Monday, April 30, 2012

Silent, I Would Walk Barefoot Through the Forest Like a Native

Despite my feet always being ice cubes, I am happiest barefoot and free. While hiking, I often pretend I'm a Native American, sneaking around barefoot without rustling any of the leaves. But Josh makes me leave my shoes on because he insists that parasites, fungus or the black plague will soak up through the soles of my feet. And I listen to him because I know that even if those things didn't happen to me, I'd probably just stab my fragile feet with twigs or something because I'm not always the most graceful ballerina in the company

But shoes aren't so bad I suppose. And these are my favorites. Since purchasing them in January from The Paraders, I scarcely go a day without them...

Friday, April 27, 2012

Original Poem: The Kuleshov Effect

Recently, Josh did a stop motion video of me writing out one of my poems called "The Kuleshov Effect." Stop motion is done by taking consecutive photos and then playing them back at 24 frames/sec. It gives the film a choppy look, and with the antique effect Josh used, this really looks like an antique film (well, except for the two cars in my driveway). I hope you love it as much as I do!


The Kuleshov Effect
Rachel Marie Talan
Shelved books gather dust like old,
forgotten trophies. Sunlight streams through 
the open window,
a spotlight.
The author spins phrases on his typewriter
while the sun strikes his back with 
warmth, with pain. 
There’s a dandelion on the lawn. A 
lone survivor. All his friends, killed on
behalf of beauty’s war. 
She sits at the bar and takes her
first drink in fifteen years.
A penny is stranded, tail-side-up, in the gutter.
A cigar still burns in an ashtray,
smoke dancing up and away from its
abandoned form.
The metronome ticks atop the musicless piano. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"It would protect me on the cold walk into the village for milk"

This lovely 1950s trench coat has been so trusty and warm and perfect. However, as much as I adore it, I am ready to retire it for the season. I'm also ready to retire my textbooks (at least for a time). I'm ready to instead pick up my high waisted shorts, sandals, and my leather bound journal. How I miss writing and reading for my own pleasure. I'm ready for summer's freedom and adventures.

There are so many things I want to learn that I cannot find time for while I am still in school --- ironic isn't it? I made a list of resolutions when the New Year came about, but I feel like I need to make another one for summer.

And so...some hopeful summer plans:

x learn to really sew with my new sewing machine
x learn to skillfully operate the animation software I purchased for Meep and Merp
x translate my favorite French poems
x take a yoga class
x buy a bike

And knowing me, there will be many more. I'm too ambitious for my own good.

Do you have any premature summer plans like I do?


This outfit was worn awhile ago. But some of these images didn't appear in the original post. And I am still wearing this trench coat every bitter cold April day.

This post title is a quote from Billy Collins' poem "The Lesson."

Friday, April 20, 2012

Featured Poet: Gina Alyse

by Gina Apperson
To someone else
Dried flowers may seem better
Than a collection of random
Literary extracts.
An extract of honey perfume
May smell more welcoming
Than the crisp paper pages
My fingers hold.
A diamond ring that flashes
With every change of light
May bedazzle more brilliantly
Than the next metaphor listed.
In fact the next hidden meaning
Of this delicate language
May just go unnoticed
As clouds spiral day by day,
Making curtains in the air.
Such curtain, only of lies,
Would then feel softer
Than the quiet melody
Of missing voices
In the beryl skies.
And the sweet music that vibrates
Daily instead
Would sound better
Than the flawless flow
Of words voiced with strong soul
To someone else.
But never am I
This someone else.


Featured Poet: Gina Alyse is a delight. She keeps an eclectic blog where she catalogues her interests and daily musings, and she was kind enough to feature some of my work.  "Potpourri" has such a calm rhythm to it. I especially love the lines "as clouds spiral day by day, making curtains in the air." Such a lovely image. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

For Reasons, Most Wondrous

"To the garden, the world, anew ascending,
Potent mates, daughters, sons, preluding,
The love, the life of their bodies, meaning and being,
Curious, here behold my resurrection, after slumber;

"The revolving cycles, in their wide sweep, have brought me again,         5
Amorous, mature—all beautiful to me—all wondrous;
My limbs, and the quivering fire that ever plays through them, for reasons, most wondrous;

"Existing, I peer and penetrate still,
Content with the present—content with the past,

"By my side, or back of me, Eve following,  10
Or in front, and I following her just the same."

---- "To the Garden of the World" by Walt Whitman

Outfit Details:

Photos taken by Josh.

