Friday, May 4, 2012

Good Sparrow, Bad Sparrow

Last month along Eighth Avenue, I spotted Phillip, who had a ton of traditional ink. In fact, he had just had work done on his neck, rocking these two tattoos:



These two sparrows combine to represent a take on the good versus bad consciences that people have.

Phillip says he has "hundreds" of tattoos, and he credits Baz at New York Hardcore Tattoo with these pieces.

Thanks to Phillip for sharing these tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2012 Tattoosday.

If you are reading this on another web site other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.blogspot.com and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wrapping Up The Tattooed Poets Project, Volume 4

Well, it’s May, which can only mean one thing here on Tattoosday - I’m exhausted.

Every year, I put together the Tattooed Poets Project in the month of April and it’s a labor of love. Toward the end of the month, however, it’s more labor and less love, and I am relieved when another National Poetry Month has passed.

So, I’m going to take a deep breath, and pause briefly, before we resume our normal programming here on Tattoosday.

However, before doing so, I want to take a moment to thank everyone who helped out with this year’s installment.

First and foremost, I’d like to thank all of the poets for their contributions. For a list of this (and previous) year’s inked scribes, you can visit the index at www.tattooedpoets.com.

Next, I’d like to thank David Lehman and Stacey Harwood from the Best American Poetry blog. They’ve been supporters of the project since its inception, they help publicize it every year and, in 2012, they helped even more by re-tweeting several of my posts.

Part of my process is to reach out to poets in the literary world, soliciting their submissions. Often, poets may not be tattooed, but they certainly know some who are. For that reason, I want to thank Tony Barnstone, Amy Newman, and Tim Donnelly, three un-inked poets who tipped me off to other poets who ended up in this year’s group of 35 contributors.

And of course, I want to thank the readers of Tattoosday, who continue to support the site through their appreciation of the site. In four years, we’ve featured 123 different poets, eight of whom have submitted work in multiple years. If no one visited, we’d be lonely indeed, and Tattoosday scored a record for April with 50,000 hits and a monthly high 89,643 page views (but who’s counting?). I am humbled by your interest and am motivated to make next year bigger and better for lovers of poetry and tattoos, everywhere.

Thank you again,

Bill Cohen

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Tattooed Poets Project: Puma Perl

Our final installment of the fourth annual Tattooed Poets Project is from a repeat contributor, Puma Perl. Puma graced us last year with this contribution.

 Puma wanted to share her newest tattoo with us, and I couldn't possibly turn her down after I saw it:


Puma explains:
"This tattoo was just finished ... on Saturday 2/18/12. It is a companion piece to the mermaid with the Wonder Wheel on my back, which I sent you last year. I guess the Coney Island Theme will continue as Coney Island is torn down, or 'redeveloped.' Both pieces were done by Emma Griffiths, who now works out of Tattoo Culture."
As I live in south Brooklyn, near Coney Island in Bay Ridge, I can't help but be partial to Coney Island-themed tattoos.

Puma sent us a Coney Island-themed poem, to boot:

CONEY ISLAND FEBRUARY
 
He leaves,
the sounds
of a concrete
boardwalk
trailing behind him
 
and I dream
of bass players
and Coney Island,
broken benches
and Coney Island
 
and I dream
of warm peaches
and Coney Island
burlesque babes
and Coney Island
 
I dream
I dream of
Coney Island
 
and I wake,
hands filled
with pussy,
 
unsatisfying,
but I go on
because
progress
must continue.


~ ~ ~

Puma Perl is a NYC-based writer, performance artist, and curator. Her poetry and fiction have been published in over 100 print and online journals and anthologies. 




She is the author of the award-winning chapbook, Belinda and Her Friends, and a full length collection, knuckle tattoos. 


She lives and writes on the Lower East Side and has facilitated writing workshops in community based agencies and at Riker’s Island, a NYC prison. She is a founding member of DDAY Productions, which presents poetry and performance events. Link to her blog for info about book purchases and events: http://pumaperl.blogspot.com/.

Thanks to Puma Perl for her contribution and for rounding out this year's Tattooed Poets Project!

This entry is ©2012 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission.

If you are reading this on another web site other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.blogspot.com and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

The Tattooed Poets Project: Shana Wolstein

Our penultimate tattooed poet is Shana Wolstein, who sent us this photo:


Shana explains:
The word 'always,' was the first tattoo I got. It's on my left-wrist, facing me. The song 'Always,' by Irving Berlin, was what my mother used to sing to us when we were sad as children. My sister got a similar tattoo and when my dad asked what my mother would have said, we both had to sheepishly grin because the answer was always 'Wait until I'm dead.'
I got it while I was studying abroad in China and visiting Hong Kong, a few months after she passed away. I wrote [the following] poem after visiting Tai Shan or Mount Tai, one of the 'Five Sacred Mountains' in China. According to Wikipedia 'it is associated with sunrise, birth, and renewal.' "

My Journey of Over 6,000 Steps

The best way to cure a cold
is to climb up the tallest mountain
you can find. Spot as many lucky
birds, rest on every turn, and when
a man offers to carry you—refuse.

When you think you can't go any further,
you will. Like the bird pacing
the ground and shuffling dirt
with his beak, you need patience.

When you close a lock, throw the key
down the mountainside, it can only make
the bond stronger. Forget about food,
or what you thought it was, question

the safety of bottled water, watch old
women climb faster than you, watch
the clouds erase your time, the sun
write it on the walls, the dry stones bleach.


 ~ ~ ~

Shana Wolstein has her MFA from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, where she was the 2011 recipient of the Herb Scott Award for Excellence in Poetry. She has been published by Third Coast Magazine, Anomalous Press, Hinchas de Poesia, OVS Magazine, and more. Still in Kalamazoo, she works as Coordinator for the Prague Summer Program and Managing Editor of the academic journal Reading Horizons.

Thanks to Shana for sharing her poem and tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2012 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission. 


If you are reading this on another web site other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.blogspot.com and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Tattooed Poets Project : Joolz Denby

Our second tattooed poet today, Joolz Denby, hails from Great Britain. Not only is she a tattooed poet, she is a tattoo artist, as well, tattooing out of her shop, Studio Bijoux, in Bradford, UK.

Joolz sent us this photo of one of her tattoos:


Joolz explains:
"This tattoo is from the Dylan Thomas poem Do Not Go Gentle and it is a facsimile of my handwriting. It was done by one of my tattoo masters, Adam Dutton at Lifetime Tattoo in Derby UK where I did my apprenticeship. I had it done in memory of my father, Captain Ron Mumford of the Highland Light Infantry and the Territorial SAS. I loved and still love him very much indeed. He was a soldier, a scholar and a gentleman." 
Here's Joolz performing a poem:



You can also read and hear more of her work on her website here.

We're honored to have Joolz contributing to the Tattooed Poets Project. As one can tell from her wikipedia entry, she's an accomplished figure in England both in poetry and tattoos.

Thanks to Joolz for participating!

This entry is ©2012 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission.


If you are reading this on another web site other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.blogspot.com and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.


The Tattooed Poets Project: Ali Jacs

On this, the penultimate day of our fourth annual Tattooed Poets Project, we will be featuring a pair of tattooed spoken word artists.

First up is Ali Jacs, who shared her tattoo in its sketch stage


and in its final state:


Ali explains:
"I got the ... tattoo in January 2010 after a bit of a dark yet very enlightening stage in my life ... The tattoo artist Elton Buchanan is trained in the Maori style of the Te Arawa tribe in New Zealand. There is fair bit of symbolism in this - frangipani flower petals symbolize personal awakening, of which I did a fair amount in 2009! There are fish scales which symbolize the 'taniwha', or mythical Maori protector who dwells in the ocean, there is weaving to symbolize strength in family and friends and there are two Manaia - guardian spirits of the earth, sea and sky. Blending in some contemporary culture, there is a treble and bass clef to highlight my connection with music. 
Which ties in quite well with my poem, which I've provided [below] ... most of my poetry these days is focused on performance poetry and this particular piece focuses on the music that we hear in every day occurrences and the sounds that bring this world alive." 
Here is the poem that Ali has shared:

   

Ali Jacs is a performance poet from Wellington, New Zealand. After getting involved in the spoken word community in the Canadian prairies, Ali returned home to New Zealand in 2010. She won 2nd place in the 2011 Going West Writer’s Festival Poetry Slam in Auckland and in October 2011, won 2nd place in New Zealand’s inaugural National Poetry Slam. Having travelled extensively across Canada and Europe, Ali’s poetry is inspired by people, landscapes and cultures encountered on the road, exploring themes of politics, sexuality, social and environmental justice and the madness of these crazy times. Ali runs the monthly performance poetry series Poetry in Motion in Wellington, New Zealand and has recently finished her first chapbook Romantic Pragmatism. You can also check her out on her new website www.alijacs.com.  

Thanks very much to Ali Jacs for her contribution to the Tattooed Poets Project!

This entry is ©2012 Tattoosday. The tattoo is reprinted with the poet's permission. 

If you are reading this on another website other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.blogspot.com and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Tattooed Poets Project: Danielle Shutt

Our next tattooed poet is Danielle Shutt., who sent us two photos.

