The Oracle

Denise Lyles Cook

Denise L. Cook, known as The ORACLE, is a published author, motivational speaker, actor, singer, spoken word artist, poet, choreographer and dancer, and is well known as a healer in the field of massage therapy.  Asked what motivated her so to pursue such a wide range of interests and she answers, “my father always said ‘anything worth doing is worth doing well. And anything you put your time and effort into, you may as well get credentialed’. I believed him, so doing anything less wasn’t an option. With Daddy excellence was the first line of defense against the big bad wolf of life.”

Denise holds a B.A. in Dance, and M.F.A. from U.C.L.A and M. ED. from   National University.


Literary accomplishments include her newly released book and CD, The ORACLE Speaks… just because, ISBN #978-0-615-26196-6 52295, ORACLE Publishing © 2008, her first book, FULL CIRCLE Balance In Life: A collection of poetry and prose chronicling self-love and self-awareness, ISBN #0-9624577-6-0 51495, Back To One Publications/ChinaEyes Productions © 2005, a nomination for poet of the year 2004, 2006, 2008, by the International Society of   Poets, Editor’s Choice Award winner, 2004 and 2008,  ISP and Hollywood Poets Consortium, contributing Poet for “A Simple Guide To Better Lovemaking: ‘69 ways 2 Please Your Lover, Your Better Sex and Relationship Guide, by William Barnes, Romeo Casanova and Juliet Lovelace 2004, W.H.A.M. Agency Publishing and contributing poet for the San Gabriel Valley Poets Society 2004 and 2007 calendars. Ms. Cook also has works included in the international poetry anthologies titled ‘Poems From the Heart’ 2003, and ‘Favorite Memories’, and a host of commissioned works which include dignitaries Archbishop Cardinal Christian Tumi, Celes King, Founder Congress of Racial Equality, Congresswoman Diane Watson, legendary international Jazz and Blues entertainer Linda Hopkins, and movie and television producer David Wolper to name a few. 

 


The ORACLE attributes her love of life and firm belief in “I can do anything I put my mind, body and soul into”, with her close association to her sister Bessie Maria Lyles who was born with muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy and lived only a short but full 22 years of life. “Other than my father, Ri Ri, as she was lovingly called, was my best friend for many years. I am half and half, Black and White, and this white girl couldn’t dance. She taught me how to dance, from her hospital bed. I was ridiculed, laughed at, and abused because I was the “wrong color”. Racism in reverse; I was light skinned, light eyed, had ‘good hair’, etc. From her I learned compassion, a deep sense for unconditional love, and an awareness of how precious and special life are and how sincerely lucky I am to be where I am today; alive, healthy, happy and in love with G-D, my life and myself.”rs.

Question: Do you remember the first poem you wrote?

Answer:

The first poem I remember writing was a plea to G-D to protect me from my Mother. She was an alcoholic and had a habit of beating me when she was on one. One day, I was making sugar toast. When I pulled the broiler drawer out, it came off the tracks. I was 10 years old and I thought I had broken the stove. I panicked and ran away to Mrs. Johnson's house, she lived on the street behind ours and I used to babysit her daughter. Yes, I was babysitting at 10. Any way, I was crying and praying to G-D, because I thought my mother was going to beat me for breaking her stove. Mrs. Johnson suggested I write to G-D, so I wrote this poem:

 

Don't Leave Go Of My Hands

Don't leave go of my hands Lord
For you are my guiding light
Don't leave go of my hands Lord
For you guide me both day and night
Don't leave go of my hands Lord
For I dare not be alone
Don't leave go of my hands Lord
Please stay in my heart, Your home

Mr. Johnson, a film maker,  liked the title so much, he used it on an independent film he was working on. I remember arguing with him over the use of the word "leave" and not "let" in the title. I was an English nerd and suggested to him my usage was correct, as to "let" go means to allow permission, to "leave" go was to depart from. He accepted my argument and titled his film "Don't Leave Go".

Question: What came first the singing or the poetry?

Answer:

The singing came first. I began singing as early as 6 years old. My G-DMother trained me and would take me to auditions. By the age of 8 I began singing in the choir. My 3rd grade teacher, Sister Miriam Augusta, who was a song writer, conducted our little choir at St. Andrew's elementary. It was me and about 8 other classmates. We not only sang, we also wrote songs based on passages from Psalms in the Bible.. 

Question: What is the most important thing you want someone to take away from one of your performances?

Answer:

From my words, my hope is that they see themselves through my words. That in some way I help the listener/reader come to learn to love themselves, as I have, through all the madness of their lives. From my performance my hope is that they are entertained and want more.

Question: If you could collab with any poet living or transitioned who would it be?

Answer:

I would love to collab with Nicki Giovanni. She is pointedly on target with her word usage and thought processes. If I could choose another, it would be Nina Simone. As I have gotten older, I have come to truly appreciate the truth of her words and intent. And we have similar performance styles.

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