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a man/me/then Jim

If I've done well-- ya know, I mean, crossed my legs meditated on the ground, sipped the coffee I made the night before so it is cold like ice & bitter as hell, if I've done well, I get up off the floor and move to the desk. I try and do the things that have been done on tables. To put my own neck into place to find wherever I a pressure point is behind my eyes, to remember what a doctor said about sinus cavities or the cause of headaches or to change a level of pain from 8 to something lower-- because I don't really even believe in that. On a scale of 1-10, I pick the highest number and that will be the best.

Then I will think about my grandmother's wedding ring or how it is funny the things we can do to other people. "You can do what you want," when he is upset he says "It's not like I own this down." And when he is pleased "It would be great to see you. Amazing." And I am a woman holding a phone to her head, who you to ask the man on the other line how telephones worked.

It's just a semi-precious stone but there was this time and place in Sicily when everyone was starving and my grandfather wanted to give my grandmother something that she wore on her ring finger, torn to all from a life of picking olives. No one could read. Maybe by then they could read some things. Before they died they could read. I would watch them. I'd sit with my grandfather, he'd be half awake on his favorite lazy-boy. The carpet that was once a dark brown perfect 70's shag, planted like a layer of soil or salt for thirty years absorbing all our stains of childhood had been replaced with something white & rough on the skin. He'd wake-up during Westerns and point to the television screen "Quello e John Wayne" and after viewing the man with the cowboy hat on, he fell back asleep. And I went to college close by, but the thing was I didn't live close by. I lived a thousand miles away. I wanted my grandmother. I wanted my Patron Saints. I wanted to hear how they got from there to here or how they could still believe like this.
How the arranged marriages didn't leave them more exhausted.
And then time passed suddenly, because that is all another story.
And when everyone was dead I wore the wedding ring on my finger.

And when I left the place where I am right now, I left the ring too. I packed so quickly. So these things too, on a scale of one to ten, when we measure our feelings of positive thinking, of cognitive power, of pain, these things too can be fault. My naked hands. I apply more layers of red lacquer.

I am the woman on the phone & you were too good to be written about in a small box, and I was going to be too good to write about it. Until the mornings when I have finished my scheduled activities and it has been a year of attending funerals.
When it feels so ninety-four, so twothousandfour, so fatal and facetious
and I don't even drink my coffee black anymore.

Do you remember when I could use whole names in year? You can check if you want. You just go to "archives" you can click "2002" and read about the first semester of my senior year of high school. Or you can read about 2004 when Brett was still alive and I was sure I loved him in dorm rooms, in Ohio. Or in 2006, maybe 2007 when I was first in New York and all men were so exciting and equally nameless that there had to be things like "editor from Spin magazine" and "guy from bar where we watch Mets game" and "Gregg's friend R" and other things that have no meaning now, even to me. The string of letters afterward. "J was over until 4 AM, it was really sweet, he brought over all the ingredients to make hot toddies. After I said I'd never have hot toddies before."
And I am skipping entirely over the years in between of twins and car accidents and England and moves because full names where used, and I don't know if I remember what it feels like to be that sad, or if you the reader has been able to follow this paragraph at all.

So, in the mornings. That's when these things are here.

Soon I'll do this all properly. I'll register the domain names again. I'll find the letters for the men so I can tell you about the events. I'll make my warning labels larger.
I'll write a little bit less about the dead or dying.
We'll see.
There are other things, and I promise to tell you more about them later.

with love from Portland.
I am so happy that I keep stopping to swallow the air in my mouth like some big meal on the go, walking down the block like I need to take it in because there is still a sense of "just in case". Just in case my calm in and out breathe leaves me starving on the hillside because I waited to patiently or always lose my debit card or say things like "cash money" and make eye contact with everyone, handsome man on the street corner, because now I want to be from this planet too. Please tell I was born here & I can just live among you & roll in your dirt because the smile is sincere.

If my neck would just loosen up.

Were we going to go downtown today? I feel like we were or that hike with pie. After someone had accordion lessons or I wrote an article and the sentences always start with "but it is a beautiful day."

And that's how it goes: we can do nothing/what do you expect/what are the things you really want from me?
Did you happen to take a good glance at my child bearing hips that somehow just get smaller with age as if to tell me "huh? girl- what?"

And I should look at what more things mean because I still believe in all of that. Like, you know, the meanings of dreams. Symbols. How many times a neck is broken. Digging your fingers into bones. Huh girl what. Things people say and if I can understand them "Fiction and Non-Fiction are two separate things". I agree. Do I understand? Can I tell you why I agree? I don't know.

Sometimes I can still say it was awful. I can say it was terrible. We will run into each other in the market & then I will just have to catch his eyes and understand that he Wanted it to be this way. Like, what's anything supposed to taste like with that in my mouth? Metal? Blood? Asphalt. When you fall off your bike but you are little. You are little and it is a lot more like real life. The capacity of cuts and bruises. That's why when children write things down they don't need to understand the difference between fiction and non-fiction. The truth and a lie.

What is that game? Two truths and a lie? I've never played. I could tell you why.

Today was one of those days that felt really good for no reason in particular. I like starting off my morning really early with Sawyer on walks, at hikes or at the dog park. Before I've even had coffee or while I am having coffee if I can manage doing two things at once. I like a feeling of being hit by the day when my dreams are still kind of right there washing over me. This whole extremely vivid alternate reality that I was living in moments ago, now abandoned for a forest & the crunching of some leaves, my feet which will inevitably move. Even in cities, to not get plowed over, my body will somehow navigate itself where it is supposed to go. I can always feel good first thing in the morning. i love the idea that something is new, fresh, just starting.

The opposite of a morning person is easy to spot. You will read this, you will have no idea what I am talking about, you will think "I am not a morning person." I have been annoyed with the company of none-morningers since my teenage years. This is probably because I am a light sleeper, because I will still wake up early no matter what time the party ends or how desperately I crave to stay knocked out. I have gone through spells of twelve hour love affairs with sadness and deep sleep, fever dreams & darkness. That's something else to. There is absolutely no morning then, I do not think there is even an outside world. You take cold medicine, or you take medicine for sadness. Or maybe you leave the house to go meditate or see a movie with a friend. Maybe to see a doctor. For your throat? Your ears? No-- your heart? Your head. That's a different matter. I've gone off topic.

What I was meaning to say is there are people who can sleep deep into the morning in some kind of deep natural sleep but when they must be woken (early in life for school, later in life for work) they are like little red eyed monsters, terrible cranky brats. I have sat across from pouty faced best friends at the breakfast table pouring large mugs of black coffee and thought "well, it would be reallllllllllllly nice if you could wake up now so we could go sight seeing & take this eight mile walking tour!" I get into it. You can shake me awake and I am could to go in a matter of seconds. I've had lovers that could have been soap opera coma patients. "Baby! Oh, Baby! Baby, Please wakeeeeee-uppppppppp!" I should put it on one of my to-do list to go audition for something like Days of our Lives.

Did Dr. Drake Ramoray ever wake-up from his coma? I'd really love to be the girl who was sent into fix that. He was a neurosurgeon wasn't he? When I wake him up maybe he could help me sleep a little bit better, close my eyes a little bit longer. I mean, I don't want to have any disconnect with my nights or my mornings. I'd like to know why certain people tell me they only dream in black and white. But then sometimes when I think about dreams, it feels like thinking about outer space. Maybe you can think about outer space and be totally okay with it. That's some functioning skill were supposed to have, right? When I was looking at those planets last month or the month before, the two new ones, that I guess are not new at all but that they just saw for the first time and the planets are blue and green but not in this galaxy (in a galaxy far, far away) and I can't wrap my head around it. I start to think about it and it feels the same way the inside of my head feels like--- which is like forever --- and that is when explaining something or me trying to explain this to you would be far too boring, much more boring than it's been thus far. It would be like really trying to explain a dream. And not a bad dream, but a good one. This thing that you experienced alone, went into by yourself & then were suddenly sucked out of-- and you're walking down some street, in this world which can be so grey, and it feels like well, wait, wait, look I am really good at this hold on a second- listen, I am good at this- I am a morning person but I was just having this really amazing dream and I havent even had my coffee yet and---

it's always february 2nd

&there's nothing I can do about it.

1. Research: that's the best part. Maybe, maybe it feels this way when I am running out of words. I put films on pace around. Try and manage my library book. "Pretty shattered. Nothing terrible had happened to him before."

Sometimes I can't read my own notes-- I can always read my own handwriting, never understand my own grammar, stopping to circle & write in COMMA SPLICE like everyone else has on all of my sheets of paper for what now two decades?

I am embarassed about it sometimes. Because I do think when I was really in love, when I really meant things I should have done better. I could have forced myself to stop and edit a sentence. But you know, if I could hvw then, I would have then and if I could now I would now but getting things out isn't working that way. It is just a matter of getting it out.

