Written in Ink

Poking Myself with Red Flowers

I'm finally going to do it.

I've been planning this tattoo for ages and kept waiting until I was in better shape and my biceps didn't flap around like jello. I decided recently: Fuck it. Do it when you want to do it, you're not perfect, you can lift weights, stop waiting to be as tight as a military bed sheet. I mean, I'll be a hundred-fucking-twenty by the time I firm up, and that will be solely because of desiccation.


I'm getting the Georgia O'Keeffe poppies on my left shoulder. And of course there is Deep Meaning (TM) behind it. O'Keeffe was an ultra fierce artist on her own terms, not letting most opinions or men steer her around. I can't say I'm an artist, but I am a writer, and she is a hero to me for her vision, talent, and drive.

There is a poem by Raymond Carver's wife called Red Poppy about his death. This line: and now/when the poppy lets go I know I know it is to lay bare/his thickly seeded black coach/at the pinnacle of dying. Raymond Carver is one of my greatest heroes, as a writer and someone who later got sober. My first year of sobriety, I had no group or Big Book. My Big Book was a collection of Carver's stories that I read over and over. So the image is also about him.

But the connection to death also connects to my brother, whose death changed my whole life. In memory of him, and the understanding that death shapes us too, I am getting the poppies.

Does anyone else have tattoo stories? Even temporary, I'm no snob.

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