I painted a horse skeleton on a slice of tree.
Spiders poured out of the wood. I hate spiders but love horses so I sucked in my skin and slopped on the Burnt Sienna.
The oil paints were skinny and wet. I suggest acrylics.
I'm designing tattoos for friends while postponing my own. I want the bone of my left forearm tattooed on my...left forearm.
The image means a lot to me, but the absolute Thingyness of it comes from Thoreau's Walden:
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life..."
bone sketch. Photo by Shelby Ursu
I want to wake up and see my marrow. I want to remember that I'm dying.
Another bone sketch. Photo by Shelby Ursu.
Supporting this Thingyness are lyrics from The Antler's song "Two":
There was glass in my feet and raining down from the ceiling
it opened up the scars that had just finished healing
it tore apart the canyon running down your femur
(i thought that it was beautiful, it made me a believer)
The song is from Hospice, a record I still write about because the time of my life when I listened to it never ended; I changed, but the feeling was folded into my marrow. Communicating this experience has been the main objective of my creative work, and will be for a long time.
In Soviet Russia, bone sketches you! Photo by Shelby Ursu.
As usual, what's stopping me from getting a tattoo is the damns people give. Tattoos are the new statement T-shirts. I'm afraid of seeming fescious.
Then there's the generation of people I see only on Christmas and Easter, the ones whose parents brought home Slinkeys and who were already in graduate school when Jimi Hendrix set his guitar on fire. I love these people dearly. That said, getting a tattoo for them can mean only two things: (1) A pledge to the Black Panthers, the KKK, or the U.S. Navy, or (2) A way of upsetting your poor grandmother.
I don't know if I'll get the tattoo. I'll decide tomorrow, or the next week, or two years from now. As long as my furniture is ugly and my music is good I don't mind waiting. I quoted this song earlier, but in the words of a fictional Bob Dylan, "A poem is a naked person; a song is something that walks."
Two by The Antlers (Excuse the background babble, but the live version really is the more beautiful) :