Welcome to another installment of the Tattooed Poets Project!

This will be our sixth April celebrating National Poetry Month with a month full of tattooed poets’ work – both written and corporeal. Every day this month at 3:00 AM EDT, we will post a tattoo (or two) belonging to a poet, along with a sample of their work. Because interest has been unprecedented this
year, most days we will post TWO poets, with the second one appearing at 3:00 PM EDT. If you are a published poet interested in contributing, we will be featuring additional tattooed poets weekly, starting in May, or you can volunteer now for 2015. Please email tattoosday@gmail.com for details. And please, everyone, enjoy April on Tattoosday and thank you for visiting!

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Tattooed Poets Project: Leigh Ann Hornfeldt

Our next tattooed poet is Leigh Ann Hornfeldt, who sent us two tattoos. First, this Northern mockingbird:


Leigh Ann explains:
"I chose this tattoo as I was writing my first collection of poems, East Main Aviary. During this time I became very interested in birding. I can remember the first mockingbird I ever saw: He was walking the rail of our wooden deck during a light rain. From that point on it seemed like mockingbirds were everywhere for me, with one even following me around the inside of a home improvement store. I believe in animal guides and mockingbirds remind me of the power of my voice, to protect my nest, and to always be brave. This tattoo was done by a dear friend, Kevin Hamilton of Bleed Blue Tattoo [in Lexington, Kentucky]."
Her second tattoo was part of the Lexington Tattoo Project, which was referenced in yesterday's post from Bianca Spriggs.


Leigh Ann elaborates:
"This tattoo was part of The Lexington Tattoo Project by Kremena Todorova & Kurt Gohde. A local poet (Bianca Spriggs) wrote a poem for Lexington and over 253 residents of the city had a word or phrase from the tattoo inked on their body. I was lucky to choose the phrase 'they'd have enough' which came at a time when my husband and I were simplifying our lives through purging possessions and focusing on more time with each other and our children. For me this phrase says it all: if we have one another, we have enough. This tattoo was done by Charmed Life Tattoo." 
Leigh Ann sent us this poem, as well, which was first published in Spry Literary Journal:

Strays

i.

Let’s call him something
she said
bent over the veranda, breeze
lifting the silk baby-doll
nightgown above her ass.
He sees all he wants now and then.
The steel in her jawline, the fractured
lily nestled under her panties.
We’ll just call him something, anything really —
you can’t name a thing you’re gonna leave
she said and he agreed and the palm trees
nodded their heads and that night they made love
on rough cotton sheets while the cat tightroped
the deck’s banister and the ocean worried
at the door’s wooden slats. Morning she let him
in again. Took the little loaf of his body
to her chest and breathed in that smell,
that island smell she could never name
even though she knew all the right words.

ii.

This one’s paws craved necks,
    warmth of jugular, vulnerable pulse.
This one came and went as she pleased,
    afternoons bawled till she bloomed herself
inside out. How could anyone say no to this one?
    A tortie, a mink coiled around anonymous shoulders,
a needy biscuit-kneader, claws searching for a warm tit.

iii.

Oh, she loved him.
She loved him, his face
gouged like the bottom
of a cast iron skillet. She loved
him. Pigeon-toed slink, low bee-hive
growl. She loved him. Litters
of crying kittens all over
the neighborhood. Vagabond.
No good drifter. She
loved him. Half-an ear missing
kind of love. Born out of pity.
I won’t leave you
no matter what you do
desperate kind that keeps
a woman in dark glasses
even at night, the kind
that makes a woman go
weak, weaker, weaker, gone.

iv.

Swore she wouldn’t keep him.
Each night tip-toed cold
stone to driveway’s edge,
packaged pink salmon in hand
Here, kitty, kitty
His soupy mew
from the storm drain,
her hands wringing themselves
dry, the sky’s pursed lips
and the dogs whining, always
whining through the window cracks,
eyes rolling in their thick, meaty skulls.

~ ~ ~

Leigh Anne Hornfeldt, a Kentucky native, is the author of East Main Aviary (Flutter Press, 2012) & The Intimacy Archive (ELJ Publications, 2013) and the editor at Two of Cups Press. She is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, as well as the recipient of a grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women. In 2013 her poem “Laika” placed 2nd in the Argos Prize competition (Dorianne Laux, judge) and in 2012 she received the Kudzu Prize in Poetry. Her work has appeared in journals such as Spry, Lunch Ticket, Foundling Review, and The Journal of Kentucky Studies.

Thanks to Leigh Ann for contributing her poem and tattoos to the Tattooed Poets Project on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2014 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoos 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 20, 2014

The Tattooed Poets Project: Bianca Spriggs

Our next tattooed poet is Bianca Spriggs!

Bianca offers up two tattoos, starting with this one:


Bianca explains:
"The first is a tattoo of the USS Starship Enterprise NCC 1701-D. I got this for a wedding anniversary gift from my husband in 2011. I'm a serious Star Trek fan and was reared on Star Trek: The Next Generation (I literally had collector's cards of the characters stashed in my childhood photo album alongside my relatives), so I figured what better way to make it official? I get all of my tattoos in brown ink because I always thought it'd be neat if they looked like I was born with them—like very intentional birthmarks. The artist, Joe King of Studio Ink at the time, was amazing. I barely felt the needle and this one, given the brown, has held up the best of them all. He has since moved to Easthampton, MA [working at Off the Map Tattoo]. Here's a link to his work: http://www.artofjoeking.com/."
She also shared this piece:


Bianca explains:

"The second is the tattoo I got as part of the Lexington Tattoo Project. In 2012, I was asked by two professors from Transylvania University, Kremena Todorova and Kurt Gohde, who are really into community engagement, to compose a love-letter to Lexington, Kentucky. The idea was that the poem was going to be broken into words and phrases and correlating circles and dots that comprised a secret image and spread out among participants in the city. We ended up with over 250 volunteers who all received free tattoos from the poem thanks to local sponsors and arts enthusiasts. After everyone received their tattoos the image was revealed at a big celebration this past Fall. Since the day I turned the poem in, a contrapuntal called "The _________ of the Universe: A Love Story," the project has really taken off and now has a photo book featuring all of the tattoos and stories of the participants as to why they chose certain words or phrases, as well as video featuring each of the tattoos paired with me reading the poem over an original composition by cellist Ben Sollee. Boulder, CO loved the idea so much, they are now doing a Boulder Tattoo Project and have chosen their own local poet. Long story short, I chose the words 'gravitational pull' because every time I try to leave Lexington, I am compelled to return. The artist was the amazing and eternally patient Robert Alleyne of Charmed Life Tattoo, who also happens to be responsible for two of my other pieces. Here is a link to the LTP website: http://lexingtontattooproject.wordpress.com/
Bianca sent us the following poem which, she explains, is "in the voice of Guinan, the El-Aurian bartender in Ten Forward from Star Trek: TNG, who was played by Whoopi Goldberg:"

Guinan: On Listening

What I do is not listening.
It’s more like picking out one voice
in the surround-sound of morning
through an open window.
Like hearing one bird call at a time
and recognizing its owner,
or being able to tell one type
of engine over another by how
it accelerates through an intersection,
or which door is being opened and shut
somewhere in the house.
Blended together, it all sounds good—
the opening notes of a great number
to which we all know the words.
The difference between you and I
is that I may choose to focus
on the tambourine or the bass line
for an entire song.
The art of listening is an heirloom
I did not always understand.
El-Aurians take games such as
“Who Can Be Quiet the Longest?”
as seriously as a final exam.
You can imagine how exhilarating
our road trips must have been.
I remember my brother and I bet once
that I wouldn’t be able to keep from
speaking for ten years.
For the first three, I scribbled notes
to everyone in a furious attempt to keep up
with conversations sidewinding around me.
I worried if I wasn’t being listened to,
I didn’t matter.
I would be the only one
in the room no one noticed.
By the time I found my way into a voice again,
I figured out that if I sat still long enough,
someone would inevitably interject
what I had already thought to say.
It was as though the universe
was dialing everyone in a room
and leaving the same message.
It was as though we were all restating
the obvious, over and over again,
fumbling for meaning we already possessed.
They say I’m a good listener.
But this isn’t listening.
This is just me, behind the bar,
mixing your voice in with a drink.

~ ~ ~

Bianca also directs us readers to the poem, "a contrapuntal, that people are now walking around with bits of tattooed into them" here.

Affrilachian Poet and Cave Canem Fellow, Bianca Spriggs, is a writer and multi-disciplinary artist based in Lexington, KY. She is a recipient of an Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship in Poetry and multiple artist grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women as well as a Pushcart Prize nominee. Bianca is the author of Kaffir Lily (2010) and How Swallowtails Become Dragons (2011), and the creator of The SwallowTale Project: Creative Writing for Incarcerated Women. She is the creator and Artistic Director of the Wild Women of Poetry Slam held annually at the Kentucky Women Writers Conference and serves as the current Managing Editor for pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture. You can learn more about her numerous shenanigans here: www.biancaspriggs.com.

Thanks to Bianca for sharing her cool 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.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Tattooed Poets Project: Aaron DeLee

Our next tattooed poet is Aaron DeLee:


Aaron tell us:
"I spent over 99 hours and 99 minutes of my life playing Final Fantasy 7; that's as far as the timer goes in the game. It was integral to my upbringing during adolescence (specifically, at 14), exposing me to gay characters and cross-dressing when I didn't have much of a concept for such things. It was a platform that helped me feel powerful, whereas I otherwise felt powerless at that point in my life. It made its mark on me so deeply emotionally, and so, after getting myself out into the world, I decided to show that mark. I had the album art for the game tattooed in March 2008 at the Chicago Tattoo & Piercing Co."
Aaron sent us the following poem:

Selfie: Inked

Must it have a story, like a scar or scare?
Once upon it was a crime to mark oneself

and my father promised punishment for such rash
actions, black impulse. So, I drew

my own illusions and came to the collusion
that these bodies were made to be seen,

made to be word, and image. Imagine meta-
phor made flesh, for there is depth to it

like layers of skin, invariably shedding end-
lessly. This was no rebellion. This was Final.

A fantasy come ado by bustling commotion
from needles knitting for years from inside

my skull until manhood bled through; when I was
my own and, with inerasable ink, wrote so.

~ ~ ~

Aaron DeLee is a Chicago poet. His poems have appeared in Court Green, Assaracus, Mad Hatter's Review, and various other publications. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from Northwestern University in 2013. He is currently training for his second Tough Mudder with his husband.

Thanks to Aaron for sharing his tattoo and poem with us here 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: Brian Fanelli

Our next tattooed poet is Brian Fanelli, who sent us these images of his ink:



Brian explains:
"Having grown up in the punk rock community, it was probably inevitable I would get ink at some point. Born in 1984, I caught the third wave of punk rock, bands that, for the most part, never had the success of punk pioneers like The Clash, Sex Pistols, or The Ramones. Though those bands mattered to me, especially The Clash, I grew up going to shows in Philly to catch The Lawrence Arms, Bouncing Souls, Against Me!, Hot Water Music, and countless others. The flame on my left arm is Hot Water Music’s iconic flame/water logo, a tattoo ubiquitous at any HWM show. 
The tattoo on my leg [second photo] is an image of Scott Sinclair’s artwork. Sinclair made a name for himself doing nearly all of Hot Water Music’s album covers. The other tattoo on my arm [below the Hot Water Music logo] is a replica of an early printing press stamp, my lone literary tattoo. All of my ink was done in Scranton, at the shops Slinging’ Ink and Mental Mayhem."
Brian sent us this tattoo-related poem to accompany his contribution:

Inked

I catch her at the café
                                    where she used to captivate me
                        with Mother Jones,
                                                Z,
                                                            The Nation,
the only publications
   worth writing for, she said.

She’s back
                        from her train-hopping trip,
                                                Clash lyrics inked on her arm.

At 15, I was her foot soldier
                        in an activist army,
            proud with a practiced punk sneer,
                                                blue liberty spikes.

