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.