Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Tattooed Poets Project: Christopher Arigo

Our next tattooed poet is Christopher Arigo, who sent us this image from his thigh:

He tells us:
Often referred to as “The Shaman” or “The Sorceror,” my tattoo is based on a sketch by Henri Breuil of a cave painting from a cavern in Trois-Frères, Ariège, France. Breuil, a French archeologist, claimed that the drawing/etching represented a Paleolithic shaman, a kind of happy hunting juju. I’ve always been intrigued by this particular image---I remember seeing a picture of it when I was fairly young, probably in some Time-Life book about cave art or something. For me, it represents a connection to our not-so-distant Paleolithic past and I do hunt, so maybe some of its juju will rub off. I have several other cave art tattoos, so it’s also part of an ongoing theme on my body. There’s something very visceral and ancient about it. There is also the question: why did they make this art?

The tattoo was done by Riley Baxter at Pussykat Tattoo in Las Vegas.

The poem that Christopher sent us keeps with the Paleothic theme:

Considering the fossils

once sap
now combustible
once called electron
carved petrified sun

once mixed
with rose-oil
for failing eyes
now eyes
warm to the touch
burned as incense
burning to remember

and when you dig
it is hard to believe
the stone
was once wood

its rings now ring
with a finger's flick
no longer
bark and cambium
in cross-section

how to believe
that gingko leaves
leave behind
veins and chloroplasts
almost intact

no xylem
left after rain
and pressure
and layers
and layers
of sand and relentless

~ ~ ~ 

Christopher Arigo’s first poetry collection Lit Interim won the 2001-2002 Transcontinental Poetry Prize (selected by David Bromige) and was published by Pavement Saw Press (2003). His second collection In the archives (2007) was released by Omnidawn Publishing. His poems have appeared in numerous literary magazines including Colorado Review, New American Writing, Barrow Street, and many others. He co-edits the literary journal Interim with poet Claudia Keelan and is an Assistant Professor of English at Washington State University.

Thanks to Christopher for sharing his tattoo and poem with us here on Tattoosday's Tattooed Poets Project!

This entry is ©2013 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission.

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