Our next tattooed poet is Nicole Santalucia. Check out the tattoo she sent us:
I know readers may wonder why we're featuring a faded Cat in the Hat tattoo, but I love Nicole's tale of this memento from her early youth:
"I think there was a rusty screwdriver and a motor from a remote control car involved in the makeshift tattoo gun. I was about 13 years old when I thought it was creative and symbolic to get Cat in the Hat tattooed on my leg.
I didn't learn how to read until about fifth grade and I felt indebted to Dr. Seuss and Clifford. I kept secrets. Not knowing how to read, when I started to learn to how read, and Cat in the Hat and Clifford were secrets.
I was in a time pinch when I got this tattoo because I had sneak out of school during lunchtime and make it back before anyone noticed. The memory is faded and droopy and so is the tattoo. I remember tracing Cat in the Hat out of a book and showing up at an ex-con's house near my middle school. There was more more effort put into figuring out how to sneak around. I swore to myself that I would never regret it. And, over twenty years later I don’t fully regret the black mark that looks more like I slammed a car door shut on my ankle, or that I got bar-coded the day I was born and the ink smeared.Nicole sent us this poem which appeared previously on Poetrybay
I’ve considered getting this black mark covered by a real tattoo artist, but I never did because I don’t ever want forget those lonely teenage years."
THE PRISONER AND THE FLOOD
There are some people who will outlive cockroaches;
you are not one of them.
There are others who will have an allergic reaction,
and others who will climb out their bedroom window
to sit on the roof of their house
and wait for the moon to disappear into a bloodshot sky.
You might press your hand against the cold cement floor
or fall off of the top bunk and wonder why the smell
of the river is everywhere now.
It wouldn’t make a difference if I sat outside your jail cell
and waited or if you try to run from the prison yard
that’s on the side of a mountain;
not only will the guards aim for your head,
but you’ll have nowhere to go
because everything is under water.
You are afraid of the Mexican gang and I’m afraid
of the men who are gliding by in rowboats
trying to find out if any kids drowned in the river
that swallowed their houses.
~ ~ ~
Nicole Santalucia received her MFA from The New School University and her PhD in English from Binghamton University. She founded The Binghamton Poetry Project, a literary outreach program, in 2011. Nicole won the Ruby Irene Poetry Chapbook Prize from Arcadia Magazine Inc. for Driving Yourself to Jail in July—published in January 2014. Her non-fiction and poetry appear in The Cincinnati Review, Paterson Literary Review, Hawaii Pacific Review, 2 Bridges Review, Bayou Magazine, Gertrude, Flyway: Journal of Writing and Environment, Burlesque Press and others. She teaches English and Creative Writing at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania.
Thanks to Nicole for sharing her tattoo and poem with us here on the Tattooed Poets Project!
This entry is ©2015 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission.