scary-guy-1.jpg


I think the title says it all, really. This is a truly scary guy.

scary-guy-1.jpg


I think the title says it all, really. This is a truly scary guy.

scary-guy-1.jpg


I think the title says it all, really. This is a truly scary guy.

scary-guy-1.jpg


I think the title says it all, really. This is a truly scary guy.

scary-guy-1.jpg


I think the title says it all, really. This is a truly scary guy.

WipeHoot


Anonymous reader submission, though done by by Adam Hathorn at Guru Tattoo in San Diego.

Hoot Spot


A reader submission from Eryn, done by Keith from 'A Brand New Tattoo', who 'drew it up and used his grandmothers pewter owl necklace as inspiration'.

What is the use of a book, without pictures or conversations?


Popular topic, Alice in Wonderland. This minxy Alice comes from Vince Villalvazo.

What is the use of a book, without pictures or conversations?


Popular topic, Alice in Wonderland. This minxy Alice comes from Vince Villalvazo.

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.....

Man Ab-Hoot Town


Russ Abbott.

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.

Strike Hoot


Mario Pullano

Fat Bottomed Girl!


And now for something completely different, from Kristel!

Fat Bottomed Girl!


And now for something completely different, from Kristel!

Straightedge Toast

This guy maybe has my favorite bad tattoos of all time. Ever. Period.
Possibly because I have a real soft spot for straight edge tattoos and punk/hc tattoos, possibly because they are just hilarious.




Description from the horse's mouth below:

All my friends have toast tattoos, because when you're poor and dumpster for your food bread is always readily available - it's this thing that kinda unifies us at this point in our lives. The Earth Crisis theme came about when some silly hardline XVX kids were staying at this punk house and talking about how belittling a band with serious issues is a bad thing, and how EC was cool and really helped push ideas into hardcore, and then they started insulting the people who lived at that house by degrading them and saying they had bad views, even making someone get near the verge of crying because she ate sparingly fish.

I realized that the lyrics for the beginning of Firestorm worked really well with toast (the original lyrics for those who don't know are "Street by street/block by block/taking it all back", referring to cleansing a neighborhood of drug dealers.) I went and got the tattoo done in an hour, showed them, and started drinking and eating cheese for the rest of the night (even though I was vegan at the time.) They stopped talking to me, and left shortly after.

I'm going to be getting a tattoo really soon that is based off of the anarchist atheist saying "No Gods, No Masters", but its gonna say "Dogs, No Masters" and have a kennel on fire and someone holding a leash with his brains blown out, and upside down crosses made of milk bones. I didn't think up that saying, though


Straightedge Toast

This guy maybe has my favorite bad tattoos of all time. Ever. Period.
Possibly because I have a real soft spot for straight edge tattoos and punk/hc tattoos, possibly because they are just hilarious.




Description from the horse's mouth below:

All my friends have toast tattoos, because when you're poor and dumpster for your food bread is always readily available - it's this thing that kinda unifies us at this point in our lives. The Earth Crisis theme came about when some silly hardline XVX kids were staying at this punk house and talking about how belittling a band with serious issues is a bad thing, and how EC was cool and really helped push ideas into hardcore, and then they started insulting the people who lived at that house by degrading them and saying they had bad views, even making someone get near the verge of crying because she ate sparingly fish.

I realized that the lyrics for the beginning of Firestorm worked really well with toast (the original lyrics for those who don't know are "Street by street/block by block/taking it all back", referring to cleansing a neighborhood of drug dealers.) I went and got the tattoo done in an hour, showed them, and started drinking and eating cheese for the rest of the night (even though I was vegan at the time.) They stopped talking to me, and left shortly after.

I'm going to be getting a tattoo really soon that is based off of the anarchist atheist saying "No Gods, No Masters", but its gonna say "Dogs, No Masters" and have a kennel on fire and someone holding a leash with his brains blown out, and upside down crosses made of milk bones. I didn't think up that saying, though

Straightedge Toast

This guy maybe has my favorite bad tattoos of all time. Ever. Period.
Possibly because I have a real soft spot for straight edge tattoos and punk/hc tattoos, possibly because they are just hilarious.




Description from the horse's mouth below:

All my friends have toast tattoos, because when you're poor and dumpster for your food bread is always readily available - it's this thing that kinda unifies us at this point in our lives. The Earth Crisis theme came about when some silly hardline XVX kids were staying at this punk house and talking about how belittling a band with serious issues is a bad thing, and how EC was cool and really helped push ideas into hardcore, and then they started insulting the people who lived at that house by degrading them and saying they had bad views, even making someone get near the verge of crying because she ate sparingly fish.

I realized that the lyrics for the beginning of Firestorm worked really well with toast (the original lyrics for those who don't know are "Street by street/block by block/taking it all back", referring to cleansing a neighborhood of drug dealers.) I went and got the tattoo done in an hour, showed them, and started drinking and eating cheese for the rest of the night (even though I was vegan at the time.) They stopped talking to me, and left shortly after.

I'm going to be getting a tattoo really soon that is based off of the anarchist atheist saying "No Gods, No Masters", but its gonna say "Dogs, No Masters" and have a kennel on fire and someone holding a leash with his brains blown out, and upside down crosses made of milk bones. I didn't think up that saying, though


Straightedge Toast

This guy maybe has my favorite bad tattoos of all time. Ever. Period.
Possibly because I have a real soft spot for straight edge tattoos and punk/hc tattoos, possibly because they are just hilarious.




Description from the horse's mouth below:

All my friends have toast tattoos, because when you're poor and dumpster for your food bread is always readily available - it's this thing that kinda unifies us at this point in our lives. The Earth Crisis theme came about when some silly hardline XVX kids were staying at this punk house and talking about how belittling a band with serious issues is a bad thing, and how EC was cool and really helped push ideas into hardcore, and then they started insulting the people who lived at that house by degrading them and saying they had bad views, even making someone get near the verge of crying because she ate sparingly fish.

I realized that the lyrics for the beginning of Firestorm worked really well with toast (the original lyrics for those who don't know are "Street by street/block by block/taking it all back", referring to cleansing a neighborhood of drug dealers.) I went and got the tattoo done in an hour, showed them, and started drinking and eating cheese for the rest of the night (even though I was vegan at the time.) They stopped talking to me, and left shortly after.

I'm going to be getting a tattoo really soon that is based off of the anarchist atheist saying "No Gods, No Masters", but its gonna say "Dogs, No Masters" and have a kennel on fire and someone holding a leash with his brains blown out, and upside down crosses made of milk bones. I didn't think up that saying, though


Straightedge Toast

This guy maybe has my favorite bad tattoos of all time. Ever. Period.
Possibly because I have a real soft spot for straight edge tattoos and punk/hc tattoos, possibly because they are just hilarious.




Description from the horse's mouth below:

All my friends have toast tattoos, because when you're poor and dumpster for your food bread is always readily available - it's this thing that kinda unifies us at this point in our lives. The Earth Crisis theme came about when some silly hardline XVX kids were staying at this punk house and talking about how belittling a band with serious issues is a bad thing, and how EC was cool and really helped push ideas into hardcore, and then they started insulting the people who lived at that house by degrading them and saying they had bad views, even making someone get near the verge of crying because she ate sparingly fish.

I realized that the lyrics for the beginning of Firestorm worked really well with toast (the original lyrics for those who don't know are "Street by street/block by block/taking it all back", referring to cleansing a neighborhood of drug dealers.) I went and got the tattoo done in an hour, showed them, and started drinking and eating cheese for the rest of the night (even though I was vegan at the time.) They stopped talking to me, and left shortly after.

I'm going to be getting a tattoo really soon that is based off of the anarchist atheist saying "No Gods, No Masters", but its gonna say "Dogs, No Masters" and have a kennel on fire and someone holding a leash with his brains blown out, and upside down crosses made of milk bones. I didn't think up that saying, though

The Tattooed Poets Project: Meredith Sugarman'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 Sugarman, 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.

Sleepy Hoot-low


Timmy Nitemare

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.

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.

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.

Kick-Ass(anovski)!








These wonderful women were all done by Marija Asanovski of Sailors Grave Tattoo. Thanks to reader Lars for the hat-tip. I am absolutely in love with the Snow White one, best tattoo I've seen in ages.

Kick-Ass(anovski)!








These wonderful women were all done by Marija Asanovski of Sailors Grave Tattoo. Thanks to reader Lars for the hat-tip. I am absolutely in love with the Snow White one, best tattoo I've seen in ages.

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