Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ending April with Sharon Mesmer's Rose (The Tattooed Poets Project)

I met Sharon Mesmer last July at the NYC Poetry Festival on Governor's Island. Sharon is a wonderful poet, and she seemed initially surprised that I was interested in the tattoo on her left arm:

This rose on the top of her forearm, below her wrist, is an older piece but, as you would imagine, the story behind it is fascinating:
"I got my tattoo because I was traveling in Europe and Asia, and wanted a tattoo on each wrist for each continent.  I got the rose tattoo (which also signifies the source of my name: the Rose of Sharon) in Paris from a guy named Gaby, who had a shop on the Boulevard du Temple, near the Cirque d'Hiver.  This was in 1986, when everybody was getting tattoos; my (then) boyfriend also got a tattoo in Paris during that time.  
After Paris we went to London, and then India, where I planned to get a lotus tattoo on my other wrist.  We went to a tattoo place in a small town near Mumbai (then Bombay), but I changed my mind when I saw a rat with mange running around in the shop.  Then we ran out of money.  I had the rose re-colored in the 90's, but it looks horrible now.  People sometimes ask me why I have a tattoo of a turtle."  
Sharon shared this poem, which you shouldn't read out loud at your desk, because it is definitely NSFW:

Evacuated Elmo Head Elmo

Dear Wal-Mart: Elmo vs.Tigger vs. Barney is mildly funny.
Also funny is Barney hijacks stuff plucked out of his head
with iron pincers.

More funny is Suicide Pact/Potty Training Elmo,
Beat Me Up Elmo Elmo,
and Chinese-led Anti-Christian Conspiracy at Wal-Mart
to Brainwash our Children Elmo.

Not funny is Condi & Those Fucking Googly Eyes Elmo. 
Not funny is O’Reilly Factor for Kids Hosted by Richard Nixon
Livin’ Large on His Gold and Diamond Potty That Spells Out
"Elmo's Gotta Do What Elmo's Gotta Do” Elmo.
((No, wait — that is funny.)) 

Funny is Bird Seed Milkshake/Oxycontin Cocktail Elmo.
Funny is Jay Gatsby, Fat-Elvis-Playa-at-Large Elmo.

Not funny is Do I Really Want To Get Beat Up by the Ginormous
Fat Elvis Who Plays Elmo Fisted By Fat Elvis? Elmo.
If Fisher-Price had taken my concerns seriously
none of this would’ve happened.

Funny is Mary Poppins Tells Boy To 'Beat Up Elmo'
After Screwing Osama Bin Laden and Then Shooting Up
with Shoot Me Up Elmo Elmo.
Funny is Elmo Farting All Over the Teletubbies (Uh huh —
jazz hands!) Elmo.

Not funny is the feminine lack of a penis.
Not funny is my otherwise wonderful child
who wakes up every morning wrestling Elmo’s huge nipples
and stinking of breast milk.

Not funny is trying to find a penis faucet.
Can you club a baby seal to death with a flaccid penis?
NYU’s school of medicine didn’t beat around the bush:
“That’s a flat NO.”  And don't get me started on that penis.
That penis is the most sickly, mutated thing ever formed.
And what is up with that pubic hair?
Before I get into how Beat Me Up Elmo beat up Grover,
I’d like to tell you a little story:
            Once upon a time, there was a great lord in Japan, and
                        his name was Elmo . . .

~ ~ ~ 
Sharon Mesmer is a descendant of Franz Anton Mesmer (”mesmerism”) and Otto Messmer (“Felix the Cat”). She has had poems in places as diverse as the Wall Street Journal and Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology. Her most recent poetry collections are The Virgin Formica (Hanging Loose Press) and Annoying Diabetic Bitch (Combo Books). Most people think that that title refers to her being diabetic, but she is not diabetic. She is, however, annoying and a bitch.

Bitchiness aside, it is truly an honor to have Sharon on the Tattooed Poets Project on Tattoosday and we thank her from the bottom of our tattoo and poetry-loving hearts!

This entry is ©2014 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission.

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