Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Ending April with Sharon Mesmer's Rose (The Tattooed Poets Project)

I met Sharon Mesmer last July at the NYC Poetry Festival on Governor's Island. Sharon is a wonderful poet, and she seemed initially surprised that I was interested in the tattoo on her left arm:


This rose on the top of her forearm, below her wrist, is an older piece but, as you would imagine, the story behind it is fascinating:
"I got my tattoo because I was traveling in Europe and Asia, and wanted a tattoo on each wrist for each continent.  I got the rose tattoo (which also signifies the source of my name: the Rose of Sharon) in Paris from a guy named Gaby, who had a shop on the Boulevard du Temple, near the Cirque d'Hiver.  This was in 1986, when everybody was getting tattoos; my (then) boyfriend also got a tattoo in Paris during that time.  
After Paris we went to London, and then India, where I planned to get a lotus tattoo on my other wrist.  We went to a tattoo place in a small town near Mumbai (then Bombay), but I changed my mind when I saw a rat with mange running around in the shop.  Then we ran out of money.  I had the rose re-colored in the 90's, but it looks horrible now.  People sometimes ask me why I have a tattoo of a turtle."  
Sharon shared this poem, which you shouldn't read out loud at your desk, because it is definitely NSFW:

Evacuated Elmo Head Elmo

Dear Wal-Mart: Elmo vs.Tigger vs. Barney is mildly funny.
Also funny is Barney hijacks stuff plucked out of his head
with iron pincers.

More funny is Suicide Pact/Potty Training Elmo,
Beat Me Up Elmo Elmo,
and Chinese-led Anti-Christian Conspiracy at Wal-Mart
to Brainwash our Children Elmo.

Not funny is Condi & Those Fucking Googly Eyes Elmo. 
Not funny is O’Reilly Factor for Kids Hosted by Richard Nixon
Livin’ Large on His Gold and Diamond Potty That Spells Out
"Elmo's Gotta Do What Elmo's Gotta Do” Elmo.
((No, wait — that is funny.)) 

Funny is Bird Seed Milkshake/Oxycontin Cocktail Elmo.
Funny is Jay Gatsby, Fat-Elvis-Playa-at-Large Elmo.

Not funny is Do I Really Want To Get Beat Up by the Ginormous
Fat Elvis Who Plays Elmo Fisted By Fat Elvis? Elmo.
If Fisher-Price had taken my concerns seriously
none of this would’ve happened.

Funny is Mary Poppins Tells Boy To 'Beat Up Elmo'
After Screwing Osama Bin Laden and Then Shooting Up
with Shoot Me Up Elmo Elmo.
Funny is Elmo Farting All Over the Teletubbies (Uh huh —
jazz hands!) Elmo.

Not funny is the feminine lack of a penis.
Not funny is my otherwise wonderful child
who wakes up every morning wrestling Elmo’s huge nipples
and stinking of breast milk.

Not funny is trying to find a penis faucet.
Can you club a baby seal to death with a flaccid penis?
NYU’s school of medicine didn’t beat around the bush:
“That’s a flat NO.”  And don't get me started on that penis.
That penis is the most sickly, mutated thing ever formed.
And what is up with that pubic hair?
Before I get into how Beat Me Up Elmo beat up Grover,
I’d like to tell you a little story:
            Once upon a time, there was a great lord in Japan, and
                        his name was Elmo . . .


~ ~ ~ 
Sharon Mesmer is a descendant of Franz Anton Mesmer (”mesmerism”) and Otto Messmer (“Felix the Cat”). She has had poems in places as diverse as the Wall Street Journal and Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology. Her most recent poetry collections are The Virgin Formica (Hanging Loose Press) and Annoying Diabetic Bitch (Combo Books). Most people think that that title refers to her being diabetic, but she is not diabetic. She is, however, annoying and a bitch.

Bitchiness aside, it is truly an honor to have Sharon on the Tattooed Poets Project on Tattoosday and we thank her from the bottom of our tattoo and poetry-loving hearts!


This entry is ©2014 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, 29 April 2014

The Tattooed Poets Project: Russ Woods

Our next tattooed poet is Russ Woods:


Russ tells us:
"This one was my third tattoo, and the one I have the best picture of. It's an illustration of an abandoned lighthouse in Denmark by one of my favorite musicians, Jens Lekman. You can see the source if you scroll down to the April 17th entry here

via http://www.jenslekman.com/
The tattoo was done for an absurdly reasonable price at Anonymous Tattoo in Savannah, GA. I unfortunately did not get the name of the artist."
Russ sent us the following poem, which was originally published in Sway Press issue 2:

THIS MORNING WAS A ROCK IN THE MOUTH

of a cave I came across fly fishing.
It had a word written on it I couldn't
figure out, except that it made my mouth
move something like "azimuth" or "coriolis"
or some other word I can't hold at once
& I said it softly while inhaling,
like an apartment fire you keep
in your chest when your town is too dark.
The fish I caught were scaleless & sang
I'm still in love with you like a choir
you hold in a box next to your ear
when you're shaking too hard to stand
& the altos lit matches all at once in unison
& that cave lit up like a bronze statue caught
in a floodlight & all our parents were there
with knives in their teeth, looking hard at me
& asked where you were & I said you were
in surgery & they asked what was wrong
& I said you were in surgery & they said no
what was wrong that you needed surgery
& I explained how the doctors don't know
how it got there but on the x-ray there is a
tiny not-you that is just like you but dead
& it is growing & pushing the you-you out
& they have to act fast or there will be only
not-you, dead-you left in you & the fish started
crying & their matches went out & alone there
I said that word again & again like it was your name,
like I was a nurse in the wrong waiting room.

~ ~ ~

Russ Woods directs us to his poetry portfolio site at http://moonbears.biz. He is the author of two books coming out this year, Wolf Doctors (Artifice Books, March) and Sara, or, the Existence of Fire (Horse Less Press, Fall). Recent/forthcoming publications include Salt Hill, Guernica, Columbia Poetry Review, Denver Quarterly, Gulf Coast.

Thanks to Russ for sharing his tattoo and poem with us here on Tattoosday's Tattooed Poets Project!

This entry is ©2014 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: Aaron M.P. Jackson

Our next tattooed poet is Aaron M.P. Jackson, who has eleven tattoos.


He chose this one to share:


Aaron tells us:
"I chose to get a candle on my right forearm because I am named after a character in a novel my father wrote a few years before I was born. Aaron is the main character of the novel Operation BurningCandle by Blyden Jackson and it is that character who gave me my name.
While attending a church charity function, I won a gift certificate in a silent auction from Body and Soul Tattoos in Jersey City, NJ. My wife is a designer (ladyjay.net) and she created the image for the tattoo as she has with a number of my other tattoos and I used the gift certificate to get it done.  At this time my father was dying of cancer and I wanted him to see the candle I was getting to honor him before he passed away. When he saw it, he thanked me, a few weeks later, he was gone."
Poet Aaron M.P. Jackson and author Blyden Jackson
Aaron tells us that today (April 29) is the second anniversary of his father's passing, so this is an apt day for this post to appear.

He also shared this poem, which was previously published in The Furious Gazelle in January 2014::

Shaving Dad

Cancer means
I have to shave my Dad’s face
He is weak
His skin is droopy
He looks terrible
But he is my Dad
So I try not to cut him

~ ~ ~

Aaron M.P. Jackson is a poet and writer. His poems have appeared in multiple publications including The Bark Magazine, Instigatorzine, Fat City Review and Runaway Parade, his work is also in many anthologies including Like One: Poems for Boston, Seeing Past Sickness, and works from Kattywompus Press and Cloud City Press. He is the former Poet Laureate of Jersey City, NJ (2005-06) and has twice been the recipient of grants from the Puffin Foundation. As a performer he has written and starred in an ad campaign for the Partnership for a Drug Free America and he also served as one of three poetry fellowship judges for the Connecticut Office of the Arts in 2013. For more information please visit middlepoet.com.

Thanks to Aaron for his contribution to this year's Tattooed Poets Project on Tattoosday!


This entry is ©2014 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, 28 April 2014

Evan J. Peterson's Truth on the Tattooed Poets Project

Our next tattooed poet is Evan J. Peterson, whose tattoo resonates with the one we posted earlier today, and with the solemnity of this Day of Remembrance:


Evan tells us:
"This tattoo is my first and only tattoo so far. It's Hebrew for 'Truth.' It's Emet, read from wrist to elbow. This is also one version of the Kabbalah spell that brings a golem to life. Golems are Jewish protector spirits created by animating clay, imbuing lifeless matter with divine energy. Adam of Eden was the first golem, according to some legends. I designed the art nouveau font myself, and it was perfected and transferred to my body by Roni Falgout at Hidden Hand Tattoo in Seattle, Washington. This tattoo is a prayer for Truth, to be truthful to myself and to others. I got it to commemorate 10 years being best friends with my main man Mykol, to celebrate my MFA and first finished manuscript (which has a lot to do with golems), and to mark my entry into recovery from addiction. It's somewhat ironic that I have Jewish ancestry, which is supposed to make tattoos unacceptable, but my tattoo is in Hebrew as a way of reminding me of those very ancestors. No regrets."
Evan also shared this poem with us:

The Wunderkammer (Frankenstein's Monster Taking Inventory)

My body museum, haunted by its own curiosities—
            a cabinet of wonders: tumescent chest,
            a cavity of breakthroughs, bursting;

this torso, cage of ribs, the bird inside grown wan
            since the clipping, stuffed now with batting,
            displayed like the Ashmole dodo,

the double heart clenching, bifid, a wounded
            gypsy moth pumping asymmetrical wings,
            the halves joined not by love but wire;

all of this, and yet no name;

that abdomen, distended by marvels, organs in pairs,
            trios, like the shared trunk of joined twins,
            straining the stitches to hold it all in;
           
three children’s livers, pristine, unmarked by absinthe,
            unsoured by laudanum, three milk-fed
            miracles, drawing poisons from this well;

the extra pancreas, spleens, three kidneys,
            the small intestine shortened to make room
            and allow for quick excretion;

all of this, and yet no name;

this auxiliary breast, fat lurker beneath the pectoral,
            leathery nipple, hot as a witch’s tit in a copper
            brazier, to suckle infernal familiars;

an extra lung, sponge for oxygen, drawing plenty,
            fuel for the flames at the core, goblin forge,
            a forest fire struck by one lucky bolt of light;

this skull inscribed, Hebrew scratched on the inside,
            illuminated by the flash: תמ א , Emet, Truth,
            to crack open and rub off one glyph for Death;

all of this, and yet no name;

the brain in its cradle, swollen, backed up to the wall,
            the caul pinched together, cauterized, a barrier
            between tissue and fluid, envelope of genius;

whole corpus a jar of captured lightning, ultraviolet,
            the nerves like taut wires, humming
            seven feet from brain to heels–

here is my body, my rarae aves, my cartography.
            Here is called only Terra Incognita. Here

            be monsters.

~ ~ ~

Evan J. Peterson is author of Skin Job (Minor Arcana Press, 2012) and The Midnight Channel (Babel/Salvage Press, 2013) and volume editor of the Lambda Literary Award-nominated Gay City 5: Ghosts in Gaslight, Monsters in Steam (Minor Arcana Press & Gay City Health Project, 2013). His poetry, fiction, journalism, and criticism have appeared in Weird Tales, The Stranger, The Rumpus, Assaracus, Nailed, Court Green, and Aim for the Head: An Anthology of Zombie Poetry, from which his poetry was excerpted in The New York Times.

Thanks to Evan for sharing his tattoo and poem with us on The Tattooed Poets Project on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2014 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: Robert Walker's Triangle

Our next tattooed poet is Robert Walker, whose work not only helps us celebrate National Poetry Month, but also helps us commemorate Yom HaShoa, Holocaust Remembrance Day. Here he shares this tattoo from his bicep:


Robert tells us about his ink:
"The tattoo shown is the work of an artist from Christiansburg, VA. I cannot recall the guy's name, but the shop was called Hot Rod Tattoo. The Tribal portion grew out a armband I got when I was 17. The original armband didn't go around the arm, nor was it very interesting. After a decade of sporting a boring, common, band, I decided to go for a half-sleeve. The tribal I have now is a result of sketches by the artist and a lot of free-hand drawing on my arm. I liked the idea of it being drawn free-hand. The ink triangle was inspired the pink triangle sewn to the clothes of gay men during the Holocaust. During the time I got this tattoo I was really interested in the idea of reclaiming labels."
Robert chose this poem to accompany the post:

My Tattoo Tells The Story Of The Persecution Of Homosexuals In Nazi Germany


My 18yr old boyfriend
traces my tattoo
with his finger.
Over the ridge of biceps
up to where arm meets shoulder, shoulder
meets chest,  then down
to the pit where coarse hairs edge ink— pink & triangle
& faded. He wants to know
why, months after
the needle last pierced
me leaving the pink triangle held down by black lines like threads pulled through the flesh, the whole thing is still painful & burning
like the places Vaernet
touched us—
like our rooms in the Auschwitz

that history forgets—

~ ~ ~

Robert Walker began writing poetry while playing bass in the cover-band ManHole (an all male group that played songs originally recorded by Courtney Love’s mid-90s band Hole). After ManHole split, sighting artistic differences, Walker enjoyed a brief solo career opening for RuPaul. After a scandal involving George Michael and a public restroom forced him out of the music business he became a High School teacher in rural Florida; where his colorful tales of life on the road lead him to be known as the “eccentric” English teacher. Robert is currently a Knobler fellow in the MFA program at Virginia Tech, and while most of this bio is completely fraudulent Robert does have poetry in or forthcoming from Ashe’: The Journal of Experimental Spirituality, Knockout, 5AM, MiPoesias, Poet Lore, Pearl, and The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide. Robert’s debut collection, The Buoyancy of it All, was published by New Sins Press in 2012. Robert lives and teaches in Orlando, FL.

Thanks to Robert for his contribution to this year's Tattooed Poets Project on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2014 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, 27 April 2014

The Tattooed Poets Project: Martina Reisz Newberry

Our next tattooed poet is Martina Reisz Newberry, who sent us this photo:


Martina "wanted something beautiful with the added blessing of Lord Buddha’s face and the lotus tabernacle." She credited Body Electric Tattoo in Hollywood, California, with the work and adds, "I love the idea of my body being a canvas for something enchanting."

Martina sent us the following poem:

LITANY

(from “Learning By RoteDeerbrook Editions, 2012)

Who are they, these blurred figures
Longing for a digital fix?

They’ve given up peace to play at passion,
they claw at a God who keeps spiritual secrets.

(God has always kept secrets, it is we who tell
every thing we know to every one we know.)

They are us, I fear.
When does mercy kick in?

Whitman waited for mercy to kick in and,
if fame and book sales are any measure,

compassion showed itself eventually.
Whitman whispered “Why not me”

into the dark brown night of the city
and the city handed him black-eyed boys

with Spanish tongues as warm and
malleable as communion wafers.

There has to be a ripening along the way.
The dim, disturbing trail of news items

can’t be all there is to trouble our hearts.
Dante Alighieri admonished us to

“remember tonight for it is the beginning
of always,” but we don’t remember.

Death all around us folds and unfolds
like a fan. We are losing things

that were so much more negligible
than we’d ever believed.

Our skillful flippancies
reek of a bad track record

and we use ideograms for the words
we can no longer say (Mother, Father, Family).

We are orphaned in this land of
Barney the Dragon

and Beefcake calendars.
Those blurred figures—

they have regret etched into their bodies.
It’s not a good look.

Jazz bands accompany the gluttony for power
we’ve managed to encourage and we believe

every word we’ve ever told ourselves. So, then,
where is mercy or the exegesis of mercy?

Somewhere, someone is cutting hair,
dancing to the music of a twelve-string,

baking cinnamon buns, creating ideograms.
Somewhere, someone is staring up

at the enormous sky of a fallen city and
counting transgressions instead of stars.

~ ~ ~

Martina Reisz Newberry’s most recent book is WHERE IT GOES (Deerbrook Editions, 2014).


She is also the author of LEARNING BY ROTE (Deerbrook Editions, WHAT WE CAN’T FORGIVE. LATE NIGHT RADIO, PERHAPS YOU COULD BREATHE FOR MEHUNGER, AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE: POEMS 1996-2006, NOT UNTRUE & NOT UNKIND (Arabesques Press) and RUNNING LIKE A WOMAN WITH HER HAIR ON FIRE: Collected Poems (Red Hen Press).

Ms. Newberry is the winner of i.e. magazine’s Editor’s Choice Poetry Chapbook Prize for 1998: AN APPARENT, APPROACHABLE LIGHT.

She is also the author of LIMA BEANS AND CITY CHICKEN: MEMORIES OF THE OPEN HEARTH— a memoir of her father, (one of the first men ever to be hired at Kaiser Steel in Fontana, CA in 1943)—
published by E.P. Dutton and Co. in 1989.

Newberry has been widely published in hard copy journals and on line in the U.S. and abroad. She has been awarded residencies at Yaddo Colony for the Arts, Djerassi Colony for the Arts, and at Anderson Center for Disciplinary Arts.

A passionate lover of Los Angeles, Martina currently lives there with her husband Brian and their fur baby,
Charlie T. Cat. Her website is here

Thanks to Martina for sharing her poem and tattoo with us here on Tattoosday's Tattooed Poets Project!

This entry is ©2014 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: Stephanie Berger

I met Stephanie Berger last summer at the NYC Poetry Festival on Governor's Island. I didn't take a photo of her tattoo then, but we stayed in touch and she sent me these photos:



Stephanie explains:
"I got this tattoo in 2005 while my father was dying. I'd taken the semester off of college so that I could spent time with him and take care of him while he was sick. I remember lying on the couch in my dad's apartment feeling inconsolably sad when suddenly some kind of bug crawled over my foot, and my cat leapt upon it like a crazy, wild animal. For whatever reason that was the first time I hadn't felt hopeless in months. I decided to tattoo a scarab beetle on my foot because the scarab is an Egyptian god of rebirth. I got it done at some random shop near Los Feliz in LA."
Stephanie sent us the following poem, which she wrote around the same time, and appeared originally in HoboEye magazine around 2008:

Conversation: Sexual Assault

Excuse me, are you curious George’s father?
I’m afraid.
The uncle?
You have the wrong girl.
Certainly.
I’m little curiosity.
Have or are?
Half or wrong?
23 years old.
I have difficulty speaking the language but understand it perfectly.
There’s a market for that on the Internet.
I hear.
Had I stopped I might have moved in some other direction.
Half or wrong?
Right and left I can deal with.
What about north and south?
Too tied up with the up and down.
In this culture.
Makes a girl sea-sick, a little more consistent.
Can I have a cigarette?
You have one in your hand.
Do you want the panties or not?
You have the wrong girl.
Has anyone ever told you those things will kill you?
That’s not a question.
79 years old.
My father was a sociologist.
Too tied up with the up and down.
He appreciated fine wood-working.
I believe he hated the French.
I hear.
I have difficulty speaking the language but understand it perfectly.
In this culture.
I was eight and nine when I lived there.
He kept a wooden fisherman out on the deck.
He showed little interest in metals.
I like your mustache.
Certainly.
I like your hook.
You have one in your hand.
Yes, less to lose.
Have you ever felt such shimmering exhaustion?
She bet me she couldn't sit on my stomach for an hour without my crying uncle.
There’s a market for that on the Internet.
The uncle?
Do you want the panties or not?
My father was a sociologist.
That’s not a question.
In this culture.
Excuse me, are you curious George’s father?
I hear.
Had I stopped I might have moved in some other direction.
But I've little curiosity.
Have or are?
23 years old.
Perhaps it is better to walk around very isolated.
Yes, less to lose.
Less to emboss.
Maybe more to enamel.
He showed little interest in metals.
Half or wrong?
I’m afraid.
Right and left I can deal with.
Can or have?
Can I have a cigarette?
I can be the wrong girl.


~ ~ ~

Stephanie Berger is the Executive Director of The Poetry Society of New York, co-founder of the New York City Poetry Festival, and The Madame of The Poetry Brothel.  Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Fence, Bat City Review, StyleiteSimilar:PeaksSmoking Glue GunLa FoveaH_NGM_NCoconut, and other publications. She published a chapbook, In The Madame’s Hat Box, on Dancing Girl Press in 2011, and she has a collaborative chapbook, The Emoji Poems, forthcoming from Coconut Books. She is co-editor of the photo-poetry press, #wtfislongsdrugspress, and occasionally she tumbles over at stephani-berger.tumblr.com

Thanks to Stephanie for sharing her tattoo and poem with us here on The Tattooed Poets Project!


This entry is ©2014 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.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

The Tattooed Poets Project: Larry Jaffe

Our next tattooed poet is Larry Jaffe:


Larry explains:
"I always wanted a dagger tattoo from the time I was a kid. I went to see David Zero and was thumbing through his books and spotted this dragon being slayed by a sword and said that’s it. It was a painstaking thing as I recall, especially putting in the white on the sword. He had to go over it over and over and over and over again. It is time for me to get it touched up a bit as it has faded over the years."
Here is one of Larry's poems:

Dragon Slayer

Sword pierces dragon
righteous
almost indignant

I want life over death
it is not inevitable

Sword pierces
my heart
to show I live forever

It slays
the dragons of childhood

It slays
the backstory

– Wanting so much out of life

Wring it dry
of expectation

Learn how to fly
like the eagle
fish like the osprey
hunt like the hawk

These are my brothers
now that my dragon
has been slain

© 2014 LGjaffe

~ ~ ~

Larry Jaffe is an internationally known and an award winning writer, author and poet and founder of Poets Beyond Borders (a group dedicated to human rights and reform) and iSpeax his personal writing forum. Jaffe has been hosting and curating poetry readings for several years while also co-founding Poetix Poetry Magazine (a guide to Southern California Poetry). Additionally, Jaffe was a featured poet for Daimler/Chrysler’s Spirit in the Words poetry program. Jaffe impacts audiences and readers with a rich emotional range, masterfully crafted, written from the heart and soul with clarity and understanding. Jaffe has read his work in such distinguished locations as the Japanese American Museum, the Hammer Museum, the Museum of Tolerance, the Jewish Museum and the Museum of Literature in Prague and the Dylan Thomas Centre in Wales.

Jaffe uses the aesthetic power of poetry to bring understanding to the world. He was the 2007 recipient of the Saint Hill Art Festival’s Lifetime of Creativity Award, the first time given to a poet. He is the former poet in residence of the Autry Museum of Western Heritage. Jaffe spearheaded, along with Rattapalax Publisher Ram Devineni, the United Nations Dialogue among Civilizations through Poetry project which incorporated hundreds of readings in hundreds of cities globally using the aesthetic power of poetry to bring understanding to the world.

His works include The Anguish of the Blacksmith’s ForgeUnprotected Poetry, and One Child Sold.

On the web you can find him at www.lgjaffe.com, on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/LarryJaffe) and Twitter (www.Twitter.com/LarryJaffe).

Thanks to Larry for sharing his tattoo and poetry with us here on Tattoosday's Tattooed Poets Project!

This entry is ©2014 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: K.R. Copeland

Our next tattooed poet is K.R. Copeland:


She tells us,
"I currently have seven tattoos. The two that best represent me, as a human, spiritual being, would be the Om on my left deltoid and the cross on my right (with the word, “Unity” scrolled above.). In my journey through life I have studied and embraced aspects of both Eastern (Hinduism) and Western (Christianity) philosophies. I was baptized a Lutheran, and the word Unity is the literal translation for yoga, of which, I am a regular practitioner."
She credited the work to Bob Garrity, owner and artist at InknUm, Calumet City, Illinois.

She offered up the following poem, in which she "bed[s] down a Hindu deity on the Taj Mahal lawn." She adds that the audio version (https://soundcloud.com/krcopeland/brahma-spoken-word-poem-kr) kicks butt

BRAHMA

Your fingers, weapon-free
read my body

like a brand new Braille Rigveda.
Page by page, you make me

come alive! I am your story,
you’re my sighs.

We halcyon upon
   the Taj Mahal lawn –

glorifying
my-om-I-om-mys .

~ ~ ~

K.R. Copeland is a widely published Chicagoland poet preparing to transplant herself in NYC, where some of her poetry will be included in the off-off-Broadway theatrical production Isolated Incidents, adapted from the book by the same name by Kevin L. Thomas. And, no, street vendors, she does NOT want to buy a watch.

Her book 2057 is here.

Thanks to Ms. Copeland for sharing her tattoos and poetry with us here on the Tattooed Poets Project!

This entry is ©2014 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, 25 April 2014

The Tattooed Poets Project: Susana Case

Our next tattooed poet is Susana Case, who sent along this photo:


Susana tells us:
"I was revisiting Milan, had been thinking about a bracelet tattoo for some time, and decided that Milan would be the perfect place to have this done, since it seems every other person who lives in that city has a tattoo. I asked the man behind the desk of my hotel if he had one and if I could see it. He said he had one, he would recommend the tattoo studio he used, but he couldn't show me the tattoo without undressing (it was on his back shoulder) and he didn't want to lose his job. I settled for the address and was directed to Shock Tattoo where a tattoo artist named Roberta did the work. I wanted a feminine design, something 'girly,' but not too delicate. We ended up improvising a freehand drawing from a design I had modified from a photograph I had seen."
Susana sent us the following poem, which, "though not about tattoos per se, begins with the man at the hotel desk" who referred her to the shop where the tattoo was inked:

Syzygy

At the hotel desk, the man—boy, really—
a Renaissance statue, can't take off
his clothes to show me his tattoo, wounded
butterfly. He would lose his job.

Generally, I can't take mine off fast enough.
Maybe that's the problem, since
I can't always figure out how to
work all these plugs and sockets
of the body. I’m just not good at this.
And still, you try to do me with
each kiss that’s a syringe, scar on my wrist.
But don't put me down for the count yet—

I'm still breathing. After, you can't
wash me off fast enough; red hair
always bleeds. I’m sure there's a straight line
between the earth, sun, moon, you. Me.

Knowing nothing can fill me, I open
my mouth: pineapple, persimmon, permission,
passion fruit, mango, beet root dark and
messy. I might as well be a toothless dog.

Don't you, too, sometimes feel, don't you
too sometimes feel you can't move forward,

mired in other people's desires?

~ ~ ~

Susana H. Case is a Professor and Program Coordinator at the New York Institute of Technology. Her photos have appeared in Blue Hour Magazine, pacificREVIEW, and San Pedro River Review, among others. Author of several chapbooks, her Slapering Hol Press chapbook, The Scottish Café, was published in a dual-language version, Kawiarnia Szkocka, by Poland’s Opole University Press. She is the author of four full-length collections, including Elvis Presley’s Hips & Mick Jagger’s Lips (Anaphora Literary Press), and 4 Rms w Vu (forthcoming, Mayapple Press). Please visit her online at: http://iris.nyit.edu/~shcase/.

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

This entry is ©2014 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: Nick Comilla

Our next tattooed poet is Nick Comilla:


Nick tells us:

"I got this tattoo in August 2012 before I moved to NYC from Montreal. The idea was inspired from the Banksy piece that shows a man throwing a bouquet of flowers as if it were a Molotov cocktail. 
The piece, which I think of as Bouquet Bomb, was designed by Sylvie le Sylvie at Tatouage Royal. Sylvie did an amazing job of taking my concept and giving it a design... it looked a bit different in my head, but I love the actual image as it came to be. As for the back story... In Montreal (and still today) I was very much into the idea of living an intense, radical, creative and honest existence. I felt that was a key part of my work as a poet. I had a lover or two who were seriously emotionally repressed, shut off people, and I was tired of the way they would try to make me feel guilty/ashamed/bad about being a bit a firecracker of a boy. So, I thought of the piece as kind of a symbol of defiance and rebellion against those tendencies in our society - the tendency to kill the creative/radical spirit, to tell me to 'calm down.' Appropriately enough, when the piece was being colored in, my one best friend/lover was there with me, and he was one of the only people in my life - sort of the antithesis of the others - to never make me feel that way. So I was happy he was there with me, and he just so happens to be covered in tattoos as well, and always changing his hair color, resisting a monochrome existence."
Nick sent us this poem:

Rentboy


A snaggletooth grin hooks

The lip. They gotta pay to play.


Cute and cocky. You play hookie.

It’s the look in the looking


That we like – what about that one,

Or that one. It’s the feeling of falling


That I like. You’re growing fond of me

In your bed, it’s the warmth of the flesh


That creates this illusion. I’m old

Enough to know. Hold me now I’m broke


& weak. A vagabond, bandit, bambi. An iamb

out of pentameter. A barback. You like that word


With an e between r&b. Senseless and begging

Me. Safe with all the others. Adding this to my list


Of things that maximize pleasure. It’s the fucking

Feeling of the fleeting that I love, the crush


Without the crash. It’s their cash

That makes you hard. I’m cruising


on control. I think I’m funny like the night

Sophia Lamar was passed out in your bed.


I’m going home, she said, walking into

Your closet. You already are home.


Too many Geminis in this house, Sophia says

Be nice. You bicker like a married couple, you silly


Faggots. Hold me don’t hold me. I want to be in love

When really I’m longing for more lonely.

~ ~ ~

Born on a military base turned ghost town in Rome, NY, Nick Comilla currently lives in NYC. His poems have appeared in Assaracus, Poetry is Dead, Lambda Literary and HOMO Magazine. He is a poetry/fiction MFA student at The New School where he is currently working on his first book project, Ghosts of Montreal.

Thanks to Nick for his contribution to The Tattooed Poets Project on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2014 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, 24 April 2014

The Tattooed Poets Project: Sara's Scorpio

Our next tattooed poet is Sara Tracey, who sent us this image of her ink:


Sara tells us the story of how she came by this work:
"Jimbo, my tattoo artist, had just gotten his license. He was a middle-aged biker who lived with his middle-aged, ex-stripper girlfriend, Peaches, in Akron, Ohio. Jimbo’s studio was set up in the corner of his basement; just a chair and a table, some ink and a gun. I hesitated for just a minute before I handed Jimbo my design (the result of a Google Image search—how terribly unique), thinking I’d surely been warned against basement tattoo parlors. But the room was clean and well lit, and everything on the table was wrapped in plastic. How bad could it be? Two hours and sixty dollars later, I had my scorpion (or is it a lobster?), bright red with a thick black outline, on my shoulder. I’d settled on the design after five years of indecision by thinking: I’ll always be a Scorpio. And ten years later, it’s true—I’m still a Scorpio."
Sara sent us this poem to accompany the post:



This is a place where bones settle
soft as fog against the earth.  Here,
touch is dull knives, broken tongue

of waxy flame.  Fissures                                                                                   
of morning sun cross this mattress
where you and I have met before,

pallet of want and whispered
blessing, your eyelash on my cheek.
Tomorrow, our children will melt

before we know they’re born,
the car will break down on a ramp
outside the city and we will walk

to the bar without calling for a tow.
On the juke box, a song
we’re too young to remember

but know anyhow, like we know
our mothers as children, or think
we do.  Mine liked maple candy

but not cream, yours tight-roped
the clothesline in red Mary Janes. 
We will ignore errands, money  

owed, as our blood thins over a pool
table with a slow left tilt.  I will
be drunk enough to win the first game

but not the second.  You will not gloat
when I scratch the eight-ball.  At shift-
change, there will be nine dollars

between us, enough for a cab home,
cold cereal before sleep.  Box fan
in the window.  Deadbolts snapped

into place, clothes like breadcrumbs
from kitchen to bed frame.  I will
chew ice cubes to stay cool, tiny

glass castles. Air heavy in the gulf
of our bodies, the steady pulse
of pressure rising; rain before morning,

before sleep. Your lips a spider, a penny.
I’ll want something to hold, sugar or sand,
a cigarette lit and passed between us.

We won’t speak but ask questions
with each exhale.  Who says our sweat 

on this sheet can’t become glass?

~ ~ ~

Sara Tracey is the author of Some Kind of Shelter (Misty Publications, 2013) and Flood Year (dancing girl press, 2009). Her work has recently appeared in Vinyl Poetry, The Collagist, Harpur Palate, Passages North, and elsewhere. Originally from Ohio, she has lived in Chicago since 2008. She blogs at saratracey.wordpress.com.

Thanks to Sara for her contribution to this year's Tattooed Poets Project on Tattoosday!


This entry is ©2014 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.