Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Amazing no more....

“I want you to be amazing, the person that I knew, the shining star that used to glow, and light a room with tune.

A loved one made the words, intended for only good, but the words cut like a razor, I bled through and through.

The statement is ironic, your wish for me that is, for I pray each night to be “amazing” and not the shell I’m in.

My ballet shoes are put away, my ballet barre , now a walker and days I can use my legs, a blessed, painful reminder.

Be careful with your words, you well wishers and family , you think your words are inspiration they only end up haunting.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Dare to Create

The creation before you is a moving picture ,click, click to a heart shutter clock
I am fluid moonlight, liquid silver across your memory
Blood - paint,
Hair - brush,
Skin - canvas,
I invite you to express, respect, indulge and purge

I bid you remember, color inside the lines
The path outside this form is unknown.
All mistakes are not art, your mother lied
Blemish me at your own risk, I am playful,,,,,not forgetful~

Sunday, January 10, 2010

God Don't Like Ugly!!

When I was a little kid and being a particular pain in the ass, which I was stellar at, my Grandmother told me that "God don't like Ugly." I was crushed. I thought she was telling me that God didn't like me because I was ugly. I was probably seven or eight and already battling being a pudgeball and had what child psychologists now bullet point as "low-self esteem".

My grandmother, all-knowing, all-wise, picking up on my crest-fallen face, must have understood what I was thinking and explained that God didn't like people who had ugly souls, displayed poor manners or who thought people were less than blessed because of the have or have-nots surrounding them.

I'm older now and having been in this big, wide world, I think my first reaction to what my grandmother said to me was damn accurate. I still use the phrase "God don't like Ugly" but have come to realize that people, in general, don't like ugly, period!

I'm not talking about "ugly" in the southern sense of the word, as spiteful, mean or rude, I mean ugly, as it is intended. People just don't like ugly. Studies have been done that show that infants, just hours old, respond more calmly and positively to an attractive face. There you have it, the primal need to associate oneself with the attractive people, the in-crowd at birth.

I have always found beauty in non-assymetrical items. I find faces with "flaws" more intriguing than faces that fit Fibonacci's equation leading to the Golden Ratio. For example, I think Owen Wilson or Christoper Walken are more compelling to watch than a textbook beautiful Brad Pitt.

I find it fascinating to watch people's general reaction to "ugly" in the world and have been enraged, amused and downright disgusted with humanity through my observations.

One afternoon, about 10 months ago, I had a front row seat to witness my theory in action. My mother and I were shopping at Loehmann's discount department store. I was downstairs, waiting for my mother, looking through a rack of t-shirts, when I witnessed some young girls laughing (the kind of laughter that indicated the girls were too young and hip to even disguise what they were doing) and I directed my attention to what they were giggling about.

Walking down the aisle was the living embodiment of a mixture between the Sea-Hag from the Popeye cartoons and Witch Hazel from Bugs Bunny. This amalgamated character had frizzy hair, whiskers on her chin and was missing a few front teeth. If you don't know the charaters I'm referring to, shame on you and google the names I've given you. If you don't, you shall forever be comically challenged.

Now, for some reason, perhaps because I pay attention, or am just too curious for my own good, people are attracted to conversations with me. As "Witch-Hazel" walked past, I smiled and she stopped to show me a dress she was buying.

Here's how the conversation went down:

Me: "Hi."

Witch-Hazel "Hi, there. Do you like this dress?"

The dress in question was a sleeveless, silver sequined dress. It was a dress that called for a twenty-something, fuller figure and to my eyes, reminded me of a Goldie Hawn outfit from an episode of Laugh-in.

Me: "Yes, I do. It's sure sparkles and looks really well made".

Witch-Hazel: "I saw this and just had to have it. I've always wanted a sequined dress, I wish it was red, but oh well. My name is Francine, what's your name honey?"

(I shall now refer to Witch-Hazel as Francine, for that is her name and she spoke with a strong Jersey accent).

Me: "Nice to meet you Francine, my name is Nicolle. I think the dress is very elegant. Do you have somewhere special you plan to wear it?"

Francine: "Well at 74 years old, I can wear it pretty much anywhere I want, but I want my boyfriend to take me to Green Dolphin to hear some Jazz. He lives with me now and we like to go out at least once at month. Nothing like having a nice, cold beer and listening to jazz."

Me: "I think you picked a winner, did you get a deal on it?" (she did) "A nice cold beer during the summer is wonderful isn't it?"

Francine: "Oh, it is and it'll keep you young, look at me. I like to shop here, they've got good deals, do you come here a lot?"

Me: "Not as much as I'd like, but it's always nice to meet another bargain shopper."

Francine: "Nice to meet you too honey. Maybe I'll see you here next time and remember, a beer a day, keeps the doctor away." (chuckles)

Me: "Have a fun time on your date and make sure he treats you right."

Francine: "He sure does, that's the only reason I let him move in. Ya know, he's 12 years younger than me."

Me: "Good for you. You must need a younger man just to keep up with you."

Francine: "Well, I already wore out one husband, so I figured I needed a younger model. Are you married?"

I tell her that I am indeed married, to a wonderful man.

Francine: "That's good, that's very good. Every woman deserves to have a good man in her life. You tell him to take you out for some good jazz and a nice beer, alright."

Me:"I'll do that. I hope you have a wonderful time. It was nice to meet you."

We part ways and I watch her go with a strange ache in my heart. During my whole conversation, I could see people walking by with a strange look on their faces, resembling people that want to rescue small children from predators.

Had I been the type of person who catered to societal benchmarks on beauty, this never would have been written and Francine never would have left such an impression on me. We ignore the old, we cling to the new in this world and in the process we miss out on the vintage and patinaed beauty of life.

I'm still now quite sure how to sum up this wonderful encounter, except to write that I have a mixture of feelings including, awe, respect and amusement where Francine is concerned.

Dylan Thomas wrote one of my favorite poems, well known to most, but my favorite stanza is the first:

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should rave and burn at the close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light,

I have no doubt that Francine will NEVER "Go gentle into that good night", but if she does, I hope she wears her new dress so she sparkles....the entire way.

Monday, June 29, 2009


(This was my SKALD 10 piece, performed on June 27, 2009)

I was eight years old when I was told I wasn’t black.

My 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Opalek, went around the room on a Friday afternoon with the assignment of “What do you want to be when you grow up and why?” She wanted us to think about it over the weekend and we had to be prepared to share with the rest of the class on Monday.

Friday night, I had nothing, no idea or clue of what my future should hold. I lay in bed that night, thinking about it. What was I good at, what could I excel at, do, produce, contribute.....nothing.

Saturday morning came and went without any great revelations, but Saturday afternoon, it all changed.

Saturday in our house was chore day and I got to spend the afternoon dusting in the living room where the stereo was. Our dual 8 track and turntable combo was suspended on a chic 70’s shelf from chains in our ceiling. You had to stand on a little red child’s chair to reach the player and be cautious to avoid making it swing like a jungle vine.

As I stepped up, I carefully leafed through our collection of albums and 8 track tapes, like The Carpenters “A kind of Hush”, Manhattan Transfer “Coming Out”, Pete Fountain “New Orleans”, Thelonius Monk and Miles Davis at Newport, and then…..there it was, my answer, my salvation, my future in all it’s glory. I remember holding the album, close to my chest and clutching it like it was the Holy Grail.

I was so overwhelmed with a sense of satisfaction and relief. For the first time in my life, I couldn’t wait to go to school.

Monday morning, Mrs. Opalek goes around the room. Our class room averaged out at about 14 astronauts (one Steve Austin - Six Million Dollar Man, still an astronaut), three ballerinas, a Charlie’s Angel, a weird girl who wanted to be a horse, a vet...because he had a crush on the weird girl who wanted to BE a horse and then, it was my turn.

"Mrs. Opalek, I want to be Aretha Franklin."

"That's very interesting Nicolle,,,,,,why?"

"Because, she’s the Queen of Soul."

"Mmmm,,,have you ever heard of heard of Barbara Streisand."

"Yes, Mrs. Opalek, she’s a good singer, but she isn’t the Queen of anything."

"Yes, but sweetie, your not black."

Dead silence, there was nothing, no comments or questions from the class and I realized I was experiencing my first stage fright, my first flop sweat as I struggled to explain my future brilliance.

