Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Tattooed Poets Project: Thomas Fucaloro

Today's tattooed poet is Thomas Fucaloro.

I met Thomas last summer after spotting him at the New York City Poetry Festival on Governor's Island.

This is the tattoo on his leg:

For those of you who don't know, this is an illustration from Harold and the Purple Crayon, a children's book by Crockett Johnson.

This was one of my favorite books as a kid, so really wanted to find out what this tattoo was all about.

Thomas told me "I don't remember who gave me the tattoo, but I know they were affiliated with Jonathan Shaw and tattoos and cappuccino in the city, but this was 15 years ago."

He sent along the following, which was "the poem that inspired the tattoo or vice versa":

Thomas and the Purple Crayon

So there was no moon in the sky
so he drew one and then a house
with some windows, a door, a kitchen, a table
and then a mother and a father.

The first time I told my parents I have a cocaine problem
they looked at me odd
like I just told them I want to run for the presidency
be an Olympic javelin thrower
become a poet.

Thomas draws disappointment on their faces.

Something is about to change in Thomas and I don’t even know it.

I hope the need for coke becomes the need for my parents.

The drawing of the house still, stands.
This time Thomas adds shutters to the windows
so nobody can see in or out.

Thomas erases forks, knives and other sharp objects for
protection. He draws a hot air balloon in case he needs to escape.

The 4th time I told my parents I have a cocaine problem
they looked at me sorrowingly, morningly set sunset vibrant
just for a second, gone. Ultimatums fly like high-heeled shoes thrown
at my head, rightfully so. Thomas draws band-aids. Don’t worry
he draws a hot air balloon in case he needs to escape.

I’ve started writing poems where my father is the course through my veins
my mother a circulatory system of never ending branches reaching,
pulsating through arteries bloody blossoming through those little veins
in your eyeballs holding a stare of hope. Thomas draws his eyelids shut.

The 7th time I told my parents I have a cocaine problem
they looked expected. Expected like the sun.
Expected like one day I would have to put my crayons away.
Expected like no hot water in my building.

Thomas draws mountains of regret,
throws them off the George Washington Bridge
if only to draw anew.

I’ve started drawing these poems
where Thomas is writing about telling my parents about the first few times
I had a cocaine problem but they keep coming out like this poem.

Some people call me a drug poet.

My parents are taking the place of drugs in all my poems.

I think

this is a good thing.



a smile.

~ ~ ~

Thomas Fucaloro is a New York City poet who has a book out by Three Rooms Press called Inheriting Craziness and is founding editor of great weather for MEDIA. He likes rainbows.

Thanks to Thomas for his contribution to Tattoosday!

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

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