Tattoo Poetry: Jealousy Between the Inks

Tattoo poetry sometimes exists by virtue of its position on the body. For instance, we saw Tony Hoagland’s dilemma about whether to get a tattoo of a fist or a rose: How to place them? How would they relate to one another? There was poetry in the very thought.

Poetry Prompt

Be a tattoo that has had to share the body that bears it. Were you the first tattoo? The second? Or maybe the third. How do you feel about the other tattoos? Do you wish you were in their locations? Or do you feel superior? Put your tattoo jealousies (or maybe your brags or your loves) in a poem. Be the tattoo that is not alone.

Thanks to our participants in last week’s poetry prompt. Here’s a recent Tattoo poem we enjoyed from Anthony…


Tattoo battered pendulum arms
Of the things he’s seen
Blue birds and tangled webs
Vines and dark angels on Harleys.

Back and forth his arms the
Hue of hope, descant, memory
Part flesh, part art.

Air, arms pumping
ahead of him, as a
constant reminder of
the things he’s seen
and where he’s been.

Mother, then
Then, Mother

Turning slightly, I see at the center of his chest
Sliced with dye, a crucified Christ,
His back, a Chagall canvas where
The winds whip welts, wounds, worn
The things that are behind
Him, part flesh, part art.

He stares ahead as he cuts a swath
Through the beauty of the lilies,
Picassos serendipity tracks mutilating his inner
Arms, pumping, self abusive, reborn
Through the passage of the day,
The poison slowly dripping off his fingertips.

—Anthony Connolly

Photo by Phillip Pessar, Creative Commons, via Flickr.


Sometimes we feature your poems in Every Day Poems, with your permission of course. Thanks for writing with us!

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