Mary, Mary

Mary Sweeney was a well-educated, middle-classed mom with a penchant for destruction. In the 1890’s, after a head injury, Mary began having manic episodes. She found the only way to calm her nerves was to take liberal amounts of cocaine (then legal) and shatter shit. So, she went around Wisconsin, Minnesota, and South Dakota throwing bricks through the windows of successful establishments. She’d hop on a train, head to a town, and wreak havoc until arrested. For her exploits, she served time in 100 different jails. It is said, she single-handedly did over $50,000 worth of damage…and remember this was in the 1800’s. Her exploits are documented in the film, Wisconsin Death Trip.


mary sweeney 1

Mary, Mary

Walking a barren country side, Mary smashed windows.

Or, so I had been the seed.

That had been the history on which, I had been fed.

These bits and pieces of archives struck me as, both oblique and serene.

If I could only peel back time.

Inquire of this wondrous woman.

‘What had the broken glass meant?

What is it you had wished to condemn?’


Such a treacherous habit of mine.

To travel rural roads with my head stuck down in the snow.

In the tapestry of afterthought, a realization.

I need not know what this pioneering woman…sought.

I need not know what this brave woman…thought.


Her history.

Her haste.

Her impromptu spirit.


Her frontier had not been mine to share.

The brick.

The stone.

The rock.

I need only understand…

We carry the same wares.milky 4

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