The Tattooed Poets Project: Tameka Mullins

Today's tattooed poet is Tameka Mullins, a poet who blogs at her site Lyric Fire.

Tameka chose this tattoo design because she was a high school drama major and she dreamed of becoming an actress. The tragedy and comedy masks are a popular tattoo design, especially among creative individuals. They have even appeared on Tattoosday before, as seen here and here.

Tameka elaborates:

I actually collected objects (paintings, art masks, etc...) with the thespian symbol over the years because I felt such a connection to the image. As I grew older I realized I loved the symbol so much because to me it summed up life. Happiness, sadness, joy, pain, elation and deflation. These are the emotions that drive us, crush us and propel us and are at the center of almost everything we do. As a writer I look to capture, explore and expand on these emotions in my projects.
After a night out parting with her best friend, Tameka got an ear piercing and this tattoo at Sacred Tattoo in Manhattan.

Tameka is a native Detroiter who loves writing, networking and cultivating great relationships. Her professional background includes work as a public relations professional, radio segment producer, project manager and consultant for publishing and non-profit organizations. She wrote her first poem when she was 5-years-old and it consisted of just two words: "I dream." She believes that with persistence and passion dreams can be transformed into goals which become reality. Her novel Letters to Chyna, which delves into the emotionally charged issues of adoption is currently being reviewed and considered for publication.

Check out one of her poems over on BillyBlog here.
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Here is one for all you Tarantino fans that he wrote back in 1993.
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Here is one from back in the day that I just pulled from the Archives..

"Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do thy will"
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Chris Evans Tattoos

Chris Evans is an excellent American actor, known for her work in such films as Fantastic Four and Push.

Chris Evans has quite a few tattoos on his body, including tribal style Taurus tattoo located on his left shoulder.

The tattoos on his right arm include a large Kanji symbol, along with a line of unknown text.

On the upper right portion of his torso is a tribute tattoo to his best friend, Matt, who sadly passed away in an accident, the tattoo reads "In Loving Memory of Bardsley With Me Always".

He is also rumored to have the astrological signs of his mother and siblings tattooed somewhere on his body.

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Jenna Elfman Tattoo

Jenna Elfman is a lovely funny American actress, best known for her role as Dharma on the sitcom Dharma and Greg.

Jenna Elfman has a single tattoo design which we know about, its the alchemy symbol for purity, located on the back of her right ankle.

The tattoo also kinda resembles the staff of asclepius.

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The Tattooed Poets Project: Jillian Brall

Today's tattooed poet is Jillian Brall, who has the distinction of being the only inked writer to appear on the TPP after National Poetry Month.

Last April she submitted her photo after all the April slots were filled, so I decided to continue the project with the idea that one a month would be a nice number.

Check out Jillian's May 2009 post here.

This year, when she saw on The Best American Poetry blog that I was running the project again, she didn't hesitate to send in a photo and secure a spot.

This is her tattoo:

Jillian explains:

"It's a drawing I did with my eyes closed - of a series of drawings I did with my eyes closed. And this particular girl has kind of become my logo. I've also created picture books that incorporate her and the other characters. In my poems I sometimes refer to a girl or to a "she" or "her", and this drawing of a girl has sort of come to represent them."

This tattoo is on the front of her left thigh and was inked at the same shop where her tree tattoo (from last May's post) was done, R&D Tattooing in Queens, NY. She can't remember the artist, who was not a shop regular, but as you can see from the original drawing, she did, in Jillian's opinion, "a perfect job".

Head over to BillyBlog to read a poem by Jillian here.

Jillian Brall received both her BA in Creative Writing in 2004 and her MFA in Poetry in 2009 from The New School, in New York, NY. She is a NYC certified Teaching Artist, currently living in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn. She recently published a book of poems, Wet Information, under her press, ZoeWo Press. She is also a saxophonist and visual artist, focused on mixed media collage, drawing and painting. Several of her collages can be seen in issue 12 of Pax Americana, as well as featured on The Best American Poetry Blog, and have been used as cover art for several electronic poetry books published by Scantily Clad Press. Prints of her collages, as well as copies of her book, Wet Information, are available for purchase here. Poems have appeared in The Best American Poetry Blog, Praxilla Journal, and are forthcoming in Connotation Press.

Thanks to Jillian for returning to the Tattooed Poets Project!
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Carmen Electra Tattoos

Carmen Electra is a lovely American glamour model, actress and television personality, known for her work on the television show Singled Out and Baywatch.

Carmen Electra has two tattoos on her body, including the letter "R" behind her left ear, which is for her significant other rob patterson.

She also has the date of her marriage to Dave Navarro tattooed on her inner left wrist, which is (22 November 2003).

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Selita Ebanks Tattoo

Selita Ebanks is sleek sexy Caymanian fashion model, known for being a Victoria's Secret Angel from 2005-2008.

Selita Ebanks currently only has one tattoo design on her body, which is a pair of angel wings located on the back of her neck.
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Dr. Dre Tattoos

Dr. Dre is a successful American record producer and rapper, perhaps best known as a member of the gangsta rap group N.W.A.

Dr. Dre has a couple of visible tattoos which we know about, including a spider with flames on his right hand and a spiderweb with flames on his left hand.

He also has a tattoo design on his left arm which appears to be a skeleton of sorts holding a bomb.

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Here is just a sample of how low we keep in the collection..
Stay tuned for a breakdown of what else goes into it.
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Eliza Dushku Tattoos

Eliza Dushku is a stunningly beautiful American actress, known for her role on the television show Tru Calling and Dollhouse.

Eliza Dushku has an array of tattoos on her body, including a double-headed eagle at the top of her back which is reminiscent of Albania's national flag.

The actress has the phrase "Lead, Kindly Light" tattooed on her left hip, which is a hymn written by John Henry Newman. She also has a small cross tattooed on her left ankle.

She is also said to have a feather tattoo on her ribs which was done by Kat Von D, plus a couple other unknown tattoo designs somewhere on her body.

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Tim Duncan Tattoos

Tim Duncan is a great NBA basketball player who has player his entire career with the San Antonio Spurs.

Tim Duncan has two visible tattoos on his body, one being a jester located on his back right shoulder blade.

The star athlete also has Merlin the Magician on the left side of his chest.

Tim Duncan tattoos.
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The Tattooed Poets Project - Caroline Goodwin

Today's Tattooed Poet is Caroline Goodwin.

She sent along this photo of a clematis flower that was tattooed on her belly in the early '90s in Juneau, Alaska:

She says she chose the clematis image from "a book of botanical sketches at the Juneau Public Library". Why this one? "Because I love purple flowers -and vines".

The artist, Caroline recalls, was Dave Lang at High Tide Tattoo.

Caroline Goodwin moved to the San Francisco Bay Area from Sitka, Alaska in 1999 to attend Stanford as a Wallace Stegner Fellow. She teaches poetry and nonfiction writing workshops at California College of the Arts and, with Hugh and Mary Behm-Steinberg of Berkeley, is the publisher of MaCaHu poetry chapbook press.

Check out one of Caroline's poems here, over on BillyBlog.
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Anne's Flourish

This is another regular post amid the host of Tattooed Poets for April.

I ran into Anne at a drug store in my neighborhood and she agreed to share this simple, yet elegant, tattoo, which she called her "flourish":

Inked on her inner right forearm, Anne designed this herself, and had it tattooed by Chad Hunt at Name Brand Tattoo in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Thanks to Anne for sharing her lovely decorative tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!
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Here is a piece I just did on a client who flew in from Texas she wanted to go with butterflies Flying up her side for a classy feminine look.
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The Tattooed Poets Project: Joseph Millar

Today's tattooed poet is Joseph Millar.

This is a bit of an unusual submission, as it was provided on behalf of Joseph by his wife, the poet Dorianne Laux. Dorianne, who herself is un-inked, was instrumental in last year's Tattooed Poets Project, referring me to several tattooed poets, who in turn introduced me to many more, acting as the lead domino in a fantastic tattooed poet domino effect.

This is the tattoo she provided on behalf of Joseph:

Dorianne explains that this tattoo is actually a two-part piece. The original was "a much smaller rose" by the legendary Lyle Tuttle. She continues:
"The banner was etched with his second wife's name, which I never saw as a problem. I liked his ex-wife who is an artist. In fact, her painting graces the cover of my third book, Smoke. One night he came home late with a bandage on his arm. I worried he'd been in a work-related accident. He peeled it back to show me he had the rose enlarged and my name stenciled into the new banner by Doctor Julien of [Julien's Black Lotus Tattoo in] Eugene, Oregon. I wish I could tell you I thanked him and kissed him, but what I did was sock him in the arm and call him an idiot. Secretly, I found I was pleased."
Be sure to head over to BillyBlog and read one of Joseph's poems here.

JOSEPH MILLAR is the author of Fortune, from Eastern Washington University Press.

His first collection, Overtime (2001) was finalist for the Oregon Book Award and the Robert H. Winner Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. Millar grew up in Pennsylvania, attended Johns Hopkins University and spent 25 years in the San Francisco Bay area, working at a variety of jobs, from telephone repairman to commercial fisherman. His poems have appeared in numerous magazines including The Southern Review, TriQuarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, DoubleTake, New Letters, Ploughshares, Manoa, and River Styx. His work has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts in Poetry, Montalvo Center for the Arts, Oregon Literary Arts and a 2008 Pushcart Prize in Poetry. In 1997 he gave up his job as a telephone installation foreman. He now lives in Raleigh, NC and teaches at Pacific University’s Low Residency MFA Program in Oregon and yearly at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, CA. Pulitzer Prize winner Yusef Komunyakaa has said, “There's a tenderness at the core of Fortune, where the commonplace becomes atypical and fantastical, and each poem possesses a voice that summons and reveals. Joseph Millar is a poet we can believe.” His third collection of poems will be published in fall of 2011 by Carnegie Mellon Press.

Thanks to Joseph and Dorianne for their collaborative submission to the Tattooed Poets Project!

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Hilary Duff Tattoos

Hilary Duff is a beautiful and extremely talented American actress and recording artist, perhaps best known for her lead role in the TV series Lizzie McGuire.

Hilary Duff currently has five tattoos on her body, including the French phrase "ma petite amie" on the upper right side of her midsection.

She also has the word "Shine" on her right hand middle finger, plus a shining star on the back of her neck just below the hairline.

The star has two other tattoos which we know about, one being a small anchor located on her inner left ankle, and finally the phrase "Let It Be" on the outside of her right foot.

Regarding her foot tattoo she has been quoted as saying "I have a hectic, crazy life. Things are crazy all around me, and I get stressed out. It’s like, I’m just one little person, let it be. And that’s what it is!

Hilary Duff celebrity tattoos.
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Siobhan's Phantom Tattoo

Although it is April and we are posting the tattoos of thirty poets over the thirty days, it's hard to ignore the good people who make Tattoosday possible, my fellow inked New Yorkers, and visitors from afar.

It's even more difficult to ignore the unseasonably warm weather and the resulting flurry of tattoos that reveal themselves after a cold and inhospitable winter.

So it is with pleasure that I can share some tattooed folk who are not necessarily poets, to go with our inked writers.

Take for instance, Siobhan (pronounced shuh-vawn for those unfamiliar with this Irish name), who walked by me in my neighborhood in Brooklyn, flashing this recognizable tattoo:

Perched above her left ankle, this design is based on the artwork for the widely-popular Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, The Phantom of the Opera.

You would imagine that someone who would go so far as to tattoo their leg with a show's artwork would be a huge fan. You'd be correct.

Siobhan informed me that (as of April 2010), she had seen Phantom over twenty-five times, including productions in Minneapolis, San Francisco, London and, of course, on Broadway.

This is her first tattoo and was inked by Joe Mags at Brooklyn Ink, in Bay Ridge. Work from Joe and the crew at Brooklyn Ink has appeared quite often on Tattoosday, and can be seen collected by clicking here.

Thanks to Siobhan for sharing her inspiring tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!
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The Tattooed Poets Project: Erica Rivera

Today's tattooed poet is Erica Rivera from Minneapolis. She sent along this lovely photo:

Erica explains:

"This tattoo was both a 24th birthday present to myself (and perhaps a mini-rebellion after my divorce as well). It is the astrological symbol for Gemini, which I chose because I embody the twin personalities Geminis are infamous for.

The tattoo was done at the Ink Lab in Minneapolis by a man whose name I know longer remember but recall as being very gentle, especially since this was my first time. I’ve since gone on to get four more tattoos: another astrological symbol on my forearm and three emblems from the marathons I’ve completed on my ankles."
Erica Rivera is the author of Insatiable: A Young Mother’s Struggle with Anorexia (Berkley, 2009). She is the former first-place winner of the Powderhorn Writer’s Festival and her poetry has appeared in Moon Journal, The Mirage, and Writer’s Journal. She blogs at

Head on over to BillyBlog to read one of Erica's poems here.

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One of our friends and loyal client came through to get his sons names tattooed to set off his new collection.
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David Duchovny Tattoos

David Duchovny is a fantastic American actor, best known for his role as FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder on The X-Files and Hank Moody on Californication.

