Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Tattooed Poets Project: Justin Petropoulos

Our next tattooed poet is Justin Petropoulos.

Justin sent us this literary-themed tattoo:

Justin explains:

"The tattoo is of Gabriel García Márquez. I got it in 2002 after binge reading Love in the Time of Cholera, One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Autumn of the Patriarch, and Chronicle of a Death Foretold. I’m really not certain, but I think the shop was called Genuine Tattoo and the artist’s name, at least what everyone called him, was Peanut. I remember two things about him. First, before turning to a life of ink, he worked in local bread bag factory. Second, he had a tattoo of a rubber chicken strung up by the neck on his right leg. I remember it because he would tell everyone that walked into the place that he had a cock that hung past his knee."

Justin sent us this prose poem:
[digression on the corn trade]

A peanut vendor sleeps beneath our uncanny resemblances, chews the brim of an old hat made of cellophane near the gates. A refugee camp should be setup on sloped terrain that provides natural drainage.

Someone will discover her there, as if she were a theory or its half versed deck of flashcards. This is an economy of light weapons—you know: it remembers nothing about its course. Some sell part of their rations for rice, at the expense of caloric intake. Scurvy is a constant. Strangers pass a blush grown through quietly. Mission bells with grass. Spongiform, the refinery bloats. Phyllode or nematode, as with us a chance cleaving.

“If you build your boat from this, it will float,” she promised them, with a blowzy stonefly and fire-eater’s tremble, extending them a weight of seed in her palm. In exchange, they offered odes to point/non-point source pollution, runoff: bits of hair and salt, manure, slurry of paper dolls flushed from the mine. “It’s not a question of food,” he said. “If we had the chance, we would walk even tonight.”

As the corn grows a girl scrapes jacks by twos followed by pink impacts. Bread bags caucus. We collect the copper jackets now, lozenges nested in the mud‐throats of loons. Melt them down. Beyond the fence a scorched earth policy town sutured by a lattice of clotheslines.
~ ~ ~

Justin Petropoulos is the author of the poetry collection Eminent Domain, selected by Anne Waldman for the 2010 Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize. His poems have appeared in American Letters & Commentary, Columbia Poetry Review, Mandorla, and most recently in Spinning Jenny. Justin co-curated Triptych Readings from 2010 to 2011 and was a guest blogger for Bryant Park's summer poetry reading series, Word for Word. He holds an MFA from the Indiana University. Justin an adjunct faculty member at New Jersey City University. He lives in Brooklyn, New York with his partner in crime, digital artist Carla Gannis. Visit him on Twitter at @redactioneer or at Marsh Hawk Press.

Thanks to Justin for his contribution to the Tattooed Poets Project on Tattoosday!

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

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