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Kristiana Rae Colón, Chicago, IL

Kristiana Rae Colón

Website
Years: 2014, 2016

Biography

Kristiana Rae Colón is a poet, playwright, actor, educator, and co-director of the #LetUsBreathe Collective.  Her play but i cd only whisper had its American premiere at The Flea in New York. Her play Octagon, winner of Arizona Theater Company's 2014 National Latino Playwriting Award and Polarity Ensemble Theater's Dionysos Festival of New Work, had its world premiere at the Arcola Theater in London in September 2015. Her work was featured in Victory Gardens' 2014 Ignition Festival and in 2013, she toured the UK with her collection of poems promised instruments published by Northwestern University Press. In autumn 2012, Kristiana opened her one-woman show Cry Wolf at Teatro Luna in Chicago while her play but i cd only whisper had its world premiere at the Arcola Theater in London. Kristiana is apart of the Goodman Theater's Playwrights Unit, a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists and one half of the brother/sister hip-hop duo April Fools. She appeared on the fifth season of HBO's Def Poetry Jam.

Poem

a remix for remembrance

           

 for my students

 

 

This is for the boys whose bedrooms are in the basement,

 

who press creases into jeans, who carve their names in pavement,

 

the girls whose names are ancient, ancestry is sacred

 

The Aztec and the Mayan gods abuela used to pray with

 

 

This is for the dangerous words hiding in the pages

 

of composition notes, holy books and Sanskrit

 

This is for the patients who wait for medication

 

for the mothers microwaving beans and rice at day’s end

 

 

This is for the marching bands and girls at quinceñeras

 

The skaters and the writers whose moms are eloteras,

 

laughing “Cops don’t scare us, we sag so elders fear us

 

We will re-write our text books in our own language if you dare us”

 

 

This is for the Sarahs, the Angelicas, and Shawns,

 

the Beatrices, Paolas, Danielas, and the dawns

 

we scribble sunlight in the margins of horizons with our songs

 

for all the voices tangled with the silence on our tongues

 

 

Rivals in the parks, fireworks at dark,

 

tired shirts that sweat your scent on hangers in the closet

 

For the boys who fix the faucet while their sister fixes coffee

 

‘cause mommy had to leave for work at 6 a m and laundry

 

isn’t folded yet: you don’t have to hold your breath

 

 

You don’t have to behave. Stage your own rebellion

 

paint canvases with rage, and religion, and prayers for pilgrims

 

sleeping in the train cars at the border and their children

 

Filibust the Senate and bust markers on the Pink Line

 

Stain the prosecution’s case and force the judge to resign,

 

force the crowd the rewind the lyrics you invented

 

 

Speak away the limits to heights of your existence

 

Be a witness, be a record, be a testament, a triumph

 

Set your poems flying in the glitter of the planets

 

Feed open mouths with truth, the truth is we are famished

 

The Universe is starving for the symphonies you play

 

Clarinets and thunder and the syllables you say

 

are the instruments: you are infinite. Stretch your hands to heaven

 

Let your throat throttle the rhythms of all your fallen brethren

 

Your legacy is present, your history is now

 

 

You are the tenth degree of sound

 

You are the nephews of the sky

 

You are the bass line and the hi hat and the snare drum and the cry

 

of red Septembers. You’re the architects of winter

 

You are the builders of the roads that you’re told you don’t remember

 

You are the builders of the roads that you’re told you don’t remember

 

You are the builders of the roads that you’re told you don’t remember

 

 

Cast poems in the river and tell them you remember

 

Skate City Hall to splinters and tell them you remember

 

Send diamonds to your islands and tell them you remember

 

Find your God inside your mirror and tell Her you remember

 

 

 

what i mean when i say vigil

 

Purge: the living

 

need to purge,

 

forge a ring of wailing,

 

fire a womb of grief,

 

fur of teddy bears to mildew

 

in the snow, snapbacks

 

on snapbacks, caps embroidered

 

with names of places the dead will never see.

 

 

We need this: traffic jam

 

altar where the boy’s body bled,

 

to shiver here Missouri winter

 

& conjure his ghost rustling

 

the wilting balloons. To light

 

a votive, to clutch our plastic

 

candles with battery fueled flames,

 

gather and sing.  To clean

 

December’s rotting leaves, October’s

 

molding gourds—I mean these days

 

we pray with our rage, with voices flayed

 

raw by the vortex. I mean these days

 

we mourn through megaphones,

 

yell elegies at riot shields, gouge

 

the eyes of body cameras with the litany

 

of slain names. I mean these days

 

 

the dead demand glass and gasoline,

 

haunt clouds of tear gas, cackle in the crack

 

of a baton. We cremate the QuikTrip

 

in loving memory. Black specters

 

dare the living to retreat—in memoriam

 

we march asphalt to ashes, badges

 

to dust. These days

 

we be mourning with our feet.