Friday, April 24, 2015

The Tattooed Poets Project: Pamela Hart

Our next tattooed poet, Pamela Hart, sent us this interesting tattoo:

Pamela explains:
"I got this tattoo in 2010 shortly before my son headed off to do basic training in the Army. My husband and I decided to each get a tattoo to mark this occasion. I'd been looking around unsuccessfully for a design and finally found it at the Rubin Museum of Art in NYC in an exhibition of Tibetan mandalas. I took a photo, jotted down wall text info and did further research. What I learned endeared me to the design even further, which I already liked because of its textual nature. It's a Tibetan seed syllable -- Dhih -- and is apparently part of a number of mantras. It has to do with thought, knowledge, understanding and creativity. As you can imagine, for a writer, those ideas are important and compelling. The tattoo was done in upstate New York…nothing special about the place or artist."
Pamela directed me to the National Endowment for the Arts website, where I found one of her poems:

In the Red Cross Parking Lot After a Meeting on PTSD

What about your son, Nancy
Flannigan wonders, but really
she wants to talk about her son
Tom in Afghanistan
who never got with the program
six-two, on the swim team
until he was kicked out of high
school, has trouble with rules
which is how she explains
his wild streak, there's his hat
on the dashboard
Tom, she insists
won't make a career of this
Her hand brushes the dark
as spotlights halo the white-domed
rescue vehicles around us
Next door someone shouts
further off traffic glowers
along the expressway. Nancy
sends care packages, the good
socks, how to get them on the cheap
the rifle bolt she bought him
it's expensive, doesn't jam or clog
Tom's sergeant killed, will Tom get
with the program, her words
rocketing on and on in the night
We're like the Spartan women
how we send them off, the shields
we compare and polish
in the concrete firmament
(with permission of O-Dark-Thirty, Journal of the Veterans Writing Project)
To read another poem by Pamela, check out this one online at the Heron Tree Review

Pamela Hart is writer in residence at the Katonah Museum of Art where she manages a visual literacy arts in education program. She is a 2013 NEA poetry fellow and is completing a manuscript of poems exploring the intersection of family, community, and the military. Her chapbook, The End of the Body, was published in 2006 by Toadlily Press. Her work has been published in a variety of print and online journals.

Thanks to Pamela Hart for sharing her tattoo and poem with us here on Tattoosday's Tattooed Poets Project!

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

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