“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
Now?

Who fits here?
Who belongs?

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

(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
Here,
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”
Echoes
Affirmations
Reverberations

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
Now

America.

BIEN-Logo-Map_Color-ƒ

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About Molina Speaks

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 Denver's 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.

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