Journal entry from book
Exhuming Juliet: a New OrLeANs poet
pages 202-203

I am still stuck here on my parent’s couch as if it is my

coffin that I make up each night with a white sheet and a

little pillow. It is early morning now and live things are

beginning to poke around, rustling, small pockets of

sunlight hitting the walls, sad silence, those quiet sounds

of me turning in bed, the distant sounds of Dad passing

gas in his bedroom, the muffled sound of television in

Mom’s room. The bird jumping from each side of its

cage. The ticks of multiple clocks reminding me that time

and life still exist, that I am not sleeping, that this is not a

nightmare. My life hangs from ropes behind you like gray

pieces of meat while you walk forward into some new

world of colorful rainbows. 


Journal entry from book
Exhuming Juliet: a New OrLeANs poet
page 204

Two years after Hurricane Katrina, I am returning home

to New Orleans in either spirit or person. I want to live,

but my mind and body are fighting me fiercely for an

ending. The attacks come on like lightening and my body

contorts into an excruciating pain deep within my soul

where Jesus is supposed to live or some leftover finger

paints, the funny big mouths and light faces of childhood. 

Instead I am hollow, immobile, expressionless, my skin is

a sheet covering a skeleton shoved in a corner attic. 

Prayer, medication, and the love from family and friends

diminish before me like snow evaporating on the ground. 

I chase hope like fireflies, but my eyes see only the empty

cups of my hands. I can’t move to pack. I can’t think

clearly. Will the butterflies find me or will the spirits of

New Orleans call me home? 

Journal entry from book
Crumpled Paper Dolls: a New OrLeANs poet
page 176

I could die tonight. I am so sad. Sad like the countenance
of a dog who just threw up clumps of grass and looks at
you like he would pleasantly like to just lie down and die.
I am a walking nursing home; stinky, lost, and confused. I
am going to miss Y. but I know it will never work. She
will never do or even want to do the things I ask her to
do. My soul needs a hand to hold. I am the most bruised,
decayed, and scared person I know, but I hold on with the
ends of my fingernails. I always return. I always get back
on the horse, even in the foggy shadows, mud puddles,
and wet mane of the horse; I grip its body and ride
through this pitch-black existence. I know light will break
through. It must. My only hope is the hope that it will.
Journal entry from book
Crumpled Paper Dolls: a New OrLeANs poet
page 207


I turned down the New York City Teaching Fellowship. 

The past couple of months have been full of difficult, life

altering decisions. The fellowship would have given me

the opportunity to fight social inequity, obtain a fully paid

Master’s degree and live in one of my favorite cities. 

Now, I am a starving writer in New Orleans. The road

less traveled is dense, fresh, blossoming, untouched with

abundance and beauty, vines and creatures; different from

the dusty, open, worn path of before. I will be true to my





Copyright © 2004-2014 Matthew Nolan