Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Tattooed Poets Project: Tantra-zawadi

Today, as we enter our final week of this year's Tattooed Poets Project, we are honored to have Tantra-zawadi as our tattooed poet.
Photo by Arnold Browne

Tantra shared the tattoo visible on her right arm:

This tattoo was done by Louis of Third Eye Tattoo in Brooklyn. Tantra explains:
"Swans usually mate for life…Passion is a given in my work and how I love...The inspiration to become a part of something or someone for the duration of the journey is deeply beautiful.  Breathing through the ripples, the illusions, the wounds, the truth, the laughter, the healing and the magic of letting love…Sharing life IS the adventure! My poetry, like the mating of swans has been a part of my consciousness since I was a girl child.  It has grown with me and in me; writing candid love notes on my heart to the groove of house music in my soul!  I am life poetry."

Tantra also shared this tattoo:

Photo by Arnold Browne

On her left shoulder is the line "We make love in the way of the spirit," from her poem "Third Eye Kisses" (Gathered at Her Sky - Poets Wear Prada Publishing 2010).

Tantra shared this poem with us:
Poem for Haiti

Toe nails painted red
Fingernails and
Lips thus stained

I look at her cleanly
Parted scalp
Plaited locks of wisdom
With lavender ribbons
Gathered at her sky

Vibrant energy skirted and
Pleated from waist to ankle
With her hands delicately
Placed upon her chest
One on top of the other

She was gentle
(I think) Most likely
Waiting for her groom
for she was a good girl
before she was swallowed

They lay in piles
the brown people tinged gray
and I wonder
if the one with the chocolate hand
was her beloved
Respectfully waiting for his bride

He dreamed of her too
(I think)
efore he was swallowed


Fairies, maidens
Princes, poison apples
and ogres in the agony of
Hushed lullabies and wailing
Absent walls or petitions
Only tears of freedom
Gushing in perfect French
pooling into mud cakes and spirits
that rise from their dust
Excerpt from Gathered at Her Sky - Poets Wear Prada Publishing 2010
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Tantra-zawadi best describes her work "by the love that I make through my art to the vision of the unseen reality."  Soulful and sublime, her poetry explores love in all its forms; from the rush of the first kiss to the bittersweet.  Born in Brooklyn, New York, as a performance poet and published author, Tantra uses her voice to support the rights of women to exist, think and create through art.

Tantra has performed to standing-room audiences at venues as far away as South Africa, London, Germany and Toronto as well as venues closer to home in the tri-state area.  She has performed original works in the off-Broadway productions of Girl – A Choreospective, A Night of Three God/desses: Soldier Blues and Powerful Women, An Evolution in Reinvention, the Numeral Three, Leaving My Apartment and Other Urban Adventures and projects with the vonduvoisdancecollective. Tantra's recent appearances include the New York Public Library of Performance Arts at Lincoln Center, Badilisha Poetry X-Change Festival in Cape Town, South Africa and the Montserrat Poetry Festival in Missouri.  Tantra is a 2010 Pushcart Prize Nominee and a recipient of the Kings County District Attorney's Office Women’s History Month Award for her artistic contributions to the borough of Brooklyn.

Tantra’s latest release, “Gathered at Her Sky” from Poets Wear Prada Publishing, is available at Amazon and (June 2010).  Tantra, a mentor for Girl-Child Network Worldwide (GCN), will donate partial proceeds from Gathered at Her Sky to GCN to provide education, personal items and empowerment for girls in Zimbabwe.  Tantra is also the author of “alifepoeminprogress” by Chuma Spirit Books, and her poetry was featured in Essence Magazine and in spoken word publications such as Redeye, Spoken Vizions,, Platinum Poets, Sunpiper Press, Souled Up and

Tantra-zawadi is the host of her own spoken word series, WORDSPACE, and has made several appearances on cable television, local and satellite radio shows. Known for being on the cutting edge as an artist and for speaking out about issues such as HIV and AIDS awareness, Tantra’s poem and video “Scarlet Waters,” was featured on the Product(RED) video wall created by U2’s Bono and Bobby Shriver, to raise awareness for HIV/AIDS in Africa.  Her short documentary, “A Silent Genocide ~ A Brief Insight into HIV/AIDS” edited by Oliver Covrett, takes another look at the personal impact of this disease.   Tantra also participated in a public service announcement for BETAH Associates produced by Marc Herbert Productions aimed at promoting HIV/AIDS awareness.  Tantra’s videos and films may be viewed on-line @

Tantra-zawadi is a member of Collective Spirits and their “Love Planet” EP produced by Jonny Montana and Neil Maclean (Camio Recordings), showcases Bennett Holland on keys, Tantra on poem and Dana Byrd on vocals (  Tantra is also a contributing artist on poetry compilations such as the award winning “Liberation Sessions: Soul of the City CD” by Mwalim (, “Summerbreeze EP” by Dolls Combers (, “Poetic Stimulus” by Atlanta Red (, “EARTHOLOGY” by Floyd Boykin, Jr., poet/founder of Spoken Vizions Magazine (, “Rizen” by Cendrine Marrouat, recordings with world renowned DJ Groove Assassin on “Love Seeker” (GKF Records), Soul Agenda’s “Don’t Let It Go,” Nastee Nev’s “Secrets of Life” and “Giant Steps – Back From Miami” with Dana Byrd on vocals for Do It Now Recordings - all available at

Follow Tantra-zawadi Online:

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Thanks to Tantra-zawadi for sharing her tattoos and poetry 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...

I know this lady - hey, Tantra!