1) I got the alphabet tattooed around my right ankle in 1990. This is just one of those things that, once seen, seems so inevitable, or obvious, it's like "why aren't there hundreds and even thousands of people walking around with the alphabet tattooed around various limbs and joints?" Often I am asked, by someone who thinks they are being very clever, if I am a teacher of small children. I suppose this seems a great teaching tool. "No," I think, "I'm a person who uses words." At a poetry reading the other day I saw a much younger woman with the letters of the alphabet, writ very small, scattered to random effect all over her body. She was showing a lot of skin.

2) Sushi at interstate rest stops. If they can do it at supermarkets . . .

3) A t-shirt that reads: "Soho Gives Me Hives"; another that reads: "Why Are You Dressed Like A Hooker?" (This first one is pertinent mostly for native New Yorkers; the second may have passed its moment of application, which I think was the early 2000s.)

4) Virtual graveyards, and a searchable database of gravesites, so you could go and visit whomever, whenever.

Originally Published: August 4th, 2009

Born and raised in New York City, Rebecca Wolff earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She authored Manderley (2001), selected for the 2001 National Poetry Series; Figment (2004), winner of the Barnard Women Poets Prize; The King (2009); and One Morning— (2015). Her work has appeared in BOMB...

  1. August 4, 2009
     Joel Brouwer

    Well, there's this\r

    http://www.findagrave.com/index.html\r

    but that sushi thing, that's probably not going to happen.

  2. August 4, 2009
     Marty Elwell

    Great stuff. On #1, maybe you could mess with people by telling them you got the tat to help you cheat on a test in first grade...been there ever since.\r

    The graveyard databases are actually out there, believe it or not, and growing. Once, my brother-in-law and I thought it would be a good idea to put flat screens in tombstones so that the (wealthy) dead could tell their story to those visiting their grave. To our disappointment, this had already been done as well.

  3. August 4, 2009
     Rebecca Wolff

    Well, I never told you the vintage of that particular idea of mine (twas a long time ago I thought of that).

  4. August 5, 2009
     thomas brady

    I have the following tattooed on my chest:\r

    Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold,\r
    Pease porridge in the pot, nine days old

  5. August 5, 2009
     Desmond Swords

    MADE IN ORMSKIRK\r

    is the tat a pal had done when he joined up and when to go guard the Falkland islands in the South Atlantic, half way round the world from Lancashire.\r

    Smashing up my toys as a child: there was always one which would break if you didn't hit it hard enough with the small lumphammer I had stolen when I was seven; from the back of a next door neightbour's van. She was a contractor, a single mother and I stole all her tools because I hated her kids, who bullied me continually for most of my childhood - from the age of 2 and a half to seventeen.\r

    I found a counsellor and Zen mistress in the local BYO restaraunt where I was working after leaving school at 15, after becoming something of a problem child because of the bullying. I used to do a lot of weed there with the women and one man who worked there: or rather, volunteered.\r

    It was a Collective: BYO dining experience and Art gallery for the homeless and those afflicted by drink and drug addiction. I was in pretty mad shape back then, and had just stumbled into Mahayana (Sanskrit: महायान, mahāyāna literally 'Great Vehicle' - of what became love and light, eventually.\r

    I did some pretty strange things in BYO i can tell yer. Crazee shit like levitation, after attaining the second of the eight main siddhis, or supernatural powers: Laghima (lightness), things changed forever, because no longer could no longer give an etic account of the God who claims this being - to know that god as a liddle ole fairy tinker dude - because emic it went kiddas; right out the bowl yeah and flew rogate to the court of Saint BO the cow-flower goddess of ancient Mahima (greatness); third of the siddhis that connects us to some pole of knowing held aloft and leading through attainments, to Prakamya, the fifth siddhis which is one's indomitable willpower.\r

    The fourth 'attaintments' is Prapti, which I have tattoed in invisible ink all over my body and soul babes, bodying bold y'all 'n - you know how it is - American babe in arms.\r

    After a few years of study and training and coming along a very well-like course, some knowing from the ineffable suchness and thusness of Tathata (Sanskrit म

  6. August 5, 2009
     Don Share

    Seek and ye shall find.\r

    http://www.boingboing.net/2009/08/04/what-is-the-meaning.html

  7. August 5, 2009
     thomas brady

    http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=948&PIpi=76559\r

    We rest.--A dream has power to poison sleep;\r
    We rise.--One wandering thought pollutes the day;\r
    We feel, conceive or reason, laugh or weep;\r
    Embrace fond foe, or cast our cares away:\r

    It is the same!--For, be it joy or sorrow,\r
    The path of its departure still is free:\r
    Man's yesterday may ne'er be like his morrow;\r
    Nought may endure but Mutability.

  8. August 5, 2009
     Don Share

    Death be not proud:\r

    http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/19256\r

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gravelight/sets/72157608636053847/\r

    http://www.poetsgraves.co.uk/

  9. August 5, 2009
     J Diego Frey

    Rebecca,\r
    I love the concept of your tattoo. Whenever I think of getting one, my mind always goes to words, not pictures--like maybe getting a tattoo of the word "tattoo".\r

    JDF