a warning

i hold my pain
cupped in my hands
a wounded bird
my pain is a precious thing
i hold it close
protected.

i was reading “pleasantville” by attica locke which takes place at election time in 1996. the epilogue is then at election time in 2000. reading that brought back a sharp pain with the memory of that election–not so much how it took weeks to claim a winner–but how during those weeks, my democratic sister got married and at the rehearsal dinner, my republican brother went around asking everyone who they voted for.
when he asked me, i told him, “ralph nader” he said, “i have no response for that” (or something to that effect which made me laugh.)
2000 was the first major “stolen” election in the u.s. that i know of. my brother worked for the republicans, worked for the bushes, as an IT guy. it wouldn’t be until 2008, the day he was killed, that i would learn just how involved he was.
november is his birth month.
december is his death month.
all this came up in my chest, in my heart, just reading a work of fiction referencing that 2000 election.
and i marveled at my response to the pain.
i gathered it up, holding it close, making sure i could still feel it. i don’t want to lose that pain. that pain has meaning. it has significance. it is all i have left of my brother.

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

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