As we reach the final days of the Tattooed Poets Project 2010, let's read this poem from Jozi Tatham:
-William Eggleston, 1978
An old man sits on the end
of a hospital made bed, and he watches
to the left with hospital made hands
in his lap. The room collapses
behind him, folding in on itself in
neatly creased corners, a white tiled
ceiling only slightly illuminated by
the unseen light that hangs by a chain,
and a murder red shag carpet vacuumed into
cornstalk rows, with walls the color of
sunflowers in late fall, sopping
in decay under a dirty south sun. Everything
is static. A plastic, sticky vinyl
that squeaks with the old
man’s presence, and it doesn’t
really matter where you go, as long as
you check out from this room, so the
shine can be buffed and the corners can be
cut. The geometry of breathing. He woke
this morning, ironed his white
shirt so that the subtle crease down
the middle back hugged his spine,
wet his comb in the alcove
bathroom before running it through
the hair that rings the crown that was
misplaced long ago, shined the same
black wing-tipped shoes he bought for
a job interview at the post office that he
walked out of with half a torn stamp stuck
to his sole and nothing more, and all he
can do now is lick the sticky side and hope
that the room holds up for a little while
longer, because check out isn’t until noon.
This poem is previously unpublished.
Please check out one of Jozi's amazing tattoos over on Tattoosday here.
Jozi Tatham is currently a poetry MFA student at George Mason University in Virginia. She hails from Milwaukee, WI where she received her BA and the place which serves as "the inspiration for most of my being thus far." She has been published in newspapers and small publications in the Milwaukee area for poetry and nonfiction.
Thanks to Jozi for participating in the Tattooed Poets Project!