I’ve been listening to WSOU a LOT lately. Got this ‘zine “POPsmear” that has celebrity phone numbers (including Lisa Loeb’s! Ooh! Maybe I’ll give her a call.)
I really like the word silverbitch. If I get a band, maybe that’s what I’ll name it. I’m working on a poem called “silverbitch smitten” all about Mercer. I hope it comes together, gels.
Oh, I saw Sandra Bernhard in the Village today. She was going one way (with some guy she was walking with) and we were going the other (Anita didn’t see her).
Oh god oh god oh god. This entry provided me with a special double dose of shame, once for believing I was so clever by coining a word as utterly ridiculous as “silverbitch” and a second time when I dug out and read the ensuing poem. But more on that later. First up, Lisa Loeb.
For those who are too young or need a refresher, Lisa Loeb was a bespectacled singer-songwriter and one-hit wonder whose song “Stay (I Missed You)” was featured on the Reality Bites soundtrack and, much like the movie, represented a special blend of irritating-but-not-wholly-unlikable ’90s angst. Except in Lobe’s case, there was a dose of perkiness mixed into the angst (let’s call it “pangst”). The video was directed by Ethan Hawke and couldn’t have had a budget of more than $20, because it just shows Loeb walking around an empty apartment. See for yourself:
If I ever had the guts to call Lisa and leave her a truthful voicemail, it would have gone something like this:
Hey Lisa, it’s Damiella. Listen, that song “Stay” was ok the first few times I heard it, but it’s getting pretty played out now. Since the damn thing is your handiwork, is there any way you can tone down the air and video play a bit? Seriously, I am starting to get a twitch every time I hear the words “you say.” Thanks, Lisa. You’re a peach. P.S. Nice glasses. Years from now, I’ll date a guy who’s still a big fan of yours and say to him ‘Lisa Loeb seems smart.’ And he’ll say, ‘you just think that because she’s wearing glasses.’ And he’ll be right. Anyway, that’s all I got. Peace.
And now for the part that we’ve all been dreading…
Let’s face it, no blog about about a girl’s diary is worth its salt if it doesn’t include at least one poem penned by the diary’s author. And while I’ve resisted sharing more than a little bit of the creative writing I did back then here and there, that changes now. The poem I wrote about my crush on Neil (AKA “Mercer”) came together alright, for
better or worse. Here it is in its cringe-inducing entirety:
thirteen years to confusion
and you take a turn into the
(thank you and hello).
here i float
on the cusp of madness
pushed along by a flow of
creativity and delusion…
i want you
to take me to that dysfunctional whirlpool
behind your flaming blue eyes
i love to watch you
lash out at the bastards, sinking your fangs
into their papery skin
rage on, baby
(it’s part of your charm).
now you are the only one here
who can save me from
my stagnant corner,
my dissolving thoughts,
my pretentious poetry.
slap me asleep.
Well, at least I had enough self-awareness to actually call my poetry pretentious… in one of my poems… does that make me meta-pretentious?
Saturday, July 25, 1992
No more diet or exercise for now. Don’t stay with Fran too much, mostly with Jessica, Mindy, sometimes Cheryl and ALWAYS Winona. She is such a tag along. She looks like she’s ten years old and says immature things. I don’t mean to be nasty to her but sometimes she gets on my nerves.
[Actually, I did switch eating plans to something I like to call The Summer French Fry Diet of 1992. I know it’s quite a switch from the Fonda-full fitness plan I intended to keep, but let me explain. Day camp outings did not make healthy eatings. We went to movie theaters, bowling alleys, amusement parks, and every Friday fed pizza for lunch, all of which meant sustenance of the greasy/fatty kind. This was before fast food healthy menu options, before air popped movie theater popcorn, before the ubiquity of Subway sandwich shops. On top of that, my pocket money was limited, and french fries rank high on the Affordable Plus Yummy Plus Reasonably Filling scale.
Never in my life did I eaten fries from so many different places. And for the most part, they all tasted the same (with a few exceptions where the mediocre steak fry was served in place of the far superior shoestring).]
One of my councelors, Ricky is very nice. He is cute but there is a special thing about him. He shares my birthday. That makes him exactly six years older than me (20). My parents have 8 years between them.
[Subtle, no? I think we all know in this case “very nice” means “I have the hots for my tall, tan, blue-eyed, good-natured, dolphin-loving camp counselor who was born on the same day of the year I was, which is obviously a cosmic sign that we are meant to be married and live blissfully ever after. Or something.”]
I need to write some poetry. Bear with me.
And boy, do I mean bear with me. In case you’re not yet aware of my bad poetry capabilities, let me take a moment to warn you and apologize for the dreadful verse you are about to endure. Have you braced yourself? Are you sure? Okay, you asked for it. Actually, you didn’t, but I’m giving it to you anyway:
With a single gaze
He strips me of any all barriers
Until I am left without a protective
Façade to protect me
And every time his eyes meet mine
An ache courses thunders deep inside me
As he unknowingly steals another piece of my soul
My eyes cast down, I hope he did not see
The brief desperation in them
For when will he realize
That he has my heart at his fingertips
And my dying soul in his palm?
