ancient history

before i met & married dusty and had an on-again/off-again dysfunctional relationship from hell with him…i had a practice run for two years with his kentucky twin.
in 1996 just after i lost the best boy i’d ever known, i fell in with this narcissistic, emotionally abusive asshole.
it should have just been a rebound…but he was so good at manipulating me that it lasted for two awful years. he conned me out of thousands of dollars, put my ego in the crapper, and cheated on me like crazy.
this poem was written about six months in.

holy crap.
i should have read these journals back when stuff started going funny with dusty. i had no idea what a narcissist was–not really. nor that they preyed on people like me…people with too much empathy.
i had no idea.
i thought it was love.
just like i thought it was love that kept me with dusty no matter how much of a fuck he was to me.
i should publish these journals as a warning.


bigger than the beatles

i’ve been thinking a lot about “letting go.”
i let go of you the minute i saw you behind the bar cleaning your brand new belly button piercing. you were gorgeous.
it wasn’t even a conscious thought. it was a reflex. perfect people don’t want me. i’m damaged. i’m trouble. i’m too much work & not pretty enough for it.
so i didn’t give you a second thought. a neurotic thought. instead i just talked to you. acted as if i had nothing to lose. because i had nothing to lose. a girl like me would never get a chance to lose a boy like you.
so i let go. i never thought–ever–of you as someone who could fall in love with me…so i never fell in love with you.
we became friends.
& you were the best of friends.
god you were so much fun.
& then you fell for me.
why? why did you fall for me? why me? when you are perfect & beautiful & not damaged…why would you fall for someone like me?
i am none of those things.
& i had already let you go because it doesn’t make any sense.
any sense at all.
that someone like you would fall for someone like me.

we liked to say
that we were bigger than the beatles.
& when things were good
i believed we were unstoppable
but that damaged part of me
that damaged part
was just waiting for the day you would leave me
one way or another
i knew that day would come
so i kept letting go
over & over & over
hurting both of us in the process….

after i lost you
of course
i kept letting go. over & over i “let go” of you.
over & over.
i couldn’t
turns out
i never let go of you at all
& i never will.

i thought loving you made me weak
i have never been
more wrong.

update…i found a drawing i did of this photograph–done from the photograph–back in a journal from 1995/96. so i remembered the photograph slightly wrong.
but my sentiment still stands.



i am feeling
instead of killing
i fall
in love.

i have been thinking a lot. go figure. it’s my favorite past-time.
this week, i took two of my lambs, my first two lambs, and i learned how to butcher them.
i had so much anxiety leading up to it. dread. serious contemplations on vegetarianism.
then the time came, and i was fine. i was more than fine. i was doing things i never knew i could do.
and it made me think about how emotional detachment has always been part of my damage…but sometimes…sometimes…it really comes in handy.
i started thinking about “dysfunctional life skills.”
the things we learn in order to survive a fucked-up childhood or an abusive relationship. those weird super powers. sometimes they cause us pain…other times they save us.
i want to explore this more.
but right now i am binging on jessica jones
and wondering why i am so attracted to the character kilgrave. is it just because he is played by david tennant? or is it another part of my damage to seek out other darkness? or is it just that i am empathetic to a fault and want to save those other damaged souls?

an empty house leaves too much time to think.

valentine’s heart

my heart
turned black
it waxes & wanes
the moon inside me
today it is a dark dark place
where neither
man nor beast
is welcome
it is heavy & cold
but also burning like
a demon’s fire
a storm no one will

yay! valentine’s day. shiny happy people and all that.
in my high school you used to be able to buy tissue paper flowers to be given to people you cared about. the color reflected the sentiment.
every year i thought, sure, i might get a flower this year.
nevery year did i get a flower. nevery.

but i still had hope.
i still waited for a valentine.
fucking charlie brown i was.

in my twenties i would make valentines and take them to the bar and hand them out to people i loved.
in my twenties my heart was broken into a million pieces…shortly after valentine’s day. broken in a way that a person like me doesn’t recover from.
it took me years
to realize how damaged i was
how damaged i had been
how much damage there was in my heart…
i am still learning about the damage that is me. twenty-two years later. twenty-two valentine’s days later.
figuring it out.


without feathers

without feathers
i watch the snow fall
around me
“i love the snow,”
i say quietly
and try to keep from
without feathers
i battle the demons
inherited from my
relationships taking
wrong turns
down one-way streets
“i want to live,”
i try to convince myself
i feel in my heart
intense hope
and bottomless
and i continue my journey

to keep my heart safe from dusty, i find i have to remember things i would rather forget.
some of you were with me during the really really awful bad terrible fucked-up hello kitty catastrophe.
you know, when dusty started dating a 30 year old in a hello kitty backpack while he was living with me?
how she would come to our apartment & hide in the bushes & wait for him? how she would write graffiti about the two of them on the bike paths around where we lived?
how she gave him a phone so they could “sext” each other?
how he would sneak off to see her & leave me alone pregnant…with a newborn…and his three other children?
how i would happen across the two of them…how i developed an anxiety whenever i left the house that i would see them somewhere, together?
how i would constantly find fucked-up little gifts & notes from her to him on our front step or hanging from the trees around our home?
how he refused to leave madison with me & the kids because he wanted to stay near her?


this is what i have to replay in my head.
the cold way he would look at me when i happened upon them somewhere near our house, embraced.
the way he shoved me when i tried to find out what was going on between them & behind my back.
sitting alone in a courtroom waiting to find out what would happen to me for having a public & profane breakdown.
finding out, too late, from people i thought were friends that this had been going on when i was being told it was not.

this is what i am trying to recover from. among other things. meanwhile, dusty keeps trying to creep back in. still blaming me & telling me what a cold heart i have for not loving him.

i’m tired, y’all.
i’m tired of doing everything alone as he watches & complains that he isn’t being included when i would love to include him–but instead feel it necessary to protect myself from him. i never wanted to do this alone. every day as i struggle to take care of four kids & homestead & have time to myself to do art & to try to keep from losing my mind but losing my mind because i never seem to get time to re-charge because there is always something that needs doing…someone who needs me….


i really like this self-portrait.
i think i should take the ones i feel strongest about and do them on a good watercolor paper. this one…i really like it.

ps. so i worked on this last night while watching the netflix original movie a futile & stupid gesture based on the life of doug kenney (who founded national lampoon)…. i totally recommend it. it made me both laugh & sob–which is my criteria for a good story. it also made me think that maybe it is a good thing that i am largely unrecognized for my art, etc. i mean, these depressed & damaged people who make it big & realize that it fixes nothing & end up killing themselves because they still feel like failures….

so today i am thankful that i have never been successful enough to feel like an utter failure.


i don’t want to hurt you
i just want to survive you

are words that i would say to him if i could. sometimes i feel it is impossible to talk to him. impossible for him to hear me?
so he & my mom were here at the same time. with my mom here, he was the lesser of two evils.
when she left, i realized just how much like her he really is.

neither one of them can hear me. even before my mom was deaf, she had very selective hearing–only hearing what she wanted to hear…only hearing what was valuable to her–what she could use to her advantage.
she never heard me.
i was never valuable to her.
was i ever valuable to him?
did he ever listen to me? or is he only paying attention when i’m giving him ammunition to use against me at a later time?

ex-husbands & mothers.