Friday, April 22, 2011

The Tattooed Poets Project: Grisel Acosta

Today's tattooed poet, Dr. Grisel  Y. Acosta, sends her submission in from Texas:

 Grisel explains this body art:
The Mets are kind of responsible for the tattoo I have on my arm and shoulder.  See, my husband is obsessed with the Mets and when we moved to San Antonio from the East Coast, he lamented not being able to see his team on a regular basis.  He was so puppy-dog sad that when he planned a trip to Houston purely on the basis of seeing the Mets play the Astros in Minute Maid Park, I couldn’t help but enthusiastically agree, just to see the wonderfully happy look on his face.  But, I said that if he was going to have a cool experience on the trip, I had to have one, too: I was to get my next tattoo at the famous Texas Body Art, known for countless features in tattoo magazines and highlighted appearances at tattoo shows across the country.  I wanted a skull with blue roses coming out of it but I was wavering about the idea.  Then, a dear friend reminded me of the literary connection of the image in Tennessee WilliamsThe Glass Menagerie, one of my favorite plays by one of my favorite writers.  Ah, yes, the idea was perfect—and the trip was, too!  The Mets won in a record 17 innings!  And I won a professional work of art that was designed on the spot in a matter of minutes by the skilled artists at Texas Body Art.  Sweet!
For people not familiar with The Glass Menagerie, one of the characters, Laura, has the nickname "Blue Roses".

Grisel also sent along this poem:
Papi threw out all my artwork.

Derek’s carved open chest,
blue-black heart and orange skin in
Design marker scrawl,
condemning our underground afternoon of
Southside sad lust.

A spotlighted box of cereal called “Health”
in a room with a grass floor, pine tree
decoration, and chopped lumber sitting neatly.
Acrylic nature.  I miss this one the most.
I am reminded of it every time I shop at Whole Foods.

Even the two-bits.  Tiny 2x2 art,
entered in competition, or sold.
Two of mine won awards.
One of them, my first sale, was bought for $5.
It was a multi-colored, swirling cathedral called “My Bed.”

I placed all the work under the bed
in the guest room.  By my next visit,
it was gone,

except for “Insane Bridget.”
She is framed and in the living room,
face turned away, bony back
curved at the viewer, harsh
charcoal on brown paper.
Dark copper sadness, winner of a gold prize.

Papi values winning.
Anything else is trash.

And this is why, today, he is so afraid,
scared that retirement means he, too, is trash,
wary of children who might find him useless.

But artists make beauty out of trash.
We roll in the discarded and live with its decline,
listen to it crumble and make the sound song,
cradle it in our hands and sculpt it useful.
 ~ ~ ~

Dr. Grisel Y. Acosta recently graduated from the doctoral program in English at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where she was also the managing editor of UTSA’s art and literature journal, SagebrushReview.  Some of her creative work can be found in After Hours, Pembroke Magazine, MiPoesias, the NAACP Image Award nominated Check the Rhyme, PrivateInternational Photo Review, and Voicesde la Luna.  Some of her scholarly work can be found in African AmericanWomen’s Language, Western AmericanLiterature, The Handbook ofLatinos/as and Education, and the forthcoming Routledge Companion to Latino/a Literature.  Her influences include her Cuban/Colombian heritage, Chicago—where she was born, house and punk music, sci-fi and cyberculture.

A sincere thanks to Grisel for sharing her tattoo and poem with us here on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2011 Tattoosday. The poem is reprinted here with the permission of the author.

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1 comment:

Grisel said...

Thanks, Bill - love the project and all the amazing poets!