First is a shot from right after she got inked in June 2007:


And then, a close-up of the tattoo:


Danielle explains:
"My wrist tattoo came out of my own mindless notebook scribblings. It's two intertwined S's, representing my younger siblings' first names. We've been through a lot together. I got the tattoo when I was 23 and living in Richmond, VA. There was a particularly strong surge of family-related peril and tumult back then, and I found myself wanting something that would keep my brother and sister close to me--something less morbid than the black cloth bracelet I'd been wearing. I knew the drawing was exactly 'right,' but it took me a while to commit anyway. I'm the kind of person who needs to be bitten by impulse before I get my body involved in anything. (This includes dancing and doctor appointments.)

In this case, a grande margarita and my friend Kristen did the trick. Kristen accompanied me to River City Tattoo, where a nice guy named Reverend Bob tattooed the symbol on my wrist in less than three minutes. I was happy with it. I always will be.

I get asked all the time about what the tattoo means, which is cool because I love talking about my sibs. I still think of the tattoo as a comfort, but more often these days it reminds me of my brother and sister's hard-fought survival, which in turn reminds me to stay strong, too."
Danielle shares this poem, as well, which originally appeared in thINK, a letterpress book published by Bowe Street Press at Virginia Commonwealth University:

Sometimes I Have to Go Around Will’s Curb

Barbed wire reached to scratch a warning at his window;
or, the slaughter-cows flicked their tails like traffic guards,
and in dusk a roadside tree flashed him old scars
        to beg off new bruises.

But really, there's nothing looking dead there. No car parts
or patches of uprooted grass, none of his teeth half-ground
into the pavement. The wooden stretch of new fence
        isn't as stark as I'd expected.

I guess he kept all the mess of it with him, smashed under
his face, caulked behind his eyelids; or, it's in the red dirt
and bone dust sent up by the tractor hitched to his lungs,
        pulling slow on these back roads.


~ ~ ~

Danielle Shutt completed her MFA in Creative Writing at Eastern Washington University in Spokane, WA, where she taught writing courses and served as a poetry editor for Willow Springs. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Hayden's Ferry Review, Redactions: Poetry & Poetics, PANK, Copper Nickel, DIAGRAM, and Hotel Amerika.

Thanks to Danielle for sharing her tattoo and poem with us here on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2012 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission. 


If you are reading this on another web site other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.blogspot.com and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Tattooed Poets Project: Francesco Grisanzio

Every year I meet at least one of the poets featured on the Tattooed Poets Project. Francesco Grisanzio lives in New York and I got the chance to personally photograph his tattoos, which he offered up for us here on Tattoosday:


Francesco explained:

"My tattoos are of the characters from a comic strip I draw, or at least used to draw.

It's been a few years since I made a new strip. The comics haven't been published, but I did receive a great rejection letter from the paper at UMass Amherst when I was a student there.
They said something along the lines of 'We love the art, but you know that this content is unpublishable. Clean it up and we'll talk.'
The tattoos were done in Woonsocket, RI at American Art Tattoo."
Francesco offered up this poem:


Teenage Heaven
After Eddie Cochran
The Coupe, phone, big city—
freedom, Eddie, is what it boils down to.
Sharp crew cut cardigan,
our dearest son,
patriot, toe tap child rebel against homework,
enjoy the benefits of citizenship.
You’ve earned it.
Here’s three dollars.
Have a swell weekend.
We trust you not to make a mess.

But it’s not just youthful ignorance
or innocence where you choose to do what’s right on your own.
We’ve been to the drive in show,
seen peacock letterman, gorilla arm not content on headrest.
How dare you chuckle.  She’s just a child.
My God, Eddie, there’s nothing “little snack” about six hotdogs.
That’s beyond ingestion.  Where will they all go?
What are your intentions with our daughter?
We know she’s beautiful, but show restraint.
Little lady, you’re young.  This is heaven.
You can run.  This is America.
Please.  He’s an animal.  A beast.
And, Eddie, we’re very disappointed in you.


~ ~ ~

Francesco Grisanzio is currently working on his MFA in poetry at The New School. He earned his BA in English from UMass Amherst. His work has appeared or will be appearing in Word Riot, Fawlt, Why I Am Not a Painter, Strange Machine, and Interrobang!? Magazine.

Thanks to Francesco for his contribution to the Tattooed Poets Project on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2012 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission. 


If you are reading this on another web site other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.blogspot.com and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

The Tattooed Poets Project: Julie Kantor

As we wind up the Tattooed Poets Project on this, the home stretch of April, we are double-posting to accommodate the record number of submissions we received this year.

Our second tattooed poet of the day is Julie Kantor.

