Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Tattooed Poets: Chantele Theroux

I'd be remiss if I didn't share this Canadian poet's tattoo:


This is Chantele Theroux, who told us:
"I had my Johnny Cash tattoo done (at Pagan Tattoo of Edmonton in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada by Sean Tracy) to honour the artistry and work Johnny Cash brought to the world. He sung about (and advocated for) the underdog, the prisoner, and very noble but unpopular opinion. He was a rebel with a cause and his life changed mine."
Chantele is the poetry editor for an online publication called Rebelle Society. She sent us the following poem "show me your tattoo," which originally appeared on the site here:


What’s moved you, sailor?
Shaken you,
taken you
to bleed it out through process,
exquisite pleasure and pain…
(I want to know you.)
Because the needles dragging through you,
                                        they carried the ink
                                                                     that dripped the colors
                                                                                   of your hurt and delight
into art…
Now coursing through your veins,
deep inside your body,
beating forever from your heart…
(Your pulse sounds amazing…)
What wounds do you wear?
Or is it joy that you share?
The mystery of milestone
in monument and shrine,
your stained visceral visage,
a chaotic collage,
only you’ll truly see,
and ever know.

(I love your style…)
Because those words, these snapshots,
your times drawn eternal,
these etchings of essence,
show me you’re bold
and you’re raw enough,
to share you with the world.
(I adore your courage..)

Or was it rebellion
a now-faded reminder,
 of youth drunk on juvenile
design and desire,
now your proud symbol of regretful whim.
(Your life’s been gorgeous…)
If you dare, be bare,
hold your scars deep within,
You’ll be nude, never naked,
like many stained souls have been.
Stay closed, picture perfect,
your form in façade…
since diving within,
means  baring your sin,
and not settle for sinking,
but choosing to swim.
(Dead men tell no tales, my dear…)
Because this your life,
your one wonderful, wicked ride,
be it in ink or blank canvas,
no one here gets out alive.
(Pillage and plunder with me?)
~~~

Chantele also pointed us to a Johnny Cash article called "Johnny Cash: Life, Love & the Magic of Being Your Badass Self" that she wrote for the same publication here,

Chantele Theroux is an editor, poet, and writer based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Her works express the resonance of personal creative force driven to reflect the brilliance buried in the dark and shadow of the soul. Reveal the rock 'n' roll of your soul and it will be the exquisite end of life as you know it. Visit her on Facebook or at chanteletheroux.com.

Thanks to Chantele for sharing her cool tattoo with us on Tattoosday's Tattooed Poets Project!

This entry is ©2015 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: Virginia Chase Sutton

Virginia Chase Sutton first appeared on the Tattooed Poets Project in 2013 here.

She's returning in 2015 with the following tattoo to share:


Virginia tell us:
"It was a little, tiny shop in Dublin, by an Italian artist who barely spoke English---I don't know the name of the shop or of the artist.
It measures 4 inches by 4 inches on the back of my left shoulder.  The colors are stunning, really, purples and lavenders and green.  I got the tattoo, along with my 17 year old daughter's first tattoo, the Chinese symbol for winter.  It was a long process, quite exhausting, but he promised me I'd adore the result.  And I do.  The shop did not take credit cards and I only had about $20 in Irish money, not enough, and not enough even for a tip.  'Is enough,' he said cheerily.  And so it was."
Virginia sent us this poem:

ONE AFTERNOON IN DUBLIN

I want to be your tattoo buddy, my 16-year-old daughter says in the icy hostel in February. Trip on a whim, just enough cash, and we wander the city, find a shop on a forlorn side of town. Up a flight of narrow stairs to an empty, exhausted landscape---a waiting room with a slew of notebooks of flash art and a tattered couch. I’m thinking of a man who tells me once about a homemade tattoo his cousin gives him---concocting ink from cigarette ash, using staples torn from a magazine as needles. The tap, tap, tapping drives him nuts with pain and he begs his cousin to stop, tattoo unfinished. Here, my daughter goes first, the Chinese symbol for winter on her left hip, a good choice. I choose a one-inch lotus blossom for my left shoulder blade. Done, she collapses on the couch, waves me on. The Italian artist barely speaks English, is the only one in the joint. He sits me on a wobbly stool after applying the transfer. You have good tattoos, I think he says. So don’t move. He begins slowly. I lean forward, keeping the stool in place. It’s a dance. I bend lower and lower, then he re-inks his silver machine, and I bend again. This biting goes on and I lose myself to pain. Why, I wonder, is this taking so long? Finally complete, I reach for traveler’s checks but he shakes his head. I pull out Irish cash---it isn’t enough. Is okay, he says with an angel’s smile. Back at the hostel, my shoulder burns. Why, I ask my daughter, who is patting Neosporin on her little tattoo. In the bathroom, I yank off my bandage, look over my shoulder in the mirror. Gasp at the huge purple and lavender lotus blossom climbing my back. It was supposed to be so small, I say, stunned by the 4 x 4 inch design carved in my flesh. It hurt like hell, I tell her as she applies ointment. The large and the small, the old and the young, the symbol and the flower. How he makes me sign a paper adding two years so she is legal, not even asking for our passports as proof. So I say no regrets, and she smiles happily, pants slipping down, admiring how we lost ourselves, busy discovering art.

~ ~ ~

Virginia Chase Sutton’s book What Brings You to Del Amo won the Morse Poetry Prize. Her first book is Embellishments.  Five times nominated for a Pushcart Prize, her poems have appeared in Paris Review, Ploughshares, Antioch Review, Boulevard, Western Humanities Review, Witness, Naugatuck River Review, the anthology ThroughA Distant Lens, and many other literary publications. 

Thanks to Virginia for her return to Tattoosday and the Tattooed Poets Project!


This entry is ©2015 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: Nicole Santalucia

Our next tattooed poet is Nicole Santalucia. Check out the tattoo she sent us:


I know readers may wonder why we're featuring a faded Cat in the Hat tattoo, but I love Nicole's tale of this memento from her early youth:
"I think there was a rusty screwdriver and a motor from a remote control car involved in the makeshift tattoo gun. I was about 13 years old when I thought it was creative and symbolic to get Cat in the Hat tattooed on my leg.

I didn't learn how to read until about fifth grade and I felt indebted to Dr. Seuss and Clifford. I kept secrets. Not knowing how to read, when I started to learn to how read, and Cat in the Hat and Clifford were secrets.
I was in a time pinch when I got this tattoo because I had sneak out of school during lunchtime and make it back before anyone noticed. The memory is faded and droopy and so is the tattoo. I remember tracing Cat in the Hat out of a book and showing up at an ex-con's house near my middle school. There was more more effort put into figuring out how to sneak around. I swore to myself that I would never regret it. And, over twenty years later I don’t fully regret the black mark that looks more like I slammed a car door shut on my ankle, or that I got bar-coded the day I was born and the ink smeared.

I’ve considered getting this black mark covered by a real tattoo artist, but I never did because I don’t ever want forget those lonely teenage years."
Nicole sent us this poem which appeared previously on Poetrybay

THE PRISONER AND THE FLOOD

There are some people who will outlive cockroaches;
you are not one of them.
There are others who will have an allergic reaction,
and others who will climb out their bedroom window
to sit on the roof of their house
and wait for the moon to disappear into a bloodshot sky.

You might press your hand against the cold cement floor
or fall off of the top bunk and wonder why the smell
of the river is everywhere now.

It wouldn’t make a difference if I sat outside your jail cell
and waited or if you try to run from the prison yard
that’s on the side of a mountain;
not only will the guards aim for your head,
but you’ll have nowhere to go
because everything is under water.

You are afraid of the Mexican gang and I’m afraid
of the men who are gliding by in rowboats
trying to find out if any kids drowned in the river
that swallowed their houses.

~ ~ ~

Nicole Santalucia received her MFA from The New School University and her PhD in English from Binghamton University. She founded The Binghamton Poetry Project, a literary outreach program, in 2011. Nicole won the Ruby Irene Poetry Chapbook Prize from Arcadia Magazine Inc. for Driving Yourself to Jail in July—published in January 2014. Her non-fiction and poetry appear in The Cincinnati Review, Paterson Literary Review, Hawaii Pacific Review, 2 Bridges Review, Bayou Magazine, Gertrude, Flyway: Journal of Writing and Environment, Burlesque Press and others. She teaches English and Creative Writing at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania.

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

This entry is ©2015 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, April 24, 2015

The Tattooed Poets Project: Pamela Hart

Our next tattooed poet, Pamela Hart, sent us this interesting tattoo:


Pamela explains:
"I got this tattoo in 2010 shortly before my son headed off to do basic training in the Army. My husband and I decided to each get a tattoo to mark this occasion. I'd been looking around unsuccessfully for a design and finally found it at the Rubin Museum of Art in NYC in an exhibition of Tibetan mandalas. I took a photo, jotted down wall text info and did further research. What I learned endeared me to the design even further, which I already liked because of its textual nature. It's a Tibetan seed syllable -- Dhih -- and is apparently part of a number of mantras. It has to do with thought, knowledge, understanding and creativity. As you can imagine, for a writer, those ideas are important and compelling. The tattoo was done in upstate New York…nothing special about the place or artist."
Pamela directed me to the National Endowment for the Arts website, where I found one of her poems:

In the Red Cross Parking Lot After a Meeting on PTSD

What about your son, Nancy
Flannigan wonders, but really
she wants to talk about her son
Tom in Afghanistan
who never got with the program
six-two, on the swim team
until he was kicked out of high
school, has trouble with rules
which is how she explains
his wild streak, there's his hat
on the dashboard
Tom, she insists
won't make a career of this
Her hand brushes the dark
as spotlights halo the white-domed
rescue vehicles around us
Next door someone shouts
further off traffic glowers
along the expressway. Nancy
sends care packages, the good
socks, how to get them on the cheap
the rifle bolt she bought him
it's expensive, doesn't jam or clog
Tom's sergeant killed, will Tom get
with the program, her words
rocketing on and on in the night
We're like the Spartan women
how we send them off, the shields
we compare and polish
in the concrete firmament
(with permission of O-Dark-Thirty, Journal of the Veterans Writing Project)
~~~
To read another poem by Pamela, check out this one online at the Heron Tree Review

Pamela Hart is writer in residence at the Katonah Museum of Art where she manages a visual literacy arts in education program. She is a 2013 NEA poetry fellow and is completing a manuscript of poems exploring the intersection of family, community, and the military. Her chapbook, The End of the Body, was published in 2006 by Toadlily Press. Her work has been published in a variety of print and online journals.

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

This entry is ©2015 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: Kirsten Imani Kasai

As we enter into the final weekend of yet another successful month of tattooed poets, take a look at the back of Kirsten Imani Kasai:


Kirsten tells us:
"My work is three separate pieces. The first, on the back of my neck, is a Byzantine monogram of 'Mary,' for the Virgin Mary. I had this done in 1993 at Erno Tattoo in San Francisco.
The raven tree and stars were done by in 2011 and 2013. My friend Keith Greene, at Federation Ink in San Diego, did both based on some clip art paste-ups I brought him. The bird tattoo has a double meaning. I’m rather Poe-obsessed, and so here are the Raven and the Tell-Tale Heart. At least that’s what I tell strangers…for me, this piece recognizes a really dreadful, difficult year of loss, transition and heartbreak. (I wrote about it here. Additionally, I wrote the poem 'a murder of crows' about this imagery of the raven and the gift of a human heart, which was incorporated into the prose/poetry piece 'mice' published in the summer 2014 issue of the Existere Journal of Arts & Literature.)
The third tattoo is my 'mother line' and features blue and pink stars for my son and daughter. The dead or shadow stars represent pregnancies I've lost."
Kirsten sent us the following poem:

process aestivation

she had forgotten all of it
too long
had she lain sleeping

snow white
knew the apple tainted
bit deeply
seeking poison like nectar

sleeping beauty
summoned the spindle’s
narcotic draught
milk teeth madly grinning
blood beading on her finger

she swallowed
the magicked bread
despite the warnings
—never eat from fey hands—
let the fisherman
steal her selkie skin
to keep her from the deep
and salted sea

buried undreaming
apple rotting in her throat
blood clotting in her veins
watching
night’s noiseless apocalypse
descend

              awakened


                             she is ravenous

~ ~ ~

Kirsten Imani Kasai is the author of three novels: Ice Song, Tattoo and Private Pleasures; a short fiction/poetry collection Rhapsody in Snakeskin and a poetry chapbook The Atmospheric Mysteries of a Steaming Corpse. Kirsten is the co-founder and editor of Body Parts Magazine, a journal of provocative horror, spec fiction and erotica. She earned her MFA from Antioch University and lives in California with her family. Visit her online at www.IceSong.com and on Facebook here.

Some bonus footage includes this Google chat interview & reading with Pretty Owl Poetry:


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

This entry is ©2015 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 23, 2015

The Tattooed Poets Project: Chandra E.A. Dickson

Our next tattooed poet is Chandra E.A. Dickson who sent us this photo:

Photo by David Quick
Here's the piece in a little more detail:

Photo by David Quick
Chandra tells us:
"This tattoo was given as a gift to me for completing my MFA at Wichita State University by my dear friend Ryan Drake. He tattoos at Freaks on Noland in Kansas City. He can also be followed on instagram under the user name draketattoo. Ryan and I went to college together, and I owe many of his paintings. This tattoo is his 35th tattoo. He has done 100s now. 
The poem [below] is from my chapbook, A Short History of Our Love. There are many references to birds in my work, which is why I decided on a sparrow as both an image for my work but also for my tattoo because of the old saying "God never forgets a fallen sparrow" and at times we all feel that we have falling in some way or another."
For Jimmy

You called Thursday—8am—4 your time—to have phone sex, but I already had on pants and hadn’t heard from you in weeks. Your voice sounded as if you had been drinking for days. When I asked if you were ok, you said there had been no luck finding a bear to make friends with, a woman to keep my side of the bed warm, or a job on a fishing boat. The glacier’s peak calls you to ascend. Cracking ice in the middle of the night, the sound so harsh, not at all like wind against wheat, kept you awake. I tried to tell you about the thousands of sparrows that flew north over the church steeple, how empty I’ve felt since you left. 

~ ~ ~

Chandra E.A. Dickson received her MFA from Wichita State University and currently teaches at a small community college in the middle of the Plains. Her first chapbook, A Short History of Our Love"(Finishing Line Press), won the Kansas New Voices award in 2013. Her work has appeared in various online and print journals. She is currently working on her second chapbook, learning how to cook, and taking too many pictures of her children and pets.



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

This entry is ©2015 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.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Tattooed Poets Project: Jacqui Morton

Today's tattooed poet is Jacqui Morton, who shares these three dandelion seeds:


Jacqui explains:
"My tattoo was done at Fat Ram’s Pumpkin Tattoo in Jamaica Plain, MA, by Melissa Baker. I’ll never forget Melissa’s voice or the way she let me hug her when she finished. She took great care in listening to what I was looking for and showing me a drawing. I had this in mind but when she put it on paper it all made sense. It’s my first tattoo, and I got at age 38, three years after I lost a baby. I now have two sons. This tattoo helps me keep that baby girl here with them --- my three little seeds, all floating in their own direction."
This poem Jacqui sent ties in with the tattoo:

For Jennifer

This poem is for Jennifer
because she called
when the midwife
didn’t, past five on Friday.

For Jennifer because
later, after the results
and the tears, and after
the cupcakes shielded
from tears were eaten
at a second birthday party
which must have
happened at my house, 
she helped me
make the appointment.

For Jennifer because
she said she would send
her sister to that doctor.

For her, because
she said the baby is a girl
instead of the words
I hoped to hear later:
It’s a girl.

This poem is for Jennifer
because it is her job to call
people like me with results
like those.

 - Jacqui Morton, 2012

~ ~ ~

Jacqui adds, "I terminated my pregnancy after a really sad diagnosis. Jennifer was the genetic counselor. This poem was previously published in my chapbook, Turning Cozy Dark.



Jacqui Morton's poems and essays have appeared in places such as Drunk Monkeys, The Mom Egg Review, the Guardian, Salon, Role Reboot, and The Rumpus. She is the author of a baby book of poems and is working on a memoir. Jacqui is a doula and freelance writer in Massachusetts, and is the managing editor for The Citron Review. Visit her on Twitter or at jacquimorton.com