happy valentine’s day from an ice monkey

confusion is nothing new

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

yes. my name is “mary jo” & yes. i was a pretty promiscuous 24 year old once.
this is my favorite poem that i have ever written.
it was written after a busy summer in ’94 that began with my breaking up with the love of my life and ended with my reuniting with the love of my life after a bunch of indiscretions.
then i went away (with him) to an all girl school in roanoke, va (hollins university) where i workshopped my poem as well as classics such as “bukowski’s undertow” & “tiny tortures in this hyperactive ghost town” which can be seen in comic form in my newly published book confusion perfume & other neurotic comics.

in other news–i made so many valentine’s this year, y’all! i like to reclaim valentine’s day as a day of love & not necessarily romance. and i am so full of love. ink covered love.

ps. happy year of the (big blue) ox!

pps. my scanner finally gave up it’s ghost, hence the buttload of blurry photos. i did invest in a new scanner that should be here soon. buy a copy of my book to help me pay for that!!

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

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