Julie sent us these photos:


Julie explains:
"It was a very early morning in Portland, OR. I picked up my best friend, Jess, to get breakfast. On the way to the cafe, we saw two guys, each had a shopping cart packed to the brim. They were laughing with each other, smiling these huge smiles. Jess turned to me and said, 'If we were bums, we would still be best friends. Bum friends.' I suggested, strongly, that we get matching shopping cart tattoos. After breakfast we found this small tattoo shop with no name off Glisan that just opened. Inside, we made a deal with the shop's very green apprentice to do both tattoos for $40. The 'bf' in the tattoos stands for bum friends." 

Here is one of Julie's poems:

From the series: Land 

12)
Waters flush north under concrete & steel, rods down
planted, now dry cracks through road we drive over, see
red lines run lengthen out from sky blue & darkening,
say “let's trace this back to where the sun doesn't even
want us w/it,” beam bridge can't take us across all the way
w/out drop before we stand safely or span the land’s
end to its own mirrored opposite. Those could be our feet
on the ground, but we ride this straight across the dividing
line where trains’ tracks alongside plains lead away from
& hear the river call us down, would one body’s dead
weight be enough to pull us into, first think we tie our-
selves w/knots we won't learn the names of, but tangle is
thick w/width, & water's feel enough for loss of, & if we can’t
sustain w/just us then we shouldn’t have to begin with.

~ ~ ~

Julie Kantor just completed her first manuscript, the currently unpublished, The Beautiful West. She is a M.F.A. candidate in poetry at Columbia University where she teaches in the Undergraduate Writing Program. She is also a musician and plays in the new band, Cycles. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Thanks to Julie for sharing her poem and tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2012 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission. 


If you are reading this on another web site other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.blogspot.com and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

The Tattooed Poets Project - Heather Truett

Up next on the Tattooed Poets Project is Heather Truett, who sent us this photo:


along with a shot of the tattooist at work:


These may appear as three seemingly simple Hebrew letters, but there is more to this piece than just a Hebrew word, as Heather elaborates:
“The tattoo was a 27th birthday gift from a girlfriend I have known since I was 6 and she was 3. We went together. She got a Latin phrase in a beautiful script and I chose this. I had been planning a tattoo to somehow commemorate a friend who died and my own battle with depression. The verse in scripture that speaks most to me is Isaiah 61:3, which includes the phrase ‘beauty for ashes.’ The girl I wanted to commemorate, Natalie, also loved the verse. On a whim, I looked the verse up in Hebrew. I always love following a verse back to its origin and trying to understand what the words actually meant to the writer, rather than placing all trust in modern translation. When I realized the Hebrew word used to mean beauty in that verse actually means, ‘a crown of beauty,’ as in, a young girl being crowned queen and given honor and status in society, I knew I had my tattoo.
You see, every year, on the anniversary of the day Natalie died, her friends around the world don tiaras and wear them wherever they go. We paint our toenails purple, as she loved to do, and we drink a Diet Coke in her honor. There are other rituals, but these are the big three. To find the word ‘crown’ hidden there in my verse left me in tears, good tears, the kind of crying you do when someone at last understands exactly who you are and what you mean to them. I printed and double-checked the Hebrew lettering and took it with me to Devine Street Tattoo on a visit to Columbia, SC. It's not fancy, just three letters. But those three letters say so much to me every time I look at them. I placed the word on the inside of my left ankle, so when I look down or cross my legs, I see the tattoo. I don't mind showing it to other people, and I love telling how I chose it and why I got it, but it is, ultimately, for me and me alone, so I wanted it in a place easy for me to see."
By way of a poem, Heather submitted this:

My Brother is the Poem

My brother is the poem that exists,
still busily writing itself
in the hills of my hometown.
He leaves for work, welding
in leather and heat and without
a single complaint, because, hell!
He needs the job.
He strings out verse and stanza,
tripping over the meter
on seventy acres of God's creation.
Don't let them mine you too,
Big Brother.

It's with rhythm and flow that
he pays the bills and loves the wife and
suffers the pain of parenthood that stabs
with its cliche sword, double-edged.
Who knew? Who predicted
snowflakes and razorblades?
My brother, cigarette lit and smoke circling,
is the poetry falling
to earth, right there,
in Eastern Kentucky, while I
only call myself a poet, writing
in the air conditioned suburb, pretending
I got out, when I never did,

not really, anyhow.

Years pass and miles unroll like
so much butcher paper
down the holler, but my body still grows roots
back home, there, in Nat's Creek,
Daniel's Creek, Homer's trailer,
white house with black shutters,
minnow fishing, snake killing,
coal mining with the black lung,
family and the most Primitive of
Baptist churches, where
my soul gets fed, and only then
can the poem
grow branches.

~ ~ ~

 Heather Truett describes herself as “Hill-born, a coal miner's granddaughter, a brilliant spark of brain with a wee bit of crazy thrown in for good measure, a writer, a poet, a wife in the bizarre world of the church, wearer of silver tiaras and painter of purple toenails, I am me. I have published poetry, essays and articles in the past. My credits include: The Mom Egg, The Paintsville Herald, Jackson Free Press, Slugfest Ltd, Abundance Press, The Invitation Tupelo, Busy Parents Online, Mommy Tales, Just For Mom and other publications (more info available on my website, www.madamerubies.com). I am currently a homeschooling Mom to a special needs child and the wife of a youth minister in Tupelo, Mississippi. I have taught poetry workshops in schools and for the homeschool co-op we participate in each semester.” You can also check out her website, madamerubieswrites.blogspot.com.

Thanks to Heather for her contribution to the Tattooed Poets Project!

This entry is ©2012 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission. 


If you are reading this on another web site other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.blogspot.com and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Tattooed Poets Project: Will Roby

Today's tattooed poet is Will Roby.

It is also the birth date of the philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein.

You might think these two items are unrelated, but you'd be wrong.

Here is the tattoo Will selected for us:


Will elaborates:
"I am a huge fan of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, and I'm interested in covering my entire back with words. You'll notice the edge of an image of Texas, but other than that, all of my tattoos are text-based. The artist is a friend of mine, who requested to be called simply 'Heath.' The inspiration is simple: to remind me that my thoughts are capable of becoming reality if I allow them."
Will selected this poem to share here on the Tattooed Poets Project:

Stupefactive

Half a glass full, optimistic warbling grackles; they pester me.
To the dogs with them! It's abrasive, this new sweater, get it off me.
So restrictive, I'm in shackles, knuckles tickled. Stupefactive
glance along a mirror, that old meme, "coexistence or bust." Alternator
of my heart, spark plug liver: must they rust so fast? A last jitterbug
then no more jumpstarts, I'll have to quit her.  Shrug twice 
if you understand, here's a sidesplitter: never once changed the oil, bugs
all jammed up in the works, tin foil holding up the engine mount. And count
the parts you couldn't sell, the fans and belts, good for nothing, hell,
the junkman sniffs the air. There you have it, glass half full, a queasy
spare tire of a feeling. Easy, Tiger, someone says, a glass half full
might be the only thing to crack through that thick skull.



~ ~ ~

Will Roby is a poet living in Texas. His poems have appeared at 32 Poems, Tri-Quarterly, Umbrella,The  Melic Review, Karawane, Yareah Magazine and others. He's madly in love with Emily Van Duyne and their child Hank.

Thanks kindly to Will for contributing his tattoo and poem to this year's poetic adventure on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2012 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission. 


 If you are reading this on another web site other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.blogspot.com and read our original content.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Tattooed Poets Project: Alex Dryden

Today's tattooed poet, Alex Dryden, shared his body art with us, displaying what to many poets, and fans of poetry, is a universal image:


That is, of course, a red wheelbarrow, a common item made famous by William Carlos Williams' iconic poem:

The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends 
upon 


a red wheel 
barrow 


glazed with rain 
water 


beside the white 
chickens. 

~ ~ ~
Alex elaborates:
"When we were kids, my mother made my brother and me memorize and recite poems. Though we didn't talk about it until we were adults, we were both stricken by the authority and presence of 'The Red Wheelbarrow.' 
For years we had thought about getting tattoos that worked together as a set but had never found a suitable subject. In 2010, he went back to school as English major while I was entering the first year of my MFA in creative writing. While visiting over the winter break and planning our mother's 60th birthday party, talk came around to the poems we memorized a kids and renewed our efforts to find a good set of tattoos. 'The Red Wheelbarrow,' with two perfect, ready made images, solved our dilemma. That night we drew up a pair of white chickens for him and a red wheelbarrow for me and the next day had them done. 
Because Williams made use of the rhythm and diction of the American vernacular, we choose a local tattoo parlor that seemed analogous. The website for Hell Bomb Tattoo, in Wichita, KS, displayed an index of, what we imagined to be, classic Mid-Western tattoo art." 
I asked Alex if he could send along his brother’s tattoo, as well, and he happily obliged:


And a shot of them together:


As for verse, Alex shared this poem:

Corpus 

—she was the kind of girl
you suspected

had something really sweet
written in

the braille of her
bikini line.

Something about flowers or
the uselessness

of melancholy and how good
things happen

to those who wait politely and say please. So,
I checked.

“Thanks,” it said. It was damp and difficult
to read.

 “I haven’t been fucked like that since I was an
alter boy.

Thanks.”  It was the second “thanks” that really
threw me.

