Thursday, April 4, 2019

Sonia Greenfield's Passionflower (The Tattooed Poets Project)

Today's Tattooed Poet is Sonia Greenfield, who I met last fall at the Best American Poetry 2018 launch reading. She subsequently sent us a few photos of one of her tattoo experiences:

Sonia told us the following story of her passionflower tattoo:
"I got this tattoo at the Sacred Rose (@sacredrosetattoo), which used to be in The Mission in San Francisco. My tattoo artist was Bryan Randolph (@bryanrandolph), and I feel so lucky to have had him do my artwork. This tattoo-- its bold lines and strong color-- have stood the test of time. The tattoo looks as fresh as a new blossom, still, yet it is twenty years old. Bryan is now tattooing at Spider Murphy's (@spidermurphystattoo) in San Rafael if you're in the Bay Area and looking for new ink. I can't recommend him enough if bold is your aesthetic.
I chose a passionflower for a few reasons-- I like the intricacy and architecture of this flower, its colors and textures. I like it as a symbol for passion, which is what drives us towards whatever it is we wish to acquire or achieve. Funny story about the location of this flower: My now husband couldn't remember the term 'tramp stamp,' which this tattoo certainly is not, but he came up with an even worse term for a tattoo located on the small of the back: 'Wait, what do people call a tattoo that's just above the butt? People call it a hag tag, right?' No, dear, it is neither tramp stamp or hag tag. It's art in a place of intimacy." 

Sonia also sent along her poem....

Lord's Prayer

dear lord
please grant me a spot
in the sand
on a Tunisian beach
with water so blue
it makes my eyes ache
and tiny crabs
that tickle the length
of my legs
but never pinch
and a novel
in my hands
about a woman
whose regrets match mine
but who finds contentment
on a swatch of beach
in Tunisia
where she reads of sadness
much like her own
yet moves on
dear lord
all I ask for
is a dog who will live forever
one who will rescue my only son
from wells
from the waves
of an ocean that cares little
for what it sucks in
or spits out
from the spiteful girlfriend
who breaks his five
prized possessions
because the boy could never
sniff out her cruel streak
dear lord
please let me finally
write the one poem
that will bring peace
to the Middle East
oh lord
I ask these
simple things of you
here in an American town
far from a Tunisian beach
my best dog dead
almost a year
and my child
only as tangible as hard sun
on unfeeling waves
where the glare
brings tears to my eyes
as I ask for your mercy

~ ~ ~

Sonia Greenfield was born and raised in Peekskill, New York, and her chapbook, American Parable, won the 2017 Autumn House Press/Coal Hill Review prize. Her first full-length collection, Boy with a Halo at the Farmer's Market, won the 2014 Codhill Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in a variety of places, including in the 2018 and 2010 Best American Poetry, Antioch Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Los Angeles Review, Massachusetts Review, and Willow Springs. Her collection of prose poems, Letdown, is forthcoming in 2020 with White Pine Press as part of the Marie Alexander Series. She lives with her husband, son, and two rescue dogs in Hollywood where she edits the Rise Up Review and directs the Southern California Poetry Festival.

Thanks to Sonia for sharing her passionflower 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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