Sunday, April 9, 2017

Isabelle Whitman on the Tattooed Poets Project

Today we have reached a milestone - our 300th poet!

Today's tattooed poet is Isabelle Whitman, who shared this amazing tattoo:

Isabelle explained:
"The tattoo [was] ... finished in 2016 by Michael Bogle (@m_bogle) at Eye Candy in New Orleans, LA. I was inspired by a small drawing done by Margaret Atwood in her book Good Bones and Simple Murders of a mermaid-Medusa hybrid. I talked with Michael about it when he did a tattoo on me a few years ago, and together we came up with this design. 
Isabelle shared the following poem:

Bruises Like Flowers

I am so over rot.
I am tired of the filth, the shit, the scum,
the bloated corpse.
I am weary of the overwrought:
the weeping mothers and fresh orphans.

Another body. Another fatal wound. Another victim, and another and another and
another skull split sideways, another torso full of holes, so many holes, so many guts, so
much stuff comes out of strung out girls, or flung out males, their bodies slumped in
parking lots, the whole damn lot of them are useless fucking scum senseless wastes of
skin and breath and shit--

I wanted poetry.
I wanted them splayed artfully
at river’s edge, hair fanning out
in waves on the Mississippi,
bruises like flowers on their fragile throats.
I wanted to be hero of the dead girls,
cigarette stuck firm in stern set mouth,
a strong and silent modern Marlowe,
the Marlboro Man of Orleans Parish.
I wanted to fuck the ones who lived
after I put away the men who killed their sisters,

but I got dead girls
with ugly boyfriends, broken teeth
and neck tattoos of misspelled names,
missing kids and dead boys too young to buy beer
and too old to put aside their streetworn pride.
These bruises don’t bloom,
but spread instead
like sticky stains on dirty carpets.
Blood spatters, then crusts,
and there is no poetry in scabs.
I am no hero here,
just one man standing
ankle deep in rot.

~ ~ ~

Isabelle Whitman grew up in Alabama and France, and has an M.A. in English from the University of New Orleans. She has written for Bayou Magazine, published an academic paper in the Cambridge Scholars Publishing book Media, Technology, and the Imagination, and is currently an assistant editor at Negative Capability Press. She lives in New Orleans, LA, with her dogs.

Thanks to Isabelle for sharing her wonderful tattoo and poem with us here on the Tattooed Poets Project on Tattoosday!

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

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