Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Tattooed Poets Project: Patricia Carragon

Our second tattooed poet this month is Patricia Carragon, a New York City poet who was instrumental in helping send several other poets our way for the Tattooed Poets Project this year.

I was fortunate enough to meet Patricia back in February, where I shot this photo of her ink, at my local Borders store:

Patricia sent along this narrative about her Rose-Tattoo Bracelet:
It was a Saturday afternoon in October, 1997.  I was finally going to get a sexy rose bracelet tattooed above my right ankle.  I’ve already had a referral from my hairdresser to do it at New York Adorned on Second Avenue.  I recalled having a henna design painted on my right wrist by a street artist in SoHo earlier that summer – and loved it.  I was tired of wearing ankle bracelets that would snap off without notice.  Since I didn’t have a picture with me, I searched for possibilities in the tattoo parlor’s books.  Not one rose drawing fit the image engraved in my head.  A tattoo artist would have the honor of fulfilling my request.  Unfortunately, it was Saturday and it was busy.  I knew I would not be home until after eight, and supper would have to be much later.  I had no choice, but to call home.  I wanted to surprise my mother without dealing with her pre-ink drama.  But that was not meant to be. 

“Oh… a rose-tattoo bracelet?  Can lasers remove it?”

“Yes, Mom, but I’m not going to do that.  I’ll be home in a few hours.  Bye…"

My time arrived.  I had coffee sweetened with sugar about an hour ago. Although I was warned that my body needed solid food and sugar to prevent passing out during the procedure, I still didn’t want to overeat because of supper.  My artist drew on paper the bracelet that would be outlined above my ankle.  I adored the rose-chain stencil on my body.  I was ready for baptism by ink – peachy pink for the roses and yellow-green for the leaves. 

Once propped up on the cot, the needle pierced my skin and began its journey along the artist’s outline.  Surprisingly, I didn’t feel any pain.  As minutes passed, the needle worked along the design’s path.  About halfway through, the needle must have sent some negative signals to my brain.  A sudden feeling of dizziness overcame me.  The needle immediately stopped.  My slender tattooist and his colleague, who resembled a burly motorcyclist, carried me to another room where I was fed Halloween candy.  An ice pack was placed in back of my head.  I rested for approximately twenty minutes.  I recovered and was ready for the needle and my rose bracelet’s completion.  I apologized for what had happened, knowing that, with low blood pressure, I should have been more careful.  The heavy-set tattooist told me not to feel bad.  Even the toughest-looking customers pass out under the needle. 

Feeling better, I sat up on the cot and watched the needle complete the outline.  Then came the application of the colors.  My roses became part of my skin and self-expression. 
Wrapped in Bacitracin and Saran Wrap, I got dressed.  It was worth charging this bracelet on one of my plastic cards.  I wish that I had saved the receipt.  I think it probably cost me one-hundred-eighty dollars.

Later that night, Mom made a comment when I undid the Saran Wrap.

“Oh… you got a large tattoo.  I thought you were going for one rose?  Can lasers still remove it?”

“Yes, Mom, but I’m not going to do that.  I spent money on this tattoo and I’m keeping it for life.”

What was a novelty back in the late ’90s is now the norm today.  The roses above my right ankle, sadly, look faded after fourteen years.  I wish I had the money to bring back their color.  At least Mom stopped giving me prickly advice about getting laser treatment.

Patricia Carragon  February 2011
Patricia also sent along the following prose piece. And, although it is not a poem, this is the Tattooed Poets Project, not the Tattooed Poems Project:
Cupcake Chronicles #9- Friday evening before midnight, February 13, 2009

It was the end of the world.  All the cupcakes disappeared overnight.  All the bakeshops stopped making them.  All the recipes became blank pages in cookbooks.  All pictures, photographs, ceramics and artifacts depicting cupcakes vanished.  All memories died, except for mine.  I cried all night until I fell asleep.

In the morning, I felt bloated as I rose from my bed.  I passed the mirror and noticed how voluptuous my boobs looked.  I headed for the fridge and invaded the pickle and peanut butter jars.  I decided to add garlic and paprika on a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  My appetite craved unusual combinations.  My period was a month and a half late.  It was time to call my gyn.

The sonogram showed multiple fetuses.  They had arms and legs, hands and feet, but the rest of the picture was too bizarre for the doctor to describe.

She was quiet for a few seconds before getting up the courage to say, “Congratulations, you’re having a baker’s dozen.”

Patricia Carragon's publications include Big City Lit, Clockwise Cat, Danse Macabre, MÖBIUS, The Poetry Magazine, Mad Hatters’ Review, The Toronto Quarterly, and more. She is the author of Journey to the Center of My Mind (Rogue Scholars Press)and Urban Haiku and More (Fierce Grace Press). She curates the Brooklyn-based Brownstone Poets and is the editor of the annual anthology.

Thanks to Patricia for sharing her rose-bracelet tattoo, the story behind it, as well as a sample of her writing. I am grateful, not only for her participation, but for her sending out the clarion call for more tattooed poets this year!

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1 comment:

Brown-stone Poets said...

Thanks again Bill for including me in this project.

All the very best,

Pattie :)