I got my first tattoo in January 2018 and it was designed by the amazing & talented Zeze who is based in Auckland, New Zealand.
It is based off a Chinese fable called 猴子捞月 (the monkeys saving the moon) – if anyone is interested in what the story is about, I’m happy to provide a translated version.
I’ve been trying to write a poem inspired by the fable, but it just wasn’t working, I think it was a tad too restrictive. Instead, I wrote a little something very loosely inspired by Zeze’s artwork alone.
I think that’s one of the best things about art, how it can be re-discovered, re-imagined and re-mixed to produce unexpected results and then interpreted every which way too.
Either way, a life update & a poem, I hope you like it.
creep up pale cheek,
whisper about me
behind the teeth.
tendrils burying into scalp,
snapping the neck back
some say these soft,
phantom weeds, born
of the mind can be easily
exterminated through a wish
to be free, clearly they have
forgotten, we are no more than
lost children of Eden,
searching for meaning.
carried by the wind,
germinates into a dull ache,
sprouting dissociation as fresh roots
wrap around the ribcage, bitter,
beating heart numb to the bites of
venomous, verminous thoughts,
they have a stronger desire for life
than I can muster, no more than
a careless cadaver,
caught in the headlights.
A poor little flower,
drowned in homemade herbicide.
Look! The lovers are throwing themselves
over the moon, as the lost ones fall into
gravity’s embrace – stumbling, fumbling
children making their homes in the forest of thorns.
Tendrils of worry fill their mind as they wonder
what sins they were paying for, bodies bruised,
egos torn, instinctively clinging onto themselves
and each other in the shadows of the stars.
We set our fears on fire to remember who we are,
reminding ourselves that the dying galaxies
blinking so innocently up above are not ours to
wish upon and that we must keep moving with the
rise of the morning sun.
Even though there is an itch at the edge of our hurt,
fingers trembling, we shall resist the urge
to crush our capillaries into unfamiliar shapes of kindness
we were never afforded, we know we cannot give it
without mixing in shards of bitter bone, swallow
words like contraceptives against rejection.
Let the blood pool inside these soft shells,
bathe our fragile hearts in our own warmth, realise
there is nothing in the world outside us worth
latching our teeth into.
do you ever lose yourself
when the night breaks to day?
and sullen silence is stained by white noise
but the darkness remains, caught in the ridges
of your molars as you grind down life
into ingestible inches of time.
there’s these sticky, murky thoughts
stuck behind the tongue and you’re not sure
if they’re even yours, head pounding
from all the muddled drinks
and puddled tears, you feel your heart
ache for someone you have yet to meet
and might never know, maybe that’s
for the best because the ones that get close
tire of how you dwell over the same mistakes
day and day again, the wayward words
carried by the wind litter barren streets with bro-
ken signs, nobody bothers to listen.
too many already dance in our heads, hallow skull but a
crowded stage, no space for new thought
or moving on, only screaming matches
against ourselves, stubborn anthems
against unmovable fate, I don’t know
if I’m starting to lose voice or mind,
I think by the time both go, it’s time to close my eyes.
I could hear in his voice
the conviction of youth
and I wonder if mine
was wasted on a fool
who has chewed down flesh
and bone to leave a terrined-heart
dished out, cold.
Do boys like to wear suits and
swirl wine, slice through
boundaries like butter
because they think that anything
in the world can be bought by paper,
and if not, they’ll burn it down instead.
They wear metal on wrist
and hold metal in hand,
thinking they were born protagonist,
except sometimes forests are not yours
to cut down or even explore,
who gave you permission to scale these walls
she was never yours to save.
Now, I’m not saying women
are any better at sorting through
this tangled ball of fate and quick
mistakes but I have always envied
the rain for how it melts into waterfalls
and I could always trust the ocean
to cleanse any small cut or graze,
she feels safe,
maybe soon the hesitation