Mia Román: “Without my Roots there is no Story” and “Sold on His-story”

Mia Roman Hernandez is an internationally known, award-winning Nuyorican self taught artist, educator, illustrator and workshop facilitator. Born and raised in New York City, her artwork has been showcased in national and international exhibitions, art galleries, local community institutions and private collections. Mia has taught at The Children’s Art Carnival Art School in NYC, River Bank State Park and is currently teaching art at La Casa Azul Bookstore during the summer of 2012. Her passion is to express herself through her art and writing. We all have a story to tell with many ways of sharing them. Mia’s creative language is color, her medium for storytelling.

Without my Roots there is no Story….

Roots by Mia

Deeply rooted in knowing who I am I tell my story to anyone that will listen.
Spreading it like bonchinche on a hot summer day… not caring what people say because today….
I AM A FEMINIST fighting like a fierce warrior… A child rearing soldier to my own army, winning battles and making sacrifices only a woman can survive. Paving the concrete and making ends meet from day to night. I AM my biggest advocate, I am the brick house that the big bad wolf can’t blow down, no matter how hard he try and pry I continue to stand by. I am the precious crown jewels shining bright day and night. I AM faith, trust, loyalty, love. I AM my own healer, medicine woman, shaman, curandera breaking and destroying all that does not serve a purpose in my body or soul, because spirit tells me so. I AM A FEMINIST standing tall, rooted and nourished. Armed with the tools of my Abuela and Mother … The tools of ….“THE ISM”
You can’t just become a feminist… it’s something your born with. Like the color of your eyes, the color of your hair, your heart, lungs, hands and feet… it’s a part of you and who you are from seed to inception. We are not some green aliens that want to take over the world. We are not here to vote for gynecocracy and rule with an iron fist and golden *****. We come in all shapes, shades and sizes.
We use the tools that shaped our lives to support our communities, environments and rights. We are professionals, artists, leaders, mothers, daughters, grandmothers, advocates, educators, writers, thinkers, movers and shakers…. changing lives, laws and thoughts.
She is brave, strong, confident, sensitive, compassionate and passionate, she is assertive but not aggressive, independent and a straight shooter. She walks the walk and talks the talk no matter the risk, she is a lady on a mission, a woman starting a revolution
lead by women in skirts, pants
Stockings and work boots
women with flowers in their hair
dancing to the tune of their own care
decorative Camouflage jackets
Fully loaded weapons of mass destruction… I call ……
Paint, canvas and a Mission
We have a vision ……
With no split decision, that will for sure cause a collision
But with precision ….we envision …an exorcism….
to gender division
And there is no need for supervision to this… circumcision
The incision ….will reveal a plan …with no condition
So as we cut thru a new declaration
Hear the walk, hear the talk
Can you hear the march?

©Mia Román for the poem Without my Roots there is no Story. All rights reserved.

Sold on His-story

“In Fourteen Hundred and Ninety Two,
Columbus sailed the ocean blue
He took three ships with him, too,
And called aboard his faithful crew
Mighty, strong and brave was he
As he sailed across the open sea”

1… 2…. 3

Construction paper replicas of the three cute ships
Adorn classroom windows and libraries

The Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria

Issued a presidential proclamation celebrating “Columbus’ bold expedition
and pioneering achievements,
“directing that “the flag of the United States be displayed on all public buildings
on the appointed day

In honor of Christopher Columbus
Banks are closed,
schools are recessed
and the Government offices empty

Missing from this proclamation was any mention of the pursuit of gold,
religious persecution,

So can’t you see
It was he
Who hunted Indians for sport and profit
And then using Indian bodies as food for his hunting dogs

This European explorer to be remembered every October
Honoring him with this “Holiday”

Honoring him for….

Seizing 1200 Taino Indians from the island of Hispanola
Crammed them onto his ship and sent them to Spain
There they were paraded through the streets of Seville
And sold, sold as slaves

On board the slave ship hundreds die and tossed into the Atlantic Ocean
Like waste,
food for fish

Honoring him with this “Holiday” for….
tearing children from their parents
Husbands from wives
Sisters from their brothers
It’s a travesty

This is the “Holiday” they celebrate
each year
in October
on Columbus Day
this “Holiday”

The great cultural encounter initiated by Christopher Columbus

The slaughtering, enslaving and exploiting of native inhabitants

Credited for the “Founding” of North America
Although people had been there long before

Claiming everything he saw
Native Lands
Mineral Wealth
Natural Resources
And even the inhabitants became European “Property”

Conquering native populations with force and coercion
By torture,

What emerges from this “Holiday” is not only the bloodshed
that Columbus caused
But the “Heroification” of a man
that was responsible for widespread destruction

So when I see those construction paper replicas
of the three cute ships that Columbus sailed to America
The Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria

I remember the lies that were sold to me by my history teachers

And like the slaves
I was sold
I was sold on a fantasy version of his-story

©Mia Román for the poem Sold on His-story. All rights reserved.

Website: http://www.artsbymia.com
email: artbymamamia@yahoo.com
onlline shop: http://www.artbymia.etsy.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/artbymia

Bernice Sosa-Izquierdo: “Sway, but never fall” and “Not the same without you”


Born to Puerto Rican parents, Bernice Sosa-Izquierdo has been writing since childhood. The past twenty-eight years of her life have been spent writing poetry, short stories, research articles, blog entries, journaling and ghostwriting. Sosa-Izquierdo has contributed her work to Alexandra Roman’s Mink (Poesy 20/10), Pa’lante Latino, Letras II (an online literary publication at Hunter College’s Center for Puerto Rican Studies), and Sofrito For Your Soul. She has also shared her words at various open mic events throughout NYC (including the legendary Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe) and in Long Branch, NJ. In 2011, the mother of two was blessed with the honor of sharing her work (in front of her children) at the First Annual New York Poetry Festival (NYPF) representing Capicu Poetry and Cultural Showcase.

Sway, But Never Fall

and we dug –
as far into the ground as we possibly could,
because we knew this storm was coming.

the stench of foul as it filled the air –
that pungent, bitter smell of gentrification,
hovered above street blocks
once abandoned,
now glorified…

we knew who we were before you got here.
and, no, not who you told us we were, or could ever be
but who we were before migration; before slave trades; before infested invasion
before damnation brought forth by those who resembled you.

we were forewarned,
for years before your arrival.
told to anticipate poison darts, spat.
aimed at our minds,
penetrating doe eyes and inner ear barilles
stripping us of our humanity – our spirituality – layer by layer,
creating a mass of lifeless zombies that would, eventually, eat each other alive.

but, we dug –
as far into the ground as we possibly could,
because we knew this storm was coming.
we had been warned about your deadly archery –
the one that’s responsible for marketed subliminal messages
convincing many they are not good enough, worthless.
the one that ridicules until you are robbed of your roots:
your name, your garb, your religion, your language, your way…
all confiscated, then replaced.

we are amongst the chosen,
survivors of your poisoned projects
laced in drugs, sex, liquor, abandonment, abuse, mental instability, imposed doubts and fears.
but we, the selected few, shunned your attempts
and learned to manipulate our environment so it would one day empower,
not paralyze, us.

generations united,
elders shared knowledge
aimed at open minds, susceptible to truths
neglected by textbooks and literature.
warriors shed light upon darkened souls
through griot tongue.

the minds of
teachers, parents, students, young adults, adolescents, readers, artists and writers, enlightened.
we were trained: converted into truth tellers for our people… for ourselves…

and we dug –
as far into the ground as we possibly could,
because we knew this storm was coming.
but our winds whispered in strong tones of: Ramón Emeterio Betances, Pedro Albizu Campos, Segundo Ruiz Belvis, Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, Lolita Lebrón providing us significance of true pride and freedom.
Rafael Hernández and Pedro Flores rode the clouds until our music poured from the sky for all to hear and never forget.
Jesus Colón named us the Nuyoricans and created an intellectual movement;
provided a home where poets, writers, musicians and artists of Puerto Rican lineage
could express their love for Puerto Rico and share their light.
Antonia Pantoja granted us permission to aspire: education, motivation, discipline and success.
We are here to shatter your expectations graduating, honorably, from colleges and universities.

