Friday, November 11, 2011

Brian's Literary Chest Tattoo

The weather here in New York has been turning autumnal and visible tattoos have been disappearing from the streets, but fear not, Readers, we still have material to get us through the end of the year, thanks to a backlog of photos from the summer!

Case in  point is this tattoo from Brian:

I met Brian at a drugstore in Bay Ridge, back in the beginning of August. He told me he had just started working as an apprentice at A-List Industry Tattoos, a few blocks away.

At the time, Brian had seven tattoos, including this chest piece, which is comprised of two parts.

The top section reads "Incomplete - Imperfect" and is an allusion to lines from Chuck Palahniuk's novel Fight Club:
"May I never be complete.  May I never be content.  May I never be perfect.  Deliver me, Tyler, from being perfect and complete."
Brian credited this piece to Paul Ilardi, the owner at Monster Tattoos on Staten Island.

The bottom section of the tattoo features a banner that reads "Death steals everything but out stories."

Brian explained that he took this to mean that "what outlives us is the memories we have, the stories we have".

It's actually the final line in a short poem by Jim Harrison:

Larson's Holstein Bull

Death waits inside us for a door to open.
Death is patient as a dead cat.
Death is a doorknob made of flesh.
Death is that angelic farm girl
gored by the bull on her way home
from school, crossing the pasture
for a shortcut. In the seventh grade
she couldn't read or write. She wasn't a virgin.
She was "simpleminded," we all said.
It was May, a time of lilacs and shooting stars.
She's lived in my memory for sixty years.
Death steals everything except our stories..
Brian credited this part of the tattoo to Cesar at Bullseye Tattoos, also on Staten Island.

Thanks to Brian for sharing his ink with us here on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2011 Tattoosday, with the exception of  "Larson's Holstein Bull" by Jim Harrison from In Search of Small Gods. © Copper Canyon Press, 2009.

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