Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Tattooed Poets Project: Fred Schmalz

Today's tattooed poet, Fred Schmalz, resides in Germany, a first for the Tattooed Poets Project.

As you can see, he is also heavily-tattooed and, lucky for us, he sent us a lot of photos, so let's not waste any more time and take a look at his ink.

I'll let Fred explain:
"...a right arm upper half-sleeve related to a poem of mine ('I am here to tell you where I slept last night') which originally appeared in 6x6 - containing a lily with a naked lady petal, a sleeping figure, and a text excerpt from the poem.

This is intersected by half of a two-arm text strip (down the backs of both upper arms) with the first line of Charles Olson's The Kingfishers - What does not change / is the will to change. (the / which appears in the poem sits on the back of my neck).   

My right arm has the Harry Smith foot-of-the-Buddah three fish image which adorns all the later Allen Ginsberg collections,

and several staghorn sumac branches with fruit.

All except the three fish were inked by Stephanie Tamez at Saved Tattoo in Brooklyn."
Stephanie Tamez is an amazing artist, and she is especially renown for her "type" tattoos. I know that I, if I was getting a tattoo with a lot of words, would put Stephanie at the top of my wish list.By way of bio:

The following poem from Fred appeared originally in 6x6 issue 14 from Ugly Duckling Presse.


A woman who shared
half my last name
gave me the bed below our bed.
Ask me to explain.
Etude. A green field.
Mat inflated with lung air.
Smoke screen for privacy. Privy.
A thin door and three thin walls.

The bed hidden below our bed is our last bed.
Count back and beds become impossible
I may have slept
one summer in an Ohio hotel, my Saturdays
a fuck-fit carnage, dried palms
woven into the holy cross
you Polish Catholic

you denial of love.
Bed deemed worthy of our backs.
Bed along with the rest of our loneliness.
Bed born of necessary grammar.
Bed requested by a shirtless man.
Robbed in this bed.

My struggle is the struggle of men
and their otherness,
men without shame, men who are only
their small rooms.
Touch a hole in me and I seep water,
palms saffron and swollen–
my arms are ashen
and tremble like ivy.

I told myself
this would only marginally be
about fucking, that so many
beds are entered and left alone,
that my love is a maker and I am a man
who leaves and returns to a bed
as he finds it, who sleeps as continuance,
who clothes in pillowcases
an ongoing occasion: our bodies’
natural destination.

Patient once. Stained. I shove
lover. Shovel over. It all ruptures,

the groan where we come to rest,
one leg’s shudder before passing out.
Trap door clap.
Conception’s sudden pinch.
Meet mother.
Meet father.
It wasn’t supposed to
happen this way, but ten years earlier,
when the notion held a romance,

you flew and I shattered a little
Blue vial in the sink.
What will my body do?
My replaceable body…
Tornado, be quick and pass.
We have spoken of the surfaces of things
but not their natural environment.
Morning’s minor reflections pass
without elucidation. We maze

the new route home, resting as relatives.
Red hair, red socks, for miles
you draft the come-back of good news,
clean living, moon creeping into a skylight.
Who washes over me?
Your hip joints

loosen like rain clouds over mountains.
That pair of lost slippers–the furry pink ones
I see under the door or peeking
through laundry at me.
I guessed the light, which was
our old apartment two in the morning
after a heavy snow.
I suffer no physical realignment
and thus lack chemicals to warn me of fatherhood.
No hemorrhaging in the spoils of joints.
But I find that I am unusually hungry.

I could have gone on loving
without my shirt, could have
asked that your hand warm
my skin, heat radiation, radiance.
You stood in the kitchen and told me you love me
more today, that it grows in you–

pause of a woman
lost between synapses–
idea derailed on the stretch to dinner.
The coarse fabric you knit drops stitches.

The bed borrowed from the landlord
is almost too small for one,
or too narrow, the length
sufficing since neither of us is long.
Beds turn on us.
We sicken of comfort.
Homebound, practicing loneliness,
six hands surround me. They pin me
in my fever. They hold the sheet.
Modesty, honestly.

The room we’re offered is a fuckless marble hull.
The fireplace only works
if I break up the furniture.
The television works.
The refrigerator does not work.
The stove works.
The blankets work.
The rug underfoot doubles as a bed–

already it has been rolled up.
We are alive with our calcium deposits.
Our chipped plates
returned to the top cupboard
breathe out a scent
I associate with you, the meal
fed me from that part-life
where we camped in the front room
of a condemned house,
lauding our insomnia, how morning
never seemed so remote. But here

rules loosen: run in snow and melt our feet.
Wake in a semi-truck state
full of chocolate milk and headlamp,
full of typhus. Mingle
among loves and recall a swallow
asleep on what I took to be a bed,
the broken hour set like a table
tracing the road’s curve.
Ground beneath us heaves east,

incandescent, the motions my hands make
grotesque, sanctimonious. Your
desire to feed me.
I eat a pear,
take a drink of water.

The sun outweighs us. It has no recollection,
blue in a tall shank of light.
This greets me
upon entering the house.
And the vinegar waft of the staircase.
Carpet pile flattened by feet
headed to bed ten thousand times. Or twenty thousand
feet knocking off at once:

here are my feet, ashen relics.
Tied to each arch is a bent branch,
the wood still warm. I walk with them
to the back door.
Then a dial turns and tiny notches align
with the moon. Resistance
attaches to every object in the house.
Our curtains haven’t kept the ocean out.
We are the peninsula’s only hum.

~ ~ ~

Fred Schmalz's first collection, Some Animals, is forthcoming in 2014 from Jackleg Press. His work has appeared in A Public Space1111Zoland PoetryLUNGFULL!Spinning JennyConduitjubilatHandsomeThe Blue LetterWe are so happy to know something and The Bedazzler from Wave Books. His poems were included in La Familia Americana, a bilingual anthology of new American poets published in Spain by Cosmopoetica in 2010. An exhibition of contemporary German illustrators responding to his poems will be staged at Rotopol Press in 2012. He is founding editor of swerve magazine. He lives in Kassel, Germany.

Thanks to Fred for sharing his awesome tattoos and poetry with us here on Tattoosday's Tattooed Poets Project!

This entry is ©2012 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoos are reprinted with the poet's permission.

If you are reading this on another web site other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

No comments: