Brandy LeMae’s “silvery”

“I received my BFA from CU Boulder with an emphasis in conceptual sculpture, but for the past 15 years I have been working with my husband in our architecture firm, WORKSHOP8. For the last five years, I have had a keen interest in expanding our portfolio to include public art. When I heard Chelsea’s interview about the Boulder Tattoo project on CPR’s Colorado Matters, I knew I wanted to participate in this interesting public art project. A project in which the public actually became the art . . . what a cool idea!

I am an Aquarius, so I assumed that I would pick a word or phrase from that section of Anne’s poem, but after narrowing down a list of possible words and phrases to four choices, I asked my husband and daughter to help me select something that suited me best. We ended up singling out the word ‘silvery’ because as I enter into middle age, I am going through a transformation from a brunette to a silver-haired woman. I felt ‘silvery’ was a way to pay tribute to my metamorphosis.”

Brandy LeMae

Brandy LeMae’s “silvery”

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Matt Clifford’s “bass got lucky,”

Because we heard Matt speak these (or similar) words nearly a year ago, we can now testify: what you read below might blow your mind! But it’s even funnier when you experience Matt in person. Look for him–swimming with the fishes in Boulder & falling in love.

“So be it that this shall serve as public notice, due announcement, proclamation that the pronunciation of bass, writ the second word of the fourth stanza of Anne Waldman’s ‘Boulder Zodiac’ poem, is heretofore to be referenced in the dialect of the musical instrument (base) when read aloud from the skin atop the rib of its bearer, one Matthew Clifford. You, of course, are free to say it as the fish say (bazz), and to say any other word in any other way of any poem you may find pleasing in some way. The tattooed does not wish to cramp your linguistic freedom to style.

This choice in diction is made possible and justifiable by the inked’s long-standing fascination of, relationship with, and affinity toward his four-stringed thumpers—Priscilla and Carroll. The right hand rocks steady, aligned with body, grooving, tapping, making, keeping, moving rhythm—the left sets the disposition. In improvisation, as good performing is doing, those fingers may recognize not until the second after it happened what has been done, what expression made, felt out fade and the sounds found to be returning demanding the next piece of (re)action to durate. Instinct finds knowledge, instinct gets lucky too. Luck of the note hit, vibration struck; there is no wrong answer, listen closer, play harder.

And in Boulder this occurs, in Boulder it is likely to fall in love, in Boulder. Boulder a city to love as love is likely to befall how love do the emotions that expand from deep feeling, you will feel them all in a day, exposed, forty degree weather patterns. Hero teaching lineage touches city council meetings closing parties voting to make the streets illegal, dumpster rescue, celebrating whole food hypocrisy a right turn into a poetry reading under a full moon in an alleyway becomes a cop pulling over a bicycle rider while a fraternity brother intern leader networker screams drunken glory on by and then you are back in the living room of the collective where it is okay to feel normal and fall asleep in love with the eerie energy of the mountains and valleys cursing and protecting and not letting anything go dead. What is radical that they let die we go and make more.

So say bass and dance to the music, say bass and swim with the fishes. Come and go, come and stay, have a little temporary autonomous zone, build some community. Struggle in the bubble that bumps into each other, we are never alone, our words make a picture that can be seen from on high, tonight it looks like home. We are lucky to be gazing, please do touch, we are lucky to be stocked and not so, we are still trying. We are hoping to get lucky, we make it, we take it, our play. We say what we like with the words that we find, we draw them to be one and many. We wear our contradictions.”

Matt Clifford

Matt Clifford’s “bass got lucky,”

Jade Cruz Quinn’ “of topological shift”

“I was waitlisted. When I was told room had opened, I was given a handful of leftovers to choose from. I was drawn to ‘of topological shift,’ (comma intact) without having read the poem and with only a vague knowledge of the meaning of topology. I chose it that very minute anyway. I then embarked to research what exactly topology is, as people would undoubtedly be asking me its meaning.

I came to Boulder to attend the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, of which Anne Waldman is a founder. I came with the intention of transformation. I came to allow the topology of the world around me to shift. I came in pursuit of good health; the topology of my body has shifted. The tattoo shifts the topology of my skin.

My relationship to this phrase is complicated. I am a Cancer and my phrase is from the corresponding stanza. I am a poet and I will continue to dissect the meaning of this phrase, and of Anne Waldman’s entire poem, for as long as it is on my skin.

Surrendering one’s body permanently to art has some risk. But in submitting, I wanted to submit fully. This is why I decided to keep all of the stars, to honor the intention of the original artists. I chose to keep the comma in honor of the larger work. The comma is a breath, an afterthought, and a meditation on the phrase’s meaning for those who will read it.

I chose its specific location because of how seamlessly the design moves with the curvature of the shoulder blade.

The tattoo is a prayer for body: to continue to shift, as bodies do, and to grow and strengthen in pursuit of life-long health. It is an homage to the bodies that created the art, to a collective, and to a small, beautiful city that has permanently influenced my life.”

Jade Cruz Quinn's "of topological shift,"

Jade Cruz Quinn’s “of topological shift,”