I have a number of tattoos. the only ones that mean a damn are the ones inside of my thin wrists. I had them done on April 14, 2005, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on a whim after a four hour train ride where I met a stranger who asked me for deep life-altering advice as I was horrifically hungover. Her exact words were: As a person I know I will never see again, I have a favor to ask of you.
How can one say no to that? This is fate, people. Beauty life love and trust in one simple sentence. And it happened to me on one perfect day as the Pacific Ocean flew by my left hand and the Cascade Mountains commanded my right.
my left wrist says LIVE ON in 28 point Block Times New Roman about an inch and a half below my palm. This is what it means to me when I look at it:
Live on, survive, for the earth gives forth wonders. It may swallow your heart, but the wonders keep on coming. You stand before them bareheaded, shriven. What is expected of you is attention.
Your songs are your planets. Live on them but make no home there. What you write about, you lose. What you sing, leaves you on the wings of song.
Sing against death. Command the wildness of the city.
Freedom to reject is the only freedom. Freedom to uphold is dangerous.
Life is elsewhere. Cross frontiers. Fly away.
- Salman Rushdie, The Ground Beneath Her Feet
On the inside of my right wrist I have the words WE DIE tattoed in 28 Block Times New Roman about an inch and a half beneath my palm. This is what it means to me when I look at it:
We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes; tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden as if caves. I wish for all of this to be marked on my body when I am dead. I believe in such cartography; to be marked by nature, rather than to mark ourselves like the names of rich men and women marked on buildings. We are communal histories, communal books. We are not owned or monogomous in our taste or experience. All I ever desired was to walk upon such an earth that had no maps.
- Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient
When I am an old lady those words will still be there, etched black and indelible beneath my skin. These words mean something to me. Do you have words that mean something to you?
If I could ask god for the perfect man, he would be a cross between Bill Drummond, Jaime Hewlett, and Alexander Hamilton.