He sent us this pretty amazing phoenix:
Here's a little more detail:
And a close-up of the feather shading and detail:
Michael just got this done over the course of three sessions in the fall of 2015 and his artist was Josh Wilcox (Instagram here) at Heritage Tattoo in Las Vegas.
Why this design? Michael elaborates:
"...Aside from the obvious symbology of rebirth and renewal, there are two other reasons I got a Chinese Phoenix. The first is that I spent a year teaching and living in Guangzhou, China and that was an incredibly revelatory experience that had an immense impact in shaping who I am today. The second reason is that I write about birds quite a bit in my poetry. They have always been and continue to be a very important image and have a deep connection with how I explore my relationship with the world and my poetic philosophy."Michael sent us the following poem, as well:
They Are, I Hear
They’re so quiet when they come
I invite them in
because they are inviting in their silence
it’s only afterwards
when all that’s left for them
is to remember
that they begin their ceaseless chatter
What does it sound like
when an empty spirit rattles?
Ask my branches, ask bark
Ask my branches, ask bark
the dirt beneath the tents they pitch
around every wild sorrow
they hope to leave here
~ ~ ~
Michael Kroesche received his BA in English from the University of Southern California and his MFA in Poetry from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he is currently an instructor. Michael has lived and taught all over the world, from high-need communities in Los Angeles to ESL instruction in Guangzhou, China. In addition to his teaching and travel, his poetry, fiction, and critical work have appeared in literary magazines such as Interim, The Chiron Review, Breakwater Review, Cactus Heart, Foliate Oak, and Bayou, and he has been a regular panelist and presenter at the Far West Pop Culture Conference, among others. He is currently working on a collection of poetry based on Aokigahara, the suicide forest of Japan. You can find his work in the aforementioned magazines and others, or for somewhat lighter fare follow his Tumblr feed @AlienBasho.
In addition, Michael was recently interviewed on a podcast called CreateCast, where his brother interviews creative types (ranging from writers to chefs to dancers etc.) about their creative process. Michael was featured in season 2, episode 22. He was also the headlining guest reader at a monthly reading series in Las Vegas called Neon Lit. The video is embedded below.
Thanks to Michael for sharing his awesome tattoo and poem with us here on The Tattooed Poets Project on Tattoosday!
This entry is ©2016 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission.