Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Wunterlabe of Cassandra de Alba (The Tattooed Poets Project)

Today's tattooed poet is Cassandra de Alba, who sent us this interesting tattoo:

Photo by Emily Behrendt
Take a closer look:

Photo by Emily Behrendt
Cassandra tells us:
"This tattoo is of a ship's instrument called a wunterlabe, from James C. Christensen's Voyage of the Basset. In the book, they use the wunterlabe to navigate out of reality and into the imagination. I loved this book growing up because one of the characters and I share a first name; I almost got the titular ship tattooed instead, but decided almost at the last minute that the wunterlabe was a better fit. It was done by Kevin at Lucky's in Northampton."
It looks like Kevin Cadwallader has since moved to Mystery Ink, also in Northampton, MA.

Cassandra sent us this poem:

futility lesson

i kick the whole stupid world
in the teeth
with my combat boots.

the world’s teeth fall out
into my garden and settle
among the crabgrass and tomatoes.

just before sunset, on the porch
with a gin & tonic, i notice tiny vines
where i have planted nothing.

that night i fall asleep in the bathtub
with a copy of the secret garden.

when i wake up, there are vines
as tall as my house,
tomatoes flattened underneath.

i pull on my combat boots
and go downstairs
to assess the damage.

the world’s teeth have multiplied—
hundreds of hard white buds
on each waving vine.

when the sun is golden on the hills,
gin and tonic glinting in its glass
and the vines like toothy, dappled
redwoods, i consider the possibility
that someone needs to be told.

~ ~ ~

Cassandra de Alba's work has appeared in Shabby Doll House, Skydeer Helpking, Vector Press, and Drunken Boat, among other publications. She can be found in Medford, Massachusetts, at, and driving long distances for the hell of it.

Thanks to Cassandra for sharing this cool tattoo with us here on the Tattooed Poets Project on Tattoosday!

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