in memory of mike connell

today is the eleventh antiversary of the day my big brother was murdered by the political party he spent his life working for.

above is a pastel i did in memory of his & my relationship.
below is a poem i wrote on the fourth antiversary of his death.

heavy

when someone close to you
dies
it becomes part of your description
she has brown hair
a nice smile
and her brother is dead

birthdays are the hardest
his last one
I didn’t know
it was the last
his voice sad on the telephone
my pledge to keep in touch
this time

we live in a world
where I can obsessively search for
intimate details of his death
available in short video
burning plane
gray matter spattered on a playground
his last words, “oh fuck.”

notorious IT guy for the other side
the “Forrest Gump of stolen elections”
everything reminds me
of him
the sound of a single engine plane
sad songs on the radio
politics, Christmastime, and charismatic men

I drink Irish whiskey this time of year
but it was Scotch at his wake
four years now
four years since the last election
four years since the plane crash
a conspiracy theorist’s wet dream
murder Republican style

when someone close to you
dies
do you let it redefine you?
hello. I’m Connell
a mama, a student, an artist
let me tell you
about my dead brother

my hardest day

the anti-versary of his death
is my hardest day every year
but it’s not
just
the void of losing
a big brother
it also happens to be the birthday
of the one who
tore out my heart
leaving it to dry
& wither
memories blowing past
like the leaves
dead
&
brown
my brother died…
you know how there comes that time
when you need someone more than ever
& they
fail you?
betray
you?
instead of holding you
& saying everything will be alright
they
take the opportunity
to hurt you even more?
true colors…right?
in the difficult times
we see their true colors
my brother died
on my husband’s birthday
& my husband
never forgave me for that.
so this day
every year
i mourn
the loss of my brother
&
the loss of the greatest love of my life
who
as it turns out
wasn’t so great…
but try telling my heart that.

the two things are hopelessly
interwoven
my brother’s death
my husband’s betrayal
i miss both of them many days
of the year
but this is by far
my hardest day.

the self-portrait above was done for an art class. the assignment was to do a pair of self-portraits (i think there is an art term for two pieces that are meant to be displayed together–who can remind me what that is?)
both of the self-portraits echo back to the last post i did “my m” in that they celebrate my brother’s & my love of movies and
terminator to be exact. with a good dose of catholicism.
here is my ode to sarah connor:

my dead brother

having someone in your life die changes you as much as, say, having a baby.
i would not be the artist i am today if i had not become a mother. i would be a different artist.
and i would not be the person i am today if my brother had not been killed eight years ago today. i would be a different person.

my big brother…sigh.
he introduced me to movies. that is one way i remember him. he took me to see raiders of the lost ark when it was in the theaters and i was all like, “this movie sounds stupid.”
and then i was all like, “that was the best movie ever!”
he took me to see the empire strikes back when it came out
and i remember as we walked back to the car after the movie, he said, “it’s leia. they are talking about leia.”
and i had no idea what he was talking about until return of the jedi.
he brought a copy of terminator home from college and as i watched it, he would say, “surely he’s dead now” every time they thought they had destroyed arnold schwarzenegger.
he introduced me to one of my most favorite movies ever blade runner.
and to another dytopian influence a boy and his dog.

self2

these two pictures were done for a drawing class where i was supposed to do two self-portraits that were meant to be hung together. the top one is from a photo of me as a baby with my brother mike.
the second one is a self-portrait of me in tribute to the polaroid taken of sarah connor  at the end of terminator.

his life and his death are both heavy influences in who i am today.
sometimes i don’t know how to feel about that.

here is a poem i wrote in a writer’s workshop about it:

heavy

when someone close to you
dies
it becomes part of your description
she has brown hair
a nice smile
and her brother is dead

birthdays are the hardest
his last one
i didn’t know
it was the last
his voice sad on the telephone
my pledge to keep in touch
this time

we live in a world
where I can obsessively search for
intimate details of his death
available in short video
burning plane
gray matter splattered on a playground
his last words, “oh, fuck.”

notorious IT guy for the other side
the forrest gump of stolen elections
everything reminds me
of him
the sound of a single engine  plane
sad songs on the radio
politics, christmastime, and charismatic men

i drink irish whiskey this time of year
but it was scotch at his wake
four years now
four years since the last election
four years since the plane crash
a conspiracy theorist’s wet dream
murder republican style

when someone close to you
dies
do you let it redefine you?
hello, I’m connell
a mama, a student, an artist
let me tell you
about my dead brother

so much anger in this one

if i were a dude
the brontes would write a book about me
but i’m a chick…so i just get ostracized
for my anger.
smile, it’s not so bad.
smile, you’re beautiful when you smile.
smile, don’t you know anger is pointless?

you mean, anger is not” feminine”
not “attractive.”
if i were a dude,
i could start a war with all this anger in me
and i would be lauded for my bravery &
my masculinity.

but i’m a chick.
an angry chick.
and that is only cute for a minute or two
depending on how cute i am.
then it becomes something
you walk away from.
everyone walks away
from me.

is that why i am so pissed off?
except,
they say i “drove them away.”
they say i “put up walls.”
but what if i was pushing
so that you would pull me closer?
what if i put up walls
so you would knock them down?

then i would know
you really loved me.
i don’t believe anyone has ever loved me.
i really don’t.
i don’t believe my parents loved me.
the hordes of boyfriends…yes, hordes,
because when you’re looking for someone
to love you
you look everywhere
but non of them loved me
not really.
my dogs don’t even love me.
and if they tried,
i gave them reason not to love me.
i joked that i had kids
so that someone would love me best.
now i wait for the day
they realize what an asshole i am
and stop loving me.

i’m a fucked up mess. i read about empaths being “light bringers” but all i feel inside of me is darkness. deep & black & oozing. darkness. i want to forsake everything and embrace the darkness inside of me. i don’t know why i feel this way. maybe the older i get the crazier i get. i never felt this deep & dark before dusty got a hold of me. i had my anger. i had my feelings of being lost & unlovable, but i never had this darkness in me until he showed me exactly how little i meant to him…. and now i struggle to get him out of my life–out of my house, and i feel like i have no control of the situation. for a person like me, a lack of control is like being buried alive.

so maybe the anger is the only thing i have right now.

(this drawing is a watercolor i did for a class when i was journaling about the topic of my choice. i chose to journal about me as a mother.)

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