Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sheila Squillante Shares Two Tattoos on the Tattooed Poets Project

Today's tattooed poet is Sheila Squillante, who is sharing two tattoos:

Sheila explains:
"These are my only tattoos, gotten nearly twenty years apart. The first, a wrist vine (it goes all the way around), I got at Studio Zee on State Street in New Haven, CT. I was on my lunch break from a coffee house job. It wasn't exactly a whim because I had thought about it, but I also didn't tell anyone I was going because I was worried I would lose my nerve or be talked out of it. I was 27 years old and my first marriage had just ended, leaving me scrambling to locate myself. It's a cliche, I know, but this is my 're-inventing myself' tattoo. I remember I specifically wanted it placed somewhere I could see it every day. A reminder. It's faded but I still love it."
Then, there's this lovely iris tattoo:

Sheila describes this piece:
"My second is brand new, but I have been thinking about it for at least 20 years. Irises are my favorite flower, and I have always been drawn to those 18th century copperplate botanical prints. Michelle Joy at Gypsy Tattoo Parlor n Pittsburgh has a background as a rare book dealer, and much of her work has the appearance of intricate wood cuts. I knew I wanted her to do my iris. The reason for the timing is in the caption: 'Fig. 46.' I turned 46 in October, bringing me to the age my father was when he died. I have dreaded this year, but as it came closer, I knew I wanted to mark it for us both." 
Sheila also sent us, the following poem, originally published in issue 14 of Eleven Eleven, noting, it "is not about tattoos or flowers, but it about heartbreak:"

Eggs for the Broken Hearted

Eggs for forgetting you could still break like that.
                            Like this.
Eggs when you’ve broken someone else.
Cracked open.
Eggs over cold rice in a hot skillet. The popping sound everyone makes.
Stirred and stirring.
Eggs broken and filled.
                            Rice, vice.
Eggs before poems and after you swear them off.
Egg as absolute. Egg as always.
Eggs inside. Swallowed whole or knocking hello on the walls of please no more.
What can this egg do? This one and this one?
Inside earthenware. Nesting like crows
inside the hollow of your hollow of your hollow.
Cracked and salted and swirled there.
Eggs when you think you could do better. Could have done better.
When you think you could still write a poem as glossy rich
and filling as yolk over rice. Deep blue bowl
to keep the heat. Wrap your hands around it.
Eggs for when you want to burn yourself.
What egg?
What is an egg?
Egg as infection or invasion. Smooth and hard. Cold and unswallowable.
In the pan, oil sizzles or water boils or water simmers
and you slide yourself in.
Feel yourself. Congeal. Stiffen against
this sadness, your center which wants to run
                            loose and away.
Eggs that hang together, stay
in the soup, as they say.
Ribbons of egg, threaded through
noodles or over rice, billowing
in broth, tongue- kissed with ginger.
              I will feed it to you, sweetheart
              spoon by too-hot spoon–

~ ~ ~

Sheila Squillante is the author of the poetry collection, BEAUTIFUL NERVE (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2016). Recent poems and essays have appeared or will appear in places like Indiana Review, Waxwing, North Dakota Quarterly, Menacing Hedge and River Teeth. She teaches in the MFA program at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, where she edits The Fourth River. From the couch in front of good or bad t.v., she edits the blog for Barrelhouse. Visit her: www.sheilasquillante.com Twitter: @sheilasquill

Thanks to Sheila for sharing her two tattoos and poem with us here on Tattoosday's Tattooed Poets Project!

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