Friday, April 5, 2019

Samuel Piccone on the Tattooed Poets Project

Today's tattooed poet is Samuel Piccone, who sent us this photo:

Samuel explained:
This tattoo was done by Chris Henry (@chrishenry_tattoos) at Tainted Hearts Creations (@taintedheartscreations) in Greeley, Colorado (he has since opened his own studio in San Francisco with a few other artists from Tainted Hearts called Tattoo Boogaloo @tattooboogaloo). Most of my tattoos were done there, and Chris did [the] majority of them.
This tattoo is the cover art for Ryūnosuke Akutagawa’s collection of stories, Mandarins.
I was introduced to Akūtagawa in an undergraduate modern literature course at the University of Northern Colorado and was hooked immediately. I was just starting to write poetry, and to read short stories that were so imagistic and experimental blew my mind, so much so that I went to the bookstore right after class and bought everything I could find of his, which included this collection. Around this time, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and it felt like I had finally discovered a voice that reflected the strange, melancholic beauty of the world I was experiencing myself. He holds a special place in my life as a person and a writer, and whenever I’m looking for a way to say the sad thing in the most beautiful way, I can turn to any story of his and find what exactly what I’m looking for.
Samuel sent us the following poem, as well:

Nocturne Domestica

There are ghosts inside you that haven’t eaten in centuries;
I bought a nightlight for your side of the bed
hoping to chase the shadows from your body,
unblacken the toothy bruises on my neck.
I wanted the plastic luster of a half-moon
to turn bite marks into the glossed feathers
one finds thrashed and littered after a kill,
a sign there’s nothing left to consume.
But in the dead quiet of afterglow,
night is a slow blue pang, and it drains me,
how you kiss like love is something to feed.
Every wound I manage to close peels open like a husk.
What if marriage is like this, just two people in a room
afraid to starve alone? Like nightjars with fractured beaks,
all we have is the hunger on our tongues, petrified mothdust
under our talons, a bed that deepens with each lick.

~ ~ ~

Samuel Piccone is the author of the chapbook Pupa (Anhinga Press, 2018). His work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications including, Southern Indiana Review, Passages North, American Literary Review, and Columbia Poetry Review. He received an MFA in poetry from North Carolina State University and serves on the poetry staff at Raleigh Review. Currently, he resides and teaches in Nevada. Read more at

Thanks to Samuel for sharing his 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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