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About Danielle

Danielle Ariano's picture
Danielle Ariano is a writer and cabinetmaker who lives just outside of Charm City with her wife and their two Golden Retrievers. She has loved/been tortured by writing for as long as she can remember. For a long period of time in her twenties, she went to sleep. She stopped writing altogether because she had built a nice life and was afraid of what would happen if she started diving into the wreck of her brain. In her late twenties, she woke up and started writing again, which caused a whole lot of... more

Keeping Time

Keeping Time is a project done in collaboration with Emily Lee. The work draws on Wallace Stevens, "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" for inspiration, specifically the sixth verse which reads,
Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.

It is a hand built box with a cracked glass window. A scroll containing a collaborative poem can be wound on two dowels that run through the box.


This book is about the loss of a relationship between two sisters over a period of years. It is meant as a companion to book, entitled "Found", which explores what can be salvaged from a strained relationship and what can be learned from loss. "Lost" explores the depths of sadness and anger that sometimes coincide with a family member who is addicted and/or struggling with mental health issues.

The True and False of Love, Lies & Audiotape

This book is a series of boxes built to house a poem that explores language--the way that it both frees, constrains, connects and isolates. The boxes each contain an inlaid letter that corresponds with a section of the poem that is contained inside. Four species of wood were used in creation of this book and each box contains at least two of the four species. A portion of the title of the poem is burned into the side of each box. In addition, each box swivels on a dowel that runs through all four boxes.

The book is meant to be interactive and to stir questions-both with the text and the form that it is presented.

The poem text is below:

The True and False of Love, Lies & Audiotape


He shot the boy.
Of that,
there is no question.
There cannot be,
for the boy is dead.

and baby-faced
and now dead.

Shot by a man.

On the night the boy is shot,
call after call
streams into 911.

On the recordings
men and women
speak in scared,
worried tones
as they peek
out the windows
of their suburban homes,
relaying things they see.

On the recordings,
a man’s voice reports
a suspicious teenager,
through the neighborhood,
into the waistband of his pants.

They always get away, the man says to the operator,
then he mumbles a phrase that sets the country on fire:
fuckin coons or fuckin punks,
only the man can say for sure
which one it is,
but all across the nation
people listen to the tape,

the same tape,

and hear different things.


I love you, the one says to the other.
I love you too, the other says to the one,
and with that,
the one goes to bed
and the other
finally stops pretending.

The one has chosen the pretending
over truth
and now it threatens everything.

In the cabinet, the other reaches for a bottle.
Shot after shot slides down into the other
until it all blurs,
until the black and white of truth
bleeds into grey.

A. & B.

In the basement where the sisters played as children,
water seeps through the walls when it rains,
and the father,
who long ago had his black hair turn grey,
tries to keep the space dry
with a long bristled brush
and a bucket full of solution
that he applies
year after year,
believing, still, that it makes a difference.


On the recordings,
a voice can be heard
screaming for help.

When the boy’s mother
listens to the recordings,
she runs from the room,
certain that the voice
belongs to her son.


Is it in and with or is it just love?
It is an important distinction.
When it is not in and not with,
it does not last because prepositions
create relationships.


Not so, the man says,
the voice is mine,
crying out to the neighbors
after the boy attacked me.


Sometimes when people ask the other what happened,
she wishes she could simply say
I lost the in and with
and that people would understand
that without the in and with,
there wasn’t enough.
But sometimes
she wonders whether she should have stayed,
whether she surrendered too easily to these two
tiny words,
whether in and with are just states of being that
come and go,
rising and falling
like the tides,
like the moon,

cyclical, imminent.

Sometimes she wonders
whether so much should depend upon
the presence
or absence of two words.

A. B. & C.

What became of the boy who cried wolf?
Did he grow into an honorable man?

The fable shows him crying at the end,
after he has lost all the sheep.

“Why didn’t anyone come?” the boy asks.
And the man has to explain
that no one believes a liar,
even when he is telling the truth.

The boy has made his own bed,
but weeps
when the time comes
for him to lie in it.


At work my colleague asks,
“Wasn’t the guy who shot him Hispanic?”
He asks because he can’t see how race could be an issue
if the guy who shot him was Hispanic,
because if the guy who shot him was Hispanic,
he wasn’t white
and if he wasn’t white, he couldn’t be racist.


When the in and with disappear,
where do they go, she wonders.

She thinks that maybe she could track them down,
wrestle them to the ground,
chisel them in stone,
insert them back into the sentence.

It should be simple.
She works with words,
and when she doesn’t work with words,
she works with her hands
so it should be simple.

They are, after all, just words.

The Great Gay Abyss

The Great Gay Abyss is my first book. It is a work of nonfiction that chronicles, through a series of linked essays, my experiences coming out and coming to terms with my sexuality. The essays are, hopefully, poignant, funny and honest.
The Great Gay Abyss is currently searching for a home in the publishing world. As part of a class project, I turned a portion of the book into an ebook, which has not been released. Several of the essays in the book have been published on Huffington Post, Baltimore Fishbowl and
I designed the cover, did the layout and wrote the stories.

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Danielle's Curated Collection

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