That is, of course, a red wheelbarrow, a common item made famous by William Carlos Williams' iconic poem:
The Red Wheelbarrow
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
~ ~ ~Alex elaborates:
"When we were kids, my mother made my brother and me memorize and recite poems. Though we didn't talk about it until we were adults, we were both stricken by the authority and presence of 'The Red Wheelbarrow.'
For years we had thought about getting tattoos that worked together as a set but had never found a suitable subject. In 2010, he went back to school as English major while I was entering the first year of my MFA in creative writing. While visiting over the winter break and planning our mother's 60th birthday party, talk came around to the poems we memorized a kids and renewed our efforts to find a good set of tattoos. 'The Red Wheelbarrow,' with two perfect, ready made images, solved our dilemma. That night we drew up a pair of white chickens for him and a red wheelbarrow for me and the next day had them done.
Because Williams made use of the rhythm and diction of the American vernacular, we choose a local tattoo parlor that seemed analogous. The website for Hell Bomb Tattoo, in Wichita, KS, displayed an index of, what we imagined to be, classic Mid-Western tattoo art."I asked Alex if he could send along his brother’s tattoo, as well, and he happily obliged:
And a shot of them together:
As for verse, Alex shared this poem:
—she was the kind of girl
had something really sweet
the braille of her
Something about flowers or
of melancholy and how good
to those who wait politely and say please. So,
“Thanks,” it said. It was damp and difficult
“I haven’t been fucked like that since I was an
Thanks.” It was the second “thanks” that really
When she woke, she smiled politely
coffee politely and made my face look
sensible and clean.
I haven’t checked since. I don’t even read her e-
Once, I held the door open for her mother, she said
and I stammered “sorry” pretty loud. It was really the second “thanks”
that threw me.
~ ~ ~
Alex Dryden is a MFA candidate in Poetry at The New School. His work was most recently published on The Best American Poetry blog.
Thanks to Alex for this contribution to the Tattooed Poets Project on Tattoosday!
This entry is ©2012 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission.