Pedro Blas Julio Romero
Pedro Blas Julio Romero is a poet, writer, journalist and activist from Cartagena. He lives in Getsemaní (also called Gimaní), a neighbourhood emblematic of social struggles, which he describes as a "solemn disorder daubed with liveliness." His works are a creative critique of the social order. His work affirms individual freedoms and is populated with references to working-class worlds and to Afro-Yoruba religiosity.
His writing deploys an African and Amerindian framework that recognises memories of resistance in the microcosm of Getsemaní, drawing parallels between this neighbourhood of Cartagena and the American continent. He denounces racism by focusing on the gentrification of working-class spaces and the contempt of local elites for the Black heritage that has shaped the identities of the working-class sectors that he brings to life, as he does for Getsemaní. A fine example of this is the poem reproduced below, “Muchacha de las aguas, Gimaní” (in English translation).
(From the poetry collection Poemas de Calle Lomba. Medellín: Ediciones En Tono Menor de la Fundación Cultural Héctor Rojas Heraz, 1988; also published in Obra poética. Bogotá: Ministerio de Cultura, Biblioteca de Literatura Afrocolombiana, Vol. 13, 2010.)
La Plaza de la Trinidad 
did not manage to make itself into a saint
The black mamba serpent was sleeping beneath its feet
which beneath the ground urge on the great festivity
of this hidden neighbourhood
The very same island that once had an owner
where here it has time because the night is rough.
The only saint has ever been Niña Gloria Hoyos de los Albercones 
war-like with aprons for a cabin
boiling up ice-cubes of tasty beer
Her shop with the wine of eclipses she sold.
That saint-like ease
with which she married at her whim,
trailing behind her veil
guides from her bed.
Because she lived a blessed life
beneath the harsh praying
of siren grandmothers in the “purgative Cascara Sagrada” 
And always neath the sign of the cross
after the clearing of smoke at dawn
crooked slum mornings
grey mist that wreathes around the silence
like a black dawn that does not appear in almanacs
Mask of a tangled life!
From all this comes her shiny complexion
Mandarin caresses of Palo Dulce.
Let’s guess how much bandumbeo 
did she not dance
in the late afternoon her beautiful teeth
and what she did not dance
at the great water pond of the water-well protests
Getsemaní hill to the soft luxury of Bacchus
with Calle del Pozo
Niña Gloria Hoyos crossed it
Trembling of regretful rump, its slopes of love and shawls
her frolicking with eruptions of drumming
Or Gimaní Island that once had an owner
neighbourhood like tender Alexandria in the big entertaining stone
From Getsemaní to the cry of Musanga 
the old stone also stitches
with Niña Gloria Hoyos of the drum
In the dark, she plants her moist palm tree
amid the weary dew
Oh, Countess, sweet syrup of the water ponds!
Banner of a thousand cries,
delta sunset of my soul
There was no Caribbean Sea to cow her
and deserting her navel
she copulated with the meridians!
Saying good morning in Panama
the swimming of her hair up my scandal shirt
until we all took her
accompanied by the hard blood of drums,
her waist and silks
good rainstorm of Getsemaní
Finally she came back
to Getsemaní like a multicoloured spider of kisses
pouring forth a crouching dance
and the claim of her drums upon sleep.
- ^ Place names: La Plaza de la Trinidad (Trinity Square) is a location in the colonial quarter of the city of Cartagena on the Caribbean coast of Colombia; Calle del Pozo (Well Street) is a nearby street. Getsemaní (Gethsemane) is the surrounding neighbourhood, also known as Gimaní; due to the complex waterways intersecting the colonial city, it was originally an island (known as “la isla de los Franciscanos”), which after the Conquest was allocated to one Rodrigo Durán. In colonial times, the neighbourhood housed a heterogenous and mostly poor population, with a reputation for intransigence and protest.
- ^ Niña (roughly, Miss) is a respectful title for a young woman. Gloria Hoyos is a woman who runs a small store in present-day Getsemaní; “de los Albercones” means “of the water ponds”.
- ^ Cascara Sagrada and, later on, Palo Dulce are both medicinal plants, the first a purgative, the second a diuretic.
- ^ Untranslatable onomatopoeic word evoking an African-influenced dance.
- ^ A name evoking African origins and religiosity.
The poem “Muchacha de las aguas, Gimaní” (girl of the water, Gimaní) creates a poetic space with a colourful atmosphere that mixes overt and hidden elements of Afro and Amerindian religiosity. When portraying the daily routines of the neighbourhood, the lyrical voice mentions emblematic neighbourhood locations such as "Plaza de la Trinidad", the "Pozo", the shop with "tasty beer", adding references to "Musanga" (an African ritual specialist), "the black mamba", making "the sign of the cross” after “cleansing with smoke at dawn”, elements that refer to the mixture of Afro-Cuban religiosities and their black brotherhoods, known as Abakuá or Ñáñigo, and elements of Amerindian religiosity.
The poem combines all these elements in the figure of Gloria Hoyos de los Albercones, a mixed-race, audacious woman and neighbourhood religious practitioner, who grew up among "eruptions of drumming" and took up the smuggling of various products between Panama, Cuba and Cartagena.