2. Photographs

3. Lists of names

4. Other people. I stare. Terrible. This tremendous staring that maybe doesn't really bother anyone. Maybe i have a talent for it now, I can lower my eyes or focus them properly. My eyes, my vision that I try and fix with exercises and quackery or keratin and prayers and prescription lenses and unfocused vision. I probably can't read the cues that other people give me. The ones that say That woman is staring. Why is that woman staring?

5. Dinner plans. Vacations. Schedules. Things to remember. Things to forget.

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from the archives


  • Jan. 13th, 2009 at 1:25 PM
blessed virgin

Still sifting through ancient artifacts of my own life, I scan photographs from age 10-17. Someone next to me points out that I looked older then-- in some way, at sixteen I looked older than that I do now. And I did really, it was like my face had aged too quickly, or my body had developed too early. I want to say how I was older then, how we were fending for ourselves, how at one point we were almost literally raised by wolves, but I don't say anything-- I just shrug, laugh a little, keep eye contact, you know sometimes stories are not worth telling unless you can start from the very beginning. Unless you can say "In 1985, I was born in a blizzard," unless you can say "In 1995, I was more reasonable than I had ever been," unless you can say "2005 really was 'The year of virgin sacrifices' until you've run out of decades. But who has twenty years? Who has twenty minutes?

The 5th grade was like magic. There's this sign on one of the subway cars that says something like "You remember your first grade teacher's name- who will remember yours?" My 5th grade teacher was Mrs.Uhl. In her classroom we read Where the Red Fern Grows and Old Yeller and all I wanted was a dog. If I believed in God during the fifth grade, I would have prayed for a puppy. But I was so practical at this point, if I recall correctly I either tried to reason with- or black mail my father. This could have been the most practical part of my whole life, the most reasonable year ever.

We went to Enterprise Village- this place the size of a shopping mall where you spend a day, have a job, get a paycheck and train your 10 year old body that this is society. You see, in the fifth grade I went to work with my classmates. I had the career that I had been pining before- being on television on The Home Shopping Network. I didn't care that the person who got the manager position for my store made fifty cents an hour more than I did, because I was going to be a star on the big screen. Or, I guess the little screen, in a simulated society. I was smug about the whole thing as I passed my classmates who were working at Blockbuster or McDonalds, I did not make eye contact with them, because ah, I had arrived, I had arrived and they had not. We went through a day of tasks like balancing our checkbooks and cashing our pay stubs( I spent most of my paycheck at Eckerd's Drugstore on a Caboodles make-up kit.) We were all grown up, this was the real world.

And I remember thinking, "you know- this is really great, this is really awesome." And in you know, in 1995- I could get out of bed in the morning, I could go to work &balance my checkbook. I could excel in society, no matter how simulated it was.

Back in the classroom, we got ready to start the DARE program. We received bright red t-shirts with black font on them (years later I traded shirts with one of my high school boyfriends, opting for a black shirt with red font.) We went to the school cafeteria where speakers came in and told us the woes of doing drugs.

We watched a cartoon about doing LSD. Apparently, if you did this drug, you would be very likely to jump out a building because you thought you could fly, or maybe you'd even kill a loved one.
It seemed terrifying. We went once a week and took some kind of pledge, swearing to remain drug free.

You see, when I was 10 years old, when i was 11- I wasnt going to do drugs. I was going to go to Enterprise Village and sit in Mrs.Uhl's class and write short stories about road trips with my family.I had no desire to look like a muppet that was all raged out tripping off of nanny's slippers because water still tasted clean to me and even pain was still pure. Pain just hurt. Things felt bad.  I knew that running down the street, riding a bicycle, swimming in the ocean, spilling orange flavored drink down my puprle shirt-- I knew these were solutions to make problems go away. There had not yet been and introduction to anything else. It never really happens like that. No one tells you in the fifth grade that one day you are going to wish- that you are going to wish that you could submerge your whole head in orange drink until the high fructose corn syrup fills your lungs and the whole show is over because pain is not always going to feel simple and clear like a skinned knee, a broken arm, or mass confusion that you will get to repress for another ten years and another ten essays.

You're going to be on television, you're going to be a star.

You're going to be in pictures.

You're going to be a basketball player.

You're going to be

You're going to

And you really are

That's the thing, you relaly are

That year our class song was "Ironic,' by Ilanis Morisette. We were allowed to listen to it in class- it was a big deal. We played it the morning that special guest speakers were coming in. Two high school students, a boy and a girl. They were there to talk to us about abstinence. I remember wondering if they had sex together, then imagining them having sex. For years I had no idea that sex actually felt good for women- I thought it was something you did to prove something or make someone happy. And they talked to us about STDs and how they were waiting until marriage and all of these things.In the 5th grade, we were not having sex. But I wondered what it would be like with the boy from Blockbuster video, with the boy from Time Warner cable in class. The things we could do at Enterprise Village.

