Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Tattooed Poets Project: Fox Frazier-Foley

In case you hadn't had enough of the Tattooed Poets Project in April, we will be continuing, while supplies last, with featuring tattooed poets here on Tattoosday. I mean, why should we have to wait until April to celebrate tattoos and poetry? Fox Frazier-Foley is happy to be our first Tattooed Poet of the Week.

Fox tells us:
"This tattoo was done as part of a thigh sleeve by Jess Morsey, who runs her own business, Mad Tatter Ink, in upstate New York. The sleeve has four panels; the first three are each a different representation of a venerated spirit known as St. Bridget (in the Catholic Church, she is seen as St. Patrick's equal, the patroness of Ireland, and a woman who held authority and education that was unparalleled for her time, especially within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church), Maman Brigitte (in the Haitian Vodou tradition, of which I am an initiate), and Brighid (the Celtic goddess of healing, poetry, and smithcraft).
The fourth panel is a scroll with a quote from the Catholic St. Bridget: 'We become that which we love.' 
Overall, the sleeve symbolizes different aspects of my religious and cultural identity - my family is Irish by heritage, I was raised Catholic, and later in life I converted to Haitian Vodou (a syncretic religion that blends elements of African Tribal Religions with Roman Catholicism), and was formally initiated into the religion. For me, these images are a source of strength and inspiration, and they remind me that if I take the time to love the deepest and most regal aspects of myself, those aspects will thrive, and my identity will develop in a beautiful way, as will my ability to help create joy, beauty, and healing in a world that too often feels cruel, broken, and lacking."
Here's a collage of the combined tattoos, courtesy of the artist:

Fox sent along the following poem, which she says "is about a positive experience of spirit possession."

St. Gemini is Possessed by Silibo Nouvavou, St. Revelation, and Begins to Breathe Psalm 42:7


as a child, I set books
of matches ablaze                  (Deep calleth unto deep)        my lungs convulse
                                                                                                to tautness. Known blue

                        in pools of water. She has
                        been me & I her daughter     wasp breaks between
                                                                                    my fingers, now

                                    (at the sound of thy waterfalls)
     someone will enter –

            her Self made flesh

            again. O sacred Scarlet          unwinged, its painless
                                                                splinter mangled

    a birth of monarch
                        flutters through my throat        Silibo –

                                    (all thy waves and billows)

                                                            Woman cloaked in sun
                                                                        & starry night. We are

                                    come to burning. I feel
            myself retreat: her swaying,

                        blued-rush entry. I find myself

                                                               complete: one in gasp

                                                                        then laugh  (gone over me)  my borders

                        blurred with blue: burst
                                                                                    we know that which

                                                                                    we are            we are

                                                beyond my body’s private star

~ ~ ~

Fox Frazier-Foley is founder and Managing Editor at a nifty little press called Ricochet Editions. She received her MFA from Columbia University, and is currently a Provost's Fellow and PhD candidate in the Literature & Creative Writing program at University of Southern California. Her website is currently under construction, but you can find her on Facebook, and in the pages of journals such as Paterson Literary Review, Denver Quarterly, Western Humanities Review, THEThe Poetry Blog, Jerry, Spillway, and Mantis. She loves travel, gin fizzes, and her dog, Dalí Nimbus. She and Rod Serling share a hometown.

Thanks to Fox Frazier-Foley for sharing her tattoos and poem with us here on Tattoosday's Tattooed Poets Project!

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

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