Names
Politics and Community

Tell me about the Thought Leaders in the
“The Conceptual Economy”
I will tell you about the hood
and the ideas that are mined from our lives
by monopolies

It is a privilege to be Here
I will soak it up and plant a flag
A seat at the Table for the Poet reading shadows
I am honored to be of Residence here

Now

Let us talk of Now

Pull out the Resumes, Bios and the Script,
under-rehearsed name pronunciations
and Million Dollar accents
on Investment

Meet the Talent
Enunciate your Passions in Fluctuating Times

Now!
Meet the Millennials!
Meet the Billennials!!, the bilinguals

Meet the Now Statistics as America Browns

Do not panic, America
is Browning

Do not call me “Hispanic”
Another conversation for another time…

(do not panic)

For now we are speaking of Now
The Millennials are coming!!
The Millennials are coming!!!!

I counted 27.5 uses of the word “Millennial”
in session
and perhaps one mention of “justice”

Education and Choice, Taxonomies
Digital Currencies and Technologies
Old standards and Domains irrelevant
Times of Informal Educations and Social Media hype
Now

Where will you find Yourself a  m  e  r  I  c  a ? ? ?

Interesting… these times are “interesting”
(every intellectual’s favorite word, including mine)
Call and respond with me…

    When I say, “Well, what do you think ??? hmm…”
     You rub your chin and say “Hmm mmm I  n  t  e  r  e  s  t  I  n  g …”

Ready:

The experts say you can Now learn to computer program in about six months flat through some diligence and a free online class at Harvard… in exchange for your $70,000 receipt of debt from a university of your choosing: 

“Well, what do you think ??? hmm…”
“… Hmm mmm I  n  t  e  r  e  s  t  I  n  g …”

The experts say we are obsessed with public persona, that we are distracted, that we have redacted focus, that we are not engaged in the Now but instead are infatuated with the Packaging of Now…

“Well, what do you think ??? hmm…”
“… Hmm mmm I  n  t  e  r  e  s  t  I  n  g …”

(COMES NOW from Molina Speaks, you can find me on twitter at @ Molina Speaks that’s M-O-L-I-N-A S-P-E-A-K-S)

The experts say that the future of social media is really about teaching us how to set boundaries for ourselves…

Well, what do you think ??? hmm…”
“… Hmm mmm I  n  t  e  r  e  s  t  I  n  g …”

Finally, when asked, “what is the key to happiness?”, the experts say:

In a nutshell, “Happiness is about American Exceptionalism and Investment Potential…”

“Happiness is about Impact and Purpose…”

Another expert made it about “The Chicken or the Egg”, then babbled on about qualities and quantities, qualitative and quantitative data, extended wordiness and finally proclaimed that “It cannot be contained in mere words…”

Lastly, she said Happiness was about her Job, Success, and “Kicking Ass”

Well, what do you think ??? hmm…”
“… Hmm mmm I  n  t  e  r  e  s  t  I  n  g …”

Interesting indeed.

a  m  e  r  I  c  a
Look back at your history so that you can us where we are going
Let us play Definition together
as we sit Now at your Table: 

What
Would
Make
You 
Happy

NOW
America?

The Wings of La Mariposa

On this day the governors of La Alma
proclaimed Youth On Record
a social justice organization

It was a day some snickered,
some sneered, some jeered

The community at large cheered La Mariposa
peering into mirrors of self doubt,
inferiority complexes and barrels of disbelief,
turning over leaves from falling dreams,
from making something out of nothing
to taking old things we knew
and making them new,
speaking truth to news cameras
in search of sound bites,
barking at the heavens
a triumph
of horn lines,
rapping 16 bars at a time
about transformed lives,
watching the street signs change
under disappearing telephone lines,
in gentrifying times
we thought we might change something too

So we asked You
to support a vision

My son asked me last week about Capitalism
My response was a story about $2.1 million
collective footnotes in history, a building
that would broadcast the next seven generations,
constructed on the backs of artists,
activitists, dusty foot philosophers
and working class dreamers,
brave enough to collaborate with bigger money,
and big money brave enough to collaborate with the people

A step in a direction
of shedding the divisions
that imprison humanity’s wings

It was a day of celebration en La Alma,
a day we all breathed with less fear,
a day we knew you would remember us
standing here
speaking with you
the wings of La Mariposa.

 

~ a poem to mark the grand opening of Youth On Record’s Youth Media Studio on the West Side of Denver

 Speaks, Kalyn, Yoda, Nate

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What The TheloniUs

#WhatTheTheloniUs

Thelonious Monk inspired scores of jazz and hip hop legends, but in his time he was that artist who contemporaries thought was crazy because he did things his way. They didn’t know if he was garbage or genius. History has proven Thelonious a complicated and brilliant visionary. His rhythms, patterns and textures continue to inspire musicians and poets alike. We are TheloniUs when we are not afraid to be ourselves, regardless of whether people “get it.” We are TheloniUs when we take what is old and make it new with our own original wild style. #WhatTheTheloniUs is a journey through jazz and lyrical improvisation.

Concept by Molina Speaks
Produced by Diles for Visceral View Entertainment

Vocals performed by Molina Speaks and guest emcees
Beats and Mixes by Diles
Mastered by DJ Icewater

1. #WhatTheTheloniUs features guest vocals by Ill Seven and Yuzo Nieto on Saxaphone. Written, recorded and improvised start-to-finish to Diles beat in a two-hour studio session at Dryer Plug Studios, October 2014.

2. #Check features guest vocals by Mike Wird, Asia Fajardo on Saxaphone, and Chris G on Flute. Written, recorded and improvised from scratch including beat in a two hour studio session at Cherry Sound Studios, February 2014.

3. #TimePiece features Randy Runyan on Trumpet. Written, recorded and improvised start-to-finish to Diles beat in a two-hour studio session at Dryer Plug Studios, August 2014.

4. #Hustle features Joshua Trinidad on Trumpet. Horns recorded at the end of #WhatTheThelonius session at Dryer Plug Studios, lyrics written in a 30-minute stream-of-consciousness session on a Wednesday morning at sunrise, then recorded in a 90-minute studio session at Late Nite Studios.

Molina Speaks - What The Thelonius

Future Town

Future Town
     by Molina Speaks

The future of music lifts
Ancient hieroglyphs in sound waves
Modern airplay must give way
The new creative class is coming

Humming, hovering, hustling
to be heard, our words curve
Mockingjay designs, dagger verbs
our picket signs

Old lines become shadows and we shade
Done standing in lines, music will even pay to play

We drown days of sorrows in cluttered bedrooms, unfinished basements, gentrified stoops, street corners, opening garage doors,
planting miracles into unlit space, endless time,
designing our own futures so we will not be swallowed
by dust bowls or ghosts in the machine

We are
not the mere relics of strange fruit,
not the forgotten hands of intertwined roots
We sculpted the bricks, leveled the floors and mixed cement for these buildings, and we want more than what we have been given access to

We deserve to be heard, so yes, we will even pay to play
Even if it’s just to spit the fire of lyrics to near nonexistent crowds, most whom will not hear the brilliance in the poetry of even one verse over the roar of beer, cell phones, sidetalk
We still write in chalk on sidewalks
You never know how you may reach the next one like you

Art will always say “I am Here”,
riding a bucking bull into Future Town waving two fish,
carrying two buckets of water and organ keys
into Aquarius

Be you Ol Skool, True Skool or New Age
the tags on the high beams are always the same
Adapt or Die
That’s music

We weather the edges left of center with our right brains
saddling it, circling days of crows that cray the decays of the age

Do you see a web that could upend the top down and flip it on its head?
Do you envision a collapse and a revision of disposable culture?
Or just The Collapse?
Can you envision a new system of economic and cultural exchange?
Or do you only see the cash?

Reset
We thread
Skill sets
As artists
We flex
Next

Whether you wax Dystopian Utopia or Utopian Dystopia
We do not wait for outcomes, we create the context

Response:
A call to La Alma we address the most pressing issues of this design
The artist knows she can confront the education crisis, and through music, reverse the school-to-prison pipeline
The focused activist knows it is not about solving but experimenting
He actively addresses the systems’ isms
A life vision that reengages disenfranchised suns and daughters
Deeper relationships within the village
Land, food,clothing, shelter, water and music

Time:
To crowdsource the alleyways
Provide direct access to the underserved
Convert startup and revenue streams to unsuspected dreamers
Create capacity for new content in up-and-coming markets
Draft policies to make up-and-coming a reality for communities who are not, but need to be, and deserve to be
Up-And-Coming

Reality.

Remember:
It is our responsibility to activate ourselves, advocate wealth, and create healthy space in vibrant places where the soul of humanity speaks loudest through the teeth of resilient youth who don’t give a FUCK
about any of this fancy language

They came to sing
They came to shimmy, to shake
They came to two step, doo wop, lindy hop, gogo, break
Pop, lock, salsa, merengue, bachata, krump, twerk–Orale!
They came to smile
They came to laugh
They came to play

We owe it to ourselves to be there with them
In the schools, in the parks, in the heart centers of Community
Downtown, uptown, ghettotown, underground, aboveground

Future Town.

 

[Live poeticizing at the Future of Music Coalition Policy Summit in Washington, DC.  Presented October 28, 2014 on a panel featuring Youth On Record, recognized for music education.]

A Rebirth for Aztlan

NACCS-Logo-web1I was booked to perform for Cultural Night at the conference for National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS), held at the Hilton Hotel and Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, April 2014.   I wrote this with two literary perspectives in mind: 1) documentary prose based on my participation in the conference; 2) a poetic call to action inspired by historical Chicano/Chicano poetry.  I am a Chicano artist and a teacher of Chicano Studies.  I am also outside the canon and institutions of Chicana/Chicano Studies and Ethnic Studies.  I almost always find myself at the intersections of identity and experience, refusing to conform to any particular scene or way of being.   This constant Insider/Outsider quality to all aspects of my identity complicates and enriches all that I do.  It makes me feel fractured, and it makes me feel whole. 

I completed this poem at 6AM the final morning of the conference.  I printed 125 copies at the UPS store around the corner of the hotel.  I passed copies out at random to the conference attendees (i.e. NACCSistas), before eating lunch at Red Iguana Mexican restaurant and boarding a plane back home to Denver, Colorado. 

Some scholars see Chicana and Chicano Studies as a dying academic field, being replaced by the broader and more politically correct “Latino Studies” or Latin-American Studies.  The theme of the 2014 national conference was: Fragmented Landscapes in Chicana and Chicano Studies: Deliberation, Innovation or Extinction?

 

A Rebirth for Aztlán
By Molina Speaks

I do not speak fluent Spanish, but

I had a dream I rode a burro under el Quinto Sol
all the way to la conferencia nacional
de Chicana y Chicano Studies

It was in el barrio under spring sun
in a struggling school
that sings jaded songs of blue hummingbirds
odes to the days
that once claimed Aztlan

All the fancy raza
in their fancy clothes
with their fancy degrees, J.D.s and Ph.D.s
me incluyo
gathered to breathe new life
into a decaying field of dinosaur bones

Black ink from far reaching hyphens and extravagant palabras
like “Institutionalization”
like the students of Sal Castro
walked off their white pages
out into the gray streets
as post-institutional post-sovereign post-conscious post-neocolonial
globalized fragmented representational transformational intersectional
Identity
crawled off the computer screen and out the banquet facilities
Live
into the community
of chavalitos, abuelitas, activistas, artistas, so on and so forth

The transnational corporate hotel chain had lost the year’s bid
and each NACCSista shared a dinner with a host familia
interested in reconnecting with their own
Chicano past, present and future

NACCS fees and moneys did not line the account books
of colonial hotel tycoons
Those tens of thousands of dollars                         
diverted
to la host escuela
to fund the reinstitution of arts and music for the youth

