Extended epitaph for la blue eyes

En la memoria de mi abuela Susie Medina (maiden name Esquibel), 1915-2014
Rest now January 17th, 2014


Extended epitaph for la blue eyes
A weary traveler
She remained
In Western valleys
Stubbornly speaking Spanish
With pride her lips curled tight
Around dusty ways
That sting like scorpions

She survived a man
His vices
A brutal poverty
To grow branches
And branches growing leaves
With few smiles
Holding onto life
Through bitter chills

Here she rests now
Peace without a nest
Nestled without rest
Into hearts and minds
Of copper inheritance
Learning the contradictions
Of time

A brutal century
Releases water under roots
She is free
Wandering sky
Can her people see
Tumbling down this long windy road
We have learned?

- Molina Speaks

Without Extreme Faith


Without Extreme Faith
by Molina Speaks

     Inspired by the words of Junot Diaz
     Americas Latino Festival, Denver 2013

“This is no keynote, just an artist”
taking shots—
shots at those calling 
at the stories
we all tell
to deniers

There is a fire burning in the ghettos of time
nobody sees their faces anymore—
the poor
disappeared from Public Space
space disappeared
from public life
there is no public 
in the network republic 
of nanosecond time.  

Coming of age in the 80s
brought up on punk and hip-hop
they thought 
the 90s would be like the 60s
the zero zero decade was to be the 70s
so is this the 80s again
obama, reagan? 

Trillions of dollars spent
on de-motivation 
minds bent only to the market
youth speak fluent dystopia 
without Rage
one cannot
be an artist 
without extreme faith. 

Education fails kids
as politicians fail civics fail cities
and passionate teachers
teach the physics of civics
to youth 
who intrinsically know
there is no longer such a thing.

“The world will have a hard conversation 
with you
whether you like it
or not,”
progressives rot
without alternative pathways:

“The white bankers know 
they need diversity training
while the cultural radicals
refuse to acknowledge
systems they recreated.”  

“The only way to survive”
is to gather resources
to care for our bodies
to speak our stories
to see marathons
not fuses 
and brave steps forward
in simple solutions:

“A ten year moratorium
on men’s leadership roles”
why not?  Because

a 3000 year old civilization
could travel forward
to see us doing 
what they were doing
what we are doing—
a calendar society
owning people
counting nature
resource by resource 
creating artifacts
of repetition 

Another civilizational moment
is possible
beyond demonstrations
within imagination.

Disrupt the networks.
Break the class divisions.  Whenever possible
forgive yourself and have patience.

You cannot be an artist 
without extreme faith.

Real History of the Americas

Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO, October 14th, 2013: Real History 2013

Approximately 25 people – students, community members, artists, and Ft. Lewis college staff – sat down this morning to share breakfast and speak about the meaning of The Real History of the Americas, now in its sixth year in Durango Colorado.  This tradition began with a vision by Teahonna Colleen James and Amy Joy Iwasaki in 2008.  The words in this poem are statements I weaved together from this morning’s council.   This is an open letter to America.  

History After Columbus – An Open Letter to America

Issues confront, Buffalo Council
identity, more to America
than spoon-fed books.
Everybody needs to see
our nations, we come from
Good mornings, and history
books written to lie.
Mini steps 
we take, not only indigenous-
poor, working class
and domestic violence.
Terror becomes America.

Mini steps, working on my own
hope for losing battles,
jews and catholics throwing stones at each other,
at war with muslims, and those undefined and uncapitalized.
Addicted to conquest
we resist, through coordination
scheduling ritual
to replace cultural voids.

I stand for what I believe
and build tomorrow
with what I do not know, challenging grandparents
so often void of wisdom now
we seek balance.
Where are the voices of women?
Where are the voices, period?   
We want to come home.
We keep knowledge
having grown
without tribes, often
without celebration.
We make time
and observe meaning.

This is not about teaching to hate whites.
This is to heal black, all shades brown, white.
To see history for what it is-
to learn and unlearn.
for lessons to seeds.
Grandmothers sending pilgrims in the mail, fall

in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue,
making red land more red
with blood.

The real history is powerful-
part of us.
Hero worship for murderers,
a ceremony for power.
We speak our stories to the wind
to chisel mountains.
A new reality, which is an old reality,
(re)defining real people’s stories
valid, to exist
and function

Our history really happened
so we carry our names,
educated to agendas
we are global

This day means to be here.
to be alive.


They Call It Inspiration

Ideas die slowly, like stars
I can feel them washing
away like bridges.
New dreams populate hemispheres

This breath, wild smoke
circling our minds like fire,
evaporating sweat
from conscious thoughts
that stick
like wooden proofs.

Is truth ever defined?

like laughter
tumbling Eifel towers,
we watch the waves and intertwine
madness with happiness,
running from normality
like disease, roaming the hills
until time
falls out the clock.

I am awake
and inspired.


Autumn Sun

Summertime one mile high
city, red bricks tell the history.
Heat strokes begin to fade
and we bid her farewell,
as yellow school busses cast 7PM shadows
on the wide eyez of the winged.
They began to believe they ran everything
under longer dayz,
wearing their youth on their brows
running from time,
running from each other at play.
Loz vocez de los inmigrantes spilling out
into the streetz,
alongside the thick thump of el loco’s bass
cruizing by helado carts and lemonade stands
watching the streets signs change,
Star signs shifting abovehead, dancing with sliver moons
under grass blankets,
below Scorpio,
above doubts.
Even the grown folks, we thought we could do anything
like mountain streams running
and running, running like lil Carlos running from Jalene,
like lil Chris running from Esperanza,
running up and down the sizzling streets,
el jefe grilling carne asada,
mama boiling greens from the community farm,
Joslyn juicing fresh beets and carrots 
at the pop-up market on Welton Street,
summer setting on the North Side, South Denver,
West Side, East Side, Park Hill,
Montbello, out to Aurora
where suburbs are becoming inner-city,
schools closing and reopening under new names.
There were welcome back barbeques por las familias.
Everything changing, remembering how the hood felt so good
under the banner of Summertime―
fall winter spring we daydream
chanting down the autumn sun.


~ a poem by Molina Speaks

Edges of Earth

Wandering the edges of earth not long ago, going nowhere in particular, skipping over cracks in history, I stumbled upon that flower we have often spoken of.   That “Rose”, proving nature’s  laws wrong, learning to walk without feet… 

The ancients knew that before it could be, it must be


Here, we begin our journey. 


Photo by Molina Speaks

About The Artist Lens

The Artist Lens blog experience is curated by Molina Speaks, dedicated to Poetry, Image, Muse, Open Letters, Arts Education and Profiles of artists and their work.  If the digital age is to be all encompassing, let it be artful.

Molina Speaks is a writer, poet, hip-hop artist, and event producer. Molina is the Performance Director and a Lead Instructor for Youth On Record. He is a TedX fellow and has been an Artist In Residence with the National Hispanic Heritage Center, Mizel Museum, Journey Through Our Heritage and Noel Community Arts School. He has worked on National Endowment for the Arts projects and has accepted invitations to speak and perform and dozens of universities, including Columbia University, University of California at Davis, UT Austin, CU Boulder, and the University of New Mexico. Molina Speaks has taught master artist classes at Boston Arts Academy and Colorado Academy. He has collaborated with the Denver Spirituals Project and was recognized as a keynote poet for 2013 Lalo Delgado Poetry Festival. Molina is the music supervisor for the documentary film Papers. He is a member of the Cafe Cultura artist collective. Molina has released over a dozen poetic and musical works, which have been recognized and critically acclaimed by the Denver Post, 5280 Magazine, Westword, Colorado Music Buzz and other publications.

For more information about the Artist visit www.MolinaSpeaks.com.

Email contact: molina@molinaspeaks.com