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!

Friday, April 25, 2014

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, April 24, 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.

The Tattooed Poets Project: Michael Stutzman

Our next tattooed poet is Michael Stutzman, who shares this colorful piece:


Michael gives us the background of this piece:
"This tattoo by Luis Martins at Lovecraft (Hamden, CT) is inspired by a Pennsylvania Dutch hex motif. Distelfinks ("thistle-finches") and the tulips are talismans for luck, but it’s also in tribute to my paternal grandparents, who had deep Penn-Dutch roots. I go back and forth on if the birds directly represent them or if it’s a more nebulous image.
Luis took the original image and had an idea to translate it into a Norwegian rosemaling style, which turned out nicely. Different people have seen aspects of their own heritage’s folk art in the piece, and I think the clean lines and the limited palette contribute to that perception. I find it hard to write with formal restraints while still connecting the reader to larger ideas, so I have tremendous respect for Luis’ process and craft doing it in ink."
Michael offered up this poem:

Bridge

After the sherry is poured
and the little women tuck
the roast into its Tupperware,
nothing polite stays behind

to be said. The pretty words
all grab their furs from the bed
and swerve onto the freeway.
You’re left with ethnic jokes, the news

and its body bags, a simmering want
to kiss the wrong person once,
sudden, roughly. Nothing but mistakes
waiting to choke you like slices

of canned pear shuddering
in the silent, red Jell-O. But a deck
of cards, pulled from some secret
apron pocket: There’s the girl you married

too soon, building a span of tricks,
bids, contracts. Safe passage
for good people over the depths ahead.

~ ~ ~

Mike Stutzman is a writer and teacher from southern Connecticut. He currently teaches healthcare computing for physicians and operative staff. His most recent works are short prose pieces for Proto and Altered Scale. His poetry has appeared in The Chattahoochee Review, Tablet, The Northville Review, and as a month-long daily feature in The Miami Herald as a project of the O, Miami festival, under the pseudonym “Herald Bloom.” Mike posts occasional poetry at http://bittering.blogspot.com (including a poem each day in April.)

Thanks to Mike 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.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Tattooed Poets Project: Megan Burns

Our next tattooed poet is Megan Burns, who sent us this beautiful work of body art:


Not only is it a big tattoo, but it's on the ribs, one of the more painful spots to get inked. Megan explains, "It's a pirate ship with the names of my three kids."  She added, "I'm going through a pretty ugly divorce and since I only get my kids half as much as I used to, I wanted to get this piece done."

She credited the work to Terry Brown, one of the owners at Downtown Tattoos in New Orleans.

Megan sent along the following poem to accompany the ship:

Goodnight, Moon

when a woman disappears
it’s a permanent stake
under night, this sky, bodies in a slipping
what you wrote: a secret is a way
of pulling a person apart
pour in like a poison, you feed it
poor excuse, a just score
a domestic failing
pulled force abutting angles
so we dropped a degree of fencing
made adjustments in parallel confines
braided down this writ
this work of medium thumbprints
I put palms to each side of your sweet
face & pretend to be of a gentler nature
absconded, a beauty of break, do you
know what a parade is for?
it’s a way of walking around grief
try to rendezvous this lesser
try not death comes like a desert
you my most thirsty, I was coming along
remember once the children huddle
three a bed where we lullaby
and they ask questions I have no answers
mother is a new “never-was”
if he wants a bed time story
tell him I have no feeling for you

~ ~ ~

Megan Burns is the publisher at Trembling Pillow Press and edits the poetry magazine, Solid Quarter. She has been most recently published in Jacket Magazine, Callaloo, New Laurel Review, Trickhouse, and the Big Bridge New Orleans Anthology. Her poetry and prose reviews have been published in Tarpaulin Sky, Gently Read Lit, Big Bridge, and Rain Taxi. She has two books Memorial + Sight Lines (2008) and Sound and Basin (2013) published by Lavender Ink. She has two recent chapbooks: irrational knowledge (Fell Swoop press, 2012) and a city/ bottle boned (Dancing Girl Press, 2012). Her chapbook Dollbaby was just released from Horse Less Press.


Thanks to Megan for her 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.

Bruce Covey's Tiger Tattoo on The Tattooed Poets Project

I've been talking with Bruce Covey, our next tattooed poet, since last year, and am heppy I finally received his submission this year. Check out his tattoo:


Bruce tells us:
My tiger tattoo is based on a traditional Chinese paper-cut design and reflects all of the happiness I share with my amazing daughters, both of whom were both born in China. I showed an original image to Jason Monroe when he worked at Ink & Dagger in Decatur, GA, and asked him to make a few modifications. He added his own stylistic elements. Both the tiger and the color red are lucky for me.

In a small world scenario, Bruce and I share something in common, in that I was tattooed by Jason Monroe last June in connection with a Sailor Jerry event in Brooklyn (as recounted here). Jason now works out of Three Kings Tattoo.

Bruce also sent us this poem:

Organic & Inorganic
  
A building just went up where my heart was—a dozen new floors filled with boxes.

Isn't it strange that sugar (C12H22O11) comes from a plant, while salt (NaCl) is a mineral? 

I take vitamins and medicines, yes, but as far as I know, salt is the only inorganic thing I buy specifically to eat. 

Salt, like staples, I buy infrequently.  Staples are often steel or zinc alloys, sometimes aluminum or brass.

What do I need to super-compress in order to build an emerald?

B, C, & E might help my memory.  I used to staple reminders to my bath towels.

Most inorganic compounds do not contain carbon.  Therefore, Diamond Crystal Salt is a problematic product name. 

I often skip 13, like they do with elevators.


It’s amazing how often a photograph misses the boat.

~ ~ ~

Bruce Covey’s sixth book of poetry, Change Machine, will be published by Noemi Press next month (May, 2014). He lives in Atlanta, GA, where he publishes and edits Coconut Books and Coconut magazine and curates the What’s New in Poetry? reading series.

Thanks to Bruce for contributing his tattoo and poem 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.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Tattooed Poets Project: Paul Scot August

Our next tattooed poet is Paul Scot August, who shared two tattoos with us. On his right shoulder sits an angel:


and on his left shoulder is a demon:


Paul tells us:
"Both designs are taken from the same M.C. Escher print.
 
The print was given to me by someone I was once close to, and the angel was inspired by her, and many years later after that person's true nature and dark side came out, I got the demon from the same print. Interestingly, when I got the first one, tattooing was illegal in Milwaukee County, so I had it done at the artist's apartment on the sly. The demon was done years later in a shop."

Paul sent us this poem, which was originally published in South Dakota Review [Spring 2012]. He adds it, "is not related to the tattoos or the person that inspired them, but seems to fit well with them."

Elegy with Great Black Wings

There was this woman I once loved, and who may have
loved me in return, whose death came to me in a single
paragraph on the sidebar of page seventeen, section three
of the Sunday Tribune, while I was eating my breakfast
a decade after the last time we’d kissed each other
goodbye. By then she had moved out west for work and I
had married someone else and had two kids, and then she
was offered a better job and returned to live in the Midwest,
and I had begun my path leading toward my ensuing divorce.
We never reunited nor spoke.
     There didn’t seem to be a need.
But at one time I thought she would be the one with whom
I woke up next to on gray winter mornings, the falling snow
mixing with the remaining stars, a glittering of the northern
sky that would seem as unreal to us as my then expectations.
We even walked through a small town up north one summer
weekend and looked at homes for sale as if we might buy one.

Now the thought, as unrealistic as our thoughts were back then,
that had we ended up together, had we tried to love one another
even in the face of facts pointing toward obvious conclusions,
that perhaps she would not have been living alone in that city,
and those three men who followed her home that winter night
would not have done to her what they did to her, before crushing
her larynx and leaving with seventeen dollars from her wallet.

So I drove down to northern Illinois to attend her memorial
service, not knowing if I’d be remembered by anyone there,
or if the sight of her closed casket would set off a rush of regret,
or love, or fear, or indifference in the face of grief. And then
the sight of her stooped and broken parents, aged far beyond
my memories of them, and a stunned boyfriend who could not
bear to even enter the room, and bar friends with boozy breath
and red-rimmed eyes telling stories to brace against their own fear
set me running to the parking lot and my car, starting the engine
and driving away, sitting inside the exact opposite of silence,
seeing her face in my mind and trying to remember the sound
of her voice.
But all I could hear on the way back to my home
in Wisconsin was the sound of angels, their great black wings
moving at a frequency just below the surface of all other sound,
their silver voices rising in what she and I would have called
song, but what is to them merely their native tongue, mixed
together with the sound of somebody weeping.

~ ~ ~

Paul Scot August is originally from Chicago but has spent more than half of his life now in Wisconsin. He has an MA in Creative Writing from UW-Milwaukee and is a former poetry editor of The Cream City Review. He has been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Stoneboat, Heron Tree, Connotation-Press, Mead: the Magazine of Literature & Libations, Lindenwood Review, Louisville Review, South Dakota Review, Tygerburning, Midwestern Gothic, Los Angeles Review, Dunes Review, Naugatuck River Review, Passages North and elsewhere. His first book is completed and looking for a publisher.

Thanks to Paul for sharing his poem and tattoos with us here on 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.

The Tattooed Poets Project: Michael Henry Lee

Michael Henry Lee is appearing on the Tattooed Poets Project for the fourth consecutive year, and it is always a pleasure to share his work.

First, his tattoo:

Photos by Chris Bodor
Michael tells us how this tattoo came to be:
Koi have long been revered by the Samurai of Japan for their; courage, virility, and immortal character. Combine that with Joshua 1:9 from the old testament (Have I not commanded you to be strong and of good courage, neither be fearful or of doubting mind, for I the Lord God am with you wherever you go) and you have for me, the ultimate stay-strong tattoo. The composition was designed by [me], and inked by Tattoo Mike: owner of Tattoo Garden on Saint Augustine Beach in Florida. The wave design was done at The Lovely Pearl Studio by owner Krista Monahan in downtown Saint Augustine."
What I particularly love about Michael's contributions every year, aside from his tattoos, is the fact that he is the only poet who sends us haiku:

*

inchworm
little by little
the lengthening day

*

late winter frost
i do the talking
for both of us

*

fire storm
an absence of birdsong
fills the canyon

*

eye of the storm
a clear view of
the path ahead

*

wind shift
fires burning
inside and out

*

The preceding poems first appeared by their respective order in: Icebox, Haiku News and Mainichi Daily News.

You can check out Michael Henry Lee's previous contributions here, here and here.

Michael Henry Lee’s work continues to appear on or in: Frog Pond, Heron’s Nest, Modern Haiku, and Mainichi Daily News among numerous others. Lee is a husband; of over thirty years, father, and grandfather, animal welfare supporter, and bonsai artist. His work in maintenance, for a sprawling condominium complex on Florida’s intra-costal provides an abundance of inspiration for his Japanese haiku and senryu poems.

As always, many thanks to Michael Henry Lee for his contribution and continued support of the Tattooed Poets Project on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2014 Tattoosday. The poems 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.