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.