Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Murphy and the Jackalope

I met Richelle last fall near Bowling Green in lower Manhattan. She had some really cool black and gay work, like this portrait of her dog, Murphy:


She referred to Murphy as her "little soulmate" and was happy to wear him on her arm.

She also shared this cool creature:


That is a Jackalope, which is a "mythical creature" that she associates with her childhood. Richelle added that she always "hoped [it] was real" and that it was "my version of a unicorn."

Richelle credited her artist, Anka Lavriv (@anka.tattoo) from Black Iris Tattoo (@black_iris_tattoo) in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, with her work. 

I love how the myth of the Jackalope lives on in her ink!

Thanks to Richelle for sharing her cool tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2018 Tattoosday.

If you are seeing this on another website other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.blogspot.com and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Kayleigh's Chamomile

Last fall, while riding up in the elevator at work, I struck up a conversation with Kayleigh, who was sporting this cool tattoo:


Kayleigh identified it as lavender chamomile and credited her sister Megan (@stackofpancake), telling me it was only Megan's second official tattoo.

Thanks to Kayleigh for sharing her cool tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2018 Tattoosday.

If you are seeing this on another website other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.blogspot.com and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Vanessa's Wise Headdress

Back in October, I met Vanessa, across from Federal Hall, in lower Manhattan.

She shared this cool tattoo on the back of her leg:


Occasionally, dear Readers, I interview people and lose all my information, or I snap a photo with the person, who promises to email me with details, and then I never hear from them again.

This is the case with Vanessa's cool tattoo. All I know is that Vanessa hails from Pennsylvania and comes into New York occasionally for roller derby events in which she participates.

I have no artist to credit, as much as this pains me. I hope that by putting this out in the world, I may be able to connect the dots in the future.

Thanks to Vanessa, wherever you are, for sharing this great tattoo!

This entry is ©2018 Tattoosday.

If you are seeing this on another website other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.blogspot.com and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Stephanie and Benzaiten

Last summer, while shopping at a Cost Plus World Market in Brooklyn, I met Stephanie, who shared this lovely tattoo:


Stephanie explained that this is a depiction of Benzaiten, a Japanese Buddhist goddess, who evolved from the Hindu goddess Saraswati. Stephanie was a liberal arts major and Benzaiten is a guardian of poetry and music. She has eight arms, each with a weapon. Benzaiten stares out from her left arm powerfully.

Stephanie credited the tattoo to the great Darren Rosa (@darrenthedude_tattoos) at Rising Dragon Tattoo (@risingdragontattoos) in Manhattan.

Thanks to Stephanie for sharing her tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2018 Tattoosday.


If you are seeing this on another website other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.blogspot.com and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Martin's Tattoos Are Out of This World

I met Martin in Union Square last fall and he shared a couple of really cool tattoos:


This piece was done by David Côté at Imperial Tattoo Connexion (@imperialtattooconnexion) in Montreal. "I really just liked this guy's work," Martin told me, "he does really cool spaceships and stuff."

Martin also had this really neat take on Our Lady of Guadalupe:


Martin explained the origin of this piece:
"I was raised in a Catholic household, but I'm not necessarily believing in it now. I still like the imagery and being really into aliens and stuff, I just kind of like tried to combine [the two] to make it my own."
He credited the artist Ross Jones (@rosskjones) with this cool tattoo. Ross works out of Idle Hand Tattoo (@idlehandsf) in San Francisco, but Martin got the tattoo here on the East Coast when Ross did a guest spot at a local shop.

Thanks to Martin for sharing his tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2018 Tattoosday.


If you are seeing this on another website other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.blogspot.com and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mel's Tattoo and Her Mother

I thought this would be a good post for Mother's Day, as will be self-evident. It started, however, with a father-daughter outing. My eldest and I were seeing a play in Manhattan back in December. The show never went off, however, due to some staging difficulties. While we were waiting in the lobby, we were standing next to a woman with the following tattoo, and we got to talking:


This tattoo is on Mel (interestingly enough, a name my wife and mother of my children goes by) who told us how this tattoo came to be:
"My mom had been talking about getting a tattoo after my parents got divorced along time ago, but she was always kind of opposed to tattoos. So I told her if she ever wanted to get one, I'd get one with her. [She] never took me up on it for about ten years and then, two summers ago now, she just called me up one day in August, and was like, you're coming home at the end of October, right? We're getting tattoos and I know what we're getting. And I was like, okay.  Two months is not a lot of warning, and so, she had seen on Facebook people getting semi-colon tattoos as a response to dealing with depression and my mom has dealt with depression her whole life. She was like, I just don't want a semi colon I want to do something better and so we put a lot of thought into it and figured out you can make the body of a dragonfly, which is my mom's favorite animal, into a semi-colon ... it's really subtle and you would never know it's there unless I tell you that it's in there and it's got a water lily because that's her favorite flower ... she has a version of this on her wrist and I have mine on my arm."
Interestingly, a woman standing nearby had overheard Mel telling me this and chimed in that the semi-colon is  "a little more specifically related to survivors of suicide, because the semi-colon could have stopped their life but didn't."

Considering how suicide and depression are intrinsically linked, the semi-colon for depression still makes sense and Mel seemed unphased by the stranger's clarification. Tattoos mean what they mean to the possessor and, even if they mean something to others, it shouldn't detract from their power to the person who has chosen to mark themselves permanently.

Mel credited Jake Phillips (@twistedskullstudios) from Twisted Skull Tattoo Studio in La Crosse, Wisconsin with the tattoo.

Thanks to Mel for sharing her tattoo with us! Wishing Mel's mom and all mother's out there a happy Mother's Day!

This entry is ©2018 Tattoosday.


If you are seeing this on another website other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.blogspot.com and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Paul and Ian from the UK Share Some Tattoos

Back in October, I met a couple of guys from Britain, on Wall Street, who were heavily tattooed and kind enough to share their work with me.

Paul shared quite several pieces, including this stunning Marilyn Monroe tattoo on his ribs:


He also shared what he called his "Dead Sid Vicious" tattoo on his leg:


In addition, this small piece on his chest:


And this punk tattoo on his torso:


Paul credited a lot of his work to an artist with the moniker "Kaney."

His friend Ian grabbed my attention with this tribal work on the back of his calves:


And he also had a Marilyn Monroe tattoo:


Ian credited the tribal work to an artist in Newcastle named Sharon, who is no longer tattooing.

Cheers to Paul and Ian for sharing their tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2018 Tattoosday.

If you are seeing this on another website other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.blogspot.com and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Richard's Samurai

When warm weather finally hit New York City, after an interminably long winter, inkspotters were rewarded with some great work, including this sleeve-in-progress on Richard:


Richard, who has wanted a samurai-themed sleeve for a long time, is already three sessions in on this arm, with some upcoming work anticipated on his inner forearm.

He credits Nha Nguyen (@nhaomkaratattoo) from Omkara Tattoo (@omkaratattoo) in Philadelphia, with this stunning work.

Thanks to Richard for sharing his samurai sleeve with us here on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2018 Tattoosday.

If you are seeing this on another website other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.blogspot.com and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

Friday, May 4, 2018

May the 4th Be With You, Courtesy of Ben (Tattoosday Goes to Philly)

Back in February, at the 20th Annual Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Convention (@villainarts), I met Ben, who has some amazing work that I saved posting for today, May the Fourth:




Today, of course, is Star Wars day, and Ben (@jedijunkie) has dedicated his canvas to Star Wars imagery, including that amazing Millennium Falcon on his back.

He's working on a full suit and credits artist Phil Morgan at RLMG Tattoos of Orlando (@RLMGTattoos) with his work.

Thanks to Ben for sharing his amazing Star Wars tattoos with us here on Tattoosday! May the Fourth be with you!

This entry is ©2018 Tattoosday.

If you are seeing this on another website other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.blogspot.com and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Rita Banerjee on the Tattooed Poets Project

Our final Tattooed Poet for National Poetry Month is Rita Banerjee, who sent us the following photo of her tattoo:


Rita explains how she came by this tattoo:
"By my senior year of college, I had been tapped into a secret society. When dusk fell over New Brunswick, we wore our dark robes long, accompanied by tawny-colored hats, as we tagged skulls and messages on the sidewalks across Rutgers College. Our secret society, which had been modeled after Skull and Bones and Quill and Dagger, had existed in our quiet but peculiar corner of New Jersey for over a hundred years. Paul Robeson, Ozzie Nelson, Al Aronowitz, Dick Standish, and Rebecca Quick were all members. We let our black robes and anonymity guide us. We wore our mystique close to the vest. Only a handful of deans and administrators kept the roster of our names. And so, in senior year, we easily flitted between the worlds of academic and cultural excellence and our shadow selves. But in May, during our graduation ceremony, our identities would officially be revealed to our fellow classmates and graduating seniors. So before we left the banks of the Old Raritan, broke our clay pipes, and signed our names inside the bell tower of Old Queens, we decided to take up one last dare. One evening, between finals and graduation, we took a trip to Montclair at night. I was the designated driver, and I was in charge of transporting my fellow skulls to a rather funky tattoo parlor in town. I was only there to hold hands and offer encouragement. Just half of us were willing to take the plunge and get a tattoo after all. But before the night was over, I, too, had been persuaded. While other members of our secret society got skulls emblazoned on their biceps and buttocks, I got the words 'Spectemur Agendo' inscribed on my lower back. The phrase was from Ovid, from The Metamorphoses. In Book VIII of The Metamorphoses, Ajax the fearless, exclaims: 'Denique (quid verbis opus est?) spectemur agendo!' That is, 'Finally (what is the use of words?), let us be judged by our actions!' A beautiful and terrifying sentiment. The perfect challenge for a writer: What is the power of words, dear poet? Let us be judged by our actions."
What a great story! In addition to that, Rita also shared, as is custom, a poem, as well:

Paper Men

xeroxing epiphanies at 5¢ a page, the messiah standing next to me has
been speaking the word of hope and rage for 37 years. with 4000 books
living in his mind, he’s international, a sage who hands me a song of
California. and anaheim—anaheim—been on my mind for seven straight
minutes. why? 7 for luck and anaheim for memories not mine. brushing
the tattoo of a carnivale, he says there isn’t a circus in the world he hasn’t
been to. and he’d like to be called Nesmith if you don’t mind. and when he
says Nesmith, i think of mike and white out. white out morning after
crash—seven days of meditating Tantric verse and I crashed, crashed for
six long hours at the highest level of understanding and do you
understand me, child, when I say, I cannot describe it to you? the
Supreme spoke to me and I had something to say. and this I’ve said for
years. and when his eyes ask, believe me, i do ’cause there isn’t a story i
haven’t believed in. and when i nod yes, he says, I have found in your
eyes a kindred spirit. and i think of the paper man i once met on an island.
in my back-pocket wallet, the name Yoshida’s inked, hand-pressed on
rice-white paper. Yoshida sighed once, look at the color of our
women—hair the color of the sun—there is no space for dark anymore.
just the shade of this paper store and the wait, the wait for a word-maker
to pass by. and so he tells me of Korea, the blasphemy of emperors
disgraced, and the beauty of his wife when she wakes him. we talk and
talk and talk of the greatness of rome, sartre, and curry. and somehow
beneath the talk, i can hear his heart. and tonight after kissing another
man of verse, i walk down white halls with a book of words on my head,
and think. today, i met a poet.


~ ~ ~

"Paper Men" originally appeared in the literary journal Objet d’Art and is featured in Rita's new collection Echo in Four Beats (Finishing Line Press, March 2018).

