Thursday, April 26, 2018

Three for Thursday, Part 1- Mariama Lockington on the Tattooed Poets Project

I reached out to our next tattooed poet, Mariama Lockington, back in February and she responded with an intriguing story and photo:

As one can see, those are three tattoos on three wrists. And, yes, one is Mariama's, and the other two belong to poets, as well! The three tattoos are inspired by the following photo of Mariama dancing on Venice Beach during sunset:

She explained, "it's the image we decided best represents our friendship," and, to her personally, "it symbolizes freedom, friendship, and curiosity."

So, today, we will be celebrating three tattooed poets, all with linked tattoos. The other poets, Lauren Whitehead and Molly Raynor, will have posts appearing later today.

(left to right) Mariama Lockington, Lauren Whitehead and Molly Raynor

Here's Mariama's poetic contribution:

so we never
for molly and lauren

here is a prayer for the bottoms of our feet
worn tough from neon colored sandals bought for
9.99 at the superstore on e. 14th  that also sold
leggings in every sexy girl pattern you could imagine
fake eyelashes and nail jewels & don’t forget
the banana hoop earrings as big a circus rings
we hung from our ears like ornaments, even though
our mamas warned of stretched lobes & infections

here is a prayer for how thick we were in those first months
our thighs rubbing together, making church songs
as we walked the lake eating breakfast sandwiches
stuffed with bacon & avocado
ignoring the thirty-something year olds
sweat-faced & out of breath passing us on either side

here is a prayer for short skirts & thai iced tea
the shady corner of an empty baseball field
where we stacked books of poetry next to half filled journals
smoked blunts or snuck sips of warm mimosas
while we scribbled urgent love letters to ourselves
along with the rhythm of shirtless men
playing basketball on the courts behind us

here is a prayer for our twenty-three year old bodies
for our self-assured yet searching hips
for the hands that attempted to guide our movement
into sticky corners of sound at kittys, lukas, or baobabs
for our dances that could not be contained or predicted
for standing on speakers & whispering into the ear of a DJ
for the wild-yell in our throats when our song came on
for the fake numbers & secret kisses & quick fucks
we owned because we were curious, because we wanted

here is a prayer for how we flung ourselves into lonely
our new womanhood all wrapped up in the mouth of the bay
for the dinosaurs stretching their necks out to us in greeting
as we emerged from the West Oakland tunnel at 1am
our heads slammed full of dizzy visions while our arms
swayed at our sides with the kick & kink of the train

here is a prayer for driving in a minivan along the 1
the coast moving next to us like a great whale
for the cliffs we dangled our legs from
the beaches we carved our names into
for the jade & driftwood & crab shells we gathered
all our evidence of being lost & broken & still free
here is a prayer for us, my hearts  
so we never forget how to return
~ ~ ~

Mariama J. Lockington is the author of the poetry chapbook The Lucky Daughter (Damaged Goods Press, 2017), and her novel-in-verse Questions I Have For Black Girls Like Me is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus, and Giroux— Books for Young Readers in 2019. Mariama calls many places home, but currently lives in Lexington, KY. You can find more of her work at

Thanks to Mariama (and Molly and and Lauren, in advance) for sharing their poems and tattoos with us here on The Tattooed Poets Project on Tattoosday! Be sure to come back later today to see Molly and Lauren's poems!

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

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