We are going to Boston Monday. I’ll write about it. Gotta go now! See ya!
But enough about my dying soul…
Let’s talk about what a complete and utter teenage cliché I was by having a crush on my camp counselor. It wasn’t the first time I had a thing for an older guy (that was back in elementary school) or one who was somewhat-to-extremely unattainable, nor would it be my last. But oh, Ricky, he was so fine. He was so fine, he blew my mind. And he never took me by the hand, but he did take me by the heart.*
*Toni Basil, if you ever read this, please don’t sue me.
Thursday, Feb. 7, 1991
I really don’t have much to say but I didn’t write to you in a while so I decided it was time to fill a few pages with my wonderful words of wisdom (Yeah Right!).
I did something today that I haven’t in quite a while. I wrote a poem. It’s called “If I had one wish” and it goes like this:
If I had one wish,
I would wish to be free,
Free to roam the world,
Free to be what I want to be,
I would live off the land,
And then I would see,
Our wonderful Earth,
As it really should be,
Without any wars,
To make people cry,
Without any diseases,
To make people die,
Just nature and wilderness,
That we would all cherish,
That’s what I would want,
If I had one wish.
Well, now I’m going to wallow in my self-pity because I know I’m not going to get my perm. I better sign off before my parents start to lecture me.
At least I tried to balance out my “deep thoughts” about global strife and pretentious poetry with my self-pity over not being able to get a tacky hairstyle.
The truth is, I spent very little time thinking about the war and many hours being angsty about all the fun my overprotective parents prevented me from having. I don’t know why my parents didn’t allow me to get a perm, because I did have one in sixth grade. As much as I cared about the world and our environment, it did not prevent me from contributing to the hole in the ozone layer using copious amounts of Aqua Net on the small topiary on top of my head that I sculpted my bangs into. While I didn’t realize it at the time, my parents were actually salvaging me from another foolish hair choice.
There was no saving me from the bad poetry, though. That’s something I’d have to grow out of on my own.
I got my perm after all and I have a few letters that I want to write to fill you in on what has been happening to me lately…
Remember the sleepover we had when we went to Alana’s party at the roller skating rink the next day? Well I just wanted to tell you that I think your friend Peter is a bad influence on you because whenever he’s around and even when he’s not around you act like a very imature person. All of the sudden you start cursing in Russian and acting like a fool.
Also I am grateful that you did so many nice things for me like helping me with my campain for president (really my flyers). But every time I don’t want to do something for you, you act as if you gave me a million dollars and I had to be your slave forever to pay you back. I don’t like it atall.
Although you helped me materialy I helped you too but non-materialy like listening to your problems and giving you advice.
I hope you change fast because the way you are acting if you don’t change soon, you will lose me as a friend.
Make the choice.
Either you change your attitude or you have one less friend.
… … …
Dear 11-year-old Damiella,
At least this time it wasn’t bad poetry.
Tolya was entering his teenage years, so cursing, acting like a fool, and having an attitude is not out of the ordinary. You should see the attitude you’ll be sporting in a couple of years.
P.S. That perm was a really bad idea.
Today I had a fight with Tolya and then somehow I got mad at Tina.
It was all through swimming and I felt mad and sad. I don’t know what I’m going to do.
Luckily, I was able to set my anger toward Yanmei, Marcela, and George long enough to develop hostility toward not one but two new targets. Tolya and Tina were a year older than me and the children of two Russian families my parents were friends with. For a while, they were like the older brother and sister I never had. They probably didn’t feel the same way, because whereas I was an only child, Tolya had an adorable younger brother and Tina had an older brother who was a jerk (he once set his t-shirt on fire with hairspray and a lighter to freak me out gave tedious soliloquies on how R.E.M.’s Green was the best album of all time). For the most part I got along well with Tolya and Tonya, and the three of us took weekly swimming lessons. Mostly these “lessons” meant listening to the instructor for the first 10 minutes, and spending the rest of the hour splashing around with my two friends and pretending to be a mermaid.
Naturally, I don’t recall what they said to me during our swimming that set me off, but if I had to guess, I’d say it had something to do with my height. Tolya and Tina, being ahead of the puberty curve, had their growth spurts early and enjoyed gloating about how they towered over me. Even though I would grow up to be nearly 5’7″ (three inches above the average female height), at the time, I was self-conscious about my smaller stature and found it offensive when those two freaks of puberty called me short.
Whether it really was about my height, whatever it was they said or did burned me up so much that it brought out the vengeful poet in me:
I made up this poem about them:
Tolya and Tina you’re going beserk,
Some people may like you, but I think you’re jerks,
Teddy and Tanya, you think you’re so hot,
I used to be you’re friend but now I’m not.
Move over Byron, Keats, and Shelly! There’s a new wordsmith in town…