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.


work in progress…

so i’m not done yet…but i am still working on it!
slowly slowly.
i really like it so far, which makes me all the more worried about fucking it up.
but i am still working on it.

i have this idea that i would like every page to be able to stand on its own. so that is another challenge.

meanwhile, i guess the minions are off to wisconsin today. dusty was going to come here to stay for a few weeks instead of the minions leaving here. but just the anticipation of his being here was turning me into an ugly unbalanced madwoman. finally, yesterday, after learning of another lie he’d told me (regarding some mutual friends) i spun out & told him he could not stay here.
he wants to move closer & wants me to help him by letting him stay here & job hunt, etc.
which, in theory, makes sense.
but in practice will chip away at my soul.
it is difficult balancing my desire to help with my knowledge of how he likes to take advantage of my desire to help.
so sucks.
but now instead of being angry & angry…i am just sad that i will not see my minions for a week.
and relieved that dusty is not going to be here.
so relieved!
it’s like he thinks we can be a happy family again, but he won’t stop being an abusive narcissist.
i no longer want to be a family with him…but i know there is no escaping his being my children’s father.

maybe that’s why i’m killing him off in my dystopian fantasy world….
ya think?

never fall again

never fall again

the last time we had sex
i could feel how much
you hated me
it oozed out of you
spat out of you
& froze my skin
burning me
the last time we had sex
i knew that you couldn’t
stop wanting me
but that you had forced yourself
to stop loving me
…needing me
the last time we had sex
you couldn’t get away
from me
fast enough
your touch was hostile
your eyes

never fall again. never feel that pain. that’s where my thoughts are these days. does he even remember me every valentine’s day? probably the fuck not. but here i am. broken-hearted.

maybe when i’m dead i will stop obsessing over him. or i will just go looking for him in my next life.

that’s one tattoo i leave out of every self-portrait. the tattoo i got for him…with him. the tattoo that hurt the most. and still hurts.
i think about getting it covered up…turned into something else.
maybe i would if i had some money.
so y’all should buy the book i illustrated so i have money to cover-up a tattoo that won’t let me forget where i left my heart.

fuck me.
we all know i’m never getting rid of this tattoo.

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.

this hole in me

part of me is missing
maybe you know
where it is?
every morning
i wake up
it’s another day
that it is
another day
another day
another night
i go to bed
knowing that my morning
my next day
will bring more of the same
& i want to scream
i do scream
i cry
part of me is missing
you know where
it is?
it is you?
i read something
that said grief
is just
trapped in the corners
of your eyes….
i don’t know what to do
with all this grief
part of me
is missing
& i’m oh so tired
of looking…
but if i stop…
if i stop
will i drown in
all this

i like this illustration. i’m not sure i captured in my words what i feel…but i think i captured it in my drawing.

i think i am still recovering from the visits of my mom & my ex-husband. two people who put the knife in and twist it. both are relationships that i desperately want to be different. i know i could be a more complete person…
if my mother had mothered me
if my ex-husband had been able to love me
if neither of them had emotionally abandoned me
& betrayed me….

i desperately long to heal that wound. that emptiness.

but maybe i have turned to stone.
to clay.
to something that barely resembles the person
i could have been.

mean mom

“you are a mean mom,”
the four year old says to me.
“i wisht i killt you.”
he has just woken up
maybe he had a bad dream?
maybe he remembers
maybe he remembers the nine months
inside me
my wishing him away
every minute
of every day
of that pregnancy
or maybe he remembers
those 26 hours of labor
those two hours of pushing
as i fiercely
& he turned sideways
& backwards
he turned me inside out
refusing to leave
maybe fearing what i would do
once i finally
got my hands
on him….
i flinch
with guilt
as i remember
as i can never
i love my son
…but there was a time
when i did not.

i don’t think i will ever fully recover from my last pregnancy. i just wish i knew for sure that my son will. i don’t want to take him down with me.



i hate feeling like this
every year
since he has died
i hate it
i never knew
this level of hopelessness
with all the bad stuff
the way it

i hate feeling like this
every year
since he betrayed me
i hate it
i never knew
this level of hopelessness
with all the bad stuff
like it

my brother’s death
my ex-husband’s birthday
one day
that destroys me
every goddamned

i used to joke that dusty and i would never be able to survive if we had to depend on each other in a time of crisis.

then my brother died
on dusty’s birthday
& i don’t think he ever forgave me for it.

i decided to divorce dusty the day of the funeral.
never had i ever seen a complete lack of empathy in a person
as i did that day
dusty intentionally hurt me as my brother’s coffin lay before us.

of course,
anyone who knows this story knows
i did not get rid of dusty for another eight years after my brother’s death
meanwhile dusty played me like a fucked up fiddle, even convincing me that it was my fault he was cheating on me…right in front of me….


all this pain surfaces now.
this time of year.
my dead brother
my narcissistic & sadistic ex….

i lay awake at night & count my scars.