So you see, none of my friends in the fifth grade knocked any girls up, so no one was crying in the bathrooms about their abortions or their boyfriend that overdosed on drugs. We were ten years old and totally sober. I could sell you a home gym, you'd never have to get up off the couch. But it was wonderful. It was worth everything, and they were right for putting us behind those chairs, in those desks. In those dress skirts and suits like our parents didn't wear but could have worn.
There was something to be said for the whole thing and even though I am reflecting on a pile of photographs from a school field trip on the eve of my twenty-fourth birthday, contemplating the age of twenty-three and the age of ten with equal ambivalence I am still glad I had those moments. I do not know why I talk like this--- about these things like they are fleeting, not just the memories. But I have kind of been talking this way my whole life. You'd be eleven with that checkbook balance baby, and this would be the year we'd fucking have it all.

Helter Skelter & Other Cults

I will quickly try & treat February 1st like January 1st. Meaning I was supposed to write something down. Write in here every day, publicly, openly. For you & for myself. I have been writing. In waves. It has been coming and going likely that. I have myself do 'Morning Pages' and there is a Gratitude Journal that I write in before bed, almost always, and I truly adore that. I feel good about that. It's something that I've been doing off on & for years. One of my left over Power of Positive Thinking methods and Oprah Winfrey sing-along strategies. But I like that, my hands and fingers and pens and pencils and notebook paper or moleskine paper and numbered lists or sloppy cursive that I never ended up having to use except those few summers in Cambridge (and maybe even then they asked to print because we are all illegible). I want pen pals and again the tangible things-- always, always the combination. The digital prints and the vinyl that comes with the download code. It is the same thing I have been going on about for years. How I want my books to come with something special so they can both be accessible on the book shelf and my kindle. So I can read them at home and on the train.

February of 2012.

Making a commitment to other things.

There was some invitations for the West coast but I never really know when anyone means anything. The thing about the West Coast is the three hour time difference. How am I supposed to know what you are thinking when this has even happened yet?

I google yoga retreats online. Still toy with the idea that I should just get a certification. That I could teach a nice class once a week. I laugh in the park while doing a tree pose because I cannot maintain it. It is a true crazy lady moment. I should own a multitude of cats but I figure having goldendoodles is acceptable enough for the scenario because I am thinking of one of the meditations I do where we repeat "I am bendy and flexible like the Willow tree" and now in the park I am trying to stand long and tall like the divorced soccer moms with strong cores around me but instead I look like I am belly dancing on one leg. My only child syndrome has given me this left over power/ability/flaw where I not only laugh but also Talk to myself when alone. Grocery shopping for peanut butter "but why can't you just have peanuts and salt and not anything else and be in a jar because I do not want you to be freshly ground up right now" to the shelves. To the shelves in the suburbs. The shelves of course don't answer back and I have probably been past the age for a long time now where it is acceptable to attribute your personality to the number of siblings you have, or to determine the stage of your life by what month it is. But I kind of just like being who I am. Even when I am sad (I don't like being sad) but I do still like being myself, Daniela Scrima, I see my face in the mirrror "oh you, good job, wonderfffffullllllll" but I kind of mean it. Beyond the sarcasm, beyond my body contortion in front of the divorced women & my lectures about genetically modified food to strangers in the super market, and how I still feel entitled to do everything I have always ever wanted to do, I am okay with things.

Sometimes I come to my journal and I read through entries. I can sort through blog posts from 1999 and my first year of high school and see what it was like to meet all of my best friends, or really experience teen angst, or turn sixteen. The other day I read through the whole fall of 2003 because I wanted to know what my life experience was like as a freshman at the age of eighteen at Kent State University in Ohio because that feels like a million lifetimes ago. Before England. Before New York. Before Portland. I hit these paragraphs sometimes where I find myself so much older. Like I am five now. Like I am ten.

I don't know how else to say it.

bishop danced (1976)

She’s telling me we like the “live recordings” the best and I am nodding my head in agreement. I am always in agreement nodding off but too scared to sleep, in the backseat of someone’s car.

A man— maybe one I love or adore, tells me that someone wrote a whole book about the song “Spirit in the Night” and it is April and I am tired. Oh you don’t know what they can do to ya. I like that the same names are used again and again. I said “I hurt” she said honey let me heal it. And what good did it do? To write that book? That I will not read in April.

