just peachy

stick your thumb through the squishy
meat
of a peach
all the way through
feel the hard scratchy pit
with all its nooks & crannies
that is my heart
all of it
the squishy overripe peach
you can smell from across the room
& the hard
edgy
pit
all of it
all of me.

true story. i am hoping to start sending out poems for possible publication. i really do not know if any of mine are any good. i have never considered myself a poet, and when i look through my journals, it all seems like i’m sniveling about me. does anyone really want to read it? is it helping anyone for me to air my dirty laundry so enthusiastically? i do wonder…. but i did like this one. i will keep playing with it & see if there is anything to it.

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

panic attack

i am 
literally
having a panic
attack
looking through 
google docs
& files files files
on my hard drive
& months months months
of writings
here & in the physical journals
from whence
they sprung
…it’s
too 
much
too fucking much
how many words 
can there be?
how many 
emotions
vomited
all over my laptop?
now
fuck it
there is one more.

i am serious about getting together a collection to try to publish…but holy fucking crap. there is so much–crap–to wade through. 
do i keep it to the actual art journal project?
do i add in some older stuff?
some sideways stuff?
some stuff i don’t even remember writing? 

i need a personal assistant/editor stat!

this is going to be one of those “kill your darlings” moments i always heard about in writing workshops, isn’t it?

get me a bottle of whiskey & a blowtorch, y’all, i’m going in!

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.

out with the old; in with the new

i’m trying not to be sad
today
i’m trying not to lose my mind
today
i feel music in my soul
today
not quite drowned out
by the screaming
crying
sometimes playing
sometimes fighting
children
my artist’s soul
& my mother’s heart
trying to live together
in my troubled
self.

october 26, 2016 is the date inside my old journal. the day i started it. today is the day i end it. there is one page left…but i have already spilled some angst onto it and now just have to illustrate my own pain.

the first page of the new journal, also, is already decorated with thoughts fallen from my head.

i love being productive. i love looking forward to a blank page. i love writing down my silly, sad, sentimental, and sordid epiphanies to ponder with pen & ink brush.

ha.
i am not a poet though.
i thought that today when i could not think of the word for what some of you might call my “poems.”
i am not a poet.
i just vomit emotion, often & as colorfully as possible.

my empathic heart

when my empathic heart
opens wide
it is a kaleidoscope
of emotion
washing over me
burrowing inside me
traveling through me
borrowing my tears
& my smiles
my sorrow
my anger
my elation
& no drug–or other person–could ever
make me feel
like i do
when my heart is wide open
& i am safe
to feel
just feel
the world around me
all of its beauty…its light & its darkness
this is me
this is mine
this is who i am & who i want to be
an open heart

when the minions are away, i have the opportunity to do things i cannot do when they are here. this is one. spreading my art all over the kitchen table. i love doing that. then i work on it, walk past it, add to it, debate over it, smudge & splatter and just be my art. ink ink everywhere.
makes me happy.
other things i do when i am alone:  talk to myself, revel in the bathroom being clean, binge watch shows on netflix, focus on myself & my healing….

sometimes being alone is a good thing.

my anxiety writes a poem

if my oldest son
never comes home
i will have to take his homemade ship
to the river myself
to launch it
after so many times of telling him,
“no, not today…”
i will have run out of days to spend
with him
maybe i will set it on fire
have a viking funeral
as i wish he would come home
if my second son
never comes home
i will never be able to return the movie
we are supposed to watch together
i will have to keep it
and pay the library
for it
knowing i could buy a cheaper copy
i will never let go
of the movie we were supposed to watch
as i wait for him to come home
if my daughter never comes home
i will build a shrine of
barbie dolls
and tutus
i will sit and sing to myself
surrounded by her special things
i will wish i could hear her
speak words
have a conversation with me
just once
just once
as i hope for her to come home
if my youngest son never comes home
i will die inside
knowing i wasn’t the mother to him
that he needed me to be
knowing that i failed him
from the beginning
and the only way i can save him
is to save myself
and bring him home to me

sometimes when my kids go to visit their dad, i go to a special hell reserved for moms. sometimes i breathe and relax and enjoy my alone time. other times i climb the walls and let the demons chisel at my thoughts.

i didn’t intend to be a stay-at-home mom. however, when it came time for me to go back to work after fidgit was born, i found i couldn’t do it. at first i tried taking him to work with me, which was strangely tolerated. but i realized i was doing two jobs half-assedly and decided i needed to make a choice.
i chose being a mom.
and it has been a hard road. a very hard road. my ego has suffered a lot and sometimes i find myself wondering, “what if–” about my choice to be a mom at all. and then the catholic part of me kicks in and i live in fear that i have hexed my children with such thoughts.

being a mom is so fucking complicated.

i just want my kids to come home so i don’t have time to think about it.

a shithead in sheep’s clothing

i see you
i see you now
you hide in your chameleon’s skin
you turn the tables
you play victim
you say, “i wouldn’t have done it if you–”
you say, “but look at how awful you are”
you are a master of distraction
a master of disguise
while a moth wears predator’s eyes
for protection
you are a shithead in sheep’s clothing

bear with me, y’all. i am working through some angst & frustration.
nothing to see here!
it’s all a part of the healing….

now i need to go do some art.

(the minions are out of town & i am down in the dumps)

just leave me alone

you want me to be the mirror
to your healing
but i can only see the person
you have always been to me
you haven’t changed
you’ve just gotten better
at faking
you want me to be your validation
that you are
different
but i can only see the toxicity
the same toxicity
with more sugar coating
i know you are hurting
i know you are afraid
but i cannot save you
cannot heal you
cannot bear you
in my life
anymore.

dusty just won’t fucking stop. funny how once i wanted this attention so badly. once i would have eaten up his words as if they were the only thing keeping me alive. i wanted to hear him say these things to me so many times when he was cold to me. when he was treating my like second..third..last choice….

of course he is saying the words, but they are lies. he is saying the words, but if i don’t listen & respond & believe, he quickly switches back to the old script. the script where everything is my fault. the script of blame.

dusty can’t keep his disguise on with me for very long if i don’t play along.

he does this thing.
he will woo & woo & woo & flatter & lament his own faults & stupidity…and i will say “no, i’m not buying it. goodbye.”
and, literally, the very next thing out of his mouth is:

we need to decide what to do about the kids.

or something to that effect. something that triggers my anxiety about losing my minions. ever since fidgit was a baby–whenever things get rough & i say i am leaving:

i want the kids half-time.

why is that a go-to move if he is so eager to fix things between us? if i play along and pretend we have a future, he never pushes the child custody envelope. he never asks to see them more than one week out of a month. i know he loves seeing them, but he often resents them as well. yes, sometimes i resent them too–or no–not them–but my decision to have children with him. i resent that he has control over me via the kids. i resent that i do not have a partner willing to support me as i mother our children–willing to parent beside me, sharing the work of it equally. i resent that. being only human, sometimes my resentment effects my mothering…i wish it didn’t.

he has anxiety now. i never noticed it before. maybe it’s because he has cut back on his pot smoking?? but now he has terrible anxiety and it emerges as obsessive texts to me, begging me to talk to him. it is ridiculous. i mean, i am sorry he feels anxiety…i can remember trying to cling to him to ease the madness of my own anxiety…i wouldn’t wish that on anyone.  but i am trying to take care of four kids and a small homestead and a sick turkey and a neonatal kitten and a household of laundry, dishes, meals…and he is freaking out because i haven’t texted him right back.
half the time i don’t even know where my phone is.
i feel sad that i have learned not to let myself feel that need to soothe him.
i feel angry that after everything he has done to me he still turns to me to soothe him.
i feel hopeless that anything will ever change between us.
he says all the right words–but if they don’t work–he says all the wrong ones.
and he has rewritten our history to suit his own needs.
i think he might be delusional.
the alternative is too scary to think about…that he knows exactly what he is doing….

birthday drawing

once upon a time
my birthday was one of my three
favorite holidays
once upon a time
i would count down
from like six months away
telling an unwilling audience
every
day
how many days it was until my birthday
i never had a party
(tried once & nobody came)
i just would spend the day basking
In the glory of a day
that was mine…
then i married a man
who refused to celebrate me
then i had kid after kid after kid
and realized
no matter what day it was
i still was expected to be a mom
then my brother died
and i no longer got my birthday call
from  him
asking, “so what else is new,”
and actually listening to what i said….
once upon a time
my birthday was a glorious day
for me…
i want to find that girl again
she was damaged…but not as scarred as who i am
today
i want to find that birthday girl
and i want to celebrate her
anyway

i feel better today. back on my journey to healing. i feel better–stronger–more able to tackle life.
i wish my birthday didn’t knock me down like it does. i hope i can somehow recover my old sweet love for my birthday.
it is a journey…healing…and sometimes i wander off the path and into a patch of poison ivy….

my minions were sweet to me. iggy wrapped up a dozen rocks & shells to give me. fidgit drew me this awesome picture. misha made an elaborate show of hiding “barbie” dolls & stuffed animals for me to uncover for my birthday. my minions are awesome creatures…even poppy who is three but one day won’t be anymore (please god!)

so i survived another birthday and am back on my journey to being a better me.

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