Earrings//Vintage, 1950s
Cardigan//Charlotte Russe
Dress (worn as blouse)//Vintage, 1980s
Skirt//Vintage, 1960s - via Vintage Archives
Shoes//Vintage 1960s
Handbag//Vintage 1950s

Friday, April 13, 2012

Original Poem: Clumsy

by Rachel Marie Talan

My poems are always so clumsy...

The words sort of





in choppy rhythm.

Are they even poems at all?
Just weak collections of lines.

The writings of others
know exactly
what they're about.
They've skipped adolescence
and stopped falling over their own feet.

Their text,
black, straight, organized,
stands erect
in perfect,
rectangular columns.

Not mine though.
Mine finds a way of




As promised, this is the poem I had published in Nota Bene. I really enjoy playing with the positioning of words in my writing, and I absolutely love concrete poetry, which is a form of poetry where the words are placed intentionally out of alignment on the page in order to make a picture. It's quite fun. To me, poetry has always been like doing a puzzle.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Name All Done Up in Helvetica

Seeing my name in print never does cease to thrill me. My poem "Clumsy" was chosen for publication in Phi Theta Kappa's annual literary anthology Nota Bene along with other poems and stories from students across the country. They chose the most perfect picture to accompany my piece, which, as you can imagine, just tickles me and my whimsical heart pink.

If you stop by again on Friday, I'll post the full-length poem for you to peruse.
Until then, my friends!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Original Poem: Paper Tyranny

Last Friday I went with Courtney to a poetry reading in southern Wisconsin. The café was delightful and only carried organic products. I confess, I ate cheesecake and a cinnamon roll for dinner that night. The server told me she admired me, but there's nothing to be admired about a 20 year old eating sugar for dinner and then blowing bubbles in her milk because she's so nervous about reading a poem in front of an audience that she has lost all her common sense. 
But I digress...
It was my first time performing at an open mic, and I felt quite brave afterward -- like a gladiator of poets. The poem below is the one I read...into the microphone...that made my voice really really everybody could hear every single word I said...

Paper Tyranny
Rachel Marie Talan

We are paper dolls
in a paper world, and all
must fold before you.
Your wicked lips, like
paper clips, are click-clicking 
over paper ears. 
Crumpled citizens
listen and watch, faces blank
with unprinted fears.
Your scissors above
are casting shadows and dread:
Snip. Snip. We’re all dead.

I'd also like to thank everyone for the sweet words of encouragement you gave me on Monday. All of you are just swell :)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Frank's Gone Missing

Dear Frank,

I'm sorry for leaving you in that nasty women's restroom. But I was only trying to protect you from drowning by placing you on the edge of that stark white sink. I hope you can forgive me.

I came back and searched everywhere for you, but I suppose someone else has snatched you up by now. I hope she treats you with kindness, but I know that nobody will love you in such an illogical way as I do.

Stay off the drugs, Frank.
And if you should ever find your way home, there will always be a place for you in the flowery tea cup next to Dexter and Eliza.

Monday, April 2, 2012

un poète pauvre, mais libre

For so long I was so certain that I would grow up and become a famous writer of short stories or novels or maybe witty magazine features. And if that didn't work out, I knew for certain I would become an editor, a professional and vigilant grammar Nazi. But now I'm second-guessing that future.

After attending the media conference in New York and meeting the nation's most prestigious editors, I felt unimpressed. I can't imagine myself associating with them, and I surely don't want to become like them: boring, condescending, and -- did I mention boring?

I always have loved stories and writing, and I still do! Though I have written some fiction, I've always preferred writing poetry, and I've always been better at that. But, in case you weren't aware, poets don't make any money. Quite literally. None. Even when they have their work published, they still usually make none.

I haven't quite given up the notion of becoming a writer or editor, but I'm keeping my mind open to new ideas. With all my interests, I imagine I will experience multiple careers in my lifetime.

Oddly enough, this uncertainty feels good. I feel free not knowing what it is I want. I feel like dancing. I feel like exploring. I want to try everything.

Outfit Details:
(It deeply irks me that the waistline of my dress peeked out in these photos. I'm trying not to be OCD about it, but it's very very hard.)

Linked up at Not Dead Yet Style.

Necklace//Target (Surprised? I was.)
Dress (worn as blouse)//Vintage, 1980s
Cardigan//Charlotte Russe
Ring//Antique - Sara Coventry
Skirt//Vintage, Ralph Lauren, 1980s
Shoes//Vintage via The Paraders