The Tattooed Poets Project: Cheryl Dumesnil

Today's tattooed poet is Cheryl Dumesnil.

She offers up this lovely sand dollar tattoo:

Cheryl informs us that Amy Justen from Sacred Rose Tattoo in Berkeley did the work, three sand dollars on her lower left leg:

"Before my first son, Brennan, was born, I had three miscarriages. After his birth, I packed those losses away in a box marked “then,” and moved forward into parenthood. Or so I thought. Nearly a year after my second son, Kian, was born, old grief began seeping out of that box, coloring my days. While exploring how those miscarriages were still affecting me, as a way of integrating them
into my life rather than denying their impact on me, I had three sand dollars tattooed on my leg."

What folows is an excerpt from Love Song for Baby X, a memoir about Cheryl's circuitous route to parenthood, that tells the sand dollar story:

There is also a poem of Cheryl's over on BillyBlog here.

* * *

Sitting in meditation, I close my eyes and invite grief to appear. Now that I’m safely ensconced in parenthood, I can do this. Now that I know what I’m grieving: not the loss of parenthood, but the loss of three babies, I can do this. There, I said it: babies.

I breathe in. I see a meadow full of ragweed and green foxtails. I breathe out.

I wait.

Will grief enter as a mountain lion, all creep, shadow, and snarl? Will grief enter as a black-tailed deer, timidly nibbling the undergrowth?

I breathe in. I breathe out. I wait.

From the center of the field, something white and winged flickers up out of the grasses, flies like a lazy spring butterfly across the blue sky and lands on my left leg. It presses an image into my flesh then dissolves.

What I see there: three sand dollars sketched on my skin.

“Really?” I ask.

“Yes,” grief confirms, “really.”


* * *

“I know what my next tattoo will be.” I present this fact to my wife Tracie as she is standing in the bathroom, brushing her teeth.

She spits a mouthful of foam into the sink, “Yeah, the cherry blossoms and humming bird, right?”

“Well yeah,” I say, “that one too, but first I need to get a different tattoo.” I touch the outside of my lower left leg, “three sand dollars, for the three babies we lost.”

Tracie looks at me, blinking, toothbrush held in midair.

When I speak it out loud, the tattoo plan seems weird, a bit extreme. I mean, were they really babies? Were they really important enough to warrant a permanent mark on my body? I say, “I’m gonna sit with it for a few days, to make sure the image sticks. But it arrived in such an authentic way, I feel like I need to do this.”

She’s not a fan of tattoos, my wife. And yet she knows tattoo is a primal means of self-expression for me. This conflict of interests—wanting to offer me her unconditional support, not wanting her wife to look like a circus freak—it hangs in the air. Until we burst out laughing.

A memorial tattoo. A monument to three spirits that passed through this body. A tribute to all I’ve learned through their passing.

* * *

A week before my appointment at Sacred Rose Tattoo, I walk Pajaro Dunes, the beach of my childhood, looking for whole sand dollars. I want to bring samples to the tattoo studio, to present my artist, Amy, with examples of the real thing.

I want her to feel their grit between her finger tips, to trace the gray veins that creep up their sides like fissures in concrete, to see how the five-pointed star is made up of hundreds of needle-thin lines, to break one open and release the three, tiny, porcelain-like doves that rattle around inside.

I know this length of beach like no other. I know where the waves cross over each other, creating pockets in the sand that catch sand dollars, a cache revealed at low tide.

This weekend, for the first time in my life, I can’t find a single whole sand dollar. This weekend, I carry home a small Tupperware bowl filled with bone-white fragments.

* * *

The electric buzz of Amy’s tattoo gun, the burn of ink needled between my epidermal layers, sends endorphins pulsing through me. Lying on her table, I float in and out of the room, memory playing its filmstrip in my brain.

Years ago, while walking along San Francisco’s Ocean Beach, troubling through a life-altering break-up, I recalled something my sister had found on the beach when we were kids: a dime-sized sand dollar. Logic questioned the accuracy of that memory: could that really have happened? I looked out at the Pacific: five tiers of gray and churning pre-storm waves. How could something so fragile have made it from there to here? Not possible. Then I looked down at the sand. There it was, not five inches away from my feet: another dime-sized sand dollar on the beach.

Now and then, Amy’s voice swirls into my dream-state: “How are you doing?”

“Mmm. Fine,” I hum.

And then the dream about my grandma returns—she and I standing in the shallow surf at Pajaro Dunes, sunlight glaring so brightly off the water, I couldn’t look directly at it. Reaching blindly into the sea, again and again, I grabbed up fistfuls of broken sand dollars, wanting the whole ones I couldn’t see. “Keep trying,” she said, “They’re in there. Just keep trying.”

As Amy works, etching the hair-fine, single-needle lines into my skin, I learn what the sand dollars are really about: hope and faith, trying and believing.


Winner of the 2008 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize, Cheryl Dumesnil is the author of In Praise of Falling, editor of Hitched! Wedding Stories from San Francisco City Hall, and co-editor, with Kim Addonizio, of Dorothy Parker's Elbow: Tattoos on Writers, Writers on Tattoos. Her poems have appeared in Nimrod, Indiana Review, Calyx, and Many Mountains Moving, among other literary magazines. Her essays have appeared on,, and in Hip Mama Zine. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her wife and their two sons. Visit her at

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The Tattooed Poets Project: Gina Myers

Today's tattoo comes to us courtesy of Gina Myers, who is the third poet this month to come back to the Tattooed Poets Project after appearing last year. Check out her 2009 contribution here.

Gina sent along this tattoo, which graces the inside of her left wrist:

Gina explains that this tattoo:
"... was done by PJ at Old Town Tattoo in Saginaw, Michigan. In addition to the word bird, I have several other birds tattooed on my body: a pigeon named Franklin, a phoenix, an eagle, and a number of swallows. "Ginabird" is one of my nicknames, and "bird" is a nickname I share with my best friend. I always thought it was weird when people got either their own names or their own nicknames tattooed on themselves, but this seemed okay since it was a shared nickname. It's not really about me. My best friend said she is getting the same tattoo in the same place, but that hasn't happened yet."
Be sure to head over to BillyBlog and read one of Gina's poems that she picked for us here at The Tattooed Poets Project.

Gina Myers lives in Saginaw, MI, where she works as the Associate Editor of 360 Main Street, the Book Review Editor of NewPages, and the Reviews Editor of H_NGM_N. Her first full-length collection of poetry, A Model Year, was published by Coconut Books in 2009.
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Kathy Griffin Tattoo

Kathy Griffin is a funny American actress and stand-up comedian, known for a lot of things including her role on the sitcom Suddenly Susan.

Once upon a time Kathy Griffin had a diamond wedding ring tattoo, however after she divorced her husband of 5 years, she also had the tattoo removed.

I don't think Kathy Griffin has any more tattoos, perhaps in a hidden location?
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Here are a couple fliks of the hand done canvas done out in San Fran...
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Ryan Gosling Tattoos

Ryan Gosling is an excellent actor and musician, best known for his role in the movie The Notebook and Half Nelson.

Ryan Gosling has several "homemade" tattoos on his body, including the book cover of "The Giving Tree" located on his left shoulder, the book was written by Shel Silverstein in 1964.

He has a tattoo of the famed silent film actress, Theda Bara, on his left bicep.

His other tattoos include a horizontal solid bar on his inner left wrist, plus a couple of other small "doodle" tattoos on his left forearm and elbow area.
Ryan Gosling has been quoted as saying: A tattoo should never be meaningful, because at a certain point you're going to hate it, and it might as well make you laugh.

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The Tattooed Poets Project: Amber Clark

Today's tattooed poet is Amber Clark, whose tattoo is not only on a poet, but is itself a line from a poem:

This tattoo is om Amber's upper back, just below the neck. Amber explains how this tattoo arrived to become engraved in her flesh:

"The artist was Randy Ford at Maverick's Tattoos in Destin, FL. He is soft-spoken, gentle and engaged. He also gives guitar lessons. We talked at length regarding the nature of his work - in effect, branding people permanently, acting as conduit for the indelible. And I remember thinking that we both attempt to act in the world in very much the same way; he with ink, I with writing. This is brand new; I got it in January 2010 as a 34th birthday present to myself because I found this line of Mary Oliver's poem returning and repeating in my mind again and again over the years, like a mantra. It pushes me to create, to make, to be engaged with the world - which is both ironic and (maybe) shamefully delightful. Of course, I joke about the shame, but given the context of the poem, the connotations of 'mantra' seem silly."

