|Photo by Mark Papellero|
"I met the tattoo artist Nikki Lugo (currently at Tattoo Paradise in Washington DC) about ten years ago through my partner back when they were roommates. I had wanted a tattoo for a long time ––notion reinforced by having a new boyfriend with lots of ink–– but had been dillydallying, unsure of what to get and, mostly, afraid of the pain. Knowing I was a writer Nikki suggested one day, 'You should get a quill!' It was the perfect idea. With my birthday coming up, she offered to do it herself as a present to me. How could I refuse that? And when the time came, whatever trepidation I may have had vanished as soon as Nikki’s needle touched my skin, yielding a wonderful design at the cost of no pain."Guillermo shared the following poem, which appeared in the April issue of The Brooklyn Rail:
Self-Portrait with Musician
Sometimes the heart strikes out noisily,
Leaps into a grand piano like a stunt man.
Green-eyed, an almost green voice:
She leaps out of a grand piano like a stunted man,
Resurfaces reptilian, shedding scales.
She’s a whisper inside a box of wails,
An amphibian on the surface, adding scales
To leave the swamp dressed for a part.
I too whisper from inside a box of veils,
Rustle up a melody that comes apart
Leaving the water in a dress from K-Mart.
She sings over sweeps of pedal steel,
Rustles up a harmony that quickly comes part
Of my flesh. More and more I would steal
From this lady singing over sweet pedal steel:
The green eyes; and the pale green noise
That sinks into flesh as much as it might heal
Whenever the heart strikes, without a voice.
~ ~ ~
Guillermo Filice Castro is the recipient of an Emerge-Surface-Be fellowship. His poems appear in Assaracus, Barrow Street, The Brooklyn Rail, Court Green, The Bellevue Literary Review, Ducts, LaFovea, Quarterly West, and more; as well as the anthologies Rabbit Ears, Flicker & Spark, Divining Divas, My Diva, Saints of Hysteria, and others. His translations of Olga Orozco, in collaboration with Ron Drummond, appear in Guernica, Terra Incognita, U.S. Latino Review, and Visions. In 2012 his work was a finalist for the Andrés Montoya prize. Castro lives in New York City.
Thanks to Guillermo for his contribution to The Tattooed Poets Project!
This entry is ©2014 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission.