Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Alabama Stone's Tattoos on the Tattooed Poets Project

Our next tattooed poet is Alabama Stone. Alabama introduced herself to me, identifying as "a dirty Southern girl that writes a lot about lineage and family and what it means to be born in the swampy coastal Carolinas."

She has three tattoos, "all of which," she explained, "carry a lot of meaning." She added, "Basically, I’m too sentimental for my own good; so I became a poet…with tattoos."

Let's check them out:

Alabama explained:
My first tattoo is the steam engine on my left arm. There are several reasons I got this tattoo. My dad worked on trains and in a rail yard briefly, plus I’ve always been crazy about trains.
And then there's these:

She explains:
"On my right arm is my most recent tattoo is an illustration by Garth Williams from the book, Little Fur Family by Margaret Wise Brown. My mother would read this book to me every night, and sing the little song to me in the back of the book.

Above it, is C.D. Wright’s handwriting from the last letter she wrote me. C.D. Wright has been a long time literary hero for me. I wrote her a long letter, sealed it, and made myself send it without rereading it. A month or so later, I get two postcards in the mail—handmade broadsides with a lovely letter on them. She signed the last letter as, 'Be well. Ever, C.D.' When she passed last year, I knew I wanted it with me forever."
Alabama's tattoo artist is Rene Estrada aka Chico (@tattoosbychico714) from Hillsborough Street Tattoo & Body Piercing (@2402tattoo) in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Chico coincidentally tattooed  Liz Purvis, another one of our featured poets seen here in 2016.

Alabama shared the following poem with us, as well:

Whiskey Creek
for the Farrow – George family
of Masonboro Sound.

Born in Swamp, (N.C.)
big-hipped mamas,
cast-iron cookin’ queens,
curl up on the dock.
Hair stuck wet
from the salt
of our seasweat.
Sleep in
marsh beds.

We fear the ghosts
of our histories.
Down here
on The Sound,
we paint our porches blue.

So the light sticks.
The good stays.
To scare away the dark.
To get rid of what’s
already been got.

A nest from a spider
or a spooked fog.
A smoke bright
and burnin’ mad.

Keeps em’ out—sometimes
we paint the door frames too,
‘cause mama says granma’s
mama always did,
the color haint blue.

We make our livin’ makin’
 shine or wine or
 —nunya, goddamned, fucken, business.
We, the granny witches,                             
castin’ spells and fishin’ lines.
Carryin’ pinfish in our pockets.                            
Clammin’ with our feet.

We walk, tired.
Lift up our knees,
ankles stuck in mud,
babies hang to our hips
with their fat little fists
of hushpuppies.

Our feet and hands hurt
from workin’.
Our backs hurt
from carryin’

the family name.

~ ~ ~

Alabama Stone is not from Alabama—she is from the swampy wetlands of North Carolina. Raised on the humidity of the South, she relies on her family name for inspiration. Her poetry has appeared in
Blue Mesa Review, Crab Fat Magazine, voicemail poems, (parenthetical): words(on)pages; along with being an official poet in the “PoMoSco Project” while working with The Found Poetry Review.
She holds a MFA from North Carolina State University and is the cofounder and director of Street Smarts & The Arts, a community program bringing poetry workshops to runaway and homeless youth of North Carolina.

Thanks to Alabama for sharing her tattoos and poem with us here on The Tattooed Poets Project!

This entry is ©2017 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoos are reprinted with the poet's permission.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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