I thought about getting a tattoo. In my 40’s. I changed my mind at the last minute. It was going to be a lynx. Yeah, the puffy jowls that look like Kiev’s. When you brush her hair back, her face is thin and pointy like Chaco’s. But naturally, it’s wider at the edges than it is at the top. All fur. The girl is all ebony fur and bushy tail.
The tattoos, I don’t remember why I changed my mind. Pain. Or the idea that I might have to live with something just a little bit too long. An image, any image, I might get sick of it over time. I could not find inspiration for this practice. I think it’s because I am tired. I went to the History of Tattoos link, the Tattoo You link, too. The most surprising was the one from The Shining, a tattoo of Jack Nicholson peeking through the door he has just chopped to shreds with an ax, spouting, “Here-rr-ee—rrr—ee’ssss, Johnny!”
Then there was the tattoo of the Holy Mother, all across the broad of a woman’s back. That was impressive. No, I didn’t get the lynx. But I still feel close to her mysteries. The full body tattoo is a signature of classic Japanese tattooing. I didn’t know that before. Women as well as men go under the needle. I’ve always thought that women were able to bear more pain. There is childbirth. I’ve never gone through it. And I never will. But the stories I have heard. Big babies, 13 pounds pushing torque through a small contorted opening.
I’m lost in words. In thoughts. I’m tired. The day was full. But not of tattoos. I can’t land on a pinprick to the skin. My mind wanders out to the crow on the branch of an oak. The pre-spring sunset from a lonely distance. The Fed Ex man stepping up to the door at 3pm. The way my back aches at a certain time of the day, way down in the lower back. Hormones. Maybe the position of the Blue Moon.
Pants crawls into a box tattooed with black ink. A Sony Vaio, a turquoise green screen, a game of Mahjong. I was never good at games. I bought a box of tattoo Band-Aids once. I think I still have a couple of them tucked away in a plastic cylinder I carry in my sling pack, along with a short tube of Neosporin. The black panther swirled in curves across the porous plastic – Band-Aid, yeah, I’d stick her on my paper cuts to ease the drone of a corporate day. I tried those little tricks of the trade, to lighten it up for a serious team of data entry processors.
For some, laughter works. Others, well, they don’t want to buy all the guff. Serious is the way they prefer their jobs, their relationships. I got to the part in Main Street where Carol finds out what the townspeople from Gopher Prairie really think about her. They are serious people who would rather talk about milking the cows or the sloshy mud on Main Street, rather than the last time they laughed or had fun. Midwestern blood.
I remember the Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers, the Tattoo You cover. I wasn’t a big Stones fan. The Beatles were more my style. Keith Richards was in a Saturday Night Live sketch last weekend. He was advertising leather bags, was it Louis Vuitton? But the news anchor could not figure out which was the bag. Poor joke, I know. That’s what I’ve stooped to on a late Monday evening, tired, with an aching back. This is what comes out of a tired mind.
I don’t have a tattoo. And I probably never will. I think it takes a certain kind of “guts” that I probably don’t have. I do appreciate a good sketch. What I noticed when I checked out the Tattoo You site, is that some tattoo artists are better than others. More detail and color. Just like real life.
I colored another mandala last weekend, the second in the March series. It relaxed me. Liz has taken to drawing her own, surprising me with the accuracy, proportion, and line detail she is able to draw freeform. I could not draw a straight line if my life depended on it. Thank goodness it never has. Even with a ruler, I am straight-line challenged. I’m more of a curve person.
The last mandala was an early labyrinth. The one before that, a Celtic knot. Even the Celts were big fans of the tattoo. All those strings tied up in dyed knots. The journey is like that. A craftless series of heartfelt decisions. I like to think I have choices. That life is a series of daily decisions: what to say, what not to say, how much to reveal, what to cut, how honest should I be. I have not revealed much in this Writing Practice. Some days that’s what happens. The bear eats you.
Too many words floating serifs to the wind. I like to think of sheets to the wind as my grandmother’s laundry, cool blue summer on a sweaty aqua breeze. But truthfully, I don’t remember my grandmother ever hanging out the laundry. It was Mom, rows and rows in the backyard in Pennsylvania, strung line to line through humid afternoons. The damp end of the day. When fireflies lit up the hill at Hershey. And I in my Mod Squad straight hair, faded bib overalls, sans tattoo, rolled one more time down the lawn with the capital H.
-posted on red Ravine, Monday, March 10th, 2008
-related to Topic post, WRITING TOPIC – TATTOOS