The barrio café that went green
to the mystification of gente at large
catered world class lunches and dinners with local produce
and the scholars drank organic fair trade Mexican coffee
roasted and brewed locally
catered also by the independistas of local commerce

There was more dialogue with strangers from strange schools
I witnessed extraordinary focus, inquiry and outcome driven activities
Sessions sat in circles not rows, less tribalism and invisible phones

Praxis through process-driven learning supplemented Power Point
as community graf writers and muralists collaborated with NACCSistas
to tell a new story
on an old wall
and NACCSistas created a hall                                  
of poetry
alive and evolving day one to day four

Youth scholars from all over la host ciudad came to “Cultural Night”
y los Chicanos Picassos del barrio were commissioned
to create live art throughout time and space
and there was no talk                                                   
of “Post-Chicano Art”

The city’s celebrated poetas were even bussed in on public transit
to pop bottle caps off cervezas
pull corks off botellas de vino
and mix drinks right there in the school commons
(porque why not, they gained propinas?)
Los profesionales did not miss their coveted happy hour
after long and grueling discussions of White Privilege
and everybody was happy
In a display of cross-cultural Intersectionality
the poets even read bilingual haiku
and with each pour of spirits
bled their souls from mouths to ears to glass
I must say the coin margaritas were of fine character
and the fiesta carried the roar of calaveras
dancing through the night

At the conclusion of la conferencia the village curandera
walked out into el parque with her sage y copal
to bless all the conference quetzalcoatls
for their long journeys “home”
The plenaries on spirituality and indigeneity came alive
as spirals of ancient smoke kissed La Virgin sky

Rudolfos Anaya y Acuna y Corky y Cesar nodded in approval
Huitzilopochli tipped his hat
Tezcatlipoca offered his toothy grin
and shook hands with Milagro and El Muerte
Tonanzin y Frida shared a sensual embrace
(Ana Castillo glanced sideways with a smirk and slight hint of jealousy)
Anzaldúa penned a poema to mark the occasion
Roberto y Patricia joined hands once more
raising them high up to the heavens
towards the great salt lake and the seven caves
and the ancient Chicano clap commenced

The spirits were quite pleased                
and I, like you, like them
disappeared into the sunset on mi burro
all the pinche wey                                       
back home
in and out of days
stopping for water                                      
only once

Perhaps it was only a dream
like it was 1968
but it was more like 2015
Beyond Fragmentation
Sneering aggressively                                
at the prospect of Extinction
A Rebirth for Aztlán.

A Simple Dream

I Have a Dream
That we can all be human for a moment
In this digital age
To stop running
And breathe

Food Clothes and Shelter
Forgotten mantra
As the End of Work nears
Computers replace woman and man
At checkout lines and lunch counters
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Corporations want version Sam I Am
A facebook post
A hologram

Today, we remember
He was not killed organizing for race, but class
So don’t speak to me in the company of big money
Unless you’re writing me a check
I will laugh

I speak to you direct, live from America
A happy meal afternoon
We have black Barbie dolls
And MTV will broadcast Quinceañeras for a few wealthy Mexicans
Imagine that, picking a multiracial bowl of fruit
Undocumented
Along the rios and acequias of lands
That could not be owned
Indigenous
On who’s land do we pray?

It is a corporate holiday, a heyday
No tax responsibility for corporations or the rich
While yes even the white poor
Become more poor
Explaining racism in the Obama era
Is like fracking for gold
You know it is there
But how can you name it
In-between swallowing holes?

But I have a Dream still
Beyond strategic ad placement
And public relations event mitigation
That one day we may
Sit three sides to the table
Each having looked at our own sexism and racism
Having seen past our own internalized divisions
Each having settled on a concrete commitment

To realize:

A living wage
A meaningful education
Creative space
Free health care
An opportunity for wealth of spirit, body, mind
A realistic goal in the richest nation
On the bluest planet
Ever known to mankind

I have a simple dream.