Today's tattooed poet is Jeff Mann, who shared this cool tattoo:
Jeff tells us:
I’ve been a Wiccan and pagan since I was a teenager. Because my bloodlines are Irish, Scots, English, and German, I’ve taken more and more of an interest in the Celtic and Norse gods and goddesses as I’ve aged. In 2003 I sat in on a graduate class at Virginia Tech, a course that focused on Celtic and Norse literature, and I got to read The Elder Edda, The Prose Edda, and a bunch of Icelandic sagas. These readings became the inspiration for my third book of poetry, Ash: Poems from Norse Mythology.
The hammer-wielding thunder god Thor is my favorite Norse deity. I admire his warrior manliness, his earthiness, his strength, and his determination to protect those he cares for. I showed several Thor’s-hammer images to my tattoo artist, Shaun Carroll (@shaun.hotrodtat2) at Hot Rod Tattoo in Blacksburg, Virginia, and he came up with the design, complete with Celtic knots and Wiccan pentagram.Jeff shared the following poem, as well, which originally appeared in Chelsea Station and in his collection A Romantic Mann:
Commemorates all women and men
ever oppressed and persecuted
because of their homosexuality.
Pink triangles of granite.
Three of them, interlocked,
jutting out into the busy waters
of Keizersgracht. A smooth
stone shelf we step onto
gingerly, as if it were an edge
of rosy ice that might break loose
and floe us off to sea. About our feet,
white wreaths of lilies, peony-
scatter, wilting commemorations
like those rose bouquets tenderly
laid about the statue of Anne Frank
just around the corner. Here, flowers
share the space with cigarette ends,
bottle caps, candle butts, the pearly swirls
of wax long cooled. (Semen’s
molten moonstone sealing together
the bellies of lucky lovers, tears freezing
a widower’s beard.) In a safety
born of sheer coincidence, on this pink
promontory flanked by the canal’s
wake and flux, we touch history’s
spilled tallow, calla lily memories
not our own: the lesbian stoned to death
in the public square, the faggot-
pyre heaped about the sodomite,
ashes shoveled from the cooling
furnaces of Buchenwald.
Those deaths become our whetstone.
Upon this pink granite prow sword-sharp
and sheer as honed will,
we sit together, knee to knee,
in the Dutch sun’s imprimatur,
dipping frites into mayonnaise,
feeding each another.
Perfect photo opportunity for those
in tour boats who float by. They listen to
the story of the Homomonument, point us out—living examples!—aim their cameras, smile.
~ ~ ~
Thanks to Jeff for sharing his tattoo and poem with us here on Tattoosday's Tattooed Poets Project!
This entry is ©2018 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission.