Saturday, June 20, 2015

Michele Battiste's "Poorly Done Sun" (The Tattooed Poets Project)

Our next Tattooed Poet of the Week is Michele Battiste, who acknowledges that her tattoo is not that great. Sometimes, however, it's not about the tattoo itself, but the process. See for yourself:

Michele explains:

"I have a poorly done sun on my right shoulder that I got in the small seaside town of Lovalette, NJ (near Wildwood) in 1992 when I was 20 years old. I went with my older brother who was a bouncer. He got high right before his tattoo (steal-your-face) and proceeded to turn a ghastly white before he almost fainted. I still tease him about that. Later, when someone handed me a card with a line drawing of a cat on it in NYC, I wanted to get it as my second tattoo. I kept the card in my wallet and kept putting off the tattoo. Then one day shopping in a department store, I found a really garish pair of jeans, looked at the label and saw my cat. It was the logo for Baby Phat. I almost became a walking advertisement. I'm still deciding on my second tattoo. I've always loved the idea of Man Ray's Ingre's Violin."

Michele sent us the following poem:

            for A. A.
When the storm moves away, as I do.
When the storm            touching.
When the hand is leading.
When the hand             the light.
When the eye takes what it wants.
When the eye               and not touching.
The hand between slats of a chair back.
The eye releases           the light.
When the storm shakes the portico
this thigh that thigh         are the same.
(The storm
  is a bloodthirsty          thing.)
When the mouth, without effort, claims.
When the storm approaches
touching the light and not touching

the light are the same thing.

~ ~ ~

Michele Battiste is the author of Uprising (2014) and Ink for an Odd Cartography (2009), both published by Black Lawrence Press. She was a finalist for the 2013 National Poetry Series and is the author of five chapbooks, the most recent of which is Left: Letters to Strangers (Grey Book Press, 2014). She received a Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant to conduct research in Budapest for Uprising, and was awarded a Blue Mountain Center Residency to complete the first draft. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Anti-, The Awl, Women’s Studies Quarterly, and Mid-American Review, among others. Michele has taught poetry writing workshops for Wichita State University (WSU), the Prison Arts Program in Hutchinson, KS, Gotham Writers' Workshops, and the national writing program Teen Ink. She has received grants and awards from WSU, the New York Foundation for the Arts, AWP, the Center for the American West, and the NY State Senate. She lives in Colorado where she raises funds for organizations undoing corporate evil.

Thanks to Michele Battiste for sharing her tattoo and poem with us here on Tattoosday!

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

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