Birthday!

My birthday party is in just about two weeks now and I am super excited. My sister rented out a rollerskating rink for the occasion and we will be skating for three hours in the middle of the night, and have the rink all to ourselves. Hour of the Wolf is playing, and we're baking a million cupcakes. We're also making an awesome playlist of all the old school rollerskating tunes we used to skate to in the 80s and 90s. Yay! I invited some more friends today, some old friends and some new friends, some acquaintances. The more the merrier, really. I'm not one of those people who doesn't like getting older. In fact, I love it! I really cherish birthdays and I love celebrating, and I'm so glad another year has gone by successfully, as silly as it sounds. My real birthday is May 29th, but we'll be on the Jersey shore then, and the weekend before we will be in Vermont...so that's why we're celebrating a bit early. So many of my old friends will be making it out to rollerskate and it really warms my little heart they will be there.
Like I said, on my actual birthday, we will be out of town, and Hank's birthday is two days after, so we'll be having dinner at one of our favorite pizza places, Federici's, and then ice cream on the boardwalk, ride some of the rides, etc. I can't wait!

Craig Arnold Needs Our Help

Craig Arnold, whose tattoos were featured just last Friday here, has gone missing on an isolated island in Japan.

He needs our help. The Japanese authorities are close to calling off the search, and we need to do what we can by contacting our elected officials in Washington to put pressure on the Japanese government to not give up on finding Craig.

There's more info here.

The Tattooed Poets Project: Wrapping Up National Poetry Month

"Alas, I've done the uninkable"
-Paul Muldoon, February 3, 2009
That was Mr. Muldoon's response to my inquiry, in January, if he was tattooed. I've been wanting to include that somewhere this month, and finally found the spot. Thank you, Mr. Muldoon.

As I wrap up National Poetry Month here on Tattoosday and BillyBlog, it all seems a bit unreal. I spent a good quarter of the year, since mid-January, assembling the host of inked poets that have blessed us with their tattoos over the last month.

And there is more to come. There's a dozen or so poets who expressed interest, but never came through with photos. I continue to receive submissions from poets who have wanted to share, acknowledging that the deadline has passed.

I invite all of you who may have just been checking in on the poets' tattoos to return and visit often. Tattoosday is dedicated to presenting the most interesting tattoos it can find on the streets of New York. Note that I say "interesting," rather than "best". For, sometimes, a simple tattoo is anything but- the story beneath the layer of skin that the ink permeates is often more fascinating than the design itself. I want to thank everyone who helped contribute to the success of the Tattooed Poets Project.

First and foremost, Stacey Harwood at the Best American Poetry blog. Stacey was enthusiastic about the concept from the get-go, and her call for submissions on the BAP blog was a sign of legitimacy that I'm sure convinced many poets that the project was worthwhile and above-board. Her inclusion of Tattoosday on the BAP blog was a blessing, and the bit of html code that Stacey taught me will continue to be helpful in the future. I thank Stacey from the bottom of my heart.

Extended from that, I also thank other poets affiliated with the BAP blog: David Lehman, who has been series editor of The Best American Poetry since it's inception in 1988, BAP correspondents Moira Egan and Jill Alexander Essbaum for their support and participation, and Dorianne Laux who, although uninked, set me on a meandering path, introducing me to tattooed
poets who, in turn, introduced me to more tattooed poets, and so forth, and so on.

And of course, I thank all of you, the readers. In the blogosphere, no one can hear you scream and the worst fear of a blogger is that his or her voice goes unheard. Your comments, e-mails, submissions, and even your votes were truly appreciated.

April was our best month ever, in terms of traffic. As of this writing, we are on pace to eclipse the 25,000 hit mark for the month. I offer my thanks to everyone who has been kind enough to stop by.

Sincerely,


Bill Cohen

And now, the final tattooed poet for the month! Enjoy.....

Shopping at my favorite cheap place!

This was from the other week, when I was dress shopping with Autumn via cell-phone photos. I ended up getting this cute little floral number, amongst too many other things as usual. Forever21 is a bit of a problem for me...they often have cute things (very hit or miss though in my opinion- when it's good it's good, but when it's bad...it's all beaded hippie shit), but they're cheap and don't last. I'd really rather invest in better quality clothing, but cute, cheap things are irresistible! I usually can't leave the store without a few things, and luckily they are mostly about $25.00 each! I am looking forward to when H&M opens, but I know the selection won't be great if they don't end up carrying the Ladies Trend line. And even so, I know the store here won't even compare to the larger city's stores. But we'll see.

And NOW, off to bed. ;)

PMA/jobs

Today was one of those days where I woke up on the right side of the bed, and everything was wonderful. My last post and all of the (wonderful) comments really had me thinking about positivity. I don't know if I made it clear, but my positive outlook is still here, just my outlook on people is a little more realistic. Upon examination, I think where I am is a good place to be. Realistically optimistic.

I haven't been taking very many photos this week, I'm not sure why, but I have a big event Saturday that Hank and I are dressing up for, so I'm sure I will update my Flickr then. About 5 months ago we also received an insanely amazing, brand new Nikon D-SLR, which I am focused on learning to use by our East Coast 3-week extravaganza. We will be in many, many beautiful places and I am looking forward to extensively documenting our trip, both through blog and photo.

And speaking of documenting, lately I have really, really been loving that I have so many photos from almost everyday of my life. Some people may find it odd that I take photographs of myself a lot, photographs of Madeline, photographs on our walks, love photos, sleeping photos...but I appreciate life so much, and I love that I have all these little snapshots of everything, everyday. I will never stop doing that. I just need to work on photography more, and taking different types of pictures. I am so excited for Hank to teach me to use the new one.

It's weird how time goes by. Because I am a teacher, time is set into neat little boxes for me, which makes it fly. It's put into quarters and semesters, days and periods. There is always something coming up- a holiday, a vacation, a progress report, a summer break, a bell. In a weird way I love this- I have always loved the structure of being in school, the idea of working hard for awhile, then getting rewarded with a huge break. And obviously it's no different as a teacher. I work for awhile, and get that same long break. After being a teacher, there is no way I could ever go back to a normal job- and really, I've only worked a few normal jobs in my life, for a couple years right after college.

I've become inspired to list all the jobs I've had, lucky you!

First of all, my parents never insisted I worked in high school, and in fact frowned upon it because I was so busy- they wanted me to have fun (and oh, did I). So I ended up taking weird jobs so I could work with my friends! Here's my timeline, the best I can remember. Due to many wild choices (including too many parties and too many raves in the mid to late nineties) I don't have the best memory of age 14-18. Oops.

I don't know the order of these jobs, but here are the places I worked in high school-

Subway- I don't remember much about this job except we used to steal the big bags of mayo and throw them out of our moving cars at people. Yes, I know that's horrible, but my guy friends were all crazy skateboard guys who liked to have "ruckus" night, which also included launching these bags, and balloons full of who knows what at cars from my backyard. Also, stealing golfcarts from the golf course I grew up on, one of my guy friends jumping into the lake during the old folks concert, and pretending to drown, and another golden time, going in to the JC Penney Home Store at the mall and hiding behind the shower curtains in the model bathrooms and jumping out at old, old people and screaming at the top of their lungs...all caught on video. We were 16 and stupid, what can I say?

And speaking of JC Penneys, I worked there for awhile with tons of friends. Shawna and Kara worked in the Home section, and I spent hours folding those shitty Arizona brand jeans and mens shirts upstairs. I don't remember much about this place either besides all of our friends that were there too.

Some weird telemarketing place- I worked here for about a month before I realized how fucked it was. They would put us in a back room, with no ventilation, and make us cold call people for hours without a break. Sweatshop anyone?

Home Plus- I worked here with my very best guy friend Ryan for awhile. I think we got fired? I don't remember.

And I think that's it for high school.

In college, I worked a few steady jobs throughout my four years at NAU.

Granny's Closet- My good friends Susan and Alyssa had gotten jobs here the summer before sophomore year and got me a job here serving. This was the weirdest place I have ever, ever worked and I can remember so much about it, so vividly. From the bulldog in the kitchen, to the huge vat of ranch, from the penny tips from the drunk Native Americans, to serving wings in the disco, setting up and taking down that godforsaken salad bar, it's so fresh in my mind. I dated some dude I met there for awhile. He turned out to be a total creepie, and I should have learned my lesson about dating restaurant guys. But nope. Stay tuned for that one.

Aveda O.P.O. Salon and Spa- I loved this job. I don't remember if Barb or Autumn (she was just graduating massage school) got me this job, but it quickly became a huge part of my life for all four years of college. It was a family owned salon/spa in downtown Flagstaff, and a wonderful woman Jennessa owned it. She treated her employees so well, and soon I was not only an assistant manager, but became the "Wedding Planner" extraordinaire and had so much responsibility. And I loved it. This is where I first fell in love with Aveda. We had so many good times there and it will always have a special, special place in my heart.

The Cracker Barrel- That's right, the mother-fucking Cracker Barrel kids! Shirley and I decided to apply here where a million of our friends got jobs here. They told us all about the big tips on Sunday mornings from the church-goers...and they were right! Cracker Barrel is a super weird place though, the training alone scared me so badly, but I stuck with it and somehow ended up loving it. We had to wear ridiculous aprons, and memorize all of these weird abbreviations and number codes for ordering. Example: a country-fried steak, white gravy with mashed potatos, brown gravy, and a side of carrots and fried apples looks like - CFSw 8b, 3, 9. Seriously weird, huh? And the longer you work there and take these little tests, you get a star (par level) on your apron. We would work a few nights during the week, and always Sunday morning. We would go to bed at 3 or 4 in the morning, and drag ourselves to work still drunk or hungover and serve all morning, until we go off around 2 or 3. Shirl and I would usually go to Cafe Express for lunch and then head to our house to nap all day, and usually find Autumn still in bed, sleeping away! I also met a guy who shall be called "T." at this fine establishment, and ended up dating him for a long time. He moved to Florida and we consequently parted ways. Somehow he lives in Prescott now. Odd.

So those are three places I have worked in college. After college, I kept just two jobs until I became a teacher.

Aveda- I was the assistant manager at the Aveda store at the Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall for almost two year. After being around Aveda products for all of college, I couldn't be away from it and took this job. It was either that, or manager at Sephora, and I am so glad Aveda won out. Anyway, I met so many wonderful girls at this job, and had a blast. I was working here when I met Hank, and I can still remember telling Rosemary (the head manager) all about him. My main responsibilities were to open/close the store, stock inventory, sell, typical retail stuff. The employee discount though was 74%, which is unheard of, and I loved it. Overall this was probably one of my most favorite jobs- I was required to wear black all day, had to look good (makeup and hair since we were selling beauty), and could show my tattoos. Awesome.

Barnes and Noble- I worked at B&N for a short while up in Prescott to make ends meet while I was student teaching. I love books, and I should have probably just become a librarian. This job was heaven! Coming in an hour early to sort and put away books, talking about reading all day, and a great discount? If I would have gotten laid off, this would have been my back up plan. Barnes and Noble is the jam...besides it being in a mall and always full of my students. Hmmm.

So anyway, now you know my work history. Did anyone even read this far? I feel insane for typing it all out, but I also feel very accomplished. Go me.

And go me, to bed. Goodnight lovelies. xo

PS. Where are some of the weird places you've worked?

The Tattooed Poets Project: A Hand for Joy Harjo


Our last tattoo for National Poetry Month comes to us from the wonderful poet Joy Harjo.

I was surprised, to be honest, when Joy agreed to participate, because she seemed so busy. Despite the exchange of messages from her, aside from her permission to be a part of the project, I didn't get a lot of detail about the piece she offered. Fortunately for me and, by extension, Tattoosday readers, she has a website and an explanation about the tattoo there. I am reprinting it here:

The tattoo on my hand is a tattoo. It’s not henna. The style is from the Marquesas Islands. The Marquesas are north of Tahiti.
Roonui, a Tahitian artist, did the tattoo freehand in Moorea, Tahiti. He is now living in Canada. It took two-and-a-half hours. (And yes, it hurt.)
I’d seen the tattoo there on my hand for sometime. The tattoo represents assistance for my work. I use my hands for music, writing, and everything else I do. The tattoo reminds me of the levels of assistance. I am also carrying a beautiful piece of art with me wherever I go.
Roonui says: "Polynesian tattooing is not a simple exercise in aesthetics. Polynesian carve into their body the symbols of their actions (past present or future), their promises, their games."
The part inside my wrist, close to my heart, resembles ancestral designs of my tribal people.
I encourage readers to explore Joy's website (linked above) and to head over to BillyBlog to read one of her poems here.

The Tattooed Poets Project: Eileen Myles - "Poet, Take My Measure"

For this, our penultimate post in the April Tattooed Poets Series, we present a tattoo from Eileen Myles.

Last week Thursday, I met Eileen on my lunch break at a Starbucks in Union Square. For a blog based on meeting people with tattoos, it was refreshing to sit and chat with a poet in person. It was only the second face-to-face meeting with tattooed poets. All others have been based on e-mail submissions.

Eileen is a fixture in the New York poetry scene, and has been a resident here since the early 1970's. She's also the first poet featured who I've actually heard read, so I felt like I was re-meeting with an old acquaintance.

Eileen has three tattoos, and I opted to talk to her about the one on the inside of her left bicep:


Eileen explained that she got this tattoo back in 2001 (before 9/11 - which led to a whole other conversation). The phrase is a quote from Dante's Inferno (translated by Robert Pinsky), the first part of The Divine Comedy.

In the Italian, the lines are:

"Io cominciai: "Poeta che mi guidi,
guarda la mia virtù s'ell' è possente,

prima ch'a l'
alto passo tu mi fidi."

Dante Alighieri, Inferno, II. 10-12


Or, as translated by Mr. Pinsky:

"I commenced: "Poet, take my measure now:

Appraise my powers before you trust me to venture

Through that deep passage where you would be my guide."

Robert Pinsky, The Inferno of Dante, II. 9-11


Eileen got this line of poetry tattooed as a signpost for her embarking on a novel called The Inferno: A Poet's Novel.


The lines from the original work by Dante are spoken by Dante to the poet Virgil, checking to see if he can handle the journey on which he is about to embark.

Writing as a woman, she draws a parallel to the inferno of Hell with the life of a female poet.

This tattoo was inked by Stephanie Tamez at Porcupine Tattoo on the Lower East Side. Both Stephanie and Porcupine have moved, Stephanie to New York Adorned, and Porcupine from the Lower East Side to Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Thanks to Eileen for sharing this tattoo with us here at Tattoosday!

Please head over to BillyBlog to see one of her poems here.

sweet...

I am generally a really sweet girl. Sometimes too sweet, I guess, and I have been called fake numerous times, and disliked for being "too happy." Ha! Seriously though. But lately I sadly feel as if that sweet of my personality is slowly, slowly falling away. I have a sneaking suspicion that this is "growing up," and this is my heart turning a little colder and older, and losing a bit of my childish charm.

AND THIS TERRIFIES ME.

I guess I should feel lucky I am aware of this, but it's scary. I can't figure out if I was just naive before, and now perhaps I am in reality, but something is different. I want to tell all of the shitty people in the world that they're shitty. I want to stop being friends with people because they're shitty. I don't see the good in people anymore, I actually think that most people are shitty. And THAT'S shitty! When did this happen to me?

I have been thinking about this a lot. And also thinking about how I really don't care anymore about always being nice to people because most people aren't nice! I guess the sad part to me is that realization- people aren't nice. Have I changed, or just become more aware of people's true selves? Or have I simply gotten older and changed, and in turn, am surrounded with other older people who have also become a little less nice? I could turn this over in my head forever.

Hank says I think about things too much, not in a negative way, just in a observant way. I agree with him.

I'm definitely a positive person, but my rose-colored glasses are nowhere to be found. I need them back. I want them back! I want to still see people as good, I want my heart to feel light and happy. I never want to lose my child heart, the spark I have for life.

This entire entry makes perfect sense to me, but I wonder if you get it too. Sometimes my thoughts are a bit jumbled, making for a jumbled entry. But I tried...

In other news, today was a pretty okay day. It was the last day of the work week for me. Tomorrow is Rally Day and then two days at Northpoint. This weekend we'll be in Phoenix for a weekend full of friends and fun. I am currently trying to find motivation for a late night gym visit, but I am thinking it may be more beneficial to just head to sleep by 10 and do the gym in the morning.

Either way, I wish you all beautiful dreams!
xo

The Tattooed Poets Project: Meredith S's Interpretation of a Russian Prison Tattoo

As the end of National Poetry Month approaches, I find myself in an enviable position: too many poets' tattoos, too few days. So, I've decided to "double up" and make today a "Two for Tattoosday". I have also realized that this Tattooed Poets Series will have to continue, in one form or another, above and beyond National Poetry Month. Stay tuned for more details.

In the mean time, Meredith S., a poet from Brooklyn, sent in the following photo:


I know, I know, you can't see the whole piece in that shot, but it's pretty cool, and you can get some detail on the sparrow. Here's a more traditional shot:


Meredith explains:
"I happen to love tattoos as a intimately personal expression of ourselves...

[This] ... is an interpretation of a Russian prison tattoo that families and lovers got when they were separated by prisons and Stalin's concentration camps. The tattoo is a traditional pair of swallows holding a three-piece banner with the Russian acronyms: tomsk (a city in Russia); vino (wine); omyt (whirlpool). The acronyms stand for: you alone have my heart; come back and stay forever; it is hard to leave me.

Alex McWatt at Three Kings Tattoo did an amazing job at putting all the elements together. I decided to get this tattoo after losing most of my family members, but mainly after my mother, who is a drug addict, disappeared from my life 5 years ago."
Meredith also submitted a poem about her mother that she composed after seeing a prison mugshot of her a couple of years ago. That poem is posted here on BillyBlog.

Alex McWatt has had work appearing before on Tattoosday, here.

The Tattooed Poets Project: Ruth Kohtz Shares a Poema

Today's tattoo comes from Ruth Kohtz:


Ruth explains:

I got the "poema" tattoo on my birthday, November 9, in 2007, by Nik Lensing at Fluid Ink in St. Paul, Minnesota. I made the appointment about 2 hours before I got it, and I had the design all printed out already.

I had been out of college for about six months and was struggling with lots of existential "what am I doing?" kind of stuff. I have spoken Spanish and written poetry for several years, and the word "poema" ("poem") expresses that I am writing my own life into existence - there's no one way a life has to be. It's a poem.

And I got it on the back of my neck so I wouldn't have to work a job where I couldn't have a tattoo on the back of my neck. Someday I'm going to get "Ruth-less" across my knuckles...

I also have a small blue star on the inside of my right arm because it is said that poet Dorothy Parker (of the Algonquin Round Table in the 1930s) had a similar tattoo back when it was not quite so popular...
Thanks to Ruth for sharing her tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

Please head over to BillyBlog here to see her performing one of her poems.

The Tattooed Poets Project: My First Tattoo

I'm going to be a greedy little poet/blogger today and share one of my tattoos (and a tattoo-themed sestina on BillyBlog). We're in our final week of National Poetry Month, and I thought it would be a good time to hop on the bandwagon.

I was hoping to post a tattoo that I've recently had done, but the artist has respectfully requested that I wait to post it until after it has been fully completed.

So we'll head back to 2003 and my first tattoo, on my right bicep:


Back then, I was not so involved in tattooing, and I didn't really understand the process. I thought you just went to a shop, picked some flash, and had it inked. Had I known then what I know now, I may have approached the experience a little differently.

The first tattoo is a representation of my oldest daughter, Jolee. She has a Hawaiian middle name, "Lineka," which one English-Hawaiian, Hawaiian-English dictionary told me means "lynx". Not that there are any lynx roaming around Honolulu, but she certainly has the personality and beauty of a lynx, and it just seemed right.

A tattoo artist named "Sickie," who was working out of Body Arts Studio in Bay Ridge, took the flash, modified it by removing all the extraneous bamboo and other background art, and created this version of the wildcat.

He was very proud of himself over the way the eyes came out. I tend to agree. They're pretty cool. Lest you think my younger daughter feel left out, she is also represented on me in the form of a tattoo, previously posted here.

Thanks for indulging me. Now head on over to BillyBlog and read my sestina.

Naptime!

I somehow just woke up for a super long nap which felt so good, but I know I will regret tonight. I also just realized a few things - in less than three weeks I am having my wonderful rollerskating birthday party, and in less than four weeks Hank and I will be spending three weeks traveling around the East Coast. I can't believe how quickly summer has arrived. And I couldn't be happier!

I don't have very many responsibilities this week, but here is my to-do list:
1) check up on bank fraud/send in affidavit
2) fix bike once and for all! (I have been putting this off and I need it done, like yesterday)

That's really it. I have a two day work week (Wednesday is a big rally all day so I am not counting it as a teaching day) and Thursday and Friday I'll be away from school doing judging at another high school! I feel so comforted as this year winds down. It's been the first year I have actually liked teaching almost every single day, which is a great feeling.

So this morning we went to brunch at the Dinner Bell with friends, then walked a bit downtown, went to the market, then I came home and made some cupcakes for the guys as they watched basketball. Then...took a long, long nap! I am planning on not doing much else for the rest of the evening, probably going to watch "Yes Man" right here in our big, comfy bed!

Here are some photos from this morning-

Here's me on our back porch, and my new MJ in action. I am so happy with it. One of my friends Zoe has it and we talked about which size, whether or not I should do the tan or black, etc. She is also a collector and recommended the tan, and I am soo happy with it. It is my most favorite bag right now.
heading to brunch

Hank waiting for our table
hank

Outside, enjoying the beautiful weather
good morning sunday

Granite Creek Trail
granite creek trail

creek

Sunday morning

Right now I'm on hold with Bank of America, because I had 6 huge charges mysteriously show up on my inactive debit card, which is totally scary. Huge kudos to BofA though, they are so helpful and are taking care of it. They alerted me to it right away. Thank you Bank of America!

Last night we had some old friends in town, so we went to sushi, then to Hank's show, out with everyone, etc. It was a really fun night, and lots of friends were in town from Tuscon and Phoenix because it was Kyle's birthday and some other things were going on. I still have not drank any alcohol since New Year's Eve (outside of some tastes of wine at a wine bar with the Loops), and last night yet again reminded me of why I just don't have the urge to anymore. I have fun no matter what, I love hanging out with people and I don't need it to 'cut loose,' or to destress. There's actually no reason at all for me to drink, especially since I don't see the logic in being sick the next day! So anyway, I didn't drink again last night and I am so glad, I love love love waking up feeling fantastic the next day, plus all of those toxins are no good. I'm not saying I won't ever drink again, but for this period in my life I don't feel like it. Surprisingly Hank stayed out after his show (he always goes home and then we all go out) and he had a great time! If you don't know me personally, my hubby is straight edge and doesn't go out to bars and prefers to avoid drunk people. He never judges, but it's just his choice. I definitely don't mind that he doesn't go out on the rare occasion I do, but it was such a nice treat that he stayed out all night with everyone and had a great time! In my life I always go through drinking and non drinking phases, but I've never been one to drink a lot (besides parts of college, but that's a whole different story). Overall, the point I'm trying to make is that I feel so healthy and good without it, I'm not sure if I will choose to do it again for a long time. But, we will be on the Jersey shore for almost a month...haha...

Here are some photos from last night, they're just shitty bar photos, nothing too good. :)

Hank and Jordan
hank and jord

I ran into my friend Ashley who now lives in Tucson! She is the cutest thing.
ashley and me

Addison and Brett
addy and brett

Jordan filling in on bass for a song, he is too cute.
jordan!

Kyle the birthday boy and Brett!
birthday boy and brett

at sundances

The Tattooed Poets Project: Claire Askew's Two Naomis

Today's tattoos come from Claire Askew, a poet and editor who lives in Edinburgh, Scotland:


Claire explains:

My tattoo was inked by Roberto Seifert, who works out of Herzblut Tattoo in Leipzig, Germany. However, he tattooed me while doing a guest-stint at the fantastic Tattoo Zoo (run by Gerry Kramer) in Victoria, Canada. It was summer 2008 and I originally went into the parlour with my boyfriend, who was getting his second piece of Tattoo Zoo ink. Seeing the place and talking with the artists, I decided I also wanted to be tattooed there, and took the plunge -- this was my first tattoo.

The design is based on part of a painting by Alan Aldridge, most famous for his Beatles sleeve art and illustrations. I like the sleeping faces because they're innocent, but because they're inside flowers there's also something slightly sinister about them, like Venus Fly Traps. Roberto worked on them a fair bit before inking them, and the two are ever so slightly different from one another -- one looks very pure and sweet


while the other looks more menacing, like she's plotting something.

I have a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde character so this really seems to fit.

I am planning to expand this into a full chest piece in time, although currently I am enjoying their delicacy and sparseness. I've nicknamed them the Naomis -- when I had them done, I had just finished an academic dissertation on the poet Allen Ginsberg, and had become fascinated by his mother Naomi, an amazing woman, but a sufferer of paranoid schizophrenia. Perhaps fittingly, they got her name.
Thanks to Claire for sharing her tattoos with us here on Tattoosday.

Please head over to BillyBlog to read one of her poems here.

Happy 1st Birthday Madeline!

The picture in the middle makes me laugh because it really looks like she's saying "Hey guys! It's my birthday!"

The Tattooed Poets Project: Rachel McKibbens' Bookish Knuckle Tattoos

Today's tattoos were submitted by Rachel McKibbens, who knows, among others, Cheryl, whose beautiful tattoo, appeared here previously. These are, in fact, the first knuckle tattoos appearing on the Tattooed Poets Project:


Rachel, who is almost fully-sleeved, writes:

I got this tattoo on April 30th, 2006, at the True Blue Tattoo studio while visiting Austin, TX. [Work from True Blue has appeared on Tattoosday twice before, click here to see]. The artist was Jon Reed. Next to my "ditches" [the inner elbows] this was the most painful tattoo I've gotten to date. I was running out of space on my arms and decided to finally go balls out and get my knuckles done. I was initially going to get " a s d f j k l ; " to represent the home keys of a typewriter, but I realized, since it would have to be upside down and backwards, it wouldn't match up with the actual fingers that rested on them.

At the time, I was teaching poetry at Bellevue Hospital, and I was always encouraging my kids to read. I would give them the books off my shelves, go to The Strand and buy in bulk, etc. I needed them to feel like they weren't confined to the hospital or their group home. One of the writing exercises was to have them come up with my knuckle tatts - two four-letter words that weren't dirty. They came up with some doozies, but nothing that really fit.

I finally came upon "book worm" after my friend Leah's boyfriend suggested it. It was such a logical choice, but the two words never came to me in the months I was searching. It is one of my favorite tattoos. And it's the first thing people see (besides the teardrop below my eye) and, since knuckle tatts have come to have this "tough guy" persona, people always laugh when they see it.
If you like knuckle tattoos, I encourage people to visit Knuckletattoos.com, where I occasionally contribute a piece I've spotted in New York. I would have sent Rachel there, but they posted a Book Worm tattoo knuckle piece here.

Thanks to Rachel for submitting these here.

