Friday, April 24, 2015

The Tattooed Poets Project: Kirsten Imani Kasai

As we enter into the final weekend of yet another successful month of tattooed poets, take a look at the back of Kirsten Imani Kasai:

Kirsten tells us:
"My work is three separate pieces. The first, on the back of my neck, is a Byzantine monogram of 'Mary,' for the Virgin Mary. I had this done in 1993 at Erno Tattoo in San Francisco.
The raven tree and stars were done by in 2011 and 2013. My friend Keith Greene, at Federation Ink in San Diego, did both based on some clip art paste-ups I brought him. The bird tattoo has a double meaning. I’m rather Poe-obsessed, and so here are the Raven and the Tell-Tale Heart. At least that’s what I tell strangers…for me, this piece recognizes a really dreadful, difficult year of loss, transition and heartbreak. (I wrote about it here. Additionally, I wrote the poem 'a murder of crows' about this imagery of the raven and the gift of a human heart, which was incorporated into the prose/poetry piece 'mice' published in the summer 2014 issue of the Existere Journal of Arts & Literature.)
The third tattoo is my 'mother line' and features blue and pink stars for my son and daughter. The dead or shadow stars represent pregnancies I've lost."
Kirsten sent us the following poem:

process aestivation

she had forgotten all of it
too long
had she lain sleeping

snow white
knew the apple tainted
bit deeply
seeking poison like nectar

sleeping beauty
summoned the spindle’s
narcotic draught
milk teeth madly grinning
blood beading on her finger

she swallowed
the magicked bread
despite the warnings
—never eat from fey hands—
let the fisherman
steal her selkie skin
to keep her from the deep
and salted sea

buried undreaming
apple rotting in her throat
blood clotting in her veins
night’s noiseless apocalypse


                             she is ravenous

~ ~ ~

Kirsten Imani Kasai is the author of three novels: Ice Song, Tattoo and Private Pleasures; a short fiction/poetry collection Rhapsody in Snakeskin and a poetry chapbook The Atmospheric Mysteries of a Steaming Corpse. Kirsten is the co-founder and editor of Body Parts Magazine, a journal of provocative horror, spec fiction and erotica. She earned her MFA from Antioch University and lives in California with her family. Visit her online at and on Facebook here.

Some bonus footage includes this Google chat interview & reading with Pretty Owl Poetry:

Thanks to Kirsten for sharing her tattoos and poetry with us here on the Tattooed Poets Project!

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

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