As a heavily tattooed person, I am constantly being asked some seemingly rhetorical questions from people who seriously want answers to them. Frustrated by such stupid questions and the constant need to explain my choices to strangers, I decided to lay it out for people. Being the poet that I am, I decided to write my response in rap form for the Bodycandy.com video, Permanent Art is Bound To Sting.
Some such questions are:
“Is that real?”—no, I draw it on my arm every morning…(said with obvious sarcasm).
“Did that hurt??” –of course it hurt, I had needles inserted in and under my skin thousands of times.
“Can I touch it?? (touches it anyway without permission)” –NO! Do you usually just walk up and touch random strangers? Jeez, use your manners people.
and my personal favorite,
“What are you going to think when you’re old?” —If, by the time I’m 80, my biggest worry is the way my skin looks, then I say, Hell Yeah, I made it. I’d rather have colorful wrinkles, wouldn’t you?
All my body modifications are things that I have put a lot of thought into, especially my tattoos. I am not a big fan of frivolous or meaningless tattooing and I would never pick a design out of a book—all of my art is original and has very deep meaning to me. Each time I get an idea of something I want to be reminded of for the rest of my life, I think about the symbolism behind that idea, the images associated with it and search for the best way to portray that idea in a movable work of art. For example, I have a large tree on my left arm. I got it for my mother, Robin, after she died. The tree has four robin birds—one symbolizing each season as well as each direction. The branches of the tree have leaves in all stages—light green spring leaves, darker summer leaves, yellow and orange fall leaves and bare branches at the bottom. There is also the sun behind one side of the tree and the moon behind the other. The tattoo reminds me that wherever I go (all the directions) and whatever time or season of my life I’m in, my mom will always be there. I think, when it’s all laid out like that, explaining all the symbolism, it’s easy to see why I will want that reminder when I’m 80 years old.
I have been writing poetry for 25 years and started performing when I was 12. I started rapping as my alter-ego, MC Vendetta, in 2003 after forming my first band, Velvet Kreme—a white-girl hip-hop duo. I have since played hundreds of solo shows as MC Vendetta, competed in many poetry slams across the US, have taught writing and art workshops, hosted open mic nights for kids and much more. I have been an editor and layout artist for Earth’s Daughters feminist literary magazine since 2007. I have also been rapping, singing and playing trumpet in my band, BloodThirsty Vegans since 2008. We released our first album, Let the Feast Begin, in 2010 and are in the process of recording our long-awaited follow-up album.