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Nicole Tallman

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the poet

Nicole Tallman is the author of four collections: Something Kindred (SCE Press, 2022), Poems for the People (SCE Press, 2023), FERSACE (ELJ Editions, 2023), and Julie, or Sylvia (forthcoming from Thirty West in summer 2024). A Michigan native, she lives in Miami, where she serves as the official Poetry Ambassador, Editor of Redacted Books, and Poetry Editor of The Miami Native, South Florida Poetry Journal, and The Blue Mountain Review.

the poems

Montréal

00:00 / 00:54
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I book us a room in a hotel named after a famous poet.

It reminds me of an ex I thought I’d forgotten.

It has a balcony that faces the street. 

In the morning, the sound of plates wakes us. 

You bring me a coffee in bed and an apple.

We watch the city wake up below us.

A man carries a bushel of hyacinth.

A woman cries to someone on the phone.

We dress and go downstairs for breakfast.

I speak French to the hostess and remember

I have another voice.

It’s the one I use when I pretend I’m someone else.

She seats us next to a couple in love. 

They drink out of each other’s glasses.

We move to a table closer to the window to forget ourselves.

Tulips

00:00 / 01:12
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The tulips are too excitable, it is summer here.

Look how yellow everything is, how loud, how sunned-in.

I am trying peacefulness, lying by the pool quietly

As the light stares at these concrete walls, this float, this face.

I am somebody; I have everything to do with implosions.

I have given my name and my night-clothes up to my work.

Nobody watched me before, but now I am watched and recorded.

The tulips have turned me in, from the window beside me

Where once a day their lens slowly widens and slowly zooms in,

And I see myself, exaggerated in the papers and on the screens

Between the eye of the public and the eyes of the seen,

And I have only a cartoon face, I have effaced my real self.

Before the fame the day was quiet enough,

Then the tulips filled it up like an explosion.

Now the air blares and flares around me the way a trumpet

Blares and flares around its bright-yellow bell like a bee.

Chicago

00:00 / 00:54
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We spend Christmas in Chicago.

We fly bundled up for a blizzard.

It never snows while we are there. 

We take a walk before the sun comes out.

We drink jasmine tea and watch our breath form in the air.

The elms are lonely and naked 

without their winter coats. 

We head back to bed and watch TV.

Later, we walk to get some ramen from this place 

the concierge recommends.

We buy a bottle of our favorite wine to share in the room.

This is the point in our trip when I’m tired of dining out.

I imagine you are back home in our kitchen cooking. 

Cutting vegetables with precision. You play jazz.

Why do I always want to be somewhere else?

Publishing credits

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