Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Tattooed Poets Project: Aimee Herman

Last summer at the NYC poetry Festival, I met Aimee Herman, after spotting her tattoo:

This reads "when silence creates pattern/remove the middle/and engrave/the opposite."

Aimee later explained:
"Out of the nine tattoos on my body, this is the only one whose words are mine. It comes from a poem in my second book of poetry, meant to wakeup feeling. (great weather for MEDIA). I’ve had many people see this and ask what it means. I never grow tired of the question, because I find my answer always changes. For the most part it means to carve out the quiet in silence, which tends to become a pattern in existence. Wanting to speak OUT our silence until the fear stops us. So, this is a reminder to untwist the repetition of silence and by engraving the opposite, one is encouraged to speak out and up. I do this everyday with my poetry. I speak out of silence and away from its cage. I like this inked reminder on my body because I’ve existed inside so many variations of myself that felt haunted by silence. Fear of being shamed. Fear of breathing life into my scars. But this tattoo empowers me. It reminds me why I write."
The following poem comes from her book meant to wake up feeling:



For cause of disturbance to bottom half of body, see page 143.

(enter mop, bucket and thunder)

Blood clot, 9
Gender peculiarities, 32
Suffocation through trauma, 12,
16, 17, 19, 24, 25, 27-

lesion’d sidewalks, disembowel’d filth, medicine'd memory, call them migrating flesh furnaces,  photograph'd bandages, remarks of sadness, shape for hunters, syringes of churned implants, unknown neck glass, wooden nude

despise loneliness/ flush refuge/ neuter. wounds.  119

"She is getting softer. Locate the alteration of
weather fumes. Are her feet wet. Does she have
a plan of entry. If she is olive-skinned, allow the
sun to arrive like a heated erection pressing pres-
sing pressing."

laziness of cartilage, 2,731

(admit a need for naming labeling absorption )


That is anise. That is not meant to go away. That is a man
in the shape of a woman. That is a grapefruit. That is addiction.
That is a chin ignoring the rest. That is concrete. That is flimsy
and forever. That is a meal standing up. That is starvation.
That is a hurricane. That is bondage. That is clever. That
is intrusion of turnpikes and demolition. That is sexy.
That is the smell of cryophobia. That is a disrobing of blurs.
That is rust.


"You didn't even notice I scratched away my
hips and climbed skin out of my collarbone so you can hang there. Aren't you homeless. Don't you want to burrow your germs into my gender to see what mutated cells we can create?"

count teeth, 309
explore the function of magic, 241
impose queerness into wrists/earlobes/
back pockets, 64, 919

[ stage right /spotlight on the white space / the stiffness / enter  mammals]  

Person 1: (hopeful)  You can weave monsters into quilts for the wintertime.
Person 2: (disinterested)  What stitch do you primarily use?
Person 1: (with knowledge of rage)  The kind that pricks both of you.

(the understudy screams)

speak up, reproduction!
psychoanalyze how much you mishandle prisons
use    organic    cocks    only
compulsive transformations miss out on blemished whiskers
want we want what we want want half-moments because we cannot afford completeness   only red ugh red ugh
how much has been erased and if you steam open the body will you find what was really there

pound tiny scars into cumin, 880
violence the tongues, 17 18
fibrillate, 47
open indentations like flip books, 11, 753
write outside of prosthetics, 32, 34-



Blood and ailments in high school. New Jersey: 1990-. Action.
Desire chemical removal. Boulder: 2008. Memory.
Gulped dance relapse or the time I drank tea from shoveled belly button, Hartford: 2005. Memory.
Inflation of womb, worry and wind gulp. New York: ____. Memory.
Play hopscotch with inferior nasal concha and sacrum.  ____ : Memory. _.
Spill homes. ___: ___. Memory.
Staircase. Emptied throat cavity. New Jersey, 1991. Memory.
Herman, Aimee. to go without blinking. BlazeVOX books. New York: 2012.

~ ~ ~ 

Aimee Herman is a Brooklyn-based poet and performance artist looking to disembowel the architecture of gender and what it means to queer the body. Find Aimee's poems in Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics (NightboatBooks), in the full-length collection, to go without blinking (BlazeVOX books), the recent chapbook, rooted, (Dancing Girl Press), and in the full-length book of poems, meant to wake up feeling (great weather for MEDIA). Aimee is an adjunct professor at Bronx Community College, a faculty member with Poetry Teachers NYC and a host for The Inspired Word’s open mic erotica series, Titillating Tongues. Read more at: aimeeherman.wordpress.com.

Thanks to Aimee Herman for her contribution to the Tattooed Poets Project on Tattoosday!

This entry is ©2015 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission.

If you are reading this on another web site other than Tattoosday, without attribution, please note that it has been copied without the author's permission and is in violation of copyright laws. Please feel free to visit http://tattoosday.blogspot.com and read our original content. Please let me know if you saw this elsewhere so I contact the webmaster of the offending site and advise them of this violation in their Terms of Use Agreement.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, Aimee Herman is the finest living female writer. Art, truth, and brutal honesty at the highest levels.