"In 2013 I had this tattoo done by Vincent Vasconez at Tattoo & Co. in Miami. [Vasconez now works out of Kreepy Tiki Tattoos in Ft. Lauderdale.] It is a realistic interpretation of a hop cone dressed in 19th Century attire a la Sierra Nevada's Hoptimum logo.
Doc sent us this poem, which was originally published in Chicago Quarterly Review:For me, beer is one of the more interesting goods of our time. Its history (IPA's extreme hop presence is the result of the beer needing to survive long 19th century boat journeys from England to India), science (it's fermentation process relies on active yeast, or in other worlds tiny live microorganisms), originality (in a time when chain stores have resulted in a nation of identical highway exits, craft breweries are thriving thanks to independent owners, local support and creative experimentation) and art (talk to a brewmaster for more than ten minutes and you'll encounter the same passion and complexity that accompanies painters, sculptors and singers discussing their craft) all fascinate me, and involve the larger subjects I like to explore in my life and poetry. Vincent's interpretation of the image really helped it come alive, and the addition of his signature 'Wynwood' watercolor boarder helps connect it to place and time."
It is going very badly.
A cargo of teak, opium, ivory and influenza.
The captain scrapes barnacles off the helm
while the crew tries to sober-up
on seawater and fish scales. Refusing to improve
upon the banter of wind and wave, the sailors fantasize
about jellyfish on toast and turtle-shell cigars.
A time of roving stars and shifting horizons,
Cannibals and kraken.
A time when you can return to port and claim
whales so big you ran aground on one,
lost a cabin boy down its blowhole,
no one knowing enough to question you.
Back when sailors wear gold earrings so
their corpses can afford a proper burial.
And the frigate birds swoop down
with eyes for plunder.
~ ~ ~
Doc Suds is a Wisconsin native currently residing in North Miami, Fl. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Atlanta Review, Madison Review, Manhattan Review, New Delta Review, Gargoyle, Paper Darts, Silk Road Review and elsewhere. Encounter him more here: @docsuds and docsuds.wordpress.com.
Thanks to Doc for sharing his 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.