Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Kathleen Szoke's Blue Jay on the Tattooed Poets Project

Our next tattooed poet is Kathleen Szoke, a Canadian poet with a stunning tattoo:

Kathleen tells us about her lovely blue jay tattoo:
"[It]  is in memory of an experience I had several years ago.  At a weekend retreat, we were asked to write a journal entry about owning our truth, and speaking out about what we wanted.  I wrote a piece about being a poet, owning that, and saying, 'I'm a poet.'  I had been ambivalent in the past about stating that, instead of just, 'Oh, I write poems sometimes, it's a hobby.'  We were taking turns reading our pieces, and the reaction I got was extremely enthusiastic, more than I expected.  The others explained that what I didn't know was that just after I started to speak, a blue jay appeared on a tree outside the window behind me.  It stayed until I finished speaking, and then flew away.  I never saw it myself, as it was behind me, over my left shoulder, which is where my blue jay sits now forever.  Unfortunately, the written piece was one of many things lost in a fire, so all I have left of that experience is the tattoo."
Kathleen credited the artist Carol at Sinkin Ink (@sinkin_ink) in Hamilton, Ontario, with this lovely blue jay.

Kathleen sent us the following poem to accompany her tattoo:


The blue jay called to me today
raucous and shrill
from the still barren lilacs
rising above the fence
outside the kitchen window.
He appears there sometimes
or on the old birch tree
perched at the very top
caws his discordant song.

He sat behind my shoulder once
beyond my sight
in the branches of another tree
outside another window
listened as I spoke truths
I only half believed.
When I finished
he flew away.

He stops by
on occasion
to remind me.

~ ~ ~

Kathleen Szoke is a poet writing in Burlington, Ontario.  She has been published in Canadian literary journals, such as The Antigonish ReviewThe Dalhousie Review, and the American/Canadian journal The Great Lakes ReviewShe has read her poetry at the Eden Mills Writer's Festival, the Kingston Artfest, and other local venues.  She sits on the executive of the Hamilton Poetry Centre, and is an Associate Member of the League of Canadian Poets.  She published a chapbook, Heavenly Blue, in 2011.

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

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

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1 comment:

Mary Steer said...

Beautiful tattoo, beautiful story, beautiful poem. Yay Kathleen!