12 Going on 13: A Poem From My Diary in 1989

by Deborah Kennedy


I’m a little distracted by The Bold and the Beautiful.
Am I bold? Or beautiful?
Doubt it.

Oh, Jacklyn, how could you?

I think I’ll go play Super Mario Brothers and dream.
That apple tree is wise.

I’m depressed. Jacklyn hates me.
She is really so concerned.

Today was packed with things that happened.
Tomorrow’s Hawaiian shirt day.
P.S. I think I kind of have a crush on Paul.

I’m watching Cheers. God, I wish I were old enough to go there.
Would everybody know my name?

I’m trying out for cheerleading.
I kind of have a crush on Mark.

Am I anxious because I’m bored or because I’m strange and dreamy or because I’m growing up? Mom said I was a sweetheart. Thanks, Mom.

I didn’t make cheerleading.
When Brian found out, he threw a basketball at my face.
I kind of still like Paul.

Today I got a book called I Know What You Did Last Summer.

Birds never sing in caves. Am I a cave?

Things just aren’t the same between Jacklyn and me.
Dad is at Larry’s again. I wish he wouldn’t go there.
I still kind of like Paul.

I got my period today. This is no good. I want to swim but I can’t. Most girls would use a tampon, I suppose, but I can’t find my hole.

I need a psychiatrist.
I’m in the depths of despair.

At some point, we watched Police Academy.
Was that a mistake?
I’m not sure, but I think I still like Paul.

Jacklyn’s acting like she owns me.
Um, you don’t have to blow out my candle to make yours glow brighter.

Life has pretty much been happening.

I went up to Jeffrey and I was like, hey, you don’t know me, but will you sign my yearbook? He wrote, “Stay flat.”
I don’t like Paul anymore. I like Matt Twinam. He smells sexy.

Brian and I loved Cleveland.
I looked at the landscape and I so much wanted to cry. Why?
Jacklyn called me a faggot today.

Someday I’m going to be beautiful inside and outside! I have faith. Do you hear me God?
I’ve sort of forgotten about Paul.

Our old sandbox is unhappy and deserted.

I’m going to tell you about my trip to Florida.
I saw my first drug deal. The end.

I love to eat. I love the cornfields of home.
In softball we beat Chem Lawn. Chem Lawn’s a bunch of bitches.

I’m very frustrated with my hair.
Have Joy do it. That’s what Jacklyn said.

Jacklyn and I went to the Kenny G concert.
I’m in love.

I never knew love until today.
Will I ever be in love again?

So many cheerleaders were crying.
Paul is a dunce.

And then the preacher said, “Jesus, please let these good people find God on their tongues.”
I don’t think I really believe in God.

Truthfully, diary, I’m scared because I don’t feel close to you like I used to.
I’m only twelve.

San Francisco had a big earthquake during the World Series.
Why is my mom crying?

I can’t do my hair that way anymore. I’ve given up.

I look around the cafeteria at all the popular girls–Brianna, Karen, Katie, Kim, Evelyn, Joy, Tiffany, Stephanie, Michelle, Amy, Lauren, Holly, Marissa, Carla, Sheila, and I wonder, would Dean and Brian rather have one of them for a sister?

Jacklyn thinks I should start wearing eye shadow.

Hi. Thanksgiving is over.
Everything makes me want to believe in Santa Claus.
Jenny loves Jeremy and Jeremy loves Joan and Jacklyn loves Ryan but Ryan loves Lauren.

Well, we have entered the ‘90s.
And now the fall of the Berlin wall and the crumbling of communism and the Iron Curtain make me think I have taken so many things for granted. Being fat, well, that’s better than being a starving person in Africa. Having zits and pen marks on my face, not getting exactly what I wanted for Christmas, these things don’t add up to a pile of cookies compared to AIDS, famine, illiteracy and poverty.

Oh Diary, I’m so tired and restless.
I don’t care if Paul likes me.
I think I’m in love with the guy who played the Rat in the Wind and the Willows.

I can love beauty and hate drugs and like Kenny G and hate Metallica with my own friends.

Today it’s just me and my stuffed animals and my Cheerios.
I’d rather not go into detail on that either.
I sort of like Jeffrey.

Jacklyn and I went to see David Copperfield at the Embassy Theatre.
I think I’m in love.

Cheerleaders don’t understand theatre. They don’t understand anything.

I had my hair sort of teased up and sprayed and I thought I looked kind of beautiful for second.
Willie has stopped talking to me. Jacklyn is so glad.

There can’t be a God. There must be a hell.
Dear Diary, a poem: What you want too much, you can never get. What you crave will always cause you to starve. What you swear you can never live without will kill you in the end.

Diary, this is a hard entry to write.
My father does nothing all day but mow the lawn.
Mom is smoking again.
Would it be bad to get a perm?

Jacklyn and I prank called Paul. He wasn’t home.

It was like all the ghosts that used to haunt me as I walked down the hall decided I wasn’t worth haunting anymore.

I don’t want to seem dumb and say “neat,” so how’s “terrific”?
I’m so so so so so so hungry.
I’ve changed.

I want to travel to Portugal, Spain, Australia, Canada and Barbados and write a book about each of them.

I haven’t cried in such a long time.

Everyone’s supposed to be a good person, I suppose. That’s what it’s all about. Right? Whatever. Whatever.
But Mr. Rogers, wherever you are tonight, I promise I’ll try.

Previously: In Praise of L.M. Montgomery’s Literary Crones

Deborah Kennedy recently earned an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her work has appeared in Third Coast Magazine, Sou’wester, The North American Review, and Salon. Originally from Fort Wayne, Indiana, Deborah currently lives with her mother and obese Chow mix in Portland, Oregon. Names have been changed to protect all those libeled, slammed or otherwise dissed in the angst-ridden pages of her diary.