David Duchovny has a couple of tattoos which we have spotted, one being a compass tattoo design on his inner right ankle.

The actor and his wife Tea Leoni have matching wedding band tattoos, which read "AYSG".

David Duchovny tattoos.
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One of our clients came through to get a piece to remember a friend and the the Life of

Adam"Dj AM" Goldstein

for his first tattoo.
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The Tattooed Poets Project: Christine Hamm

Today's tattooed poet is Christine Hamm:

Christine, a fellow Brooklynite, explained her tattoo as follows:

"Why my tattoo? Is it a museum on my arm? Is it some kind of message from outerspace? Children run to me just to touch it: ask me what the words mean, what I'm trying to spell. There are no words, only water.

For many years, I had been thinking about getting matching tattoos of waves splashing up my calves to my knees, as if I were wading in the ocean, perpetually. I thought about the cost, I thought about how the tattoos would look with a miniskirt -- I realized that if I got them, I'd always want to be wearing jeans rolled up to my knees and salt-stained t-shirt. I can't carry seashells all the time in my pockets, I can't be brushing the sand out of my hair every five minutes. So I decided to take less of a plunge, enter the water one arm at a time. It started off quite slow. Are you sure you don't want a fish, the artist kept asking me as we mapped out my image on tracing paper. Everybody else gets a fish. Just water, I said, just waves. The tattoo was to celebrate --- some kind of new awakening, finally going back to grad school to get my PhD in Lit like I always wanted, finally believing I could achieve something more. The waves are Asian-inspired; many who see my arm mention Hokusai, but the water is not taken directly from him. I was thinking of Zen when I finally decided on these particular waves; I was thinking that if I could just be in the water, neither sinking nor floating above, if I could just be. Water has always suggested to me some kind of slower, purer imitation of our world, something more real and less sharp. Not just amniotic fluid, not just rain, but the color, the there-not there texture, the kiss of it."
And that explanation, my friends, is one of the many reasons I love the Tattooed Poets Project.

She credits the work to Mike Bakaty at Fineline Tattoo NYC on 1st Avenue in Manhattan, who inked this about three years ago.

Christine is a PhD candidate in English Literature, teaches at CUNY in New York City, and was runner-up to the Queens Poet Laureate. Her second book of poetry, Saints & Cannibals, is coming out this spring. For more about her, go to her blog here.

To read a poem from Christine, as part of the Tattooed Poets Project, head over to BillyBlog here.
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The Tattooed Poets Project: Mark Nickels

Today's tattoo comes to us from the poet Mark Nickels:

Mark explains:
"This tattoo dates from the end of the Clinton era, I'm thinking 1997, 1998. It can't be true, but getting a tattoo feels like the last unmotivated thing I did. No regrets, I just can't remember exactly what it was all about. You forget about it and then glimpse it in your steamed bathroom mirror and think, Oh. Uh....freedom, or something like that...not so much the word as the feeling, sort of a lovely, aimless, Saturday morning feeling you don't recall having had lately."
If I may interject, I love hearing things like this, because I often ask people about their tattoos, and they dismiss them, "Oh, well, it doesn't mean anything," they often say, as if that somehow makes the tattoo less interesting. However, tattoos often symbolize times, places, memories, or feelings, and Mark is able to capture that perfectly in his explanation of the tattoo.

He continues:
I was interested in medieval stuff at the time, especially medieval and Renaissance music, and found this griffin design in a book of Dover copyright-free medieval motifs. A very good artist at Dare Devil Tattoo drew it freehand for practice, referencing the book, then started on my arm and tattoo'd' it straight off. It hasn't faded much, as you can see. I remember I asked for red and yellow, outlined in black, and that's exactly what she gave me.
Mark Nickels lives in New York City. His book Cicada was published by Rattapallax Press in 2000. He has won the Milton Dorfman Prize (1996), the Ann Stafford Prize from USC (2002) and been a finalist and semi-finalist at Lyric Recovery Festival (Carnegie Hall). He is a 2006 New York State Arts Foundation Fellow in fiction, and two poems from his 2o00 collection were recently selected for inclusion in the on-line archive of the Poetry Foundation (aka Poetry).

Thanks to Mark for sharing his tattoo with us here on Tattoosday! Please be sure to check out one of his poems (one that mentions a griffin, too!) here on BillyBlog!

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Here is one from the group New Birth - "WildFlower"
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