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 25, 2011

The Tattooed Poets Project: Claire Nelson

Well, dear readers, I've been waiting to post this next tattoo for over a year, ever since Dorianne Laux posted it on her Facebook wall last April and directed me to it. This amazing tattoo belongs to Claire Nelson. Behold:

This photo was taken shortly after the tattoo was done by artist Ron Henry Wells, who graciously allowed me to copy it from his site and reprint it here. He noted that he "used a antique typewriter that [he owns] as reference". He was also swift to point out that the picture's not that great, as the curve of Claire's thigh makes the tattoo look a little warped, but he swears it is straight. I would beg to differ, as the photo really captures the beauty of the tattoo and the wonderful artifice of the tattooist.

Claire sent me a newer photo for a slightly different perspective:
 

Claire explains this incredible tattoo:
"I love writing, tattoos and typewriters. When I met with Ron at Anonymous Tattoo in Savannah, Georgia, he seemed as psyched about doing my tattoo as I was about getting it. Ron asked a few simple questions. “How do you feel about birds?” I felt good. “Flowers?” I also had positive feelings about flowers. And then, we were off. Two sessions and some intense pain later, I came out with this amazing tattoo. Writing will always be part of my life, and now so will this tattoo."
Claire also shared this poem: 

Kazoo Serenade

The last nice thing you said to me
was “Your breath smells
like vodka,”
as I hummed at you
through a kazoo.
It was an
original composition;
maybe not
technically perfect—
I wasn’t concerned
with mechanics.
Who needs rules
when there are kazoos in the world?

I did an accompanying jig
on a cracked patch
of sidewalk.
Why is cement
always damp
on summer nights? It made such a
satisfying smack
against my bare-feet,
cool and wet,
like the familiar kiss
of a person I rarely see.

I could have danced circles around you
all night
until we were both too dizzy to know
melody from moment,
beauty from spit and plastic.
Instead, I unbuttoned
the pocket
on your shirt, and slipped the kazoo inside.
I don’t need retrospect
to tell me
you don’t deserve
a kazoo serenade. Oh I wish
it was about deserve
and not desire. 
~ ~ ~
Claire Nelson is a senior Dramatic Writing major at Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia. After graduation Claire will be moving to Tallahassee to pursue her M.F.A. in poetry at Florida State University.


As for Ron, he is currently working out of the Boston area, but occasionally is a guest artist at Three Kings Tattoo in Brooklyn.

Thanks to Claire for sharing one of the best tattoos we have seen in this year's Tattooed Poets Project, and for sharing her poetry as well, here on Tattoosday.

This entry is ©2011 Tattoosday. The poem is reprinted here with the permission of the author.

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.

1 comment:

Dorianne said...

And there's Claire!! I like the new photo, too.