drawing by Billy Staggs Cahill


by Matthew Freeman


You’d think it pretty creepy if you knew

the sad reverberations in my head.

I cannot stand outside the words. And who

would split the ego, letting in the dread

unconscious crazy cacophonic mess

of signs, of signals that return the dead

and dump upon the living consciousness?

From teenage heaven—where I might have stayed—

I strayed into the dark hell of reference—

of signs and wonders—dull and electric—

I said this cannot be—this can’t exist—

my diagnosis—nature played a trick—

yet faith resolves the inundated shout:

words got me here and words will get me out.


Matthew Freeman discovered he was a poet when, as a teenager, he was ruined with love in Missouri. After spending a lot of time playing his songs in New York, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and ended up in and out of hospitals for a while. Upon beginning his recovery, he was able to finish his education and have five books of poetry published, most recently Everything I Love Restored and Other Poems, available from Coffeetown Press.

Billy Staggs Cahill is a 37-year-old artist in Syracuse, New York. He is currently studying to be a nurse practitioner and majoring in mathematics. He has been doing all kinds of art since childhood—drawing, painting, comics, and chalk drawings, among others.