My Whole Expanse I Cannot See…

I formulate infinity stored deep inside of me…

Archive for the 'Tattoos' Category

…and Ryan Gosling read the blog

June 25th, 2017 | Category: Life,Tattoos

So, somehow or other, Ryan Gosling got ahold of my blog post about being on The Last Word, and he tweeted about it…

Now, those who haven’t been reading the blog from since way back when probably don’t realize that Ryan Gosling is in my all time favorite movie, Stay. I have two tattoos from that movie, it helped me get through the first few months after I was trached, after Sara left that first time before the last time.

Ryan Gosling as Henry Letham…

“Apparently, I can”
One of my favorite lines from Stay…

Yes, having Ryan Gosling mention me in a tweet meant a lot, it was really fucking cool.

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9 comments

Tattoo #84 (fixed): The end of Tattoo Crisis 2015-2016

February 28th, 2016 | Category: Life,Tattoos,Thoughts on Music
Tattoo correction by Amanda, Doc Dog's Las Vegas Tattoo, Ybor

Tattoo correction by Amanda, Doc Dog’s Las Vegas Tattoo, Ybor

So, here we are (officially), tattoo number eighty-four. This tattoo is some brutally beautiful lyrics from an Alanis Morissette song, No Pressure Over Cappuccino, which is off of her MTV Unplugged record. It’s brutal because of its stark honesty; we all learn to lose absolutely everything, whether the loss is afflicted by circumstance, or time, or death. Especially death, which is guaranteed by time. It’s important to be aware everything is inherently temporary, in order to cherish and hang on to that which we cherish most. This is what I take away from the lyrics, at least.

I’ve lost… a lot of things I never expected to lose, or wanted to lose. I just found the words… fitting.

As for the typo correction, I think it came out nicely. I wanted it to look organic, like someone simply scratched out the wrong words with a pen.

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Tattoo #84 (Broken): Tattoo Crisis 2016 (2015 spillover)

February 07th, 2016 | Category: Life,Tattoos,Thoughts on Music
God damn me, and my typos…

God damn me, and my typos…

So, we’ve come to tattoo #84, and… it’s broken. I got the tattoo last October. Even then, I felt uneasy about it. I wasn’t sure about my lyrics. From the get-go, I wasn’t sure. I’ve only just confirmed my blunder. I should have learned my lesson from Tattoo Crisis 2010, but alas, I’m apparently still quite stupid.

The tattoo is some beautiful words from an Alanis Morissette song, No Pressure Over Cappuccino, which is off of her MTV Unplugged record. It’s a gorgeously written song, particularly a couple of lines toward the end. Unfortunately, the way I used to hear said lines isn’t quite how she wrote them. Of course, once you KNOW the lyrics you can’t hear them any other way. I wasn’t completely stupid, I checked several lyrics sites, but the thing is, the sites don’t agree. Today, alanis.com is pretty sophisticated, with every lyrics sheet from every record. Last year, it was still evolving. If the MTV Unplugged lyrics were there, I missed them. At any rate, off I went! I flew to get words permanently etched into my flesh that may or may not be right… Genius! I should have waited. Then again, I avoid waiting if it’s in my power to do so.

What I heard:

You will learn to lose everything,
we are temporary arrangements

What Alanis wrote:

You will learn to lose everything,
be a temporary arrangement

Either way, the lines have the sad beauty that I love. Either way, they state the transient nature of existence that terrifies me, and drives me. Just, what I have on my arm is a giant fucking stupid typo.

This will not stand, it will be fixed!

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Tattoo #83

February 03rd, 2016 | Category: Life,Opinions,Tattoos,Thoughts on Music
Tattoo by Kyle, Doc Dog's Las Vegas Tattoo, Ybor…

Tattoo by Kyle, Doc Dog’s Las Vegas Tattoo, Ybor…

So, fuck, I got this tattoo ages ago. I’m finding it really hard to write about, because it asks a question that I was undecided on at the time, but I now know the answer, and it hurts.

The tattoo is from an Alanis Morissette song, That I Would Be Good, which is off her second record, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie. People may argue it, but I feel like Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie is the best writing she’s ever done. It’s absolutely my favorite Alanis record. I’ve likely said this before, but I figure it’s worth saying again. Too many people for my liking think Jagged Little Pill is her only record, but Alanis Morissette has done a great deal of gorgeous writing over the years, That I Would Be Good is just one example. The song is a beautiful inner-monologue of uncertainty, a running string of questions, fears… That I would be good, even if I did nothing. That I would be good, even if I got the thumbs down. That I would be good, if I got and stayed sick.  Her own worries that are true to being human, worries that are in all of us. If one of my worst fears happened, would I still be okay? Anybody with a bit of self-awareness thinks such things, and often enough, our possible “worsts” become reality.

In the last ten years, I’ve experienced (quite literally) every single one of my worsts. I’ve lost people I love, to death and plain old circumstance. I died myself, but apparently didn’t care for it, as it only lasted a few minutes until my heart decided against giving up on me. I quit talking… and so on. Out of everything, losing people I never wanted to lose feels worse than dying but not. I don’t even remember my lights going out, but I feel all the empty places in me, the pain never stops. Sometimes, even after years of being apart, the pain doesn’t so much as dull. When I got this tattoo, I was thinking about someone in particular. I kept hearing Alanis sing…

That I would be good, whether with or without you.

I can’t just say it’s okay, because it’s so not. Being without her, it hurts every moment of every day. It’s been years now, I don’t love her any less, I miss her all the more. I hit kind of a difficult time health-wise, so I pushed her away because I felt like she’d be better off. Though, deep down, I didn’t think she’d go. I don’t think we really are better off apart. I know that together, really together, we can get through anything. We can do anything. I know that when I’m with her, it feels like home.

That’s it for now.

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Tattoo #82

October 17th, 2015 | Category: Life,Opinions,Random Thought,Tattoos
Tattoo by Kyle, Doc Dog's Las Vegas Tattoo, Ybor

Tattoo by Kyle, Doc Dog’s Las Vegas Tattoo, Ybor

So, we come now to tattoo #82, a lyric from one of my favorite songs, not just by Aimee Mann, but by anyone. The song is off of Aimee Mann’s fourth studio record, Lost in Space… the song is called, It’s Not.

It’s Not is really quite a sad song, yet very beautiful. It’s about being stuck, stuck without a way out. Sometimes life just doesn’t go in the right direction, and it feels as though it never will. It’s a horrible place to be, it’s horrible to feel utterly stuck, knowing deep down that nothing can pull you out of that blackness. I’ve visited that blackness, many times, too many times, and Aimee’s lyrics capture that blackness so completely. She describes such an awful place with beautiful words. Perfect words.

Now, even though It’s Not is astonishingly sad, it still holds happy memories for me. It played many evenings while someone I love slept peacefully with her head against my shoulder. I sang it to myself with a voice no one will ever hear as I looked into her eyes under a clear night sky one cold New Year’s Eve. I could get so lost in her eyes… she really did make everything and everyone else just an afterthought.

She’s gone, yet I miss her everyday, love her everyday. It scares me to write gone, scares me that I’ll never again hear her voice, or feel her asleep next to me… her soft warm breath against my neck.

I don’t want never, I want to go home.

5 comments

Tattoo #81

September 23rd, 2015 | Category: Life,Tattoos
Tattoo by Kyle, Doc Dog's Las Vegas Tattoo, Ybor…

Tattoo by Kyle, Doc Dog’s Las Vegas Tattoo, Ybor…

So, I got this tattoo, my eighty-first, many months ago. It’s meaning isn’t meant for others, but I do keep a record of my ink. Too loosely of late.

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Tattoo #80

September 23rd, 2015 | Category: Life,Opinions,Tattoos,Thoughts on Music
Tattoo by Kyle, Doc Dog's Las Vegas Tattoo, Ybor

Tattoo by Kyle, Doc Dog’s Las Vegas Tattoo, Ybor

So, this tattoo, number eighty, is a lyric from, and the title of one of my favorite Aimee Mann songs, Fighting the Stall, which is off her fourth studio record, Lost in Space. Though, it’s only found on the Special Edition disc.

One of my fears is being stuck, being worn away by circumstance and time until there’s nothing left of me. I’m scared I won’t be where I want to be before I quit breathing. Right now, that place is so far away I can’t even see it. When life takes its bad turns, it’s a fight not to get stuck, to stay stuck, to just stall out. Hence the tattoo, a note to myself that I’m fighting, and that I need to keep fighting to have the life I want.

A line from the song goes…

“…I’ll go down in flames just for the Hell of it all, ’cause I couldn’t take standing in place waiting to fall…”

That line has affected me since the first time I heard it, it’s how I try to live. I’d rather die because my vent failed while I’m on some adventure with a woman I love, than face the slow death that happens by inches over years just sitting “safely” at home. Death, the fall, is guaranteed, it’s the only guarantee time deigns to give us. I’d rather meet it on my terms than just wait for it. That’s the essence of the song, I think; make for the sky, fly high, fly hard, and no matter what, don’t stall out. Don’t die standing still.

To me, tattoos aren’t frivolous. Tattoos are permanent, even if removed your skin is never the same. I like that, I want that permanent reminder of a statement or thought or prayer. I get words or images etched into my skin that will always be important to me. It’s just a gut feeling, but certain things you simply know. know fighting the stall is a fight that won’t ever end for me.

I’m stalled out now, but I’m fighting. I need to fight harder.

2 comments

Tattoo #79

August 21st, 2014 | Category: Life,Opinions,Tattoos,Thoughts on Books
Tattoo by Kyle, Doc Dog's Las Vegas Tattoo, Ybor City

Tattoo by Kyle, Doc Dog’s Las Vegas Tattoo, Ybor City

So, this tattoo, number seventy-nine, doesn’t follow my usual leanings toward song lyrics. Instead, I went with a book quote, a not-so-not-lengthy book quote. It’s from the last paragraph of Dermaphoria by Craig Clevenger. If you haven’t read either of Clevenger’s books. The Contortionist’s Handbook, Dermaphoria, you’re really missing something., they’re gorgeously sad books. I’m not at all ashamed to admit that the end of Dermaphoria had me crying at 4 am. Anyway, this is definitely my largest tattoo, it covers pretty much my entire right side. It’s there and almost nobody will ever see it outside of this post, but that’s not the point. It’s a memory made external, one that affected me so deeply that I want to physically carry it with me.

Again, since I’m running really low on space, it’s kind of awkwardly placed. It reads…

“…and in the moment

before the angels turn

off my universe, God’s

own clock quicksand

slows to an ice

whisper quiet and I

could sit here beside

you and watch the

twilight wither for

days on end.”

I don’t want to give away anything about what the words mean in the context of the book, but in the context of me…

No passage in any book has ever felt so familiar.

I was with someone I love, and we were lying together watching gorgeous twilight fade away, and I never wanted it to end. I never wanted to be without her, ever. Not ever.

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Tattoo #78

August 17th, 2014 | Category: Life,Opinions,Tattoos,Thoughts on Music
Tattoo by Colt, Doc Dog's Las Vegas Tattoo, Ybor City

Tattoo by Colt, Doc Dog’s Las Vegas Tattoo, Ybor City

So, this tattoo, my seventy-eighth, is from an Elliott Smith song, Pitseleh, off of one of my favorite records, XO. It’s a wrap-around tattoo that’s pretty much impossible to photograph. I’m pretty much out of flat open spaces, so my leg had to do.

It reads:

“They say that God makes problems just to see what you can stand before you do as the Devil pleases… Give up the thing you love.

No one deserves it.”

To me, the lyrics are saying, it seems like God pushes, and pushes, and pushes, until you break and make decisions that make life even worse.

The last few years have felt like this, but I don’t literally believe it’s God’s fault that absolutely everything in my life has gone to Hell. Really, sometimes bad things happen for no reason, and sometimes when life turns sideways, we break, we make bad decisions, and our own stupid decisions wreck our desires. It’s not my fault the state of Florida destroyed my independence, nor is it my fault I had to move and leave the room I spent nine years crafting, but it is my fault I lost the woman I love. Bad things happen, we have a vast capacity to make everything worse. God doesn’t go around sticking it to people. Still, I think that that’s something people of faith worry about, especially we with Catholic backgrounds, though not practicing. We wonder, My life is shit. Does God just hate me? I’ve had the thought often enough, when it seems like life goes the opposite of all my prayers. Tivoli once wrote me, after I died but didn’t, and I was scared of losing Sara, “I still don’t believe God hates you, but I’m beginning to think He likes fuckin’ with you.” God hating me has always been just one of my host of worries, but not a belief (usually).

So, why the tattoo?

Because I think the words are beautiful and I like having them with me. Because if I manage to dig out of the hole I’m in, the words will remind  me of how deep the hole was, how far I had to dig to find someplace beautiful again.

2 comments

Tattoo #77

May 17th, 2014 | Category: Creative Flash,Life,Opinions,Tattoos
Tattoo by Colt, Doc Dog's Las Vegas Tattoo, Ybor City

Tattoo by Colt, Doc Dog’s Las Vegas Tattoo, Ybor City

So, this tattoo, number seventy-seven, is from an Aimee Mann song, Little Bombs, which is off of one of my top ten favorite records, The Forgotten Arm.

As I’ve mentioned around the blog, I died once, in some violently bright trauma room, but it didn’t stick. It was spectacularly dramatic though, my heart quit its post, a team of doctors and nurses beating the Hell out of me, trying to wake me up before all the beating in the world wouldn’t matter. My girlfriend, Sara, crying. Sara telling me not to go. It was like a movie. Had it stuck, it would have been quite something, a big, theatrical death, but it didn’t, and here we are, almost a decade later. I don’t think most death is all big and flashy, it’s slow and subtle and certain.

One of my favorite writers, K.J. Bishop, has this total badass character, Gwynn. Gwynn lives by his own set of morals, he kills for cash, he kills for justice, sometimes he just kills because it’s his whim and it feels like proper etiquette to do so. He drinks hard, enjoys all manner of narcotics. He dresses impeccably, plays the piano for eccentric old ladies at swanky parties. He has fallen in love, HARD. Though Gwynn could die pretty much every day, in some grand fashion, some way that he would personally find spectacular, he doesn’t. His hold on life in the midst of combat borders on preternatural. He takes kill-or-be-killed to a form of high-art. He is death in the theater of killing. Unfortunately, even though your profession is snatching life from others, and you do it well enough to see your gorgeous, flowing black hair go gray, you’re going to have to retire. It comes time to hang up your weapons and just be. In a later short-short story, She Mirrors, we see Gwynn as an old man. His recreational narcotics are replaced by medicines for his creaky joints, aches and pains that are the cost one pays for pushing a body past its limits over the course of a career that isn’t usually lengthy. His doctor has vehemently warned him against alcohol and cigarettes. His great love is now just a memory. He’s not dying as a mercenary in some great war, he’s not dying by sword or gun. He’s dying the slow death inflicted by time. He doesn’t go quietly, at the story’s end he’s off toward one more adventure, an adventure that might not go the way he wants, that might be the last his body allows, but to Gwynn, it’s the possibilities that are exhilarating.

She Mirrors is such an honest story, it resonates with me, and scares me, scares me because it’s so true. Our stories aren’t guaranteed to end how we want, or even with a quick bang. Time is what kills us, usually slowly, softly, over minutes, hours, years. The story shows how we’re all fighting against a force that we can rail at, furiously, and still, we will not win. She Mirrors brings to mind my favorite line from William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. I know the words by memory, “…Christ was not crucified: He was worn away by a minute clicking of little wheels.”  We’re all worn away by those clicking little wheels, the clock makes us all equals, we all get too little from time. Our clocks stop and we end. Gwynn, Christ, me, nobody gets out of it, time quitting our company.

Life just kind of empties out, less a deluge than a drought, those words resonate too, those words have been important to me ever since the first time I heard Aimee sing them. I got the words permanently etched into my leg because the idea that time is slowly, but inexorably, wearing me away drives me. It could have happened way back in that trauma room, it could happen tomorrow, but probably, it’ll happen years from now, tediously and maddeningly. Still, one way or another, or another, it will happen, which is why I have bouncers carry me up two flights of stairs at the goth club, or fly to Boston during a blizzard, my antiquated breathing machine powered by an equally unsophisticated battery, with the woman I love just to see Aimee Mann play. It’s why when Sara asked, “So, would you ever go swimming?” I said, without a blink, “Yeah!” I’m terrified of being in anything larger than a bathtub, but she only got, “Yeah!” The reality that that slow drought will come is why I once told a woman I love her more than air, why I asked if she’d wake up with me tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. It didn’t go how I wanted, but I did risk it. I’ll risk simple failure, I’ll risk my life, anything, because at the end of my drought, when time has shoved me toward death’s enfolding kiss, I don’t want to feel like I let time wear me away without fighting with everything in me to experience everything I want. I can’t not fight.

The tattoo reminds me that my life is emptying out, and I can’t just sit back and watch it go.

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