happy valentine’s day from an ice monkey

confusion is nothing new

teeth & gums & nakedness
nothing new
a series of dreams
that never come true
but can i really say
i never get what
i want
when wants change
& needs are undecipherable?
needs
i would like to get
what i need
teeth & gums & nakedness
men following men
through my room
moonlight
sunlight
lamplight
condom wrappers
& nothing fulfilled
but i got
what i wanted
for 30 seconds
teeth & gums & nakedness

yes. my name is “mary jo” & yes. i was a pretty promiscuous 24 year old once.
this is my favorite poem that i have ever written.
it was written after a busy summer in ’94 that began with my breaking up with the love of my life and ended with my reuniting with the love of my life after a bunch of indiscretions.
then i went away (with him) to an all girl school in roanoke, va (hollins university) where i workshopped my poem as well as classics such as “bukowski’s undertow” & “tiny tortures in this hyperactive ghost town” which can be seen in comic form in my newly published book confusion perfume & other neurotic comics.

in other news–i made so many valentine’s this year, y’all! i like to reclaim valentine’s day as a day of love & not necessarily romance. and i am so full of love. ink covered love.

ps. happy year of the (big blue) ox!

pps. my scanner finally gave up it’s ghost, hence the buttload of blurry photos. i did invest in a new scanner that should be here soon. buy a copy of my book to help me pay for that!!

blast from the past

i don’t know why
men treat me this way
i don’t know what i’ve done
to deserve such cruelty
& apathy
i struggle to believe
i’m lovable
i struggle to believe
i’m a good person
yet somehow
i only get used
& tossed aside
i see these people
other people
happy & loving relationships
& i wonder
what’s wrong with me?
so i say to you
pretty boy
don’t worry
everyone kicks me
when i’m down…
it was probably
just your
turn.

another snippet from a 20 year old journal. it was written in prose form, but if i had written it today, i would have written it like this.
it reminds me of one or two of my pages of my the invisible exhibitionist. that last bit.

i’m hoping i have evolved past this lovelorn puddle of me…but if i happen into another relationship…will she return?

a visit to my dark side….

i don’t think very many of my current readers were reading me back when this blog was obsessively dealing with my ex-husband’s infidelity.
my ex-husband had a relationship
with a crazy stalker chick (other than me.)
she would leave little presents
yes, like a cat
for him on our doorstep
& other various places
she would hide in the bushes
& wait for him
i would even find things hanging from trees
in our neighborhood
intended for him.
i became more than slightly unhinged by it all
i began searching his pockets regularly
kidnapping his phone
searching the neighborhood for clues (she liked to graffiti his name about the place)
& throwing various objects (keys to her apartment, love trinkets, & even his phone)
into the river by our house
it ended up being–i’m sure much to the delight of my narcissistic ex–a battle of the stalker chicks
hitting a climax when i found them together
kicked her in the knee
broke my own arm in the process
& got charged with disorderly conduct.
i will never forget having to talk to two cops on my doorstep–having them ask what everyone asks
why didn’t i kick him??
that’s how sick i was with the whole thing. sick & crazy & completely manipulated into being someone i was not.
why do i bring this up?
dude. there is a torn piece of a shirt stuck in the tree branches of one of the silver maples in front of my house, and it is all i can do to not have flashbacks to her weird little leavings meant for him ….

i’m trying to learn how to not hate him…maybe this is the universe’s way of challenging that?

in other news.
i have an appointment to look at a house in an idyllic little town in iowa. it’s an area heavy with norwegian roots–so i’m thinking–lumberjacks??? (or i dig vikings too)
i thought about putting up a new okcupid profile in the area seeing if i could find someone to help me unload my moving truck should i get this house i am looking at on sunday….

oh! & before i forget…stuff over on my patreon page:

flower ninja evolution

original ninja

i drew this picture sitting at my kitchen table, while still in high school, apparently before i developed my aversion to pencils. there was a vase of dying flowers on the table. and i was a bit into creating whimsical characters (shocking, right?) so this happened.

then, in my late 30s, living in a cooperative, getting ready to go back to school to study art & writing, i did another version of her in ink & art marker, titling it “flower ninja.”

flower ninja yellow

i have her posted on a page…probably the ancient art by me page…where she was admired & then requested only for me to realize i am pretty sure i gave her to dusty who also admired her. god only knows where she is now.
hence the latest version where i went bigger & updated her per my own evolution as an artist.

i think high school me would be delighted that something she drew at the kitchen table would one day evolve into a work that someone would actually pay for.
of course, high school me would also be utterly pissed off to find out that she is not a world-famous author by now.
“and what’s up with the ex-husband collection–why all the jerks?” she might wonder–albeit somewhat relieved that we did manage to get laid….

hmmm. i think maybe it is for the best if we do not tell high school me very much of what we know of current me.
it’ll just be our little secret.

foot note

once upon a time we sat in a room
where i lived
& you visited
just to see me
& we looked at our feet as we brainstormed
how to make
money
your feet with so much character
reminded me
of tree frog feet
magical
my feet, i said, would be the picture
in the dictionary
under the word
“foot”
boring
a million years later my feet are not so
perfect
as they used to be
but they still remind me
of you.

my first comic

okay. my very first comic was a soap opera based on the nursery rhyme “hey diddle diddle.” i would draw it on a chalkboard in the basement of the house i grew up in. there are not actual pages. i erased before doing the next page. but i assure you–it was amazing and proof of my undiscovered status as a child prodigy.

my first comic that i can actually share with y’all was a neurotic comic based on my own experiences in love & relationships. i started writing it in the late ’90s. i was living in a one bedroom apartment with my dog norman. we were right near the bar i waited tables at by day and would go to at night to drink & watch bands. i moved into this apartment about a month after i married my ex-husband.
i met him.
we eloped in tennessee.
i moved in with him.
he told me he didn’t think he loved me after all.
i threw up.
i moved out.
i started this comic.
confusion perfume
it starts out pretty goofy & light…or lightly dark…um…sepia? but then morphs into an experiment where i see what stories of mine i can turn into comics (testing my theory that anything can be a comic)

i have made a page for it on my website here: confusion perfume. i am afraid the print might be kind of small. having had “serious” comic book man friends who told me the “right” way to do comics, i did the originals on large board & then had them shrunk down at a professional printer. these days you’re lucky if my art is on real paper & scanned rather than half-assedly photographed before i share it with you.

so! if y’all are like, “we can’t get enough of the inner workings of quixotic mama’s neurosis and relationship history…”

but is is kinda cool to note, for future biographical historians of mine, that this was when i first started seriously drawing again after having given up drawing in favor of fiction writing when i was 13.

note–confusion perfume is fiction based on me & my experiences. it is not straight-up memoir. some of this stuff is made up…some is true…i won’t tell you which is which…. okay, i probably would if you asked. i am terrible at keeping secrets.

(i think i have it so the print can be read now–let me know if there is a problem.)

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.

i am who i am

i know who i am now
i am silly & sad
i am fierce & fantastic
i am passionate & magical
i am a fucking unicorn

i have been reading my journals from when i was in my twenties. it is different this time than from any time before when i have looked back, even a few months or a few moods, to see what i wrote.
even in the journal i am reading the younger me complains about previous entries–dismissing herself as melodramatic & dumb.
but not this time.
this time i find myself enjoying my journals, seeing my humor & my warmth, my passion and my ridiculous amount of hope.
thinking i was a pretty cool person.
huh.
i guess my self-portrait art journal project worked.
also, my exploration of my feelings for the long-ago boyfriend who captured my heart & never let it go again.
accepting all that. accepting myself warts & all. accepting my socially bizarre attachment to someone who is no longer in my life.
all of it.
it brought something to light for me.
it brought me to light.

i totally accept me
i completely love me
& i ridiculously celebrate me.

in case you didn’t notice…page 2

this is page two of my experimental tell-all art journal memoir.
i can’t tell if i like it or not.
it’s a good story. i would like to explore telling this story.
i’m just not sure that this is the way i want to tell it.

(here’s page one)

in case you didn't notice2

so keep on playing around with it…see what happens.

i have gotten an underwhelming amount of stuff done while my minions are gone. unless you are impressed by how many netflix shows i have binge-watched?

last night i spent between 4 and 5 hours cutting up my lambs and getting them into the freezer. i am not good at cutting meat. poor things have been butchered twice now. but it’s done!
now i need to see if i can figure out how to clean & tan a hide.
another thing i am procrastinating.
and
perfect weather…but i have not tapped my trees.

ugg.

i’m feeling a bit useless.
so much art to do. so much homesteading.
and i just want to have a beer & watch jessica jones and mope about unrequited love while ogling david tennant.

sigh.

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