Aretha’s voice was different. It carried some signature, a resonance that imprinted itself on your heart when you listened to her to such a degree that it physically hurt me. When she sang “Do Right Woman – Do Right Man”, it was like she was pushing her entire being from her toes all the way out through her mouth.

This is what I explained to a genuinely befuddled teacher and a completely clueless class and voila I was the weird kid at recess.

Later that day, as I was quietly banging my head against the monkey bars, Margie McCormick came running up to me. "Hey, who's Aretha Franklin?"

What??? What???

I tried. Oh, I tried to explain to Margie the feminist theories behind the song respect and the ramifications it had on the women’s movement.

"Huh,,have you ever listened to Pat Boon?" I was a a strange land.

During parent teacher conferences that month, my mom was told about my “choice” for a future career and her only response was “Yeah, and?” Go Mom.

But, Mrs. Opalek thought I might be confused about the assignment and asked my mom to discuss it with me.

Nov. 1976, Blue Volkswagen Beetle: Mom and Me.


So, you want to be Aretha Franklin?


Yeah Mom, isn’t she groovy?


Yes, she is.

But, I think I'm supposed to change who I want to be because I'm just White.


Well, some people think if you look a certain way, you can only ever be certain things when you grow up.


Is that what you think Mom?


I think you can be and do whatever you want to, as long as you’re happy. It's true, you'll never be Black because you are who you are, but you can become anything you aspire to be in life. Do you understand that?


I look back on that moment in my life with increasing pride the older I get. I know I could never have envisioned myself being Aretha Franklin if my mother wasn’t leading by example.

Only by being raised in an open atmosphere could a white suburban girl ever conceive that she could be a soul singer when she grew up. To me, even at eight, I knew it wasn't about race it was about something more personal and meaningful. Aretha wasn’t a black soul singer she was simply A singer,a mentor, and my role model.

So, yes, Mrs. Opalek, Aretha Franklin. It was my answer then, it’s my answer now. I believed it could happen and I believe it could still happen, because I was raised by mother, The Original Queen of Soul.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Memes...need brains.....

"Memeticists argue that the memes most beneficial to their hosts will not necessarily survive; rather, those memes that replicate the most effectively spread best, which allows for the possibility that successful memes may prove detrimental to their hosts."

My theory....memes are nothing but Zombies in waiting, lurking around the next dark corner, ripe to infect you with slobbering bad habits.

The term meme has popped into my little world about three times in the last two days, and I'll fully admit to not being able to succinctly describe or define what a meme is. So, with my mother's voice ringing in my ears, "if you don't know something, look it up", I did just that. Memes are described as "any cultural entity that an observer might consider a replicator."

I'm quite disturbed over the use of the term meme to describe personality as a genetic excuse to act like a complete ass-hat, when it seems like a meme should be a Darwinian tool to fully weed out the ass-hats from the white-hats. Memes would also explain the following, in the context of "successful memes may prove detrimental to their hosts"; using cellular technology while on public transportation, the plumping and blimping of women's lips, supersizing your value meal and obsessive viewing of reality television.

In this age of over-indulged children (and let's face it the same can be said for adults), memes seem to be a free pass for idiocy by blaming your upbringing on a poorly socialized family dynamic leading to a faulty social meme. I much prefer my grandmother's take on life, "Pull your head out of your ass and get to work." Nothing simpler is required, no crystal chakra aligned chanting , no thermo dynamic aura healing, no circle drum chanting or gingko whatey-hooey.

I don't think it's that shocking that if you separate the phrase meme, it breaks down into Me-Me. Nope, no shock at all.

Friday, May 29, 2009

DO NOT....

Do not tell me you are sorry when I clear my throat and it annoys you. Your correction does not signify an understanding of my discomfort.

Do not tell me you are sorry when you want to listen to music on a morning drive, because it's truly what you wish to hear. Your ears are dedicated to what they want and do not have a respect for my desire for zen.

Do not tell me you are sorry for wanting light when my eyes need the dark. Your brain wishes to see in shades of yellow and red without care that my eyes crave hues of ebony and stone.

Do not tell me you are sorry for raising your voice as your heart can only hear in volumes of pain, without care that my soul can hear your whisper of desperation.

Do not waste three such precious words....."I AM SORRY". I beg you to save them for when you break my heart, for you will, and it is then you will need them..........for your survival.