Tattooed Thoughts

Someone asked me today what 'Blue Tattoo' meant and why I chose it as a tag name for my now defunct BlueTattoo blog. Well, for millions it means identification; stamped on wrists and forearms by some long-ago hatred. It's countless bad images and forgotten names forever etched onto skins by home-made artists; they fade and warp as time goes by. It's a book of poems by Lynn Lifshin...'The Blue Tattoo'. Pretty good ones, too. But for me, it's a cool image of a tattoo parlor that I found...I just like the sound of it. It's a start-over, a second chance, it's the wrinkle that my time can't forget. It's my own warp 'n fade, my personal two-step, my sideways shuffle. It's what my life FEELS like most days...a faded, homemade tattoo that isn't quite what it used to be; isn't the beautiful thing it looked like thirty years ago under bad flourescent lights. It's just a few crooked lines wrapped around a foolish idiom that no longer rings true.

But it's mine, and I love it, in the twisted way you love the scar you got in some bar fight back in the day; the way you love a bad toothache because it reminds you that you can still feel...even if it's only pain. I love it because it won't go away, it's as faithful as a whipped puppy. Every now and then I trace it's face with my finger and wonder where the cobalt went, wonder when the ink clouded into slate...was it the year mama died, or did it happen somewhere in Haiphong while I was busy looking for trip wires? Maybe it was a gradual thing, and I only noticed when someone pointed it out. Maybe it's MY identification, a symbol of self-hatred that I'm not qualified or ready to sort out, that I'm not ready to forget.

So I'll stay up late tonight and find tattoo flash on the net. I'll stare at all the skin art and prehaps pick out a new one to grace my falling flesh...something to remember me by. A vivid dust of color to cover my own faded shade of pale. It'll make me feel young again; bring back memories of when I didn't care and thought I never would. A celtic cross, a rose dagger, a sacred heart with my name across it's apex...or maybe just a zipper down my chest to remind me how easily some things open.

But I'll probably just get drunk, instead.

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