Friday, September 30, 2016

Tattooed Poet of the Month - Shane McCrae

The month of September has drawn to an end and I almost forgot our Tattooed Poet of the Month!

Meet Shane McCrae, who shared this tattoo:

Shane tells us:
"I got this here tattoo the summer before my senior year at college. A few months previously, I had gone through an awful break-up that was entirely my fault. In the midst of the break-up, Madonna’s 'What It Feels Like for a Girl' video premiered. Now, I don’t know whether you remember that video, but in it Madonna’s badass character has the word 'LOVED' tattooed on the back of her neck. I saw this and was immediately moved by it—I’m still moved by the memory. And though I had never wanted a tattoo before, suddenly I wanted that tattoo, and I wanted it on the back of my neck. A few months later, in the final days of summer, I was hanging out with my mom in Portland, and on the spur of the moment, it was decided (my mom was somehow even more into the idea than I was) that I should get the tattoo, but on my arm. I don’t remember exactly where I got it done, but I’ve noticed it every day since, and it has made me happy every day since. I think of it as both a record of, and a reminder of, an aspiration—it reminds me to love more.
As a reference, here's the aforementioned video:

Shane also shared this poem:

The Image of the Body in the Mind

In 1995 I moved     Lord from one side     / Of Jacksonville to the other

Except my money didn’t change

But the apartment Lord was nicer

I rented from a man I can’t remember     now unless I slide

Boss Hogg’s face and body

Over his face and body in my mind

Which now are blanks expecting Boss Hogg’s face and body

But he was kind

Or what     I thought was kind back then

Lord     / When I was poor     / And told me in his office I can’t now begin

Lord     / Even to picture

if I don’t first picture Rosco bringing him bad news

He’d let me rent a place I couldn’t     not     on SSI afford

As long as I     wouldn’t complain     / Yes

roaches but no roaches     when I woke up

crawling on my eyes

~ ~ ~ 

Shane McCrae teaches at Oberlin College and at Spalding University’s low-residency MFA in Writing Program. His most recent books are In the Language of My Captor (forthcoming from Wesleyan University Press in 2017) and The Animal Too Big to Kill (Persea Books, 2015). He has received a Whiting Writer’s Award, a fellowship from the NEA, and a Pushcart Prize.

Thanks to Shane for sharing his tattoo and poem with us here on Tattoosday's Tattooed Poets Project!

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

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