Diaries by Melissa Fiori
secret, writing once kept secret, notebook hidden in one of
the adobe's many alcoves, diary slipped in between mattress and box
spring, diary kissed every night before turning in for sixty-one
consecutive years, diary that is not a diary
but rather a soggy scrunch of torn-up paper stowed under
the sink ever since you got addicted
to eBay, liquor-stinking notepad slips that make up the diary that was
deep-sixed by the noninheriting live-in relatives so it would elude
the scandal-mongering poor relations gold-starred in the will.
Boxes and boxes,
as well as a number of green plastic Hefty sacks, of free
sidewalk devotionals with pink gel pen jottings in the margins
as well as excessive utilization of chatroom emoticons and the world "fuck,"
mawkish yet sincere sentiments scrawled on cocktail napkins in lipstick
two shades too dark, diaries devoted solely to the upper arms
and eyelashes of pretty young things of the male persuasion and/or
the shit-kicking lipstick lesbians who live down the hall.
block-printed, spindly cursive-y, spaghetti-sauce-smeared diaries
never once mentioned to anyone, ever.
Never taken off the bookshelf, ever,
except to write the very first entry—well, and except
for that one other time, after ill-conceived sexual advances
were sadly not rejected in the passenger seat of that guy's
dead grandparents' Town Car, and then later this diary (with flimsy lock,
with flat tiny key) was accidentally
baptized in the bathtub, where ink and soap commingled, shared
their secret thoughts on the burden of keeping secrets (corporeal and non-),
before circling the drain together and ultimately
All those diaries you didn't use
to show anyone, that warned off all comers, all snoops and sneaks
and spooks, ON PAIN OF DEATH. Records of
thoughts that were nonthoughts, that's how common they were,
how ill-considered their syntax, the lyrics of bad power ballads
set down for all eternity in fancy calligraphy pen. Books
with tipped-in photos of girls, boys, cats, dogs, dresses,
dream dresses and fuck-me pumps, French-named cosmetics
you can only afford if you live and work in New York City,
the 'BILLY' bookshelves from IKEA, Broadway show ticket stubs
and fortune cookie fortunes bearing amusing typos and sequences of numbers
that did not win the Lotto.
with ripped-out-in-a-rage pages, generally beginning optimistically, epically,
never quite ending, in illegible script with loopy
descenders, mostly untyped, seldom re-read, left
on subway seats, lost to purse-snatchers, victim to nosy lovers and children,
underutilizing (if I may say so) the possibilities of enciphering à la Pepys.
Diaries that set out with grand ambitions but devolved into to-do's,
verb-less and unstoried, as unforthcoming as they come.
Diaries about being sick. Shit lists
and litanies of grudges, metaphoric last gasps, the life work
of unsung outsider philosophers sitting on an arseload
of ill-gotten guns and ammo. Diaries with entries that started
and stopped Woke up in a really shitty mood. In awe of girls drunk
on a Florida beach, flashing their thong-slung asses, that can say je regrette
in five languages, three creoles and two pidgins. (That diary
in which I detailed, for one year, the comings and goings,
likes and dislikes and predilections, of M. Leslie.)
Back in 1962,
the diary gently entombed somewhere in a field and forgotten.
The diary roasted slowly over a campfire in Utah after five
sweet bong hits.
The diary you breathed into your own ears on your cot
after lights out.
The diary you wish to God your mother hadn't kept.
All the journals,
perfectly preserved, permanently blank, that hold nothing but air.
Diaries railing against your fate, the world, your boss, your Meemaw,
the toxic black mold in your basement, that mofo you met
on the Internet. Entry after entry about
what you ate that day and how it went down and whether it stayed down,
what you weighed at ten a.m. and then again at noon,
diaries with diagrams of where you cut yourself and where you will,
blood-stained diaries, diaries the cat yakked on, diary
stashed haphazardly in the glove compartment with the whiskey flask
or secreted in your jacket pocket against your heart, that diary
that broke up your marriage but then saved your life
when the bullet struck you right there,
the sniper wasn't even aiming at you.