I am proud to have my skin featured on The Tattooed Poets Project, which features flesh speaking out various poetics and prophecies.
This reads “when silence creates pattern/remove the middle/and engrave/the opposite.”
When asked to clarify these words, I explained:
“Out of the nine tattoos on my body, this is the only one whose words are mine. It comes from a poem in my second book of poetry, meant to wake up feeling (great weather for MEDIA).
I’ve had many people see this and ask what it means. I never grow tired of the question, because I find my answer always changes. For the most part it means to carve out the quiet in silence, which tends to become a pattern in existence. Wanting to speak OUT our silence(s) until the fear stops us. So, this is a reminder to untwist the repetition of silence and by engraving the opposite, one is encouraged to speak out and up.
I do this everyday with my poetry. I speak out of silence and away from its cage(s). I like this inked reminder on my body because I’ve existed inside so many variations of myself that felt haunted by silence. Fear of being shamed. Fear of breathing life into my scars. But this tattoo empowers me. It reminds me why I write.”
“If we catch only a little of our subject, or only badly, clumsily, incoherently, perhaps we have not destroyed it. We have written about it, written it and allowed it to live on at the same time, allowed it to live on in our ellipses, our silences.” –Lydia Davis
First, decide if it is unfinished. If you speak no, then you are wrong. How can anything be done if everything which surounds us is a draft. This air has been circulated and past along and will never exist the same.
All of this is a broken silence.
Interrupt the fragment of your tongue. Barge into your sentence with a sequence of yawns or teeth-clicks.
Everything has been done before but not right now in this moment like this.
Discontinue judgement that the salt staining the outsides of your eyes is misbehaving. When your friend confesses they permit only one day per year for tears, interrupt them with a squeeze. Insist upon the need for emptying. Otherwise, there’d be no room for any of us.
Even patterns deserve an interruption. Diet your hair and cut away some weight. Not everything on a body needs to be symmetrical. There does not need to be a reason for elbow pads or bandages.
Travel — down a different block or past state lines. Interrupt your weekly session of chores. Pretend someone is following you.
And at the end of an evening, say goodnight to something else. Not the moon or your lover. Kiss goodbye the wood keeping you warm at night. Or whisper ‘i love you’ to the window panes or vents or the cat which bellows when the dark arrives.
Interrupt your gratitude for those which rarely get noticed.
“Be good and you will be lonesome,” said Mark Twain.
Silence can be so loud, you have a difficult time connecting to breaths. However, silence can also be a song you memorize and never forget the words to. It’s melody will become like a harmonized history of everything you ever called beautiful.
They called you good. They said, You agree to too much and you give in.
So, you stop. You fold your tongue into intricate origami contraptions. Your taste buds turn into swans and kayaks and butterflies and boxes.
There is so much generosity beneath your fingernails, which is why you bite them. With each spit of keratin across the room, you are spreading this munificence everywhere you go.
Your yawns do not need to be introduced. You can laugh at a joke that remains inside you.
Why is loneliness such a whisper? Have you even memorized the various octaves of your sighs and gulps? Scream out your alone and be inside the gloriousness of solitude.
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”
Somewhere on the other side, there is chance. And it looks like the other side of a blink. And it smells like distilled cherry stems. And it sounds like tin.
Sometimes silence allows time to understand what all this is.
We have a staring contest: the earth and I. We hunt down each other’s language through the pattern of our exhales and discomfort of hollowed-out sound.
Sometimes there is so much to say that the noises of our question marks creates the instrumentation of stillness.
Find a day when the only place you need to be is here. Remain. Knock your tongue against teeth only when you are ready. Only when you are so desperate to utter that it leaks out of you from the sap of your blood.
You will become all of the things and people you have collected all these years.
You will realize that sometimes we just aren’t ready to notice. Until that moment when we stop, remove ourselves from activity and recognize the beauty of what has always been there. Simply following…….
We compare bodies and languages to learn all the ways we can create hybrid forms of thought. I count the words growing out of your chest. Some are longer and more difficult to pronounce. You practice pronunciation of each syllable into my ear and remind me that I have vocabulary on my skin as well. You encourage me to stretch out my roots and unlatch my silence(s). You welcome my umms. You tell me that this earth is round like our vision. Like our ability to run away but return. When we speak, we not only remind others but ourselves the power and meaning of all these contemplations.
Stand too close to a Keith Haring and wait for the swallow.Build a bridge with question marks and flaps of skin.Pray in Italian and see if it means more. Engage in a conversation about the representation of darkness on bodies. Eat a slice of cake made out of despair and nude bodies. French kiss Rodin statue too tall to reach and challenge its boundaries. Walk inside the worry of a wound. Search for the missing head of Cybele. Unfold kneebone. Climb on top of painted reflection, push out push out push out subliminal skeleton. Present table top with split ends and empty bowls. Say a prayer before bingeing on nothingness. Place various historical women’s vaginas on hand-embroidered place settings and decide which ones look most appetizing. Reimagine religion through tar and plastic bags. Call out muse against the magnified hole built into front door reimagined in a painting. Find out where meat comes from, then lick up the trail of blood left from the source. Coat body in chalk/ Stand on head/ Wait for the ache of brain swallow. Place art and sin in alphabetized columns. Organize filth. Request a receipt when purchasing animals, artifacts and love. Remove baby from cartoon-drawn woman’s pixelated womb. Dare the body to promote silence.