After waiting in a growing line, I was totally cool when the man and two women – all very attractive and tattooed – came out of the tiny one-person bathroom at a Denver joint called Bellwether. I acted like it was no big thing as I squeezed (alone) into the tiny space to pee.
Then I went down the steep black stairs into the basement, holding tightly to the railing because breaking a hip at a hip place like this would not have been not hip.
My forever friend Shawn had invited me to an event called #Sharealike, which was the inaugural Denver version of Share, a Portland thing that brings together people to create things around a prompt over a couple of hours.
Shawn said Bellwether was the most Portland place she’d been since … Portland, where she had lived.
Before we headed downstairs, I had joked to the man the counter that we were going to spend the evening giving each other tattoos.
Little did I know that there was a full tattoo setup, including tattoo table, downstairs. Plus it was Tattoo Tuesday!
The talented tattoo artist on duty said she she was focusing on floral and succulent images that evening, and she had some beautiful drawings.
But business was not brisk. She spent most of the evening lounging on the tattoo table focused on her smart phone. She is in the background of the photo of me.
Shawn rallied a half dozen of creatives (I think that’s the term we use today). They included a graphic artist, a print maker, a comic book artist who races cars, a collage artist and a woman who paints with plants (yes, it’s as interesting as it sounds). Plus me, a person who just strings words together.
The prompt was the word “chicken”.
Inspired by unused tattoo table, I decided to write a poem about tattoos. Here it is:
I don’t have any tattoos.
I never been willing to commit to a
Platitude in Chinese
Platitude in Arabic
Platitude in Hebrew
Long enough to put them permanently on my skin.
Except my kids.
(But tattoos of children are cheesy/creepy
On an old guy.)
I worry about how tattoos will look on saggy skin.
Has anyone ever gone to a nursing home and said to a resident “great tattoo”?
If I had to compare my skin to a food, I’d say raw chicken.
So my tattoo might look like someone took a Sharpie to a supermarket chicken thigh.
The only statement that makes is: “Ewwww.”
Maybe the boldest move I can make
Is to leave my canvas blank
So the only thing to focus on is the hairs
And age spots
Which would tell my story better than any tattoo I could imagine.