Cut It Like Johnette Napolitano

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
I'm crazy passionate about Alternative Music. I used to write album reviews for Beat Magazine & hosted the Sunday Night Graveyard Shift with 3RRR in Melbourne. This spoken word ( the video is up on YouTube) poetry piece is about the night during those years I met a personal inspiration of mine Alternative Rock Poet & Rock Royalty Johnette Napolitano from Concrete Blonde & my hair! It's also a poem about being yourself and being true to yourself.

Submitted: June 28, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 28, 2016



Cut It Like Johnette Napolitano by Cristina Munoz

Cut it like Johnette Napolitano.

At twenty one 
my too thick Spanish hair 
swept way down past my waist
Often I'd get it coloured 
midnight blue black 

Most hairdressers 
became child like playful
curling rope like strands 
around their dye stained fingers
Holding them like rare dark silk
flat against their palms 
finishing in serious tones,
 "Don't ever cut your hair."

Strangers sitting behind me 
silently in buses, trams and trains 
would gently tug at my hair 
testing, to feel, if it was real.

On Melbourne city streets
day or night
whether alone or with friends 
men were bolder
Barely a step behind me
their entitled fingers 
violently pull my hair hard 
expecting a wig to fall 
like a black blanket 
onto the concrete pavement

Sharp pain whips me around
Disbelief, shock 
sometimes embarrassment 
sweep across their male faces
one after the other 
like an unwanted slide show 
"Yes my hair is real.
Don't touch me again."

I hid behind my too long hair for years 
Used it as an unpractical Shield
yet it still drew undesired male attention 
my way, anyway.

To be trusted 
someone had to be able 
ready, to look past my hair 
and a few extra kilos
to see me

I was too concerned with being tough
to trust allowing anyone in
still hiding who I was, even from myself
My hair a symptom 

Until at twenty two
one Corner Hotel Friday night 
i saw Concrete Blonde play live
during their Australian FREE tour 

Imagine witnessing musical magic
it was there
amongst the smell of new sweat
on-tap chilled beer 
and Dunhill cigarettes

Naked, tangible stripped bare magic
created by two men 
and one extraordinary woman
Using a deep throbbing drum
two guitars
all three were at home up on stage
together letting loose a tsunami of sound 
below, above and all around us

Johnette Napolitano 
The Alternative Rock Poet Queen
standing proud on stage in all black
Strong and gorgeous she turned her back
bowing low, revealing her moon pale neck
A blood rose tattoo gleaming light
like a mystical signal 
taking, mesmerising 
the crowd's breath away

Johnette Napolitano held hundreds 
under her welcome spell 
commanded us all with her bass guitar
Her husky, desert singing voice 
swelled with power 
so gutsy clear 
it's ALL we wanted to hear
All you could hear

The chatter of the crowd 
didn't stand a chance 
against Johnette Napolitano's
magical noise

After the gig, invited upstairs
i saw them all together on the floor
Saying goodbye to Have A Nice Day 
joking about mothers and lasagna 

Johnette sat listening to her band mates banter
holding her knees with her back against the wall
Sitting down opposite her, she winked hello
We both sat back enjoying the conversation
between joker Irish Paul and thoughtful Jimmy

Taking me off guard 
Johnette like the older sister
I've never had, leaned over me
softly brushing my hair aside 
exposing my private face

She saw me
i saw her 
and for moments
we were locked 
into a bubble 

I thought back how alone at night 
with my headphones on tight
I've listened hypnotised 
a thousand times 
by her unmistakable vocals

Johnette's sound soaring
rising past the two am sky
being carried by Angels
lingering around the clouds
overwhelming the moon 
before floating down 
to sooth me into dream sleep 

Oh Johnette Napolitano 
your voice
your words
your rock poetry
turns my soul into a Supernova

That night, this time, the only time
Johnette was opposite me
moving closer
her curious dark chocolate eyes 
holding my nervous stare
Her dyed blue black hair 
falling like a night shadow 
framing her perfect
adult woman's face

There I was ALL hair
in black and velvet jade
wearing my only leather jacket 
and Doc Martin boots
Life experience was all over her face 
whereas I had only begun

I felt like John Cusack's Lloyd 
in the movie Say Anything
with his arms outstretched high
His desperate in love fingers 
holding up a Boom Box stereo 
for Ione Skye's Diane
Say something Cristina
Say anything...

"I love Roses Grow only it ends too soon.
It sounds like it needs an extra stanza"

Johnette slapped her right knee 
with eyes bright, she smiled wide 
i saw strong, bold white teeth 
as I imagined a Joshua Tree sunset 
light up, heat up her amazing face
She laughed
even her laugh was musical
an opposite sound to her 
alto deep, throaty voice
Yet so contagious her laughter 
silenced everyone

"You're right Cristina. I told you boys
Roses Grow is too short."

To each other 
we talked about her music
her songs, her lyrics
her spoken voice a L.A. noise
What a voice 
warm like an old souls hug
yet edgy and round 
all at the same time.

We talked about Leonard Cohen
Natalie Merchant and Nick Cave.
We moved onto Anne Rice
Herman Hesse and Milan Kundera 
his Unbearable Lightness Of Being

With unexpected affection 
Johnette's right hand
cradled the left side of my face
her gifted fingers touched my cheek bone 
as she said,"You remind me of my little sister.
You even look like my little sister."

The lyrics of her song 'Little Sister' 
rippled through my mind
Johnette was 'only half a heart away'
just a heart beat away
...from me

I wanted to say back to her 
One day Johnette I want to write like you
make a world wide difference like you
i want to make people feel what I feel 
when i hear your words
Your voice, i know it was hard to find
Your words, pour, dance, bounce
replays over and over on my mind's radio

I want to be wild and wise like you 
be strong and powerful like you
sexy and knowing like you
Holding people close with words 
like only you and Sinead O'Connor 
can do

Yes, i even want to look like you 
so maybe, yes maybe
one destined day i will grow up 
as pure inspirations channel
and be as good of a Poet as you 
Able to cut through the bullshit 
to feel, touch, reach, find and
get to the truth like you 

So star struck
so crazy young
i didn't say it
Yet I meant it.

That night
i had a little conversation 
with Johnette Napolitano
it left me all in grateful pieces
yet it was just time enough 

After everyone had left, gone home
happy, i reached into my jacket pocket
feeling Johnette's mailing address 
safe inside, paper rough against my fingers
I walked out of the Corner Hotel in Richmond 
onto Swan Street...different

The very next Friday afternoon 
down on Greville Street
i took my usual seat 
looking in the wall wide mirror
at Matt standing behind me
My hairdresser for the last year
he had become a friend
Matt glanced back at me 
holding my too long hair 
in his gentle skilled hands
Unlike any hair stylist before 
as Matt always did, he asked me,
"Do you want a trim Cristina, 
or are you ready to cut it all off?"

Laughing, staring directly back 
into his blue mirrored eyes
i said, "I'm ready Matt.
Cut it like Johnette Napolitano."

© Copyright 2018 Cristina Munoz. All rights reserved.

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