The Lexington Tattoo Project: The Secret Identity
The Lexington Tattoo Project is a community art initiative from Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova in the form of a poem to Lexington written–as permanent tattoos–on the bodies of Lexington. They are taking photographs of each tattoo and will use these photographs to create a video that animates the poem–read by its author, Bianca Spriggs.
Today, project sponsor Nick Kouns went under the needle at Charmed Life under Robert’s expert ink, for The Secret Identity.
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Letter from the Poet, Bianca Spriggs
Dear Tattoo-Happy Lexingtonians:
Thank you for wanting to put my words on your body. This is the largest collaborative work I’ve ever had the pleasure of participating in, so I am raising the proverbial roof right now in your honor. I figured a few of you might be interested in how I wrote this poem. I rarely reveal the slight of hand that is involved with penning a piece, but for you, anything. So, for those who are interested in my process, behold:
First, the form. This type of poem is my favorite to tackle (only the best for y’all) called a contrapuntal. It is actually three poems in one. Here’s how you read a contrapuntal. You start with the left side as its own complete standalone poem (in this case, a narrative poem, or a poem that tells a story). Then, you read the right side as its own poem (in this case, a list poem, or a poem that sounds like what it is: a list). Then you read both sides from left to right and a third poem floats to the surface which could not have existed without its disparate parts. For those of you who are hardcore grammarians, you can relax. The third poem cares nothing for your earthly rules of punctuation. This is THEE universe we’re talking about here. Take the day off and enjoy my mad stream-of-cosmos skills. 😉
As for the content, at its core, this is a love poem to, about, and for our city. I wanted to capture a bit of recklessness and headiness and heightened sensation and euphoria, the trappings of true love, but also work in some of the complexities that reveal themselves in any relationship as people grow together. Over the past few months, I’ve been using social media and personal interviews to figure out the best beloved locations and sentiments about our city. So, the narrative portion is all about name-dropping some of the more recognized spots in Lexington. Alas, if I had included everyone’s, well, we’d never be done with this project, so I included those which were mentioned the most. For the list poem, these were actual responses when I asked folks to fill in the blank: Lexington is the ____________ of the Universe.
Ultimately, this piece truly is written by you. I just did a little re-arranging here and there.
Live long and prosper,
p.s. For you newbies…yes. Tattoos hurt. But like my good friend “Cowboy” Dave, the steadfast bartender at Lynagh’s has been known to say, “If it didn’t hurt, it didn’t happen.” Kinda like love. And poetry.