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:
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.