Decay and Rise by musical artist and creator Courtney Nord is emphatically gorgeous. Its unmitigated honesty and brutal hope make it both a clarion of empowerment and an oasis of understanding. Not a single one of us escapes life without scars. For some, the scars are external and easy to point to. Others are able to walk around disguised as “normal,” their scars hidden from view. What Decay and Rise reveals so poignantly is that being bruised but also perfect and beautiful is the essence of being human.

Below, I offer the following selections from Courtney’s book to impart the emotional cadence of this special creation. Variations in spacing and alignment are intentional and are meant to roughly correspond to their original in Decay and Rise, although they are not mimicked precisely here due to technical limitations. If you like what you read, you will appreciate Courtney’s specific choices of font, visual emphasis, spacing, etc., even more.


We begin and end with only 

ourselves, instruments of our being. This book is dedicated to just that. This book is dedicated to the self  

If you believe in yourself, 

that alone will take you where you yearn to be 


As a

poetry book, the nature of these writings

is poetic, this means sentence structure,

spacing, and spelling/ grammar is all

artistically derived and to be taken into

interpretation by the reader. Raw


material with no editing is to be expected, thank you


Quick, intuitive, no order and as honest as the bird of a thought flies into my mind sings then lets me go.


But nobody speaks the language of my

soul, I haven’t found them, yet


The self does not hold the water but drinks it, retains it.

Our minds need the essence more than we can think the

conscious thought of needing it.


Every time I saw the Smoke thicken the sky

from all the fires up in northern California, I couldn’t help

but go inward and see my own surplus of death that

needed to be burnt and sent away into the sky.

The smell always got me excited like the fourth of July and

the smoky air then it almost felt like a celebration a

clearing a restoration and the abundance of super rich

condensed nutrients from the ashes on the soil were my

pot of gold


I use this metaphor to turn shit to gold I presume.


By chance you could be happier and better off than you can

possibly imagine at this moment right now. Fathom

That’s where your future lies


How we write our past is how we create our future

Maybe my own certainty of this foggy cloud is what made

it so golden

We are made to

repress ourselves as to not seem flashy, but we are

made to look and always be sad and tired because then

they can sell us a fix.

There is no fix.


We are whole, feel it.