Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Tattooed Poets Project: Michael Henry Lee

Today's tattoo was submitted by Michael Henry Lee:

Photo courtesy of Michael Henry Lee
There's a lot going on here, so let's let Michael explain:

"The work pictured began about 36 years ago in Kansas City, Mo. I only remember the artist's name as John. The piece started with the stylized exotic bird's head that John took credit for as his own. A few years later I found the same piece on the back of a Mountain album cover. Imagine. Fast forward a couple of decades to a fantastic shop [Soul Expressions Tattoo Studio] in Temecula Ca. and an artist named Dan Adair. The sun and Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah were added there. The sun was David's design and the Lion comes from the Ethiopian flag borrowed from a Bob Marley album. The conceptual idea was mine and is meant to be symbolic of the Christian trinity: Father (as the sun), the Son (as the Conquering Lion) and our old buddy the bird (as the holy spirit). The seven is symbolic of the biblical number of completion and is repeated three times. The piece was just retouched and colored last year in Saint Augustine, Florida, by Tattoo Mike from Tattoo Garden."
Michael also offered up several short poems, including some haiku:

"tattoo impressions"
    van goes home
stepping out in a starry night    

(first appeared in graffiti kolkata Aug 2010)


tattoo garden
 the blush returns
 to mother's rose


What Love’s Got to do with It

It was rumored of late
that Love;
is suffering from a stolen identity

Eros has hacked into Agape
like the evil twin exchanged at birth;
     Ying for Yang
           The Pauper for the Prince
                    Cain for Abel

The imposter has taken control
using seduction and guile
to manipulate the hearts and minds
of whoever might be deceived

Love’s calling all investors
Setting the record straight
Distancing itself from a nefarious sibling

Love does not
          sell cars, clothes, food, or personal hygiene products
Love knows
          the grass isn’t greener in the next field,
          and besides brown is highly underrated anyway
Love always makes deposits
          but not withdrawals
Love is patient as water
          smoothing stone          
Love knows the worst
          but hopes for the best
Love bites its tongue and swallows its pride
Love looks at the heart
          not: boobs, biceps, or bank accounts
Love is the first one into a burning building
          an the last one off a sinking ship
Love builds
                  and  Nations 
Love is an invisible necessity
         like  time, gravity, and oxygen

Love is beyond time and space



                    a promise
            one poured out for all 
                     that they

"What Love's Got to do with It" first appeared in Heart Pour The Love Book from Poet Plant Press, 2011


Michael Henry Lee is a husband, father and grandfather. He and his wife of 30 years reside in St. Augustine, Florida; the nation’s oldest city, along with two cats, and numerous bonsai trees.

Michael is a member of Ancient City Poets and the Haiku Society of America. The last Sunday of every month generally finds him at the Heart Pour Matinee; an open mic poetry reading that features seasoned artists as well as new talents. 

Mr. Lee serves as contributing co-editor for Poet Plant Press, and is a frequent contributor to Haiku News, and Haiku Ramblings. His work has appeared in Berry Blue Haiku, and Graffiti Kolkata He was voted among the favorites in the 2009 Alibi Weekly annual haiku contest, and was awarded third place prize in the Yukei Teikei Annual Tokutomi Haiku Contest for 2010.

Mr. Lee is quoted as saying “my objective is to express the good news and mystery of life in every breath, through the simplicity of haiku”.

Thanks to Michael Henry Lee for sharing his tattoo and his work with us here on Tattoosday!

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

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