Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Fish Story

My favorite goldfish, Spooky, passed away today. He was a beautiful fish painted with the milky, swirly blue clouds that smash against an airplane window. The light blues faded into sharp, bright orange streaks that cut into charcoal black blotches, as if ink had been splattered between his eyes and on his back fin. He was a mellow guy, always drifting backwards away from the light into the plants--always the last one to eat. His eyes were bruised and sad with rings around them like two black eyes or crying eyes on a pretty girl. Sunkist, my perky pillow white and blood orange goldfish told me he was dead. I leaned into the aquarium glass, enlarging my reflection. Sunkist stuck her nose to the glass and began frantically waving her tail and stretching her head back and forth like a fantastic eel. She was telling me something. In the backdrop of her spastic dance, I could see Spooky in the corner of the tank sucked vertically onto the filter, limp and translucent, glowy white with his liquid black blotches drained from his scales. I noticed my bottom feeder all sheepish and still, hiding behind her ceramic castle, with the slow-moving eyes of a butcher. She has been violently kicking up gravel all week. I wonder what happened to Spooky. I'll miss you, Spooky. RIP

Saturday, March 2, 2013

2013 Seattle Erotic Art Festival

I am happy to announce that I have been asked to be a Literary Art Juror for the 2013 Seattle Erotic Art Festival. It is an honor to participate in such a distinguished event that celebrates artists from across the nation and around the world. I look forward to judging the brightest and most talented writers through fair and careful critique. It is a joy to give writers the recognition they deserve. I encourage you to submit your art today! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Here is a classic television moment that will give you some laughs. I encourage you to reenact this scene tomorrow. Enjoy!  

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Princess Katrina

On the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, I wanted to post a video of me reading my poem Princess Katrina. I am posting it a day early because the winds are picking up and it looks like my power may go out from Hurricane Isaac. This poem, which focuses on social class and poverty, is still poignant seven years later on the eve of another hurricane’s landfall.

I have been watching Hurricane Isaac coverage for days on the television. I have listened to New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu's live press conferences. There has not been one mention on the television of an open shelter in the city of New Orleans. Whereas, officials from adjoining parishes and Mississippi are bragging during press conferences about their increased shelter capacity—a lesson learned from Katrina. Moreover, it has been widely televised that two large New Orleans public shelters available pre-Katrina and during Katrina will be closed (Convention Center and Superdome). Additionally, as I have surfed all the local television networks for days, there has been no mention of any means or plans to transport anyone out of the city. So, if you see buses on CNN lined up to transport New Orleanians out of the city—it is a publicity stunt.

In a live local television interview today, an official from Second Harvest Food Bank effusively discussed the readiness of their organization. I believe this organization does great good for the area. However, this representative focused on how people can donate food and volunteer time, not how those in need can receive the food. Again, here is a broken link in the system. Poor people without internet access who only have antenna television are about to be cut off from the world by a power outage due to a hurricane. They need specific information and locations where they can find food and help during and in the aftermath of these disasters.

Lastly, many people in this poverty stricken area do not have automobiles to evacuate, nor the $700 to $2000 needed to evacuate. Do you have money for a 5-day vacation right now? Maybe you do. However, many people are living paycheck to paycheck in this economy. I appreciate everyone’s thoughts and concerns as Isaac strengthens. Let’s turn our attention to the broken infrastructure that makes these storms so scary.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Another Review For Exhuming Juliet

Exhuming Juliet gets reviewed by Times Beach Magazine! Learn more about this favorite book of mine by reading the article below. Add Exhuming Juliet to your bookshelf today!

I am proud to share the following book review from Times Beach staff writer and author Crystal Clemons:
"Nolan bravely shares his sweet and sensitive side as he writes about the beauty of love in its purest form. Many of Nolan's poems are infused with an overdose of sensuality and straight up sex. I blushed my way through it, partly feeling like I was an intruder spying on the intimacy of a couple while the other part was delighted and eagerly turning the page like I was reading a steamy Harlequin. The poems that I refer to as Hate Love were unsettling to read, as again I felt as though I was watching as an intruder, yet this time witnessing all the horrible things that people do to one another while claiming to love." READ MORE

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Curtain Call for the Last Real Ballerina

My dear friend and a true mentor passed away recently. Jacqueline Fry (May 6, 1939 - April 7, 2012), my ballet instructor and founder of New Orleans Dance Academy, was a timeless prima ballerina with a heart of gold. When she opened her mouth to discuss her old-school memories of ballet, I felt like I was watching a private screening of a movie that would never be seen again. I felt magic in her presence. Even though she was over seventy years old, she would still dance in class to instruct her students. With each pirouette and relevé her eyes would sparkle as her arms softly glided and folded towards the studio mirror as if she was still taking in the applause of thousands. She was classy, proper, while completely down-to-earth and in tune with the suffering of others. Suffering is a quality every ballerina must explore to all ends. Ms. Jackie was aware of the life problems and daily struggles of all her students. She would overhear our subtle complaints while stretching for class. The next week she would come up to a student in a plié at the barre and say, “So, how are things going?”

She was a legend who took me under her wing. I was a guy from off the street. I had no ballet or dance experience, and no money for classes. In exchange for classes, I would do handiwork around the studio. I would fix the bathroom, replace doorknobs, and run speaker wire. After a couple years of vigorous training and study, she gave me a rare shot at performing in my first ballet in the famous Loyola Roussel Performance Hall. It was a dream come true for me. Later, she taught me how to teach ballet.

Ms. Jackie and I would close up the studio together in the evening. I would grab the trash and turn off the light to the back studio. She would be waiting for me at the front door with her keys to lockup. I would walk her safely to her car. Occasionally, she offered to drive me home instead of making me take the bus. I would sit anxiously in the passenger seat with my hands in my lap, excited and nervous, asking as many questions about ballet as I could in the ten minutes it took to get me home. I was in the presence of the last real ballerina.

Jacqueline Fry as the Black Swan

Here is a poem inspired by the world Ms. Jackie opened up to me. 
From my book Exhuming Juliet (2009)   


I dance with glistening ballerinas who shimmer in the
reflections of mirrors, a misty spray of fairy dust,
Degas alive, they stand before me, perfect posture gliding
from barre to barre, a deep stare from a little girl inside
clawing her way out from jump to jump

I follow their feet with my eyes, thousands of tiny feet,
I mimic their bold gracefulness
of solid white and black smearing the air

When still, they sit as small temples of beauty lacing up
their feet with silk ribbons,
it is always about their feet, hurting and frowning, talking
back to them

Life and power fill the room with each pirouette,
they bend to touch the ground, digging up strength,
endurance, blistering feet to build character—
while flimsy girls walk past the dance studio in
baggy clothes, undisciplined, comfortable

Ballerinas, serious, and stoic, planning a wedding,
not the pink and frilly girls who sleep with the boys
instead of the stars

I am boyish and coy in their royal astronomy

Copyright 2009 By Matthew Nolan