Rita Banerjee is the editor of CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing (C&R Press, May 2018) and the author of the poetry collection Echo in Four Beats (Finishing Line Press, March 2018), which was a finalist for the Red Hen Press Benjamin Saltman Award, Three Mile Harbor Poetry Prize, and Aquarius Press / Willow Books Literature Award, the novella “A Night with Kali” in Approaching Footsteps (Spider Road Press, 2016), and the poetry chapbook Cracklers at Night (Finishing Line Press, 2010). She received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, and her writing appears in the Academy of American Poets, Poets & Writers, Nat. Brut., The Rumpus, The Scofield, Hyphen Magazine, Electric Literature, Painted Bride Quarterly, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere. She is the Executive Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop and an Associate Scholar of Comparative Literature at Harvard University, and teaches on modernism, art-house film, and South Asian literary theory at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in Germany. She is the judge for the 2017 Minerva Rising “Dare to Speak” Poetry Chapbook Contest, and she is currently working on a novel about a Tamil-Jewish American family in crisis during a post-authoritarian regime, a book on South Asian literary modernisms, a documentary film about race and intimacy in the United States and in France, and a collection of essays on race, sex, politics, and everything cool.

Thank you so much to Rita for sharing her tattoo and poem with us here on Tattoosday, as we wrap up our tenth installment of the Tattooed Poets Project!

This entry is ©2018 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission.

If you are reading this on another website other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.net and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

My Maneki-neko (The Tattooed Poets Project)

It is the penultimate day of April, and I have completed submissions for one remaining poet, set for tomorrow. But what about today? Every year, I reach out to dozens and dozens of poets, and I have never struggled as mightily as this year to assemble our lineup. Every year, there are always a handful of rollovers for next year (or the year after), but I generally have spilled over into May. This year, there was a hole at the end of the month, so I've decided to selfishly fill it.

So, dear readers, today's tattooed poet is a returning contributor, William Dickenson Cohen, who first contributed in 2009 here.

This past February, I was at the Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Convention, and I left with this guy on my forearm:


This is a customized version of a Maneki-neko cat. Most folks may recognize the basic image from Asian-owned businesses, who have these cats, with waving paws, in their storefronts. The cat is meant to bring success and good fortune and, growing up in Hawai'i, they were everywhere.

Here's the one we've had in our home since the early 1990's, which survived several California earthquakes, and still diligently stands guard:


So, when I knew I was going to Philly, and learned that artist JJ Ohlinger from Prohibition Ink was working the show, I discussed the possibility of getting work from him when I was there. I told him I had wanted a Maneki-neko, and gave him free reign to come up with a design. He drew up two, changing the piece that features kanji to resemble a Pabst Blue Ribbon can. He said he looked through my Facebook feed and mostly saw posts relating to politics and beer, and he didn't think he could work our president into the cat design.

Post-tattoo with JJ Ohlinger (right) at the Philadelphia Convention
At the Philadelphia convention, the stars aligned and JJ was able to fit me in. The result is a quirky, colorful Maneki-neko which I hope will bring good fortune and future success to me and my family.

Back in 2009, when I snuck my own tattoo and poem into the first year of the Tattooed Poets Project, I diligently worked on a tattoo-related sestina, which I was thinking would be appropriate to re-share. I recently read it in public for the first time, and it was well-received. I decided against re-posting it but, if you're interested, you can find it here.

Instead, I offer up this new poem, hastily composed last Friday when it looked like I was going to need to fill a hole in our line-up:

Tattoo Poem

My epitaph will be tattooed
Into something more permanent

Than flesh.


But we’re kidding ourselves
If we think permanence
Is anything but temporary.

We are all data, with half-
lives,

Some shorter than others.


The red ink on my thigh
Is “falling out,” as they say,
The cells expelling molecules
Glacially.

Why decompose
A poem
When words wriggle like worms
Into the mud?

Blood is swept away
As the tattooer stretches the flesh
More molecules
Disappearing into some other form
Like fading stains on the sidewalk.

I hum along to the needle’s song.
The melody is beautiful
And the machines, buzzing their approval,

Sting and sing again,
Reminding us we are alive

In the moment
Before we disappear forever.
 

~ ~ ~

Please return tomorrow for our final post of the 2018 Tattooed Poets Project, and thank you for allowing me to share my newest tattoo and poem here on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2018 Tattoosday.

If you are reading this on another website other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.net and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Shirley Luke on the Tattooed Poets Project

Today's Tattooed Poet is Shirley Luke, who sent us this image of what she refers to as her "Mama Dragon Tattoo:"


Shirley tells us:

"I got inked 14 years ago when my son was born. He was a premie, born 2 months early. I got the tattoo when was was released from the hospital. It represents how anyone who messes with my son will get burned. The first letter in his name is in the heart that the dragon holds, protecting my son.

The tattoo was done at a shop in Quincy, Massachusetts by an artist whose name she has forgotten.

Shirley also shared the following poem:

She Wears the Mark

I am the true mother of dragons
red skin dynasty,  rising claws
striking down the dangers
from an unjust society.
A tongue from Africa,
protecting her child,
the next generation
to cross the skies,
burn the mountains
and travel through
forests, following their elders'
path forged by their sacrifice,
so these children of the scaled
flesh will not become beasts
of no nation & blaze
a path of their own.

~ ~ ~

Shirley Jones Luke is a poet and a writer. Ms. Luke lives in Boston, Mass. She has an MFA from Emerson College. Her work merges poetry with memoir. Shirley was a 2017 Poetry Fellow at the Watering Hole Poetry Retreat.

Thanks to Shirley for sharing her tattoo and poem with us here on the Tattooed Poets Project on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2018 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission.

If you are reading this on another website other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.net and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Emily Wolahan on the Tattooed Poets Project

Our next tattooed poet is Emily Wolahan, who shared her ink with us:


Emily tells us:
"My first tattoo was one of the birds in the flock I've got on my arm (the one at the bottom). They are all swallows and this first one I had done immediately after my daughter was born. I was living in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England—the first time I'd lived permanently outside the US in over 10 years. As a kid who grew up moving around internationally, I never felt like I had a home and when I relocated to England, the sense of being unmoored hit me again. I chose the swallow because sailors would get a swallow for each 5,000 nautical miles traveled. I felt I'd earned at least one. Later, I liked the idea of having a swarm. The swallow can also symbolize a successful journey and when I had the other swallows done, I was on my way out of Newcastle and headed back to the US."
She also shared the following photo with a couple additional pieces:


Emily added:
"My next tattoos are for my family. On my wrist is an ornate "S & F," my kids Sylvie and Franklin. The band further up that arm is the same design as on my wedding band. This tattoo was done by Greg Rojas at Ed Hardy's Tattoo City in San Francisco. Greg was recommended to me, but I hadn't really put the whole 'Ed Hardy' thing together until I was at the studio. Ed Hardy himself came in while I was on the table for a chat. Greg's since moved up to Petaluma, but I hope I can have him do my next, as-yet-undecided tattoo—he's incredible."
In addition to her tattoos, Emily shared " old poem, in honor of when the tattoos happened," noting that "the title is from Thomas Hardy—the 'sly and unseen' day is the one when death comes:

SLY AND UNSEEN



The infant cannot stop laughing. 

In the white gallery, his mother inspects 

where concrete meets a burst of dirt feeding 

blades. Freshly painted walls abut 

the grass line guttering. 

She watches it fed synthetic sun.  

Exhibit: new air, new cycle. 

The infant laughing. 

Below a flat gallery of clouds, the city pigeon 

must rise, beating against the volume 

of empty space, its intricate layer, 

feather moving air.  

Hollow bones espouse its inaccessible landscape, 

push higher, higher, until pressure changes, 

oxygen changes and turn then to

plummet in an open marriage to the core.  

The backward pump of a bird landing 

in the full sway of pregnant trees, 

their acknowledgement of captive air. 


To step barefoot on the grass,

to change limbs' mobility, lightness in bones, 

coolness between toes and tickled ankle. 

The infant, laughing, 

bids goodbye to the room. The room collapses.  

It seems phenomenal an animal 

can hold still in that air.  

That some solutions 

become answers, their spatial disclosure 

a forklift of readiness. And the rest: 

our unseen day 

carried on and up and away.

~ ~ ~

Emily Wolahan is the author of HINGE, published by the National Poetry Review Press. Her poems have been published in Oversound, Boston Review, Volt, DIAGRAM, Tinderbox, and other places. Her poems have won the Georgia Review Loraine Williams Poetry Prize and the Arts & Letters Unclassifiables Contest. She is Senior Editor at Two Lines Press, Editor of JERRY, and lives in San Francisco. She is currently an Affiliate Artist at the Headlands Center for the Arts.