The following is Ms. Oliver's poem that inspires so:

What I Have Learned So Far

Meditation is old and honorable, so why should I
not sit, every morning of my life, on the hillside,
looking into the shining world? Because, properly
attended to, delight, as well as havoc, is suggestion.
Can one be passionate about the just, the
ideal, the sublime, and the holy, and yet commit
to no labor in its cause? I don’t think so.
All summations have a beginning, all effect has a
story, all kindness begins with the sown seed.
Thought buds toward radiance. The gospel of
light is the crossroads of — indolence, or action.

Be ignited, or be gone.
Please head over to BillyBlog to read one of Amber's poems here.

Amber Clark teaches English and literature at Northwest Florida State College as well as Gulf Coast Community College. She reads for Tin House, and she will be guest judging the Scratch Poetry Contest in June 2010. While most of her own work can still be found on napkins and matchbooks, in personal journals and private word docs, and on the windshields of friends' and lovers' cars, most recently, her work can also be found in Pebble Lake Review, SandScript, Slow Trains, Underground Window, and Poetry365. A graduate of The College of William & Mary and The Radcliffe Publishing Institute at the Center for Advanced Study at Harvard, she also holds a MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University at Charlotte.

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The Tattoosday Book Review: Tattoo Traditions of Hawai'i

As we wind down through the last third of National Poetry Month and our annual Tattooed Poets Project, I look ahead to the coming week with very mixed emotions.

I will focus on the positive, however, and say that Tattoosday is going on a little excursion, traveling nearly 5000 miles to the archipelago known as the Hawaiian Islands.

There, I hope to spot some ink and meet a member of the tattoo community who I very much admire.

Last weekend I threw a photo on the sidebar recommending the new book by artist and writer Tricia Allen, who tattooed my friend Cat several years ago (I wrote about it here). On Saturday, April 24, Tricia will be having a book release party (and tattoo contest) at the Barnes & Noble in Ala Moana Center in Honolulu.

I will be in attendance, covering the event, and reporting on it to our loyal Tattoosday audience.

But the purpose of this post is not only to announce my travel plans, but to make some more folks aware of Ms. Allen's talents.

Shortly after posting Cat's ink, my awesome mother, who I can't wait to see, sent me a copy of Tattoo Traditions of Hawai'i, written by none other than Tricia Allen. It was a coincidental gift, but a much-welcomed one at that.

As a resident of Oahu for fifteen years, I have roots in the islands, despite my New Yorkerness, which is itself diluted by a dozen years in L.A.

It was with this appreciation of Hawaiian culture that I gobbled up the book and, rather belatedly I'll admit, have decided to review it here on the site.

What sets this volume apart from most tattoo books is that it approaches the traditional tattoos of Hawai'i from archaeological and sociological standpoints. The reader who is interested in the development of tattoo art through history will find this book informative and fascinating.

And despite the subject matter and the minimal existence of historical photography, Ms. Allen still engages the reader, as her respect and appreciation for the art form guide her efforts.

Once she has dispatched the historical aspect of the tattoo in Hawai'i halfway through the book, the author speaks to the resurgence of the art form in the 1970's and beyond.

And although much has been said about Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins and his contribution to the popularity of tattooing in the armed services, Ms. Allen focuses not on the widespread social acceptance of tattoos across the United States, but rather, she breaks the second half of the book into anecdotal sections focusing on specific individuals, their tattoos, and their relationship with their own personal and cultural art.

To the lay person unfamiliar with Hawaiian culture, this exercise is a fascinating journey that analyzes more than just a design; it explores the process and sets the modern Hawaiian tattoo apart from the more common tribal art that took the mainland by storm in the 1990's.

What we are left with is a unique pursuit of the understanding of not just the art of tattoo, but the cultural significance of the practice that has gone from a remnant of an ancient tradition to a new expression of cultural and ancestral pride.

Tricia Allen's Tattoo Traditions of Hawaii is a fascinating look at the art of "Hawaiian" tattoo both ancient and modern. It is important to recognize the history of the tattoo in Hawaii, yet also to appreciate the influence of other Polynesian cultures in the art form. Not only do we recommend this title, but we anticipate that Ms. Allen's new title will be similarly compelling.

To learn more about Tricia Allen, the art of the Polynesian tattoo, and to buy her books, check out her great website here.
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The Tattooed Poets Project: Aaron Anstett

Today's tattoo comes to us from Aaron Anstett who had also initially inquired about joining us last year on the Tattooed Poets Project.