I cut my hair for college,
                                    aced entrance exams,
            returned to report the news.
                                               
I see you’re still writing
                        fabricated bullshit, she says,
kissing the inked
                        words on her arm.
While you've been going mainstream,
                        I've been hopping trains,
                                                fronting bands,
spreading truth through zines,
                        copied and stapled DIY style.

I can’t listen to her
                        rant about the latest
                                                political prisoner,
                                                            CIA-backed coup,
                                                                        coffee that’s not fair trade.
I am, in my suit and tie,
                                    the man we used to call
                                    the enemy,
                                                             regular 9-5 worker
                                                   because when I broke in
I thought reporters were brash,
                        each one a Woodward or Bernstein.
                                   
But who reads bylines buried on A16?

The news is old by tomorrow afternoon.
No words newspapers publish are picked
                                                for first tattoos.
We wash smudged newsprint from our hands.
                             Tattooed lyrics sink into our skin,

                                                last as long as we last.

~ ~ ~

Brian Fanelli’s poetry has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Working Class Studies Association’s Tillie Olsen Creative Writing Award. His work has been published by The Los Angeles Times, World Literature Today, Blue Collar Review, North Chicago Review, Portland Review, Boston Literary Magazine, Spillway, Inkwell, and several other publications. He is the author of the chapbook Front Man (Big Table Publishing) and the full-length collection All That Remains (Unbound Content). Brian has an M.F.A. from Wilkes University and teaches English full-time at Lackawanna College in Scranton, PA, while completing his Ph.D. at SUNY Binghamton.

Thanks to Brian for sharing his tattoos and poem with us here on The Tattooed Poets Project!

This entry is ©2014 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoos 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 18, 2014

The Tattooed Poets Project: Leslie Marie Aguilar and Her Blackbirds

Our next tattooed poet is Leslie Marie Aguilar, who sent us this photo:

Photo by Clint Frazier

Leslie explains:
"When I was younger, my father used to play The Beatles records on repeat while he ironed his clothes on the weekends. Consequently, some of my earliest memories are punctuated with the scent of Faultless Starch and Lennon/McCartney singing 'Blackbird.' The five blackbirds that make up this design represent a member of my immediate family.
Photo by Clint Frazier
The moment I decided to attend graduate school in the Midwest, I knew I had to get a piece for my family that was inked in my hometown—Sacred Art Tattoos & Piercings, to be exact. (The owner, Brad Worrell, is absolutely incredible!) I wanted a design that would represent family and foundation. Now, my tattoo functions as a daily reminder that it’s okay to have roots and wings."
Leslie also sent us this poem, which first appeared in Looseleaf Tea:

WATER MEXICAN

Barreling through the air like a bare-knuckled fist,
I am raw hide & pink panties clinging to the edge
of my narrow hips as I leap into a turquoise tiled
swimming pool. I am a child, & I haven’t learned
how to swim yet, haven’t learned to thrash my limbs
violently beneath the surface to keep my head afloat.
I must have known then, the moment before I flopped
belly first into the pool, that I would float. I must have.
Months later, when my white friend asks if I can swim,
I’ll lower my head towards the creek bed beneath
the broken bridge where we are standing & say, No,
there are snakes in this water
. Gesturing with her index
finger, she will point at the water moccasins gliding
beneath the water, & say, those Mexicans can swim.
I’ll laugh at the slip of her tongue, not knowing then
the water moccasin is a venomous snake that claims
the waters of Southern states. Its defense tactics are
often over-exaggerated as aggressiveness. Unless
threatened, the moccasin minds its own. I’ll learn
this years later, just like I’ll learn how to tread water
out of necessity, & she will learn how to swim faster.

~ ~ ~

Leslie Marie Aguilar was born and raised in Abilene, Texas. She has served as the Poetry Editor of Harbinger Journal of Literature and Art and is the current Web Editor of Indiana Review. She is also the recipient of a National Society of Arts and Letters Literature Award. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Bellingham Review, Iron Horse Review, Ninth Letter, Rattle, and Spillway among others. She is currently an MFA candidate at Indiana University.

