Monday, April 15, 2019

Rage Hezekiah's Octopus (The Tattooed Poets Project)

Our next tattooed poet is Rage Hezekiah, who sent us this photo of her tattoo:

Rage tells us:
This is the only tattoo I've designed on my own, and I got it about 11 years ago at Black and Blue Tattoo (@blackandbuetattoo) in San Francisco. The artist, Micah, no longer works there, but it was only my second tattoo and Micah was very comforting. Octopi have had a meaningful presence in my life for quite some time, and I like to think that all their arms are for holding. Octopi remind me that I'm held.
Rage also sent us the following poem, "Psilocybin," which she notes Is about the only time she tried hallucinogens. She added, "My experience that day solidified my need to put this tattoo on my body where I could see it every day." 


You and I ride our bikes to Ipswich River
and I dispense the only advice
I’ve been given. Just let them take you, I say,
placing a small handful of caps in your palm.
We sit on the muddy shore eating tuna,
anticipating magic. A slow undulation sets in,
its pulse warming the wet ground, and we lie
watching trees become hands holding everything
to the sky. I can smell my own sweat
and I’m weeping about my attempts to mask this scent.
You’re crying too, about how you hate your cunt
and I’m telling you Your everything is beautiful.
We watch a shallow puddle teem with the life
of tiny organisms. Pressing our arms into the mess,
we roll around and giggle. For hours we swim and sing,
until we mount our bikes again, stopping at a farm stand
to fondle the summer berries. Lambs bound about
their pastures and I watch your face collapse
as you realize they’re food, the awful truth
of cycles. The meadow’s full of alyssum
and clover, the August breeze sweet.
I want it all for as long as it will last.

~ ~ ~

Rage Hezekiah is a Cave Canem and MacDowell Fellow who earned her MFA from Emerson College. She is a recipient of the Saint Botolph Emerging Artist Award in Literature and was nominated for Best New Poets, 2017. She is a 2018 Vella Chapbook Award Winner, and her chapbook is forthcoming with Paper Nautilus Press. Stray Harbor, her debut full length collection of poems is being published in 2019 by Finishing Line Press. Her poems have appeared in Fifth Wednesday, Hayden's Ferry Review, The Cape Rock, Salamander, Tampa Review, and West Branch, as well as other journals. Her writing is featured in various anthologies including Other Tongues: Mixed Race Women Speak Out, All We Can Hold: poems of motherhood, and Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse. You can find more of her work at You can also find her on Facebook at

Thanks to Rage for sharing her tattoo and poem with us here on the Tattooed Poets Project on Tattoosday!

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

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