Thanks to Emily for sharing her poem and tattoos with us here on Tattoosday's Tattooed Poets Project!


This entry is ©2018 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission.

If you are reading this on another website other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.net and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Three for Thursday, Part 3: Molly Raynor on the Tattooed Poets Project

As mentioned in two earlier posts today (here and here), this Thursday we are celebrating three poets with three linked tattoos:


We already celebrated Lauuren Whitehead and Mariama Lockington's poems (and tattoos) in the previous posts, so last, but not least is Molly Raynor.

In case you missed them, the tattoos were inspired by Mariama's pose during sunset on Venice Beach in L.A.:


This image, burned in the sunset, was inked on these friends' wrists, exemplifying their connection and friendship.

That's Molly in the Middle

Molly's poem follows:

>>>>>> sisterchurch <<<<<<

for mari & lauren

in the temple of your cracking laugh i bend / praise the way poetry penned us kin freshman year /
when you borrowed my magenta pants & i wrote you a note after the slam / asking you to be my
friend / how bold we were / how unbroken / open as summer windows

>>>

in our dingy ann arbor apartment we watched sex and the city & played egyptian ratscrew / scratching
each other with acrylic nails / rhinestones glittering like nightsky / in our first apartment in oakland
we watched america’s next top model / fridge full of faded poems / chorizo & avocado / kitchen walls
stained red with mole from the day we smashed 16 peppers to paste with bittersweet chocolate &
lard from frida’s cookbook / proud / candles lit on spell-soaked altars / draped in gold & lavender /
we found faith / peeled off our skinny jeans & pulled on our fat pants / flung our bras across the
room under the wise eyes of billie, badu & gwendolyn / ghosts of madwomen insulating our walls
in winter / when the sun sunk we’d blast beyonce & dig through each other’s closets / line our eyes
with black kohl / because friday night in oakland was like the first time a boy kissed me with his
tongue / we’d head to lukas where we became other women / all ginger rum & slow wine & eyes
like baited fishhooks / trying to reclaim that which was taken from us / we, our own best dreams

>>>

in the gospel of your gossip / in the pews of your pep talks i kneel / praise the way i am seen by
you / so many secrets stitched into seams of our lips / hips thickening with each other’s
heartbreak / came home for holidays & parents wondered if we’d been eating or fucking too much
when it’s the weight of bearing witness women carry round our waists / you archivists of my
darkest days / how you lifted the garland of grief / slashed the sash of shame to scarlet scraps of
laughter & fuck him & mint-laced hookah smoke curling up to god / the darksugar of your love
lifting me / so many times you saved me from myself

>>>

lil’ wayne & alanis morissette echoing down the 1 / the sweat & shimmer of girlbodies unfurling like
jasmine buds in teapot / steam rising from our thirsty, sturdy hearts / we made pilgrimage to
ocean / greyed lip of froth & foam / made fort of sunbleached wood / carved our names into the
sand beneath the setting sun / took a picture of mari dancing / bird body silhouetted against burnt
persimmon sky / dusky croon of gulls flocking above us / then on a whim, went to the tattoo shop
in la & inked that frozen moment into our wrists / three of her spread into us: bracelet of chosen
blood / my madwomen, you gather me / my kindest mirrors / my sweetest marrow / you are the
salvaged shine of this heavy country / the glory cake in my tattered mouth / you unsorry my
tongue / ease the violence from my tired body

>>>

in the scripture of our group text i press palms together /
                        psalms of sisterchurch blooming from our fenty fuchsia lips /
                                                                                                       you are the holiest thing i know

~ ~ ~

Molly Pershin Raynor is a poet and educator. She has facilitated poetry workshops in prisons, halfway houses, high schools and teen centers, and traveled coast to coast performing spoken word. Molly co-founded RAW Talent (now the RYSE Performing Arts Program) in Richmond, California. Her work is highlighted in the documentary film on Netflix, "Romeo Is Bleeding," which follows her co-founder Donte Clark and their students as they fight to address gun violence through spoken word and theater. She won a Jefferson Award for Public Service and a Teachers 4 Social Justice Award. Molly just moved back to her hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan, to serve as the Literary Arts Program Manager at the Neutral Zone Teen Center. Her poetry has been featured on NPR and published in several literary magazines including Vinyl, The Rumpus and Porkbelly Press.