Thanks to Leslie for sharing her blackbirds and her 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 Poet's Project: Alice Ladrick

Our next tattooed poet is Alice Ladrick:


Alice tells us:
"I got this little guy done at No Ka Oi in Philly. It was something I'd be thinking about for awhile but the actual plan was hatched just a little before I went out there. I got the crow (his name is Corbin) because crows had kinda been following me around for awhile and became a symbol of comfort for me, plus I like the multiplicity of meanings crows carry in various mythologies."
Alice also sent along a poem from a series called "ISOTOPE":

from ISOTOPE

Everybody’s moving in with their boyfriend and I
decided to get a tattoo: “ME”
all caps on my ring finger,

call my artist my jeweler
when I go in for touchups. Get it
sized up (cuz I’ll gain weight). I’m watching

my figure. The way I figure it

I’ll be that sprinter-poet. Shit.
Spinster poet. Write it all at once
like once is a place you’ve been and can

go back to it.
My boyfriend dumped me on
my birthday. I’m not bitter

but I am a liar.

Never going back there
(lie) where boys are
appealing. Fights with myself

always end in sex. 

~ ~ ~

Alice Ladrick writes poems about lots of things. She also likes making books and isn't here to make friends (only she could probably use some). Alice tried having a website one time but never updated it so...

Thanks to Alice for sharing her poem and tattoo with us here 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, April 17, 2014

The Tattooed Poets Project: Erica Dawson

Our next tattooed poet is Erica Dawson, who sent along this image of her ink:


Erica explains:
“I got this in December 2010. When I walked into 1603 Tattoo & Piercing, Co. in Ybor City, and met Shawn Chalk, the best tattoo artist ever, I had no clue what I wanted. It ended up being perfect: we talked the whole time; and, even better, we ate chicken wings during a break."
Shawn Chalk is now working out of Tabernacle Tattoo in Tampa.

Erica also shared the following poem:

La Revue Nègre

The curtain’s up? Hey now! Away I go.
La vie en rose (ah hem), Bonjour et O,
Au Cabaret! (Look out!) Puccini’s O
Mio bambino caro….I’ll know
The other words then, too; sing Nina’s woe
In her sultry old blue mood indigo;
With Johnny Cash, go make an Alamo
In Reno: we’ll up and kill a man; I’ll sow
Jimmy’s cracked corn; and, then, Pinocchio
It: wish upon a star; I’ll row row row
A boat; and, fit the battle of Jericho—

But, then, (Bravo!) I’ll give it up and throw
It to my sidekick with the fine trousseau:
Ms. Josephine Baker—two woman show,
Expatriates, banana dances, “whoa,”
Revue Negre, Nature’s Black Pearls, “Moi ‘lo,’”
“Don’t Touch Our Four Tomatoes.” We would tow
The audience to our private chateau
Brimming with leopards, liquor, curio-
Toucans, and every latest Romeo.

I’ve got to get a dog first, though, and grow
Pin-curled sideburns and learn to pose, tableau
Of taut breasts and the navel apropos
Of Paris nightlife, drop it hot, slow, low
As bass, tell Daddy Rice to tell Jim Crow
To take his minstrel smile and o-
pen up real wide to suck our titties. Lo,

How a rose e’er bloomed when you sang out, Sweet Jo.
You are our voice. Sing louder. Oui. Hello
And Enchanté. The bistro’s spotlight glow
Will turn into a dusked seraglio
And crown us sultans. Yes, Madame Tussaud
Could wax us. Yes, we’ll get some more Merlot,
Black Gypsy Rose. Don’t stop your do-si-do.
Please flaunt your gold-chained hips. Work that bon mot
Banter. I’ll make a keepsake video;
And, if you stop singing, I’ll lip-synch, blow
A kiss to our United States below
The smoke that hovered with the mistletoe.

~ ~ ~

Erica Dawson is the author of two collections of poetry: The Small Blades Hurt (Measure Press) and Big-Eyed Afraid (Waywiser Press). She teaches at The University of Tampa.

Thanks to Erica 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.