Our next tattooed poet reached out to me on social media and shared this tattoo:
This is the back of David Greenspan, who started Butcher Shop Press in 1999 after running Oneonta State College's literary and art journal for several years.
David told me, "The first time I ever used the butcher image was in a poem I wrote in high school called 'an American Dream.' " He added, "the line read no more sour looks for the butcher, no more time to stop and chew the fat."
He also sent us the following poem, "The Butcher Shop," which he composed "a few years later while sitting in an American poetry class:"
The Butcher Shop
I walk the street in search of meat
because this vegetarian poem has left me hungry
outside this hippie café as the parade passes by
with nothing to say
stop on some corner and step inside
“Can I have two pounds of thick cut poetry?”
I ask and the man with more hair on his arms
and chin than on his head says
“Sorry, we’re all out.”
Out of lines, out of dreams
so I walk outside and try to screw
the light back in above my head
only to hear the poem shaking around inside
and I don’t have the two dollars to buy a new one.
So I start on the go and notice in the window
that my reflection has put on some weight since the butcher shop
So I suck in my cheeks and stand for weeks
on impotent closed lines, half erased words and boring verbs
only to find my sweater’s wearing thin.
So I tie one loose strand to the meter
and leave it outside with the dogs as all the Strands should’ve been long ago
I buy papers for the butcher
I keep Maya’s poetry under my caged birds
and I start to walk and “Whoo. . .do I feel a draft coming in?”
or out as I lift my pen and cut the butcher in half.
And he asks why would I ever do a thing like that?
and he eats crab apples and puppy dogs and licorice
and he darns his socks with dental floss
and he does the hokey pokey and he turns himself around
and starts to cry “That’s what it’s all about?”
Where’s my course?
My coarse course, my vision for a course
I’m tired of these salty saloons and dark doors
tired of these idiosyncratic idiots all laughing at their own jokes.
I’m tired of constipated poetry, It must stop!
I’m full. Exhausted. Breathing heavier than last night’s romp. . .
so I walk back down to the butcher
and throw a painting on the counter and say:“Give me three pounds of Van Gogh’s ear pounded thin!”
Thanks to David for sharing his poem and tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!
This entry is ©2015 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission.