Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Tattooed Poets Project: EJ Koh

Today's tattooed poet is EJ Koh, who sent this incredible tattoo:

EJ credits this revolver/fountain pen tattoo to RuFi (Russ) Designs at Outer Limits in Costa Mesa, CA. "To me the design was self-explanatory and simple," EJ explained. "Later on, I added my parents' names beneath the revolver."

EJ sent us this poem:

Ingredients for Memories That Can Be Used As Explosives

I am not sad anymore; I am on the rooftop of my life
cheering until my body of hallways opens, jade and steaming.

When a pope dies tradition says to hit his head with a silver
hammer 3 times to see if he’s alive: koong koong koong koong.

I’ve been so many popes. The shells of laughing are cooked.
Open the door and let them know I am not sad anymore.

Not once carrying my lunch pail soul with bright green fingernails—
Can a soul be excited to tears? That’s the one time a soul is excited.

I am together - feel my forehead - I am young
but I always forget what I meant to say; except I am alive!

And I will not jump from here because the wind is coming.
It has a beak and a tooth and has heard I am not sad anymore.

~ ~ ~

EJ Koh is a poet and translator of Korean literary works. Her poems have appeared in TriQuarterly, Southeast Review, Columbia Review, World Literature Today, and Privacy Policy: The Anthology of Surveillance Poetics from Black Ocean Press (ed. Andrew Ridker, 2014). She has been featured in Flavorwire’s 23 People Who Will Make You Care About Poetry and Culture Trip’s 10 Young American Poets Changing the Face of Poetry. She was awarded a Kundiman Fellowship and The MacDowell Colony Fellowship. She earned her Masters of Fine Arts in Poetry and Literary Translation at Columbia University in New York. She currently lectures at the Richard Hugo House in Seattle, WA.

Thanks to EJ Koh for sharing her wonderful tattoo with us here on Tattoosday's Tattooed Poets Project!

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