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:

confusion is nothing new

once i wrote a poem.
it really was a poem…or at least i thought so. i was twenty-four and was full of light & hope & tragedy. i borrowed the title from a line in the cyndi lauper song time after time,  “confusion is nothing new.” i love that line.
i lay alone in my room at night, and i wrote this poem.

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

i have been thinking about this poem a lot. twice as many years later. written half-way to here. i wonder if anything has changed. really. love seems just as meaningless today. just as trivial. i have given it so many many chances and all i have in the end is teeth & gums & nakedness.
still.

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