When she woke, she smiled politely
I made

coffee politely and made my face look
sensible and clean.

I haven’t checked since. I don’t even read her e-
mail anymore.

Once, I held the door open for her mother, she said
thank you

and I stammered “sorry” pretty loud. It was really the second “thanks”
that threw me.

~ ~ ~

Alex Dryden is a MFA candidate in Poetry at The New School. His work was most recently published on The Best American Poetry blog.

Thanks to Alex for this contribution to the Tattooed Poets Project on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2012 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission. 


If you are reading this on another web site other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.blogspot.com and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Tattooed Poets Project: Michael Torres

Our second tattooed poet of the day is Michael Torres.


Michael sent in photos of two tattoos, including this one:


Michael informs us that the set of words inscribed on his flesh
 "...is a poem called Oh Yes by Charles Bukowski. I got it done at Por Vida Tattoo in Upland, California. I got it done because at that time in my life poetry was becoming more of a hobby to me and I was beginning to see my world changing in front of me. Friends that got married and had kids right after high school were finding out that things weren't going exactly as they had planned. The poem represents the realization that there is much I have to do in life before I worry about settling down simply because I think I have to."
 He also sent us this piece:


Michael explains:

"The second tattoo in the same arm is of the poetry muse, Erato. I basically liked the image I googled. The original artist is Sir Edward John Poynter and it was done in 1870.

I had the tattoo done in Montclair, Ca at Skills for Thrills tattoo shop. Me being a poet wanted to have the muse with me all the time. Even though we believe we should be lucky to have her whisper those golden lines into our ears I thought, why not have her around all the time. I am not going to stop writing any time soon and I don't take for granted all I have been given because of writing so this was for her, the muse. Both tattoos were done on my lower left arm."
Michael sent us this poem, as well:

The Coltrane 

I am a
top-hat-black-tie-poetry-party ditcher
off wandering the
downtown streets of my mind with a
kool-aid pitcher in my hand, rice crispy treats in my backpack and a beach ball
somewhere
over everyone
like the dot to the letter i. I

am looking
for myself. And

rumor has it I was last seen standing at the edge of a woman’s heart facing tomorrow, screaming
I’LL DO IT. I’LL JUMP      before turning around
to see that she
was already long gone, leaving only a note that read 
“please, just clean up the mess." I guess I would then
 head in the direction of the park because
poetry is nature
and sheets of paper
walk the same way leaves do when the wind calls
and pens click December raindrops.
Aha,

my imagination has left me trails of sheet music
so I walk to the jazz notes waiting
for the next Coltrane to take me
home.

There! In the park I see
me, running towards the lake.

Piano keys ripple across the water like a tossed pebble
fucking up the order of time cuz now when I look at my reflection,       I see me
but he
is
a little boy
trying to dance
to the ranchera music moving across the back porch
at a neighbor's party he, I mean I, snuck into, all
the adults there speaking      Spanish,
cigarette tongues laughing ash onto my, I mean his,
head.

He is we, only 7, and I at 25
have forgotten what I was suppose to find
in the first place. He is happy and

I wanna be
me again.

I jump in-to

sky
           blue,

 break      water      skin,

 breathe out,
           breathe in.

~ ~ ~


Michael Torres was born and raised in Pomona, California. He was exposed to poetry at an early age, learning the works of William Shakespeare, Langston Hughes and Emily Dickinson to name a few. He has been published in Beatlick News, The Chiron Review, Left Coast Review, and Solo Press. His first chapbook of poetry, The Beautiful Distraction was published by Finishing Line Press. Michael is currently in school pursuing a degree in creative writing at the University of California, Riverside. He lives in Pomona, Ca.

Thanks to Michael for sharing his poetry and tattoos with us here on the Tattooed Poets Project!

This entry is ©2012 Tattoosday. 


The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission. If you are reading this on another web site other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.blogspot.com and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

The Tattooed Poets Project: Natasha Dennerstein

As we enter into the last week of this, our fourth annual Tattooed Poets Project, things are picking up speed and readers should check back later in the day, after 3:00 PM EDT, as we have days of "double postings," to accommodate demand and greater interest among the participating poets.

Although, I'm not sure how that works with the first of today's contributors, Natasha Dennerstein. Natasha hails from New Zealand (a Tattoosday first!), where it is a different day, already, I believe, but so it goes.

Natasha sent us this snapshot of a portion of her tattoo sleeve:


Here is what Natasha has to say about this colorful body art:
My sleeve started as a bracelet of flowers and birds done by a girl called Megs in Sydney, Australia. It just kept growing to encompass a giant snake wrapped around the whole arm and then grew to encompass a Garden of Eden theme. I included birds, underwater creatures, clouds and things marvellous in the natural world. Eventually it covered the entire arm from wrist to shoulder and took three years to complete in fortnightly settings. I have left my other arm completely bare for the contrast. The artist is called Kyle and he works from his own studio in Wellington, New Zealand.
Natasha's poem, is called Emergency! and, she says, "is a good example of my style of poetry and some of the themes that interest me." It was originally published in November 2009 in the literary journal Landfall # 218 in New Zealand:

EMERGENCY!

She goes to work every afternoon in the Emergency Department
and she boards a superceded vessel on a treacherous sea
and the captain is a colossal squid
and the crew are diagnosed with drug-induced psychosis.
The patients are squawking fledglings abandoned in the nest
and their wounds are gaping mouths. She feeds
them Diazepam, Oxazepam, Lorazepam and other pams
but they're still hungry for blood and intravenous fluids
and they still want changing. She is
the Indian Godess Kali with many arms and a blue face
and she smokes secretly, privately, in the fire escape
and the smoke is saffron. The accident
victims have pizza faces and butcher-shop limbs
and their cries are winter waves smashing on graphite rocks
and their car-wrecks are a pasta of metal and flesh.
She is a hungry dog and she wolfs down her tea
and her tea is a piece of putrid meat. The patients
can harm themselves and can not heal themselves
and they run in screaming : “it's an emergency – I'm in love!”,
and the intercourse is an addiction and the pregnancy is a trauma
and the child-birth is a piece of litigation waiting to happen.
And they all say “ help me, help me” and she can not help them
and their cries are stones in a bottomless well. She
gives them a drink of love – 125 mls in a styrofoam
cup - and they are healed. Their wounds are pink
zippers and their skin is a leather garment and
they are all done up and they are going home. She is
going home and she abandons the vessel on a paper life-raft and the
life-raft is made of medical journals and last years Womens
Weeklys and newspapers and the forecast is for rain.

~ ~ ~ 

Natasha Dennerstein was born in Melbourne into a Russian/Polish Australian family and now lives in Wellington. She has spent many years working as a psychiatric nurse. She completed writing poetry for her MA in Creative Writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University in 2011. HYou can check out her Facebook page here.

Thanks to Natasha for sharing her wonderful work with us here on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2012 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission. 


If you are reading this on another web site other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.blogspot.com and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Tattooed Poets Project: Izzy Oneiric

Today's tattooed poet is Izzy Oneiric, who sends us this amazing shot of her sleeve:


I'll let Izzy take it from here:
"My sleeve took 11 years to complete. The figure in the center is Dream from the Sandman graphic novel. I first saw it when I was 14, and knew instantly I wanted it tattooed. I got it a few months after I turned 18 by Steve at the Lion's Den in Salem, New Hampshire. Eight years later I was living in San Francisco, and wanted to add to it. I knew it needed some sort of dream imagery, but it was difficult to narrow that down. I began interrogating the basic elements of dreams, and thought one day: 'If DNA is the basis for all human life, could it also be the basis of dream life? What would a strand of dream DNA look like?' Using the work of Patrica Garfield, a clinical psychologist who's identified 12 universal dream themes that transcend age, location, gender, etc. I started designing the double helix; quickly realizing not all 12 would fit on my arm. On my shoulder is a blue moon; in a double-helix pattern around my arm are Royal typewriter keys with hobo symbols (representing communication/ miscommunication), weaving into a peacock from the Russian Tarot of St Petersburg (representing mythical creatures/animal friends). This was done by Natalie Chandler, at the time working at Black and Blue Tattoo
I wanted to fill in the background, but didn't want to disrupt the double-helix shape. I couldn't figure out how to do that, so I left it alone. A few years later, I was working at Cold Steel Tattoo & Piercing. On a whim one evening I googled 'double helix,' and one of the results was the image of a nebula in the shape of a DNA strand!
The colors and the shape were perfect. I brought it to my friend Vincent Weiner who was tattooing there, and we worked on it in bits and pieces. I tried to pay him, but he refused my money. I asked how I could compensate him for several thousand dollars worth of work. He was waiting for his wife to get her green card, so he said 'Nobody's baking for me right now. I'd really love some chocolate-chip cookies.' For every session I brought cookies, banana bread, cranberry muffins, some weird chocolate-coconut drops... 
I'd always dreamed of having stars on the piece, and in Morpheus' eyes. I'd tried surface piercings with PTFE bars, but they all rejected, so I was greatly excited when people began experimenting with dermal anchors and reporting success. About a year later I was living in New Orleans and learned that Adam at Electric Ladyland (now at Slave to the Needle in Seattle) was doing them. 
We 'bedazzled' my arm with six Swarovski crystals. They healed nicely until I moved to Chicago, when they suddenly all rejected. Now that I'm back in New Orleans, I'd like to get them reinstalled."
This is definitely the first time we've highlighted body art which included dermal anchors. Very cool!

Izzy sent along this prose poem to accompany her contribution:

Blue Roses are Blooming in Safeway

Oracle asses were tickled by gas plumes. We know now—what of it? Ethylene case closed diminished returned to sender . . . send her Erato Echo Glossalalia babble bury shovel stop. I. I. I. Decline. To state. To play. So there. Repeat. Blue roses are blooming in Safeway. Champagne ruby is slang for magnum. Artaud’s black crucifix pupils ablaze in golden eyes I plagiarized because I want to see so badly but I gotta walk past flooded lottos, plainclothes Cutlasses, Dinner, Linner, 4th meal, Dunch—neologisms like I am a woman, half eaten mosquitoes and Teardrop Mike wanting guilty date, a guilty beer, because all American women drink and don’t have any Mexican friends.

Animist, manimal, my keys do not break. There are escalators in my head watering flowerbeds with ropes of crystal spit, burping readymade Rubbermaid green baby coffins, smoking Christmas in a jaundiced sky. 

Over beef tea and sheepish mirrors, defective alexandrines tell me it gets easier with practice, hurts a little less each time. Like so much decapitated obsidian, we know not now how high the ledge is very high, this crisis not of poetry but concrete and well, since Pythia choked on the geyser she’s gone now, my hair caught on fire, please tune my viola, I know a few songs from when I was a child. Stardust Memories—yes, I can play that piece quite well.

~ ~ ~


Izzy Oneiric's writing has appeared in publications such as Wheelhouse Magazine, Source Material, and Phantom Limb.  A series of visual collages were published in Plath Profiles. She is the author of the chapbooks Dabbling in Babylon, and From the Bombshell Shelter.  For several years she was the poetry editor of other magazine. She holds a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from the California Institute of Integral Studies and an MFA in Poetry from Columbia College Chicago. She currently lives in New Orleans with her loving partner and their spazzy black cat.

Thanks to Izzy for her contribution to the Tattooed Poets Project on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2012 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission.

If you are reading this on another web site other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.blogspot.com and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Tattooed Poets Project: Bianca Stone

Today's poet is Bianca Stone, who I met last year at the Best American Poetry 2011 launch reading. I spoke to her about contributing then and, true to her word, she was the first poet to confirm her participation this year.

Bianca sent me this photo:


She explains:
"At first this was just a tattoo of Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket. The drawings was based on the original drawings from the book by Carlo Collodi. I was 20 years old and at Antioch College at the time. There was an aspiring tattoo artist who studied there and had a tattoo gun and a make-shift studio and he did it for me as practice...(NOT one of my brightest ideas, since it's poorly done. People always ask me 'what is that supposed to be?') The idea had been in homage to my twin brother, Walter, whose nickname is Jiminy/Jimmy, and my mother used to read us the book when we were young. 
The 'Ex Libris' was added three years ago when I was studying poetry at NYU's MFA program, to honor my love of books and antique book-plates. It means 'In the Library Of' and in theory should have my name under it. It was done at Fineline Tattoo in the East Village, by a very nice guy who I guess doesn't work there anymore...I can't remember his name. I do remember he went by one word."
By way of a poem, Bianca shared this poem, which originally appeared in Post Road Magazine:

Someone Will Have to Tell You

Someday soon you will let your hair grow
and look like everyone else. And let there be a kingdom
alongside the kingdom and a forsythia alongside you.
Your mother has walked out of all her pictures



into the ether. There is hair in envelopes and the hair
in lockets and the hair growing
in graves. Saints are kneeling over your portrait.
The stratocumulus clouds are forming
in your chest. Fog around your feet.



You’ll have to listen to the bananas peeling.
Listen to your books on tape. Little by little
your face will float away
from your other face.



Someday you won’t know what to eat. Someone
will have to tell you. Someone will have to carry you
into the back yard so you can hear the Canadian geese
rise hysterically from the river.



~ ~ ~


Bianca Stone is the author of several chapbooks, most recently Someone Else's Wedding Vows (Argos Books), and I Want To Open The Mouth God Gave You, Beautiful Mutant (Factory Hollow Press). Her poems have appeared in The Best American Poetry 2011, Conduit, and Crazyhorse. Her collaboration with Anne Carson, Antigonick, a new kind of comic book and translation, will be published in spring of 2012 by New Directions. She lives in Brooklyn.

Thanks so much to Bianca for sharing her tattoo and poem with us here on the Tattooed Poets Project!



 This entry is ©2012 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission. 

 If you are reading this on another web site other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.blogspot.com and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.