Friday, April 8, 2016

The Tattooed Poets Project: Zann Carter

Earlier this week, we featured a tattoo from Michael Lally, and he included a photo of his son's matching tattoo. Today, we have a similar mother-daughter combo.

Zann Carter is our tattooed poet today, and she sent us this photo:

Zann tells us how this moon came to be:
"My one-and-only tattoo was done at Solstice 2011, shortly after I turned 60. My daughter, Molly, visiting for our family winter celebration on Solstice Eve, suddenly suggested we both get a tattoo the next day. It was something she had mentioned some time before, as a Mother/Daughter thing. 
 'Maybe a little moon,' she had said, 'I'll get mine behind my ear, it'll be like you're whispering wisdom to me.'
What she didn't know was that I had occasionally fantasized about having a moon tattoo - a blue crescent moon, inspired by the priestess tattoos described in the book Mists of Avalon by Marian Zimmer Bradley. However, I was pretty sure I didn’t want mine in the center of my forehead!
Since the tattoos weren't large or elaborate, we were able to get an appointment the next day, with the artist of my choice, Amber McCarty [at Terre Haute Tattoo Company].   I picked her because she was the artist whose work I'd admired on the arm of a server in the deli, a gorgeous portrait tattoo.

Our day started at dawn, with my daughter and I 'rattling up the sun' in a Solstice ritual during which I had a rather startling return of a crystal point lost a few weeks before.

Then off we went to get tattooed. I remember I told my daughter it felt like many tiny bees. My daughter, who already knew the intense experience of getting a tattoo on her neck, described her behind-the-ear moon as 'a cat scratching, no, clawing...the same spot over and over and over.'
For me, my little blue moon connects me in a special way to my adult daughter, to that day, to the Solstice ritual we share, to the sweet little miracle of finding that crystal. It reminds me of my connection to the Goddess and Things of the Spirit that sustain me.  It reminds me that the extraordinary is all about, that ‘once in a blue moon’ is with me all the time."
And here is Molly's moon:

"My tattoo is her tattoo is my tattoo"
Zann also sent us her following poem:


Each day I examine what finds its way
into these waters, the shining things caught

 in my net.

I lay them out one by one, sounding
for metaphor, meaning, pretty noise.

Such riches in the ebb and flow:
here is the lovely vocabulary of astronomy.


accretion disk, aphelion, apoapsis,
asterism, asthenosphere, azimuth, arc

and that’s only the A’s.

Here is the history of silk, the sad story
of bombyx mori,  a blind moth unable to eat or fly,
bred only to mate, lay eggs and die.

Her very best ending has her offspring boiled,
unraveled from their shrouds, piled in market baskets

and eaten,
while their perfect strands of silk are reeled, plied, woven.

The day’s big finds are stored away in my notebook.

Doomed worms and their cocoons,
a factory floating in the middle of a great lake
where lotus stems become fine threads,

and earnest girls twirling fire in poi pots on distant beaches,
their flames spinning into filaments of light

lingering on retinas.

~ ~ ~

Zann Carter is a poet and fiber artist in Terre Haute, Indiana. She co-hosts a monthly poetry reading now in its 8th year and chairs workshops on healing through expressive arts and storytelling. Her poetry has been published in  Ides of MarchSageWoman, Dirty Chai, The Healing Muse, Misfitmagazine and is forthcoming in Witches & Pagans.  She has twice received Grand Prize in the Max Ehrmann Poetry Competition. Her desperately-in-need-of-updating website is at

Thanks to Zann for sharing her poem, as well as both her and her daughter Molly's tattoos here on Tattoosday!

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

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