Thanks to Molly (and Mariama and Lauren) for sharing their poems and tattoos with us here on The Tattooed Poets Project on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2018 Tattoosday. The poems and tattoos are reprinted with the poet's permission.


If you are reading this on another website other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.net and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

Three for Thursday, Part 2 - Lauren Whitehead on the Tattooed Poets Project

As mentioned in an earlier post today (here), today we are celebrating three poets with three linked tattoos:


We already celebrated Mariama Lockington's poem (and tattoo) in the previous post, and Molly Raymor's will appear later today.

In case you missed the previous post, the tattoo was inspired by this photo of Mariama on Vencie Beach in L.A.:


The three poets are inextricably linked by their friendship and shared tattoo.


This post features the poem from Lauren Whitehead (pictured on the right, above):

we three bitches

three cheers for my bad bitches, spread out wide
at the public library table with books & pens & bold
patterned pencil skirts split up the back, spines

stretched long, fully reading for the gods. holy
& holy & holy, amen for my bottom bitches, writing
it all down right now, stacking shelf after shelf

with palm sized notebooks, thick with pretty wisdoms
& perfect elegies for the women we should have been.
three battle stars for these sergeants, crafting in chaos,

reciting her saints, pulling through like prayer beads
after hauling all her baggage back & forth across
landmass, skirting whirlpools & mantraps, unlearning

over & again all the petty wishes of a dying class.
three survivals in a winter place for each one
of my madwomen, making mistakes & keeping

receipts. cussing out when cussed at. throwing hands
at whoever hands need be thrown at, a thoroughbred
stance in grey patent leather slingbacks. clap it back

for my bridesmaids. my believe me bitches. my loyalists
& keepsake queens with their pressed petals & wind
chimes & precious stones grabbed up at low tide, hung

like armor around their wrists & necks. rare jewels
for all my heavies. just jewels upon jewels upon glitter
upon gleam, draped over each titty in every color

of her flag, shine for these bitches, fluent in multiple
Englishes, translating tarot cards & star charts & every
brand of fuck shit some fool might think to speak

into her yard. three charms for these hungry witches,
my seal a spell with a salt bath bitties, old poem
on a postcard hoes, old open palm in the dark ass tricks,

sipping tea & reading leaves & sitting back sometimes,
just not saying shit. keep it quiet for my humble woes,
slinking through a dance floor like snakes in high grass,

untouchable bitches, thrifty chicks making earrings
out of everything, every bad lover, every bad look,
every unforgivable intention. a wash, a wash, a wash

on all your houses. three rings for all your fingers. three
orisha in the morning singing sweet songs outside
your window. oh wonders, oh royals, you imperfect

gods, three burnings for your birthdays. three alters
facing west. three mantras of your names in every river
when i arrive. three Frida’s holding hands. three gardenia

for each ear. three wishes for you sisterfriends: all your
worries ribbon tied to the foot of a black bird flown
away, away, away. every unworthy out through

one well earned door. & these two hands. these only
two hands i have to offer. two hands & two wrists
at your back, by your side, skin to skin, for always.

~ ~ ~

Lauren Whitehead is a writer, performer, and MFA recipient in dramaturgy (Columbia University). She writes in several forms including poetry, nonfiction, and drama. Her work has been published in Apogee, Winter Tangerine, HEArt Online, and in selected anthologies. She has performed in venues around the country, notably: The Apollo Theater and The Kennedy Center. She is a Sundance Theater Lab Fellow and she teaches advanced playwriting and dramaturgy at The New School. More info: laurenawhitehead.com

Thanks to Lauren (and Molly and Mariama) for sharing their poems and tattoos with us here on The Tattooed Poets Project on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2018 Tattoosday. The poems and tattoos are reprinted with the poet's permission.


If you are reading this on another website other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.net and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.