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Tattoo #7, 1995

Mister, those tattoos hurt?

Fun City - tattoos for the discriminating.
(Or drunk or high or heartbroken or stupid.) 
Snake Eyes, Garver, White Mike,
They’ve all gotten under my skin.

Dan the Man I remember best.
Definitely beaten as a child - 
Hair, ink, earrings, leather and
Ex-con bedside manner don’t fool me.

Quoted me a price for a tribal skull,
Upped it the next day:
“Not the way I remember it.”
Fee in question, he prepped a sterile needle. 

It feels like someone drawing on your skin
With a broken bottle.

Cut me shaving my arm,  
Proceeded unfazed: calm, cool, cold
Through blue cigarette smoke,
Disinfectant and sweat.

Thin Lizzy bombast over the rasping static 
Of the gun.
I asked him about some biker band
As he throttled my wrist.
“Never heard of them.”

They wipe it when there’s too much blood to see.
Stings like a bad sunburn.

Fast work, under an hour.
He didn’t count the money, or notice the tip.
Handed me a small band-aid for the nick
In apology:

“Is that fuckin’ thing still bleeding?”

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