Please head over to BillyBlog to read one of her poems here.

new marc bag, i love you!

tattoos, tattoos

I never thought I wanted to get tattooed. In fact, I always said I would never get tattooed. Reading back in my livejournal in high school in some of those surveys I would answer "no tattoos, definitely not for me!" And I remember yelling at two of my girlfriends during our senior trip in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico about the tattoos they got at some shop. Not only was I concerned about the cleanliness, I was upset that they would do something like that to their bodies! I wasn't the girl who grew up listening to hardcore, and I wasn't the girl who grew up going to shows and was around tattoos all the time. I started going to shows when I was 18, and that was the first time I was around people who had lots of tattoos, outside of my friends in high school who had the occasional one on their back or hips.

My high school experience was full of sports and dance, student council, and lots of parties, etc. Some of my boyfriends had tattoos, Lucas got his last name huge across his back, Dale had some on his arm and on his back. But it's just funny to me that I ended up really, really falling in love with tattoos because I never would have been able to call that one growing up, and I don't think anyone else would have either.

Like I mentioned before, when I was 18 I started getting into hardcore and going to shows. At this time I was in college, up at NAU, and it was such an enlightening experience. I was in a sorority all four years, and although I still connect with so much of that, I always felt like there were certain things about life that the people around me just didn't get. I found those missing things in the music that I was listening to more and more, as cheesy as it sounds. As I starting going to more shows, I was around people who appreciated tattoos, and actually had beautiful, amazing artwork on their bodies- not just the tribal and hearts with wings I saw in my hometown of Mesa. The more I thought about it, I realized that I wanted to get tattooed. Luckily I had a good friend who steered me to the right shop and the right people.

I got my first tattoo in 2003, from Jason at Immaculate, and it was my Vonnegut piece on my back. I still remember how nervous and scared I felt to be taking this "plunge" into a totally different world. I knew I wanted tattoos for me, but at 20 I still felt insecure in my own skin at times and I wasn't sure how my "other" friends and family would react. It's weird to think back now, because that tattoo was on my back! No one would ever see it, and who cared if they did? But I was a different person then, with a totally different mindset, and I did care, as funny as it is now in retrospect!

Being super close with my Mom and Dad I was scared to show them- and like I had anticipated, my parents' reaction wasn't a positive one. They just didn't get it. They actually still don't get it, but they are loving and "tolerant" of it all now...but I'll talk more about this later.

After getting my back tattooed I realized that I actually did want a lot more, so I kept thinking and thinking about what I wanted to get. I was listening to a lot of Bane at the time, and I decided to get "live the life you love" on my right side and "love the life you live" on my other. Looking back I'm so glad I got my ribs tattooed straight away because my back wasn't horrible, and these were a nightmare. It made me realize how bad getting tattooed was, and in comparison the following ones weren't as bad. After doing these, I thought I was really ready to get visibly tattooed. The same friend who steered me in the right direction towards Immaculate and Jason really asked me a lot of questions, tried to make sure I was ready for what I was getting myself into. "Was I sure I wanted to be judged everytime my skin is showing?" "Was I sure I wanted to be an 80 year old woman with tattoos on her chest?" I thought about it, for a long while actually, and realized that this was what I wanted so I went in and Jason tattooed two roses on my shoulders. My roses turned into a chest piece, my chest pieces turned into getting my sternum tattooed, and then my wrist, my arm, my rib panel and now the back of my neck.

Sometime along the way I crossed some bridge where I stopped caring about what people thought. Even when I first had my chest tattooed I would feel uncomfortable. That's embarrassing to me, because no one should care. But I did. I am still sensitive, but it would literally hurt my feelings and depress me when people would stare at me, or make rude comments. I remember going to Disneyland with some friends a little before I got my chest done, and the way my heavily tattooed friends were treated was appalling. I never expected that to happen to me, but lo and behold, walking around with a dress or tank top caused people to stop, stare, talk, etc. And like I said, for awhile I was bothered. I went from feeling like I should cover up in public so I wouldn't have to deal with it, to wanting to show them so I could glare back at people, to now- which is a kind of apathy. Look all you want, I don't care. I don't know if many newly tattooed people go through a cycle like that but it took a long time for me to get to where I am, confident and not caring if people want to stare.

I am a high school English teacher, which is another tattoo issue in itself. When I first started student teaching, I only had to cover my chest. I found it annoying at first, but then I realized that most things I wore (ruffly blouses, button ups with cardigans) covered them anyway, I didn't care as much and didn't give a second thought to tattooing my arm. Now I have to wear long sleeved cardigans and higher necked blouses everyday, but it's not a big deal. The administration has actually verbalized to me that I can show them, but I'm not sure if they know the extent and I personally would never want to do that. The kids would be way too distracted and it would be more annoying than anything. Because my husband is in a band that so many of my students love, I see them at shows so they know that I have tattoos. So of course there's always a question about them, but I simply say, "Yes, I have some," and move on.

In terms of judgment, I live in a small town so it's a given. Being a teacher makes it a little tricky because it's so incredibly awkward to see parents and students out in the summer when all I have on in a dress and everything is out and proud! I don't care if they disapprove, but I prefer to avoid that awkward scene.

My own parents still don't like the fact that I have tattoos, but completely accept me, my sister and hubby and our friends. They really have no choice, and I think my Mom gets sad at times when she thinks back to us being little girls, but I often remind her of all the other "bad" choices we could have made! After she is reminded of that, she comes back to reality and realizes she has some pretty awesome daughters. It's also nice to be married to a man who loves them and is heavily tattooed himself. I often get the question, "What will you do when you're old and wrinkly?" Well luckily I am married to someone who will also be old, tattooed, and wrinkly! Wrinkly skin is wrinkly skin, tattooed or not. That kind of thing doesn't bother me at all. Wrinkly, tattooed skin? Awesome!

One other thing I really like is the barrier it sets up for me, almost like a screening mechanism for shitty people. I've actually had a 'friend' say "Oh I can't have her as a bridesmaid, she'll ruin the photos!" Now, it's fine if you don't want tattoos in your photos, but if your friend who you love has tattoos, why wouldn't you want them to be themselves...isn't that why you're friends with them? I know people have differing opinions on this, but I thought it was pretty shitty. Another thing that I have dealt with is going out with friends who aren't tattooed at all. A few of my very best friends are from my sorority and go to very mainstream bars. I used to hate going out with them because it was always an issue. People would always come up, because I'd stick out like a sore thumb, and it was uncomfortable. I don't care as much now a days, but I still get a little weird in situations like that.

I love tattoos (hate getting tattooed) and I am looking forward to a lot more in my lifetime. In the near future (next month) I am getting my right thigh tattooed, and plan on doing both thighs, shins, other rib panel, upper back, and arm. Once I stop working and I'm a Mom I will tattoo the sides of my neck and hands/knuckles. But that's only when I am at home and don't have to worry about covering them anymore. Hank and I have often talked about what it would be like to have parents like us, and I'm sure our kids will either love it or be mortified. It's funny to think about! I love it and I know it's not a popular thing to be so tattooed, but it's for me. The old school tattooed women of the early 1900s are beautiful to me and it's exciting to be adding to what I have. I love that I have beautiful girlfriends who are also heavily tattooed, I love seeing what they dream up to get done.

I've been getting a lot of questions about them on here, so I thought I would devote an entry to it. I would love to read the "tattoo stories" of my other friends, so if you feel inspired to take time and type it out, please do! And I know this was a lot to read, so if you made it this far thanks for doing so! I hope you enjoyed it!

xoxo

almost Friday, almost there

I just got home from a late night gym session and I am feeling great, despite today actually being a pretty shitty day at work. I won't get into it because I don't want to talk about personal work stuff here, but just know that I had to deal with a violent situation at school which totally scared and disheartened me. Hank totally cheered my grumpy self up though, we did our usual afternoon stroll with Madeline and picked up Hugos on the way home. Yum!

But now that the week is winding down, let me say- what a week! Lately I feel like I am just going through the motions until the next weekend comes. I hurry and get out of work to come home so I can hang out all night, go to the gym uncharacteristically late, go to bed later, wake up later, etc etc. Then the weekend comes...sweet, sweet weekends! Hank doesn't work at the salon on Saturday anymore so we can just stay in bed as long as we want. Even though we don't want to start having babies for awhile, I think about how these are the times we need to really savor, life is still so slow and easy, and it's such a luxury to do as we please, all weekend long. One day when we have kids and other responsibilities I'm sure we will look back to these days fondly. And even better, I only technically have three weeks of work left. I know this is why I am behaving in such a weird way in terms of staying up so late and not really accomplishing very much in terms of grading/work! I have a stack of essay tests I need to grade and keep putting them off. Oh well, I have three weeks to get them done. I am already feeling like it is summer though, because of all of the traveling and Hank and I spending every day outside in the sun.

I drove down to Phoenix yesterday to pick my ring back up (they had to repair a prong and sauter my wedding and engagement rings together). I was so sad without them for a week but now they're back home on my finger. I also came down to get tattooed and that was great as usual, minus the pain of course. I got the back of my neck tattooed with a cute nesting doll (the first one I ever got from Russia!) and she turned out beautifully. We also set the date next month for my thigh. Fun fun.

This weekend Hank (Hour of the Wolf) has a show Saturday night and I am anticipating another wonderful, relaxing two days. Next week I only work Monday-Wednesday because Jenn and I are spending Thursday and Friday at another high school doing portfolio judging, which is awesome. And then that next week is Shirley's charity event- Viva in Scottsdale, so we will be spending that weekend in Phoenix. Autumn and the family will be in town and I cannot wait, I am counting down the minutes. Annnd I/we are super stoked because our favorite frozen yogurt place from Long Beach, Yogurtland, finally opened their store down there. They aren't quite as healthy as Pinkberry but much cheaper and a much better selection. Their green tea flavor is to die for.

Alright, it's almost 11:30 so I am off to bed, I'll leave you with some photos from yesterday and this afternoon!

driving down
driving down to phoenix to get tattooed

frozen yogurt from yogurberry
yogurberry, mmm!

a little closer

today, before our walk, squinting in the sun
heading out on our afternoon stroll

Hank and Madeline
hank and madeline

We saw Jenn (my next-door teacher, great friend, and fellow fitness aficionado) riding her bike by Hugos, so I snapped a pic! She is so cute and a hardcore triathlete.
ran into cute jenn biking on the road in front of hugos

The Tattooed Poets Project: Craig Arnold - Ἔρως and ψυχή

Today's tattoos come to us from Craig Arnold, who I found by way of J.D. McClatchy (who is un-inked, but suggested I contact Craig).

He sent these to me from Yakushima in Japan, which, according to Craig, "has lots of Princess Mononoke landscapes but very little internet/phone service".

Craig has two Greek words inscribed on his arms:


Craig explains:

"Both are Greek words: the right arm (Ἔρως) is eros, the left arm (ψυχή) is psyche. They were acquired almost exactly a year apart from each other, right arm in August 2003, left in 2004, both at Lost Art Tattoo in Salt Lake City, Utah. I believe the artist was Dean ... He designed the lettering.

In retrospect there's maybe not much of a story here, but I'll tell what there is of it.

That summer, my then-partner and I were in the early stages of splitting up, after many years together. It used to be -- maybe it still is, in some quarters -- that people got tattoos together at the start of a relationship, to express the beginning of a shared enterprise. But we were never much for going about things in the right order. So, we got tattoos together as the end approached, to remind us of our "irreconcilable differences." On my right arm I got eros -- desire, especially sexual, libido, profane love, but also creation; I think of Whitman's 'urge and urge and urge, / Always the procreant urge of the world.' And on her left, she has agape -- I suppose you could call it divine love, Christian or selfless love, unconditional love,

After a while, though, Eros got lonely and acquired a Psyche. In Greek, psyche can mean many things -- breath or life, spirit, soul, mind and self (thus, psychology). In some parts of Greece it's still used to mean butterfly. But Psyche is also the human girl who falls in love with the god Eros, in the fairy-tale that Apuleius tells in The Golden Ass, one of the earliest versions of Beauty & the Beast. The story is about what comes between them and how they finally succeed in getting back together; I think of it as one of the foundational myths, an allegory for the ways in which Desire and Will depend on and fulfill each other."
Thanks to Craig for sharing his tattoos with us here on Tattoosday. To read one of Craig's poems, please hop on over to BillyBlog here.


The Tattooed Poets Project: Guy LeCharles Gonzalez Presents A Bat from Jersey and a Honeymoon Memento

Today's tattoos are presented by the poet Guy LeCharles Gonzalez.

The first one is a bat:


Guy explains:

"I got the first tattoo, a stylized bat, back in 1995 somewhere in New Jersey; Toms River, maybe? I'd resisted the urge to get one while I was on active duty in the Army, not wanting something stereotypical that I'd hate or regret a few years later, but a friend of mine had finally psyched herself up, and convinced me and another friend to head down to the Jersey Shore and do the deed as a group. Before we got to the Shore, which seemed much further away than we thought it was, we passed a small tattoo parlor on the side of the road and decided to go there instead. Batman has always been my favorite superhero, appealing on a number of levels, but I figured the logo would be too cheesy for a tattoo, and picked out a bat from the artist's sketchbook, tweaked it a little bit, and voila! I still love it to this day."

The second tattoo Guy sent was this:


Guy continues:

"I got the second tattoo, a pseudo-tribal band with my wife's name in the middle, on the second-to-last day of our honeymoon in Cancun in July 1998. There was a tattoo parlor in one of the flea market/shopping districts up near the elbow of the strip that seemed pretty clean -- despite the handful of teenagers getting tattoos they would certainly regret a few years later -- and against our better judgment, we both decided to get our second tattoos, each incorporating the other's name. We'll celebrate our 11th anniversary this summer, and before then we both intend to have those tattoos tweaked; I'd like mine to be bigger and have more of a Mayan flavor to
it as I've always felt a connection to that culture, even before our trips to the Yucatan."
Thanks to Guy for sharing these tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!

Please head over to BillyBlog and check out one of his poems here.

Say goodbye to my untattooed neck!

Yay! I am excited to get tattooed tomorrow, and get my leg traced. Annnd today was an awesome day. I got off work at 3:30 and Hank and I spent the whole evening on a long walk downtown, as usual. We walked to Thaifoon and had our regular- he got satay with peanut sauce and fresh tofu, and I got my special dish they make me, healthy veggies and fresh tofu. It's so spicy and so good! Addy came and joined us for awhile which was nice, I love him. We walked home and Dustin was on our front porch, so the guys watched basketball while I crawled into bed and watched Weeds while I dozed in and out. I love to nap. I ended up waking up around 8pm or so, and went to the gym.

Now I'm just sitting here thinking about some of the emotions I went through this evening- I really got upset about stupid stuff, let it get to me. I have to remember that some people are negative and I cannot, cannot, cannot take it personally. It's so hard for me and it sounds so stupid (I hate that I wrote about this yesterday too), but it's very hard for me to not get bummed out when friends are short, or mean, or just rude. I'm not typically a sensitive person, I have thick skin, but I am talking about close friends here, not the typical acquaintances. I talked to Hank about this for a long time, and he helped so much. I can't worry about other people, they have their reasons for being shitty, and if they want to be shitty and take it out on me, or be rude, that's their deal. I don't have to let them affect me! I am not going to write about this again in this blog, it's a waste of time, whiney, and just plain redundant. So farewell to that topic!

So, to bed I go. I can't get over that I have about 20 days left of work. This summer is going to be amazing, I can't wait.

xoxo

The Tattooed Poets Project: Cody Todd's Murals - Star Wars and an Interpretive Tribal

Today's tattoos come from Cody Todd, who was referred to me by Carol Muske-Dukes:

The first one is a back piece, still in progress:


Cody explains this as "a Star Wars mural--the Millenium Falcon in front of a meteor pursued by a TIE Fighter, from The Empire Strikes Back with the specter of Boba Fett looming above the chase." He credits an artist named Skip (since retired) at Old World Tattoo in Arvada, Colorado (North Denver). This was primarily done in 1996.

Cody expands on the piece:

...the one on my back is still in progress--I foresee at least 5-6 more sessions and touch-ups before I can say it is certainly complete. I like visual collages and pastiche, just as I like the poetic collage of Eliot's Prufrock and The Waste Land, Marianne Moore's Poetry, or Frank Stanford's "The Battlefield where the Moon Says I Love You" and Joshua Clover's The Totality for Kids, are other examples. Poetry that synthesizes subject matter, speaking voices, speaking subjects, and stitch together otherwise independent and unlike things--unified by the mode of collage.

Why a Star Wars tattoo? Well, I guess I buy the argument lent forth in Joseph Campbell's The Hero with A Thousand Faces, that the mythical embodiments of the epic, the quest, and the hero are not just culturally shared, but I think each generation has their own embodiment as well. Hokey, cheesy, and melodramatic --yes, but I still watch Empire... with great nostalgia, and I don't think enough credit goes to [George] Lucas and his literary homage paid to Aquinas, Emerson, Plato, and Homer, to name a few. However, the revisions of Star Wars Episodes 1-3 are so bad I cannot watch them without getting sick. Maybe I am old now, but I just don't get them at all. Nevertheless, my parents still joke about the fact that I was conceived in the backseat of a Ford Pinto while they were "watching" Star Wars at a south Denver drive-in in the summer of 77."

The second piece is a "tribal-esque mural," of sorts, and was tattooed by a friend of Cody's named Bryan in 1997, at Your Flesh Grappling (now known as Your Flesh Tattoo) in Durango, Colorado. This piece was drawn by Cody and wraps around his left thigh:

Cody added:

"The leg tattoo was a personalized redefinition of the "Tribal" tattoos that were the craze when tattoos were no longer isolated to deviancy. Loosely quoting Mike Ness of Social Distortion, in the 1990's, kids could go to a mall and get their little "parts" pierced or walk out of there with a barbed wire tribal band around their biceps. I took a one-page graffiti collage from a notebook that I penciled of hooks, circles, ovoids, anemone-shaped and flame-shaped patterns with tentacles--my first name is actually on the upper left, and a small skyline of Denver with that wacky cash-register shaped building [The Wells Fargo Center] is just 1:00 o'clock from the family of bubbles or spheres centered in the band. I am going to amend this tat with another piece of similar solid black-ink graffiti to wrap a 4-inch band around my knee. That is the thing about tattoos--they are addictive; they beg to grow new limbs, and in that sense they are like little monsters."
I've been posting the tattooed poets' work over on BillyBlog and you can check out not one, but two of Cody's poems here. One is called "Boba Fett". But, as an added treat, I'm including one here, as well, because it just seemed appropriate:

Tattooed on the Backs of Eight Fireflies:

Under a dark loam of night,

pure barbed wire.

*

Apparitions dancing

dancing and dancing.

*

Some of us just might bite

the apple those cursed birds already did.

*

Old story: cat bats us away

to reanimate or destroy.

*

Words are the ruse, flight

is the guise, and we are the fakers.

*

Return the favor: grace for

sex or salvation for dust.

*

Time is the knife. Gods the size

of thumbs. Men with bloody hands.

    *

We captured our god, the sun,

and feasted on him by torchlight.


Thanks to Cody for not only sharing his tattoos with us here on Tattoosday, but for expounding on them at such length. It's always fascinating to hear people go beyond the literal meanings of the tattoos themselves, and explore the deeper significance of the art form as it pertains to themselves and society.

Seriously.

The little girl in me is ecstatic watching these.





Monday

I have had a really relaxing night after a fairly good day at work. I went to the gym right after school since I slept in this morning. Good news, I thankfully and finally lost the 5-6 pounds I've been carrying around for a month and I'm back to my regular weight. I could tell in recent photos that I had gained some (face and arms), I'm not sure why or how but it was there. But thankfully I am back to normal and have stepped up my working out a ton and I am hoping to lose some more. Starting this week I'm doing one hour of cardio 6x a week and weight training 6x per weeks (chest/back, legs, arms/shoul, rest, repeat) and abs every other day. I love to workout but I haven't really been giving it my all lately and I'm sure that's why I have not looked my best. And, I know I'm not overweight annnd I know it's annoying to read stuff like this but it's me, so take it or leave it!
Speaking of leaving it, I have been realizing how hard it is for me to be friends with negative people. I really need to work on not taking people's emotions or bad moods into my own psyche. I know people can't be happy all the time, and I am definitely not, but it drives me crazy to only hear complaints all the time. Haha, as I complain about people who complain. Awesome.
So tonight is a quiet night, I just finished scrapbooking and I am going to head to bed around 11 or so. It sounds weird, but making little crafts and books is so therapeutic, I really love it. I don't know when I fully turned into a weird domestic lady, but it's a good place to be.

scrapbooking on a quiet monday night

Photo 2517

The Tattooed Poets Project: Dese'Rae Stage and Some Poetic Tulips

Last Wednesday (April 15), I was trying to distract myself from having my back tattooed, when my BlackBerry chirped and I found a wonderful e-mail in my inbox. A poet and photographer named Dese'Rae Stage had graced me with some photos of a few of her fifteen tattoos. What follows is my favorite of those pieces:

The first piece is based on Sylvia Plath's poem "Tulips":


The poem is below, with the lines extracted for the tattoo highlighted:

TULIPS
The tulips are too excitable, it is winter here.
Look how white everything is, how quiet, how snowed-in
I am learning peacefulness, lying by myself quietly
As the light lies on these white walls, this bed, these hands.
I am nobody; I have nothing to do with explosions.
I have given my name and my day-clothes up to the nurses
And my history to the anaesthetist and my body to surgeons.

They have propped my head between the pillow and the sheet-cuff
Like an eye between two white lids that will not shut.
Stupid pupil, it has to take everything in.
The nurses pass and pass, they are no trouble,
They pass the way gulls pass inland in their white caps,
Doing things with their hands, one just the same as another,
So it is impossible to tell how many there are.

My body is a pebble to them, they tend it as water
Tends to the pebbles it must run over, smoothing them gently.
They bring me numbness in their bright needles, they bring me sleep.
Now I have lost myself I am sick of baggage ----
My patent leather overnight case like a black pillbox,
My husband and child smiling out of the family photo;
Their smiles catch onto my skin, little smiling hooks.

I have let things slip, a thirty-year-old cargo boat
Stubbornly hanging on to my name and address.
They have swabbed me clear of my loving associations.
Scared and bare on the green plastic-pillowed trolley
I watched my teaset, my bureaus of linen, my books
Sink out of sight, and the water went over my head.
I am a nun now, I have never been so pure.

I didn't want any flowers, I only wanted
To lie with my hands turned up and be utterly empty.
How free it is, you have no idea how free ----
The peacefulness is so big it dazes you,
And it asks nothing, a name tag, a few trinkets.
It is what the dead close on, finally; I imagine them
Shutting their mouths on it, like a Communion tablet.

The tulips are too red in the first place, they hurt me.
Even through the gift paper I could hear them breathe
Lightly, through their white swaddlings, like an awful baby.
Their redness talks to my wound, it corresponds.
They are subtle: they seem to float, though they weigh me down,
Upsetting me with their sudden tongues and their colour,
A dozen red lead sinkers round my neck.

Nobody watched me before, now I am watched.
The tulips turn to me, and the window behind me
Where once a day the light slowly widens and slowly thins,
And I see myself, flat, ridiculous, a cut-paper shadow
Between the eye of the sun and the eyes of the tulips,
And I have no face, I have wanted to efface myself.
The vivid tulips eat my oxygen.

Before they came the air was calm enough,
Coming and going, breath by breath, without any fuss.
Then the tulips filled it up like a loud noise.
Now the air snags and eddies round them the way a river
Snags and eddies round a sunken rust-red engine.
They concentrate my attention, that was happy
Playing and resting without committing itself.

The walls, also, seem to be warming themselves.
The tulips should be behind bars like dangerous animals;
They are opening like the mouth of some great African cat,
And I am aware of my heart: it opens and closes
Its bowl of red blooms out of sheer love of me.
The water I taste is warm and salt, like the sea,
And comes from a country far away as health.

Dese'Rae explains the background of this tattoo:

"The interpretation is literal enough: it's a poem about suicide and I'd recently tried to commit suicide (I got the piece done back in November 2006 and the summer prior was particularly difficult). One of my oldest friends, Ryan Falcon, just happens to be a talented artist, so I took him a tiny line drawing of some tulips and a copy of the poem with the selected lines highlighted and told him to go to it. The only stencil he used was for the words. He drew a rough outline of the bulbs, but everyth ing else was free-handed. This piece is on my inner left calf."

For the sake of brevity, I am only posting this one tattoo, of the five Dese'Rae sent me. It is, in my opinion, the best of the tattoos she sent me. However, I may post more in the future, with her permission.

It should be noted that the artist behind this tattoo, the aforementioned Ryan Falcon, is based in Miami, Florida and works at Almost Famous Tattoo. Truly spectacular, and worth a second look:


Thanks to Dese'Rae for sharing her amazing tattoo with us here on Tattoosday, as well as sharing the deeply personal story that accompanies it.

Head over to BillyBlog to read one of her poems here.

Monday, Monday

Good morning! I am so incredibly tired but this weekend was so worth it! This photo is for one of my nearest and dearest- Hey Em! Haha. Thumbs up for a positive day for sure.

for emily! thumbs up for today!

And here is my tried and true breakfast of champions.

perfect breakfast

2 Kashi Go Lean Honey and cinnamon instant oatmeal packets
1 tsp bee pollen
1 tsp flax
1 tsp wheat germ
Add water...and mixed berries...Microwave...

and WA-LA, breakfast!


It is such a powerhouse meal and it keeps you full all morning long.

Today is going to be great- my 4th hour is having a little pizza party and I can count down the days until I get tattooed...three! I also get my wedding/engagement ring back from the jewelers Wednesday, thank goodness!

I hope everyone has a lovely day!

xoxo

Sunday

breakfast picnic at the square

sunday morning

downtown


the very tired hampton family. and doesn't madeline look regal!

baby!

Today was another great day. I have been going to Phoenix so often that this weekend Hank and I really enjoyed our time in town, with this beautiful weather! We woke up this morning and decided to have a little breakfast picnic on the sqaure- Hank got a dark chocolate croissant and a coffee from Sweettart and we went and found a little spot. Unfortunately there was a Republican rally of sorts going on at the square, so we couldn't quite enjoy it, but we had a lovely time away from all of that. After wandering downtown for awhile we headed home and did so much food shopping/errand running etc. We got so much done and when we got home and put everything away I headed to the gym. Returning home I found Hank and Dustin had cooked a seriously delicious tofu dish that tasted just like buffalo chicken, really! I will have to make them write down the recipe for me so I can post it- it was completely vegan and so tasty. I ended up cooking and baking all night to get ready for the week, and I feel super accomplished.

I'm really looking forward to this week. The forecast calls for warm, warm weather and I am so excited! Pretty soon we can plant our veggies and get our flowers/garden in order.

So, I hope everyone has a great start to your week. I am going to be doing a lot of crafting this week- I have two projects I need to start and finish, which I'm excited about. I am making a book for my Mom for Mother's Day and another super secret thing for someone special! ;)

I am going to leave you with a live video of one of my all-time favorite songs. Goodnight sweethearts!