we are the sons and daughters of migrants,
welcomed into the country without a passport
so long as we’d sacrifice our kings to a World War that didn’t even know we existed.
we found ourselves trapped between lands that did not fully accept us,
no matter which side of the ocean we resided.
“los de alla” were given a new name,
and continue to fight
as we dig – as far into the ground as we possible can,
because we knew this storm was coming.
we will fight for the right to maintain all that is ours, all we have built
and are confident: though you may make us sway, we will never fall.

©Bernice Sosa-Izquierdo for the poem Sway, but never fall. All rights reserved.

Not The Same Without You

There was a time when your vocal chords struck
with the bolt of skillfully plucked violins in an old school Salsa classic.
When your posture would gracefully glide,
embedding footprints, paving inspirational road maps for the lost to be found.
When security was your aura
and your energy was saturated with
purity, faith and confidence.
You were contagious!
And that contamination was potent –
radiated upon others, and reflected back onto you.
you could quench parched souls with a mere glance.
But now it is you who needs replenishing.
Month after month, year after year
you’ve converted every distant dream into reality,
only to have your every reality became a distant dream.
Reverse metamorphosis: unbound butterfly lapsed into introverted caterpillar.
Depression and anger are the moult you reclaim
Carapace shielding, comforting familiarity.
You were my best friend, my ride or die
I feel you, your light still shines deep
But you strain to release,
believing it more residue of a past gone awry
than fuel for resurrection.
This life is just not the same without you…
Let me ignite your spark,
whisper life back into your lungs
with images of yesterday
so we can once again become exhilarated through the haze.

©Bernice Sosa-Izquierdo for the poem Not the same without you. All rights reserved.

To get in contact with Bernice Sosa-Izquierdo you may visit her Facebook Page.

¡Gracias! / Thank you!


The English version is below every Spanish paragraph!

Ha sido un magnífico viaje entre los versos creados por amantes de letras que dejaron sus sentimientos marcados en negro y blanco. ¡Qué satisfacción el haberles leído y cómo me los disfrute!  Espero que, ustedes, tambien.

It has been a magnificent journey throught the verses of word lovers that have left their feelings marked in black and white. What a satisfaction to have read you and how much I enjoyed it! Hopefuly you did too.

Gracias extraordinarios poetas por hacernos suspirar, sonreír y no solo sentir orgullo de nuestras raíces, tambien soñar despiertos. Un fuerte aplauso en su honor les doy.

Thank you extraordinary poets for making us sight, smile and not only makes us proud of our heritage, but day dream also. A big applause in your honor I give you all.

Es así que llegamos al cierre de esta Segunda Edición de POESÝ 20/10, 2011.  A través del logo de POESÝ 20/10 podrás visitar y releer los poemas que más te gustaron y dejar comentarios. No me olvido de mencionar a los ganadores de los sorteos de la Celebración del Tercer Aniversario de Mink, y aquí están:

So it is that we’ve reached the end of the Second Edition 2011 of POESÝ 20/10. From POESÝ 20/10‘s logo you can have access to visit and read all of the poems that you liked best and leave your comments. Now lets mention the Winners of the prizes mentioned in the Third Anniversary Celebration of Mink. Here they are:

Ganadores / Winners

-Ganador del libro en Español de “Las mil y una noche

Victoria Cepeda

-Ganador del libro en Ingés de “One thousand and one nights

Michael Muller

-Ganador de la libreta

Bernice Sosa-Izquierdo

-Ganadores de la copia de la novela “El Valle de la Inspiración

Libby Juliá

Tamara Silva

Los ganadores serán contactados por email. The winner will be contacted by email.

Gracias por el apoyo a este evento y un fuerte abrazo para los poetas y ustedes lectores.

Thank you for supporting this event and a big hug to all the poets and you dear readers.