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!

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.

And? Michael Robins Punctuates the Tattooed Poets Project

Next up in the Tattooed Poets Project is Michael Robins, who sent us his Ampersand tattoo:


Michael shared some thoughts on his tattoo:
"I trace my history with typefaces as others might relationships or the cars they’ve owned: Palatino after one too many pints at the Low Brow Lounge; Garamond keeping me warm through graduate school; my current adoration of Perpetua. Perpetua is what I wear on the days I don’t leave the house. On most days, I know the chance is slim that my published words—the ones I’m typing now—will appear in my chosen typeface. We do not control language for long, if at all.
Yet we try. When I’m writing a poem, I painstakingly gauge the length of each line and adopt the ampersand, which consumes less space than 'a-n-d.' When it comes down to it, the ampersand offers flexibility for the remaining language and punctuation. There’s aesthetic pleasure in the shape of a single poem, and the energy I give to line lengths can reach the point of obsessiveness.

And new obsessions arise. With the birth of my daughter, I feel compelled to celebrate her life in my poems and, eventually, with a tattoo. A large 'Emerson' on an outer forearm? The letter 'E' between the elbow and shoulder? The skyline of Chicago floating over the roman numerals of her birth? Time marches forward as I wait for that perfect image to arrive. As a male living in the United States, this year (2014) marks the statistical midpoint of my life and the beginning—if lucky—of my second act. Hence, in Perpetua, a new tattoo: '& ______'
The ampersand is an acknowledgement, the empty line a challenge. How will I finish the phrase? With what outlook will I navigate each day? What adjective? What noun? Who do I want to be in the next chapter? What type of husband and father? How much an artist?

Less than a week after conceiving the design, I walked through the door of Deluxe Tattoo [in Chicago]. After learning that I teach creative writing, the tattoo artist, Stephanie White, shared how a high school teacher showered her writing with praise, but ultimately gave the failing grade that kept her from graduating. This story, like any in which someone is disheartened by a teacher, upsets me. I believe, however, that the past shapes who we are in the present, and Stephanie seems to love the route she’s travelling. Because our routes have crossed, I also believe that her story is now partially my own: On a cold, February night, a gifted artist inks an ampersand in the middle of my life."
Michael sent us this poem:

from In Memory of Brilliance & Value (Saturnalia Books, 2015); first appeared in Redactions

Songs from the Second Fiddle

Wagons arrived uninvited, introduced
powders & spade to the flora & fauna.

They set up fences, they tested smoke
inside a cage. Praising as well cascaded,

set in a postmodern pattern. My own
plans held in place with glue, balanced

& threaded & droppings like dimples
into middle age. I stood for blindfolds

erasing the bruising story. I led a horse
to a waterboard but couldn't make him

shrink: not a secret plan, no thimbling
where the pianists vanished into grain.

The sky overhead was green, the land
blue, owls flew in a storm approaching.

We felt a cleansing presence on behalf
of pining. My own heart lit & remained.

~ ~ ~

Michael Robins was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. He is the author of three collections, including Ladies & Gentlemen (Saturnalia Books, 2011) and In Memory of Brilliance & Value (Saturnalia Books, 2015). He is also the author of chapbooks Circus (Flying Guillotine, 2009) and Little Felons (Strange Machine, 2013). He teaches literature and creative writing at Columbia College Chicago and lives in the Jefferson Park neighborhood. For more information, visit www.michaelrobins.org.

Thanks to Michael for his poem and tattoo, shared 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.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Tattooed Poets Project: Geoff Kagan Trenchard

Our next tattooed poet is Geoff Kagan Trenchard, who sent us this photo:


Geoff explains:
"I don’t remember the name of the artist, but the studio was Flyrite in Brooklyn, New York. It was done in February of 2009. My wife Emily and I went to get tattooed as a spur of the moment Valentine’s Day date. At the time, we had known each other for nine years. We had said I love you to one another in at least a dozen different cities. We had just spent two years living in cities on opposite sides of the country, only seeing each other every four months or so. That Valentine’s Day, we had made dinner plans, but not reservations. We both came home from work and neither of us was hungry. We decided on this location because it’s the spot where we like to rest our head’s on each other’s chests. While it wasn't a direct inspiration, the song 'Home' by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros way playing in a lot of backgrounds that year. Can’t tell you how many coffee shops and bars and restaurants and random stores where we heard that song. The choirs goes Home, let me come home. Home is wherever I'm with you. One of the strangest places the song followed us was in the CD player of a car we rented to drive Upstate for a long weekend. Home. I’m coming home. Home is wherever I’m with you out of the speakers of this random Honda Civic from the rental car company attached to the Marriott Downtown. Like someone had put it there just for us. My eyes were welling up before we even got on to the freeway. Home. I’m coming home. Home is wherever I’m with you. Since that February, we've said I love you in a few additional cities, but many more times in cities we've been in before. We now have two children, both of whom rest their heads on the same spots.
Geoff sent us the following poem:

Untitled

At night, the blue sky moves
to where it is needed most.
Every morning I am thankful
that it comes back around.

The first thing that ever really scared me
was the wax ball of minutes
that grew in my mouth
when I waited to be picked up.
Every second made me more sure
that no one was coming to get me.

In my head there is a plastic boulder
hovering above a flowerbox.
The only thing that holds it back
is the smallest wooden door stop.

This morning, the shower
had just enough hot water
to get me in, but not enough
to keep me there for long.

When I came back into the bedroom
You were curled around the good pillow.
Smiled like it was still the weekend.

I want you to know that I quit smoking
because you threatened to leave me
but I stayed quit
because I wanted to grow
bigger than a sculpted shadow.
I want you to know that I think about
babies in a very non abstract way these days,
that I feel safe leaving before you in the morning.
I’m almost 100% sure the blue sky will be waiting for me.

~ ~ ~

Geoff Kagan Trenchard’s poems have been published in numerous journals including Word Riot, The Nervous Breakdown, The Worcester Review, SOFTBLOW and Pemmican. He has received endowments from the National Performance Network, Dance Theater Workshop, The Zellerbach Family Foundation and the City of Oakland to produce original theatrical work. As a mentor for Urban Word NYC, he taught weekly poetry workshops in the foster care center at Bellevue as well as in Rikers Island with Columbia University’sYouth Voices on Lockdown” program. He is a recipient of a fellowship from the Riggio Writing and Democracy program at the New School and the first ever louderARTS Writing Fellowship. He has performed poetry on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, at universities throughout the United States, and in theaters internationally as a member of the performance poetry troupe The Suicide Kings. Penmanship Books published his first poetry collection, Murder Stay Murder. He is currently a Juris Doctor Candidate for the class of 2014 at the Hofstra University School of Law. He lives in Brooklyn and can be found at kagantrenchard.com.

Thanks to Geoff for sharing his tattoo and poem with us here on 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.