Sunday, April 14, 2019

Kayleb Rae Candrili and Stevie Nicks (The Tattooed Poets Project)

Our next tattooed poet is Kayleb Rae Candrili, who shared this tattoo:

Kayleb's tattoo was inked by Timmy Tatts (@timmytattsoriginal) at King Cobra Tattoo ( in State College, PA, 2014. The tattoo makes an appearance in the following poem, "Some Thoughts on Luck," which was first published with Peach Magazine, January 22nd, 2019:



superstitious sicilians in the mountains,
all we spoke about 

was mickey mantle and my father’s 
old mafia ties. 

can you imagine 
the rabbit’s feet hung 

round my neck during hunting 
season, the fur 

matted and the nails 
so desperate 

to finally decompose. 
what does it mean

to carry a dead
animal so closely to your heart

in hopes you might 
kill some more. 



when i learned to swallow 
i began to drink

the ocean. so much booze
it might as well 

have been sea salt. drunk and in
a bad love, stevie nicks 

was my only god.
and what is god

besides a superstition,
a belief 

in that which 
will never be proven. 

my inner thigh is tattooed with an effigy 
of a rock star—so holy,

but still proving 
the way liquor can take 

hold of even your skin, 
make it

something you’ve never seen before
and will see every day after.



my father has always hated 
women, though 

he has always needed them. 
what a rich history,

this narrative of misogyny. 
counting fist-falls 

as sheep
is a storied simile. 

finally, i am no longer drunk
or superstitious.

and though i am marked 
by having been so,

i can feel love
now, like my father 
              never has. 

i am thankful to have been born 
his daughter 

because if i had been born my father’s son, 
forget about it.


Kayleb Rae Candrilli is a 2019 Whiting Award Winner in Poetry and the author of What Runs Over with YesYes Books, which was a 2017 finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in transgender poetry. Their second collection, All the Gay Saints, won the 2018 Saturnalia Book Contest and is forthcoming in Spring 2020. Candrilli is published or forthcoming in POETRY, TriQuarterly Review, Academy of American Poets, Boston Review and many others. You can read more here.

Thanks to Kayleb for sharing their cool tattoo and poem with us here on Tattoosday's Tattooed Poets Project!

This entry is ©2019 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission.

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