Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Tattooed Poets Project, Day 26: Claire Askew

Today's poem comes to us from Scotland and the poet Claire Askew:


He asked to see some ID,
and I wondered just exactly
what he'd accept. If I offered up
my thumb-print's small maze,
or the mark left years ago
by a saw’s stray blade,
would he believe it was me?

I could shirk off a sleeve to reveal
the slim lines of my lion tattoo, or leave
a bite-mark, uniquely mine,
in the cold, hard bank of the bar.
Surely he'd know by the backs
of my knees – their sinewy curve –

or the cool, low chime of my speech?

I could easily reel off my five
favourite records (in the club
or at home) in a half-second;
hew my most loved book's synopsis
out of the air. For him, would I trip
out my blood-type, my birthplace?
The ten-digit code to my building's front door?

Turned away from his door,
I walked home through the closes –
the meaningless walls
and the mauve smoke of dusk.
I was hem-swish and footsteps,
a mind’s quiet song – more heart
than any photo-card could hold.

Claire Askew was born in 1986 and lives in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Edinburgh Review, Poetry Scotland, Textualities and The Cadaverine. She is the Editor in Chief of literary magazine Read This (, and Read This Press (, a poetry pamphlet micropress. She also runs One Night Stanzas (, an advice blog for those new to the world of poetry. She has an MA in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh and is due to complete their MSc course in Creative Writing this Fall. She is a lecturer in English at Edinburgh's Telford College, and her first pamphlet of poems is due from Red Squirrel Press this year.

Thanks to Claire for sharing her poem with us here on BillyBlog. Head over to Tattoosday to see her lovely first tattoo here.

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