Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Tattooed Poets Project, Day 14: Cheryl Maddalena

Today's poem is from Cheryl Maddalena, a performance poet from Boise, Idaho.

She admits, this poem isn't her most flawless work, but it certainly matches the tattoo she has posted here over on Tattoosday.

Why I got the word “beautiful” tattooed on my arm in 200 point lowercase Times New Roman.

did I get it because I think I’m so beautiful? NO.
because “unexpected gorgeous moments
suckerpunch my sternum every day” seemed too wordy
to remember life is holy

because my career is going to take off
now that I have to wear a blazer every day
because black goes with everything
to give them something to look at
as they pull me from the car wreck
because my parents said I could do anything
and I wouldn’t want to make them liars
because when my parents die it will taunt me less
than “faith” or “love”

incessant captions for life’s scenes:
doing these dishes? beautiful.
opening the mailbox? beautiful.
other fonts make me nervous

so my children will be able to spell what they are
because it will look better the older I get
so I could photoshop it into my baby photos
and tell people it was a beauty mark
because my actions have consequences
and I too often forget it

I got talked down from the skull and crossbones
with a snake for the tongue
to give the nurses at the old folks home
something to see besides bedsores and bones
because you can’t get a tattoo
of the mossy forest floor

did I get it because I think I’m so beautiful? YES.

my husband wanted to get me something
for our anniversary and I don’t like jewelry
my arm wasn’t big enough
to get a dancing hula girl on my bicep
what are you going to say, “ugh, I hate beauty”

because it freaked me out
because I could
I was going to get “Daddy’s Little Girl”
in purple sparkles
but they were all out

because my people are the ones
who toil for beauty
in every mediocre moment
because being dulled
to life’s astounding details is unacceptable
because the past year was a tractor rolling over my heart

for the thousand thousand times
I’ve acquiesced to a will not my own
because my font is Times New Roman
because it seemed redundant
I got it just to show you
I’ve seen how hard you try
to be good, to be better, to love, to forgive
you taught me this
what else could I get?

Here's a clip of Cheryl (pre-"Beautiful")performing "Housewife" at Poetry Slam deLux (Boise Poetry Slam) on February 18, 2008:

Thanks to Cheryl for sharing her work with us here on BillyBlog and Tattoosday!

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