Although the quality of the image may have a lot to be desired, the age and nature of the tattoo make it worth a peek, in my opinion:

Aaron explains:
"The main image was based on an illustration by a college girlfriend and applied nearly two decades ago, at a tattoo parlor outside of Iowa City, Iowa (at that time, I don't recall there being a shop in town, but who knows). The words from [John] Donne's The Sun Rising were applied a couple years after that, at a shop in Houston. Donne has long been among my favorites, though other poems more so with the passing of time."
It should be noted that "BUSY old fool, unruly sun" are not merely words from the poem, but the memorable opening line. You can read the whole Donne poem here.

Aaron Anstett's collections are Sustenance, No Accident (Nebraska Book Award and Balcones Poetry Prize), and Each Place the Body's. He's completing the last weeks of his term as the inaugural Pikes Peak Poet Laureate and lives in Colorado with his wife, Lesley, and children, Molly, Cooper, and Rachel.

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

Thanks to Aaron for sharing his tattoo with is here on Tattoosday!

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Lucky from the NYC came through for his first tattoo.. He wanted to get a dragon and his Mother and Daughters names on his back.
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Whoopi Goldberg Tattoos

Whoopi Goldberg is a fantastic American comedienne, actress and television personality, known for her role in the movie Ghost and Sister Act.

Whoopi Goldberg has a couple of tattoos which we about, including floral designs on the right side of her chest.

The star also has the bird Woodstock from Peanuts on the left side of her chest.

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Jason Giambi Tattoos

Jason Giambi is a successful Major League Baseball player who won the American League MVP in 2000, but perhaps better known for his public steroid scandal.

Jason Giambi has a large tattoo on his left shoulder which consists of two designs, one being a flaming skull and the other a tribal armband just below.
Jason Giambi tattoo pictures.
Jason Giambi tattoo design closeup.
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Sarah Michelle Gellar Tattoos

Sarah Michelle Gellar is a stunningly beautiful American actress, known for her role as Buffy Summers in the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Sarah Michelle Gellar appears to have four tattoos on her body, including a cherry blossom alongside a Chinese symbol for integrity, located on her right ankle.

The actress also has two matching dragonflies tattooed on the center of her lower back.

Her other tattoo designs include a small heart with dagger on her left ankle, plus a sting of Celtic symbols on her left hip.
Sarah Michelle Gellar cherry blossom tattoo.
Dragonflies tattoo design.
Heart and dagger tattoo picture.
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The Tattooed Poets Project: Daphne Lazarus

Today's tattoo takes my breath away.

The work comes to us from Daphne Lazarus, who does not have the extensive poetry credits that many of our other contributors have, but does write poems. She heard about the Tattooed Poets Project via Theresa Edwards (day 1 of this year's project), editor of Holly Rose Review, an online poetry/tattoo publication in which her work has appeared.

But let's just take a look at the photo Daphne sent, shall we?

The first thing I would recommend is to click on the photo to see it enlarged. Daphne did want me to acknowledge the photographer Irvin Tan at Monochrome Meese Photography. The amazing artist behind this phenomenal back piece is Shane Tan. Clicking his name will take you to the site where you can see several more photos of this work, as it was being created.

With a piece like this, as Daphne put it, the work "speaks for itself". Agreed, but I did seek clarification on the piece at the top on her neck:

This is a traditional Thai tattoo, sak yant, also known as yantra tattooing, which serves as an emblem of protection. The whole work took place over numerous sittings in a one and a half month time span. "Sometimes I had to work the next day," Daphne told me, "it was...a hell of an experience but it marked a milestone in my life. So worth it." Indeed. We are fortunate to have such amazing work displayed here on Tattoosday.

Daphne was born in Singapore. She received her BA (Hons) in Arts Management from LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore in 2009. She has curated several contemporary art exhibitions featuring emerging Singaporean artists and an exhibition featuring art works of pioneer Singapore artists from a permanent collection of an art institution. Daphne writes for a tattoo website at in collaboration with tattoo artist Shane Tan. She was also one of the event organizers for Singapore’s first body suspension show in conjunction with the first tattoo convention in Singapore.

Daphne’s passion lies in writing about art and tattoo culture and has several articles featured in several contemporary art publications. She has also written a thesis on tattoos for her undergraduate study. She will be pursuing a Master’s in Art History at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London.

Daphne is not a poet by profession, but she uses it as a tool for catharsis. She has published literary works mostly in contemporary art journals and aspires to be an art writer and art historian.

Check out one of her poems over on BillyBlog here.

Thanks again to Daphne for sharing her back piece with us here on Tattoosday!
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Whats up world? This is Sal again I have been up all night going through images of 1967 and 1968 Impalas so I can learn the differences in the features that changed in the body styles..
This is "Evil Ways" a 1968 Impala of Lifestyle Car Club, one of many that I used for a thorough review.
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The Tattooed Poets Project: Rebecca Wolff

Like Brendan Constantine yesterday, Rebecca Wolff was a carryover poet from last year. That is, we couldn't quite coordinate getting a post together for the Tattooed Poets Project in 2009. Fortunately, we were able to get everything lined up this year.

Good things come to those who wait.

Rebecca sent us two tattoos. We'll let her describe them for us:

"I have seven tattoos, and the ankle is number 4. I got it in 1990, in a dock-side sailor-type tattoo parlor in Glasgow, Scotland, when I was about 22.

The artist was kind of a big lug, and none too bright, and at a certain point in the tattoo (I had my eyes closed) he said, "Uh, did you want the Z and the A to meet?" and I was like, "Yeah," and he was like, "Uh oh," so if you look closely at the latter end of the alphabet (right around the STUV) you'll notice it kind of gets all squinched up, and then the WXYZ is kind of all spread out so as to make it all the way around.

The wild rose on my side is what I still believe to be my final tattoo, though I find myself craving sleeves often.

I got it when I was about 31, in about 1999, and it's the only really super figurative tattoo I have. The others are all kind of ironic symbols of symbolism. So the idea was to jump into full-color symbolism and then leave it at that, and that's what I've done.

This one was done at a place on Canal Street in NYC by a young Japanese artists whose name I never really caught."
Be sure to head over to BillyBlog to read a poem Rebecca selected just for us!

Rebecca Wolff is the author of three books of poems: Manderley, Figment, and The King. Her novel The Beginners is coming out in 2011 from Riverhead Books. She is the editor and publisher of Fence and Fence Books, and publisher of The Constant Critic. She lives in Athens, New York, with Ira Sher and Asher Wolff and Margot Sher.

Thanks to Rebecca for sharing her tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!

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This is Sal the apprentice.. After being scolded by Cartoon. I'm here to make a correction to the post. I apologize to Cartoon and the Lowriding community for making the mistake of calling "Cuervo Gold" a 1968 Impala. It is actually a 1967 Impala FastBack!
May the Gods of Lowriding have mercy on me and I'm completely sorry for confusing the new school.
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Liam Gallagher Tattoo

Liam Gallagher is a marvelous English musician and songwriter, best known as the lead singer of the rock band Oasis.

Liam Gallagher has only one tattoo design which we are aware of, the tattoo is of the "TCB Faith Spirit Discipline" emblem, along with stars and a lightning bolt, located on his upper right arm.
Liam Gallagher tattoo picture.
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Daisy Fuentes Tattoo

Daisy Fuentes is a breathtakingly beautiful Cuban-born American model and television personality, known for her work on MTV.

Daisy Fuentes has one tattoo on her body which we know about, the tattoo is of a scorpion and is located on the inner portion of her left ankle.
Daisy Fuentes closeup tattoo picture.
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Frankee Tattoo

Frankee is a stunningly sexy American singer, known for her debut album entitled, The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.

Frankee has a single visible tattoo design which we have spotted, the tattoo is of a small crescent moon along side a heart, located on her lower abdomen.
Frankee tattoo picture.
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Jamie Foxx Tattoos

Jamie Foxx is an excellent American actor and comedian, known for his role in such films as Ray and Dreamgirls.

Jamie Foxx has been spotted on the big screen while donning tattoos on his body, including a tribal crown design on the back of his head, plus extensive tribal artwork on his arms chest and back.

As far as we know, Jamie Foxx doesn't have any real tattoos on his body.

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Here is a piece from back in the day I did with the homie Risk.. Still Old School foos!
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The Tattooed Poets Project: Brendan Constantine

One of the more satisfying aspects of this year's Tattooed Poets Project has been completing posts for poets who first contacted me in 2009 during our inaugural year of the endeavor.

In Brendan Constantine's first e-mail to me, back in February 2009, he mentioned being "extensively tattooed," a fact that, over the last thirteen months, escaped me. Brendan and I have stayed in touch, and he was finally able to send me a photo last night of one of his tattoos. I was surprised to see this amazing back piece:

Photos by Shawn Burkley
Brendan explains how this work came into existence:

"In 1994 I went to an retrospective of legendary Japanese artist, Kawanabe Kyōsai, at the National Gallery in London. Known as the ‘Demon of Painting,’ Kyōsai was among the very first artists in his country to bring western techniques to bear upon traditional themes, a move which earned him much criticism. I was transfixed by his work and came home with a huge book of his prints. Artist, Kirby White, then with Yoni Tattoo in the San Fernando Valley, shared my enthusiasm for this unique painter and said, “I would kill to work in this style!”

Unfortunately, halfway through the process, Kirby began to experience chronic back pain which ultimately kept her from finishing the piece. Nevertheless, I asked that she sign it, something few if any people allow artist’s to do. I know the work is supposed to be its own signature, but I wanted the piece to bear Kirby’s mark the same as if it had been rendered on rice paper.

Photos by Shawn Burkley

About two years later I met artist Sung Song at Pure Tattoo in Los Angeles (he has since moved on, now at Unbreakable Tattoo in Studio City) and discovered he was also devoted to the work of Kyōsai . I showed him where Kirby left off and he enthusiastically finished the job, adding his own improvisations while respecting Kirby’s work. The piece now bears both their idiographic signatures as part of the design. I’m a happy gallery!"

Photos by Shawn Burkley
Thanks to Brendan for sharing this amazing work!

Please be sure to head over to BillyBlog to read one of his poems here.

Brendan Constantine is a poet based in Los Angeles. His work has appeared in numerous journals, notably Ploughshares, Ninth Letter,The Cortland Review & RUNES. His book, Letters To Guns, was released in 2009 from Red Hen Press. He is currently poet in residence at The Windward School and Loyola Marymount University Extension.

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The Tattooed Poets Project: Alexandra Teague

Someone recently asked me where I find all of these tattooed poets. A great question, and I owe thanks to many people, for most individuals come by way of word-of-mouth from other poets. But I also reach out on my own, often sending dozens of e-mails to writers around the country, and the world. It's like shooting an arrow into the dark, one can only hope the missive strikes a target.

I was recently poring over a copy of the anthology Poetry Daily Essentials 2007 and picking poets to e-mail. I stumbled across Alexandra Teague's "House Guest" and sent her my standard "ink-query." And sure enough, she became one of the few poets I wrote to out of the blue who replied because, not only is Ms. Teague tattooed, one of them is poetry-related. As she so aptly put it, "I sort of had to reply to you."

Without further ado, here are Alexandra's tattoos:
I was inspired to get the Japanese kanji for "poetry" after seeing a pin at the Poetry Magazine table at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference in 1999.

I'd been thinking about getting a tattoo and couldn't decide on a design, but as soon as I saw the kanji, I knew it was exactly right. I see it not only as a symbol of the art of poetry but also as a reminder to live poetically. I got the tattoo at a shop in Miami (I don't remember the name). I did a bit of research to confirm that the kanji was correct (since I don't know any Japanese), but I didn't have it really confirmed until several years later when a new friend, from Japan, said, "Do you know what your tattoo says?" And I said, "I hope so." Fortunately, according to her, it really does mean "poem" or "poetry."
She also shared this lovely tattoo:

The other tattoo is a couple of years old. It was done by Amy Justen at Sacred Rose Tattoo in Berkeley, California. I've always loved the ocean and wanted to live by the coast, so the California seagull is symbolic for me of my migration out West. Amy Justen has a background in fine art and does some really interesting, painterly work with white and grey, which I love, but which made some people think the tattoo was a decal when I first got it!
Be sure to head over to BillyBlog to read one of Alexandra's poems here.

Alexandra Teague’s first book of poetry, Mortal Geography, won the Lexi Rudnitsky Prize and has just been published (April 2010) by Persea Books. Her work has also appeared in Best New Poets 2008, Best American Poetry 2009, and The Yale Anthology of Younger American Poetry, as well as journals including The Missouri Review, The Iowa Review, and New England Review. She was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and has since lived in Arkansas, Missouri, Florida, Montana, Hawaii, and California. She currently teaches English at City College of San Francisco and lives in Oakland. For more information about upcoming readings and publications, visit

Thanks to Alexandra for sharing her tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!

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Here is anther classic from the Whatnauts "I can't stand to see you Cry"
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