Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Geffrey Davis on The Tattooed Poets Project

Today's tattooed poet is Geffrey Davis:

Photo by Adam Haley

Phot by Chris Abani
Geffrey explains:
"Five and counting, and all similarly designed, I got my first three tattoos at
Laughing Buddha in Seattle, WA, the city in which I was born; I got the second
two at King Cobra in State College, PA, the city in which my son was born.
Because I watched my own father’s drug addiction compromise his way with
care, I spent too much of my childhood and adulthood believing I needed to
spare others and myself the burden of my reliance. Of course, that was just this
son’s early flailing against the reality of being failed by one major source of light.
And so, this ongoing tattoo series reflects my commitment (as well as my
struggle) to recognize, honor, and sometimes rename the numinous sources of
light—healthy or otherwise—that allow us to see, understand, and move
ourselves through this life."
Geffrey also shared the following poem:
~ ~ ~
The Radiance

how often will your dearness fly
down the open throat of life

and restart the work of wringing myths
from my mouth    even the promised body

blunders like this    nights I slip
outside as the city sleeps

to spark a sickly flame against the burst
of stars or June fireflies dispersed

in the yard    and then the radiance
of something else awake in the dark

floods the scene     as if to interrupt as if
your rogue tenderness itself    either way

my head’s calamity ignites with conjuring
and banishing—which means I am

a warm diaspora of blues    which means
my hands will fail to carry any one

formula for light    which is to say no
equal signs flare inside this heart

[First published by At Length.]
~ ~ ~

Geffrey Davis is the author of Revising the Storm ​(BOA Editions 2014), winner of the A. Poulin Jr. Poetry Prize and a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award Finalist, and of Night Angler (BOA Editions 2019). A recipient of the Anne Halley Poetry Prize, the Wabash Prize for Poetry, and fellowships from the Cave Canem Foundation and the Vermont Studio Center, his work is forthcoming or has been published by The Academy of American Poets, ​The Massachusetts Review, New England Review, ​The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, and Ploughshares. Davis teaches at the University of Arkansas and in The Rainier Writing Workshop low-res MFA program, and he serves as poetry editor of Iron Horse Literary Review.

Thanks to Geffrey for celebrating the Tattooed Poets Project on Tattoosday in honor of National Poetry Month by contributing his tattoos and poem!

This entry is ©2018 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission.

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