Every year it blows my mind that April actually comes. Every year I can’t memorize the poem (to which there is no live version of) Are the lilacs breeding or are they mixing? Is it the Hanged Man that I cannot see or that I should fear?

In New York it’s all trains and paid drivers. The live recordings don’t make a difference. Someone tells me that “that is the ocean” and I tell someone that they are “a  liar.”

She looks back in conformation “the live version— it’s better— it’s a million times better than any of this shit.”

And me, I listen.

maybe 1988, maybe 1989

I. I don't know how else to say it anymore except in fragments

II. I liked the way he was shaking sand out of my hair with his hands, in a sweeping motion. The tile floor bothered him, the accumulation of dirt, my posture, when I started muting commercials, slamming doors. I'd ask him to leave the room so I could finish stretching because maybe if I could touch my toes for another twenty minutes I'd stride down the hall like a goddamn saint and recross my legs, make it better. He lied about movie showtimes because it was easier than looking at me. I lied about leaving the lights on because since the day I had arrived there I knew I did not live there anymore.

III. A selling point, a moment of reassurance of clarity, of living proof, a reference point. I could write it down on a sheet of paper for you and say "Here buddy, look this up, it's all there complete with a calendar." I could have proved to you that I in fact did exist. That I really could remember. It was like those tapes I'd watch of myself as a baby when I was a toddler, so that I think my first memory is maybe something that it really is not. I think my first memory is of being in a crib, being held. My grandmother's carpeting. My grandfather eating a banana in the kitchen. Being able to measure my own body into the size of a pillow cushion on the brown couch in the living room. Staring up at the ceiling and pretending I could walk backward, upside down across the room into the basement where there were no bedtimes and a party was going on. "Play Baby Daniela in the White Dress" maybe this is when it all started, some kind of narcissism of checking again, double taking myself. But I'll agree with myself at the age of three, there was always some kind of fear in forgetting myself. "Play the one with baby Michael and the fire truck," and then there is a proof, something to match up with a memory. Evidence.

Evidence because maybe, for a very long time now I have not been able to trust whatever narrative was provided. There have been photo albums and my collective diaries and journals, stacked in boxes and boxes in my parents garage, in a storage unit in Brooklyn, New York, left somewhere on the West Coast and here too, here like I write down on a sheet of paper. So I can reference myself. Daniela Scrima, were you fine on January 20th in 2002 because you know-- that was ten years ago now? Isn't that crazy. Well that must have been crazy. Well that must have been crazy. And then I will look and see to check on her-- to check on me I guess, to see that I am still here (and there) embedded in some words of teenage strife that I have just turned seventeen, that Junior year of high school is better than Sophomore year but I do not like having second lunch. My boyfriend doesn't have second lunch. I only say "my boyfriend". And now, I cannot remember who I mean. An entanglement of things since puberty and for so long in writing a series of "him" a series of "that guy" when I am much younger a "boy" and three days ago during a reading about maybe my destiny and is it okay to indulge the parasitic lifestyles of others if, like, well it's really hard to stop? And faces smiling back at me. It helps so much to smile.

IV.. I had meant to start writing again with the New Year-- in here I mean, publicly but then it doesn't go the way I plan. I plan to say something like "Lately I have been enjoying a plant based diet. I have been eating plenty of raw food, I think it makes me feel better." But then I will want to talk about the pie I made or the donut I had or that I am not going to stop eating meat or dairy or anything at all because then when I am traveling, I always want to try whatever you are famous for. And see, even when I mean to talk like this or to tell you that I have not yet gone back to New York, I will say many other things instead.

V. All of those videos were lost anyway. I remember how they cut though from scene to scene. There she is and she can crawl. There she is she speaks Italian. There she is she speaks English too. Crawling does not last long. You are walking, you are singing. There, yeah my face, hey, exactly the same, those cheeks did you make that up? I remember you! Of course I remember you. I have been here all the time.

Slam those blocks together baby, slam them against the table and then someday when you grow up it will sound exactly the same as being in your own bones and listening to men walk out of rooms. People slamming doors.
Brooklyn, Brooklyn take me in.


Hysteria is not possible without an audience, that's why I need you baby. I've always needed you.

I have kept this blog since my first day of high school. It has been an outlet, a blessing, a curse. I talk extensively about anything, music, dudes, internet addiction &how text messaging ruined my life. Some entries are "friends only" but most everything else is public.



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