|Photo by Mark Papellero
"I met the tattoo artist Nikki Lugo (currently at Tattoo Paradise in Washington DC) about ten years ago through my partner back when they were roommates. I had wanted a tattoo for a long time ––notion reinforced by having a new boyfriend with lots of ink–– but had been dillydallying, unsure of what to get and, mostly, afraid of the pain. Knowing I was a writer Nikki suggested one day, 'You should get a quill!' It was the perfect idea. With my birthday coming up, she offered to do it herself as a present to me. How could I refuse that? And when the time came, whatever trepidation I may have had vanished as soon as Nikki’s needle touched my skin, yielding a wonderful design at the cost of no pain."Guillermo shared the following poem, which appeared in the April issue of The Brooklyn Rail:
Self-Portrait with Musician
Sometimes the heart strikes out noisily,
Leaps into a grand piano like a stunt man.
Green-eyed, an almost green voice:
She leaps out of a grand piano like a stunted man,
Resurfaces reptilian, shedding scales.
She’s a whisper inside a box of wails,
An amphibian on the surface, adding scales
To leave the swamp dressed for a part.
I too whisper from inside a box of veils,
Rustle up a melody that comes apart
Leaving the water in a dress from K-Mart.
She sings over sweeps of pedal steel,
Rustles up a harmony that quickly comes part
Of my flesh. More and more I would steal
From this lady singing over sweet pedal steel:
The green eyes; and the pale green noise
That sinks into flesh as much as it might heal
Whenever the heart strikes, without a voice.
~ ~ ~
Thanks to Guillermo for his contribution to The Tattooed Poets Project!
This entry is ©2014 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission.