Located on her upper right arm, Karrie explained the origin of this art:
“This tattoo is a painting by my favorite artist, Franz Marc, whose career full of bold, colorful animals was cut far too short by his death in World War I. I had known I wanted a Marc tattoo for some time and had been shopping around for the right artist to do the work. I was getting a variety of unsatisfactory answers to my queries until I brought the design to Matt Hessler, who owns XS Tattoo in Rochester, MI. He knows art, liked the project, and he's done all of my work since.”The painting replicated in the tattoo is called “The Tiger” and dates to 1912, one hundred years ago.
As Karrie shared this tattoo, she chose the following poem, which originally appeared in Arsenic Lobster:
For Franz Marc, on the Occasion of His Thirty-Sixth Birthday
(February 8, 1880 – March 4, 1916, Verdun)
Was it a day like the crush of all days,
soot and stink smearing hours into each other,
death marching on spindly legs across trenches,
palette reduced to churned mud, choked sky,
crusted blood on gunmetal.
Did you steal any slaughter moments,
borrow butcher’s pigments long enough
to catch war’s angry tigers, pour them
haphazard into kaleidoscopes,
or push the peasant heft of draft horses
deftly through sharp prism angles.
Did any of your singed nape hairs stir
hint at the slow whistle of incoming days,
head bursting into spray of colors
thrumming with life as your canvases,
while orders flapped on insufficient wings
declaring you too vital to be ground into France.
Did you hear the animals weep?
~ ~ ~
Karrie Waarala holds an MFA from the Stonecoast Program at University of Southern Maine and is a teaching artist at The Rooster Moans poetry cooperative. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as Iron Horse Literary Review, PANK, The Collagist, Arsenic Lobster, and Radius. In addition to a Pushcart Prize nomination for her poetry, Karrie has received critical acclaim for her one-woman show, LONG GONE: A Poetry Sideshow, which is based on her collection of poems about the circus. She really wishes she could tame tigers and swallow swords.
Thanks again to Karrie for sharing her tattoo and poem with us here on Tattoosday!
This entry is ©2012 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission.