Leaves, Laughs, & Lemonade (new poem/monologue)

leaves swarm in my direction,

as If I am honey they seek.

can’t figure whether to run or be honey.

they’re lifeless creatures with an unnerving familiar freedom

the breeze is ghostly and pleasurable.

something about the way it clashes with my cheek bones fills me with immovable inertia.

when the wind takes over there’s no compromise available.

the sound must come from Gabriel’s trumpet.

only an Angel can make a whistle of a tune like that.

I’m not sure if anyone else heard it, but I did.


*sips lemonade*


there’s nothing delusional about leaves blowing in wind?

nothing weird about dancing in impatience, right?

dining outside Panera Bread pretending love is going to accidentally blow back in your face is a normal practice, I’m sure?

For it is here that I indulge in missing you.

wait for you to be the leaves,

wait to be your honey,

wait for you to lust for my sweet,

the gaze of God’s eye pouncing from the yellow twirling umbrella plastered with Panera’s logo.

Grabriel’s 8 notes simultaneously whipping through my blouse.

Baby, remember lunch?


we bellowed laughs so open till stomach muscles begged for the support of our palms.

we talked till our mouths ran dry.

we sipped lemonade until we slurped up all of our manners.

under the yellow,

under the twirling,

under the Panera Bread logo,



Found love.

Not the commitment kind.

Not the take me home to meet your mother kind,

but the untainted moment of forgettable surroundings,

the isolated height of an unexplainable laugh attack.

Life is all about loving like lunches like these.

like people like us.

like unnerving freedom.

Too dizzy to consider what happens next.

The future is as vital as dinner time,

as exhausting as the morning after.

There’s no love at laughs end.

I know we were not made by like-minded creators?

I am aware that we should’ve never touched past palms?

I feel your vices

I cremate in your expectations

you grain in my needs

There’s no peace away from this umbrella of yellow.

I just like to fuck with myself from time to time.

more like every Spring!


under the twirling logo.

with my bread bowl, my lemonade, my leaves and my laughs.


Morning page

The morning page = writing an entire page of whatever comes to mind upon waking up. Putting the pen to page or fingers to keyboard and writing non-stop until you’ve reached a page. The writer does not go back and edit the “morning page” all spelling and grammatical errors are forgiven because this is a total freedom of expression.

Today’s morning page…

I read somewhere that as a healthy psychological practice you should wake up every morning and write a full page of whatever is on your mind before speaking. This actually works especially for a person like me who is always thinking even in my sleep. I am going to try to do this every day for at least a month. I am in a place of soul-searching. In order to soul search I actually have to start sifting through my soul a little. These morning writing exercises will help me do that. I have already failed at the task of not speaking before writing because I speak about 3 times when I wake up. I yell to my kids “good morning little children.” I speak to the scale “hmm so this great/bad, welp.” Then I speak to myself in the mirror most really quickly while washing my hands “these locs are so frizzy! I do/don’t feel slim today.”

When I yell to the kids they yell back “good morning mom!.” The scale just usually blinks blank after showing me I am obese and the mirror…well the mirror…hmm..Mirrors are an interesting concept. They reflect but they don’t echo. They just give me image and not sound. At least I don’t think so. I need to research this. Imagine that everything you say to your mirror is not only reflected in an image but in a sound. This would mean that you would actually be talking to your image or your image would be talking to you. Like me looking in the mirror saying “these locs are frizzy” and my reflection would still be saying “frizzy frizzy frizzy” two seconds after I’ve finished talking! That sounds like some weird sci-fi movie. BUT maybe this would help build self-confidence or at least identify where we are tearing ourselves down. If a woman said to this mirror “i am fat” the mirror would say “I I am am fat fat fat…” and she would be right there listening to her own voice. Maybe then she (I) would become more conscious of what she’s doing to herself. hmmm….that’s interesting. Maybe I should invent something like that.

I am always looking to invent something even if it’s reinventing myself. Well as this morning page comes to a close I plan to workout today, eat at least 1490 calories, read a book, write something new, and celebrate something.

Thank you for reading! Stay tuned!

Pura Vida,

100 Things I’ve Achieved #DayZeroProject

As  part of my Day Zero Project 101 Things in 1001 Days I wrote a list of 100 things I’ve achieved. I made this list a part of the Day Zero Project because I don’t give myself enough credit. In fact I don’t give myself credit for anything. Now that I have listed 100 things I have achieved I realize that I have achieved a hell of a lot and I have lots to be proud of. GO ME!!!

Here’s the list!!

  1. Learned to walk
  2. Learned to talk
  3. Learned to play the saxophone
  4. Made the honor roll in grade school
  5. Learned to ride a bike
  6. learned to roller skate
  7. Learned to write my name
  8. Learned to write my name in cursive
  9. Learned to write a check
  10. Got my first job (at McDonald’s)
  11. Learned to drive
  12. Learned to parallel park
  13. Passed the driver’s test
  14. Got my driver’s license
  15. Graduated from pre-school
  16. Graduated from Elementary School
  17. Graduated from Middle School
  18. Graduated from College
  19. Got accepted into Grad School
  20. Got my first apartment
  21. Birthed a daughter
  22. Birthed a son
  23. Learned to write a check
  24. Got my first apartment alone at 22
  25. Learned to drive a stick
  26. Purchased my first car
  27. Wrote a book
  28. Published a book
  29. Recorded a poetry cd
  30. Made my poetry cd available on iTunes
  31. Performed in front of over 200 people
  32. Performed at colleges
  33. Completed a poetry tour
  34. Made a slam team
  35. Competed in the National Poetry Slam (NPS)
  36. Made it to the semi-finals (NPS)
  37. Lived with a host family in another country
  38. Took Spanish classes in Spanish immersion
  39. Loc’d my hair
  40. Lost 30 pounds
  41. Ran a 5k
  42. Was interviewed twice on WHUR
  43. Wrote a song for a celebrity
  44. Wrote a song with a celebrity
  45. Participated in a studio recording session with a celebrity
  46. Recorded a drop for 4 djs (two of which are very popular)
  47. Had the drop I recorded used on a syndicated show
  48. Got a government job
  49. Moved to another state
  50. Received my teaching license from VA
  51. Served as department chair of the Business department at TC WIlliams HS
  52. Quit my job to be a full-time artist
  53. Became an Arts Commissioner for the City of Alexandria
  54. Started an arts organization
  55. Created and promoted ongoing poetry events
  56. Facilitated my own social media classes
  57. Acquired social media clients
  58. Won a slam (Bull City Slam)
  59. Featured/performed at just about every ongoing poetry event in the DMV
  60. Featured at 9 on the 9th (Busboys and Poets exclusive event by Derrick Weston Brown)
  61. Performed as a part of The Dirt Church (exclusive event by Lamar Hill)
  62. Featured at Warm Wednesdays (the longest running poetry event in Baltimore)
  63. Been mentored by an internationally known Slam champion and HBO def poet.
  64. Started the poetry club at TC Williams HS
  65. Rode in a hot air balloon
  66. Acquired a computer programming teaching position as a computer scientist
  67. Won a National Underground Spokenword Award for Best Female Performer
  68. Became a member of the Grammy organization
  69. Taught a child to speak
  70. Taught a child to write
  71. Taught a child their colors
  72. Taught a child their name
  73. Taught a child to crawl
  74. Taught a child to walk
  75. Taught a child to microwave food
  76. Taught a child to pour milk into a bowl to make cereal (5yrs old)
  77. Made the dean’s list
  78. Designed a logo for an organization
  79. Got a tattoo
  80. Started a blog
  81. Participated in a nude photo shoot
  82. Participated in a short film in which I was completely nude in a forest
  83. Completed a secrets video (http://youtu.be/WZXnSpyEIv4)
  84. Got my passport
  85. Purchased a brand new car
  86. Graduated from high school on time after having a child at 17
  87. Graduated from college on time after having one child in high school and one in college
  88. Cooked an entire Christmas dinner
  89. Made a cake from scratch
  90. Sold over 500 copies of “All Women are Stupid Sometimes”
  91. Create a writing and animation program (Write-Amation)
  92. Piloted “Write-Amation”
  93. Acquired over 1, 000 twitter followers
  94. Create successful interactive on and offline groups of people
  95. Performed a poem written for my grandmother at her wake in honor of her life.
  96. Produce my own poetry festival
  97. Nominated for Best Spokenword artists in the DMV Awards (2011)
  98. Nominated for best Community Oriented Poet (NUSAPA 2011)
  99. Hosted a rack of events in various areas including open mics, slams, and showcases.
  100. Got accepted into grad school at the University of Denver University College

Translate My Transition

Somewhere around 5am I come to conscious, I deny consciousness, then consciousness keeps coming back like I am hitting a snooze button on my biological clock. This happens  five out of seven days a week. On any given two days of the week I probably did something the night before that makes me ignore my consciousness and sleep right through to 10am. Which is actually a big deal for me!

As I come to consciousness my brain takes an opportunity to run through every thought I suppressed over the 12 hour period prior to me waking up. There are images of what I did yesterday mixed in with the sound of what I have to do today. Sometimes poems come to mind. Literally the words will be running through my head as my eyes are opening. Sometimes ideas come to mind. Like I will actually see the idea happen behind my eye lids like a movie screen.

Either I am crazy, gifted, just like everyone else, or nothing like anyone else. I don’t believe I am anything extraordinary therefore I usually lean toward saying I’m crazy or just like everyone else. I figure that this must happen to everyone, right? Everyone’s mind runs a mile a minute whether they are sleeping or awake, right? Everyone lets their spirits guide them in spite of being misunderstood, right? Everyone sees these vivid images of possible future happenings while sleeping or waking up, right? I need some confirmation that I am not different. That the way my brain functions is not just a  symptom of Narcolepsy.

Even though being “different” is what we dare our kids to be it’s not something I ever wanted to be. If you are different you have to just be slightly different so that nobody notices. You have to be the “understandable different.” Not the socially awkward different, nor the psychic different, nor the sleeping disorder different, nor the religious different, nor the geek different, nor the anything unpopular type of different. I don’t know which is more confusing trying to embrace the “different” or trying to fit into the “same.” Either way I would like to think that I am not alone. Is there anyone else out there who feels like I do? Do your thoughts overflow like God is not paying attention to how much he/she is  pouring into your cup? How do you keep yourself from over-thinking?

These are not hypothetical questions. If you really have answers please comment.

Thank you for reading!

Pura Vida,


Day Zero Project: 101 Things in 1001 Days

So I have been thinking…. 🙂 Most of those who know me know that “thinking” can be both a hinderance and a help for me. I can begin to analyze everything so deeply that I either talk myself into or out of it. I decided to start a large list of “things to do” with a huge focus on doing all the things I have always wanted to do. I am not sure where life is taking me nor where I am taking my life, but this list is a compilation of the things I do know. The future is awaits me.

If you would like to join me on one of these adventures or have connections to ways I can get them done leave a comment below!

Check out my list! Follow my progress at www.dayzeroproject.com/user/shellybell

Start your own list at http://www.dayzeroproject.com! Let me know and I we can follow each other’s process!

Blue moon out tonight…


 Every BLUE MOON (5th Monday) I host…

4251 South Campbell Ave 

Arlington, 22206

APRIL 30, 2012


GET YOUR TIX NOW http://www.busboysandpoets.eventbrite.com/

Busboys and Poets is a community where racial and cultural connections are consciously uplifted…a place to take a deliberate pause and feed your mind, body and soul…a space for art, culture and politics to intentionally collide…we believe that by creating such a space we can inspire social change and begin to transform our community and the world.

Expect to be moved, expect a packed house, expect the unexpected, but above all come with an open mind and ear. List opens at 8:30 PM. 



B.L.A.H. = “Beyond Lost And Hopeless”

I have determined that BLAH is an acronym for “Beyond Lost And Hopeless.” This feeling can sneak up on you at any minute. It arises from the depths of confusion, fatigue, and sex deprivation. In 2012, I predict that people of all shapes, colors, sizes and ages will be affected by this momentary feeling of “WHAT THE F***!” B.L.A.H. is a moment not to be confused with sadness or loneliness. This moment usually passes within a day. If symptoms persist past 3 days try a glass of wine and/or other method of psychological escape. If this does not help consult a doctor of your choice immediately. Doctors include, but are not limited to a gynecologist, physical therapist, oncologist, orthodontist, psychiatrist and any other word ending in “ist” that works for you.

Moments you may feel B.L.A.H.:

When you’re bored

When you lose a job

When you feel stupid

When you look stupid

When you act stupid

During emo movie moments

When you end a relationship

When you want to be in love

When you’re on your cycle (men)

When you’re on your cycle (women)

When you conclude you’re not in love

When you realize you don’t know your purpose

When you feel like the word purpose is stupid

When you feel like you’re not serving any purpose

When you’re hungry and unable to get to food

When you feel like you’re having a bad day/week/month/year

When you spend your last few dollars on some form of transportation

When you realize you’re an hour into the dumbest conversation you’ve ever had

When you misspell words in an important message to friends, family, or co-workers

When you realize you’re pregnant and your religion has convinced you that you are pro-life

When you call on your significant other and find that they are not as significant as you thought.

The B.L.A.H. moment will walk up and pound you over the head if you don’t keep some G.O.O.D. in your life. G.O.O.D. stands for “Gracious Overly Optimistic Deeds.” Stay tuned for the blog on G.O.O.D.

Thank you for reading! Don’t be B.L.A.H. follow this blog!

Pura Vida,

5 Myths about Love

Myth 1: You complete me

If someone says this to you…RUN! OR make sure that you are an incomplete person who is looking for another incomplete person. When you read that out loud it sounds absolutely ridiculous. If you are looking to fall in love or find love and haven’t yet this is possibly your problem. Become whole and complement one another. Unless you are an incomplete person hearing the words “you complete me” will not be the moment you decide this person is the “ONE.” Complement me don’t complete me. I am already a whole person. This is a great transition into the next myth.

Myth 2: I am looking for the ONE

Being that you will be a part of at least two relationships where you feel completely satisfied with the someone and they won’t be so satisfied with you it is not realistic that there is a “ONE” out there. It could be the “first kiss” crush from elementary school to the high school sweetheart or even the college mate. The relationship could have lasted a short three days, but for that three days of agreement you felt like he/she was the ONE. You were perfectly correct! Even though you were considered too young to be kissing, or too old to be letting go of such a long relationship you still considered yourself lucky to have them! Once you noticed that he pees on the toilet seat or she does not cook you probably became less in like therefore less in love. Then determined that this person is not the ONE after all. This is not true. They were the ONE for that time period. That’s completely OK. Now on to the next ONE.

Myth 3: Love is all we need

BULLSHIT! Love is an emotion and just like all emotions, guess what…IT WILL PASS! It will come back, then go away, then pass, then go away. In the moments that love has passed you will find yourself actually trying to relate. “Relate” is the root word of “relationship” however people forget all about this when they have the overwhelming “love” bug. You know the one where all you can hear, eat, breath or think about is THEM…the ONE….then you sit in the pee he left on the toilet seat or get hungry and look for her to cook a meal and realize you don’t know if you like them so much. If something happens once or twice it’s considered an incident, but when habits become routine it should be considered a part of your personality. Evaluate each personality you feel overwhelmingly in love with for compatibility. Can you last 20 years sitting in pee or not having a hot meal from the one you love? Will your ideas of family fit into that space? Is this person a dirty person? Is this person forgetful? Do you want to clean up after them or always be the ONE cooking? The biggest question…”IS THIS RELATIONSHIP SUSTAINABLE.”

Myth 4: If you love me you would….

If you have to say this what you probably mean is “if you like what I want you to do or are able to like me enough to just do what I want then you would do it.” This is rooted in instant gratification. We all want it. We all need it. The momentary “I will do anything you want me to do because I love you so much.” Emotion is measured by action. If you’re sad I wouldn’t know you’re sad unless you say or act sad. We think the same of love. If you don’t do something like marry me, buy me gifts randomly, or create a romantic atmosphere of some sort you don’t love me. We have to ask ourselves questions about the relationship we seek/allow. We feel like we’re in love in a matter of weeks due to the way we are treated. Some people actually marry each other in a few weeks and it works for them. You may not be that exception. Stop trying to be. Love does not look like a particular action that takes place a few times a year. It’s actually a feeling. Feelings motivate you to be romantic, to spend time with a person, to hold them, to be there when they need you, and to just be a part of their lives holistically. The ideas of love in one person have to complement the ideas of love in another. The actions of love look very similar across relationships of all sorts. Think about it. What does the media tell us love looks like? We use these images as our definitions of love. The most widely known and marketed ways of love is what we determine is our own way of showing love and being in love.

Myth 5: I love you but I am not “in love” with you


love is to feet wet as “in love” is to underwater

love is to warm as “in love” is to fire

love leads to exclusive dating as “in love” leads to marriage

love is to like a lot as “in love” is to like a lot more than anybody

If you have ever defined love as something you are inside of, outside of, sitting around, on top of, or under you are delusional. In fact, if you refer to love as any type of locale whether relative or geographical you are delusional. I have also been this person. Love is  a feeling. It is triggered by experiences. Most of these experiences are not new. They come from childhood, previous romantic and/or platonic relationships. When people become conscious of the fact that a sustainable relationship is not possible with a person they are involved with they will consider themselves falling out of love. How much does this say about falling in love? Is love something we feel we can take our time with? Has the media put us on notice that everyone whether male or female has a love clock ticking? Maybe they are right! Maybe they are on to something, however it’s not the something shone so plainly in the happy ending of a movie. It is the portion of the movie that is too long and boring to show. The part where the person keeps a running checklist of the “likes” and “don’t likes” of the relationship they’ve chosen. It’s the part where he pees on the toilet and you clean it 100 times all the while head over heels in love, then the 101 time you decide you don’t want to make to the 1000th time. It’s the part where your “going out” budget is becoming overwhelmingly taxing on your lifestyle all because she can’t cook. You begin to realize that you can’t eat out forever. You realize that you’re getting older and fatter all because your woman can’t cook. These things sound so minute in the first two years of a relationship. They end up being the simple death of lots of relationships.

Of course your thing may not be peeing on the toilet or cooking, but there’s some quirk about you that makes you an unsustainable mate for someone. However that someone has to determine this before riding off into the sunset with you then wanting to ditch you by morning.


If you would like to be in a committed relationship that leads to marriage consider actually focusing on relating! By this I mean don’t start unsustainable actions to impress someone. Don’t begin a romantic routine you can’t keep up. Notice that this person does not have the lifestyle that best fits you early on in dating. Be conscious about what you really want. Use paper and pen to write down what you think you want then re-evaluate after each relationship. Meet, greet, relate, reflect, move!

Thank you for reading!

Pura Vida,
Shelly Bell

Poem inspired by classical composition

Poem inspired by “Debussy: Nocturne (1892)”

If Dreams Had Dance

 If dreams had a dance,

I’d call it rain;

the first movement would involve,

a she curtsy,

a he bow,

and a wink of agreement;

his arms extended in invitation,

her arms flirting back in wonder,

toes tapping like magic wands on the windshield of “voila.”

 they’d slide past roaring piano tones

like clouds tip through thunder,

calm eyes,

dim lit romantic posture,

prancing elbows;

the second movement would include,

shifty air pushed away by his pull;

she’d flail gently from the belly of a cloud,

they’d become one mist,

and two moments of cooled dew drops.

If a dance had dreams,

I’d call it nocturnes,

an evocation of night showers,

an adoration for a musical water cycle;

the third and final movement would be,

the evaporation of a key stroke;

he’d play her chords till clouds wrung empty,

the night would still,

rest would have to happened,

a beautiful new would be conjured;

alas he and she would have enjoyed it till end,

they’d retire an everlasting evening in the palm of mystery.


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