Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Tattooed Poets Project: Chip Livingston

Our next tattooed poet is Chip Livingston, who shared several pieces with us:

Chip's Tarot cards, Ace of Coins and Ace of Cups

La Sirena fresh and Jack of Clubs, part of spiral

Lila tattoos Chip's Sirena at Rock City Tattoos in Barre, Vermont
Chip tells us:
"Seeking to remember the advantages I might carry into any situation, I had Lila at Rock City Tattoos (in Barre, Vermont) put these 'cards up my sleeve.' The Jack of Clubs represents 'the man in the woodwork,' the secret admirer working on my behalf without my knowledge. The Ace of Cups represents abundance of emotional resources; the Ace of Coins represents abundance of physical resources. La Sirena from the Mexican Loteria reminds me of Iemanja, the goddess of the sea, who nurtures me in many ways. And with those charms under my skin, I feel prepared for anything. Above the cards on the right shoulder is a rough spiral, from the Egyptian hieroglyph for the verb 'to be.' And around the left bicep is a feather armband to represent my Creek heritage."
Chip sent us the following poem, “To Remove Anger” from his book CROW-BLUE, CROW-BLACK (New York Quarterly Books, 2012):


That man of black wood, that man with the blankets, give him a place to rest his
thundering headspin. Let him see an all-red man removing the venom from the
spider. Remaking tobacco with his right hand. To pacify the coiled serpent.

That man of black wood, that man with the blankets, wrap him a stick of red cedar
and build him a fire to heat the rocks he carries. Offer those stones creek water and
watch them crack into jewels. Help him dig a cave under the wet roots of a cypress
tree. Help him bury them.

That man of black wood, that man with the blankets, make him a supper of sofkee
and sweetcorn, roast him the red fish you call from the river, feed him ripe
scuppernongs picked with your fingers.

That man of black wood, that man with the blankets, remind him he is a kinsman, a
red man, a great wizard united with another great wizard, to fail in nothing.
Remake tobacco with the left hand in a counterclockwise direction.

~ ~ ~

Chip Livingston is the author of two poetry collections, CROW-BLUE, CROW-BLACK (NYQBooks, 2012) and MUSEUM OF FALSE STARTS (Gival Press, 2010), and a short story/essay collection, NAMING CEREMONY (Lethe Press, 2014). His poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, New American Writing, and on the Poetry Foundation’s and the Academy of American Poets’ websites. Chip teaches in the low-rez MFA program at Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM, and at Regis University’s Mile High MFA in Denver, CO. Visit

Thanks to Chip Livingston for sharing his poem and tattoos with us here on the Tattooed Poets Project!

This entry is ©2016 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission.

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