In Boulder, some people love their city so much, they’re willing to get a tattoo to prove it. As part of a living art project, each person will get a real, permanent tattoo of a different word or phrase from a poem about Boulder, surrounded by a design. A secret feature will link all the tattoos. Ryan Warner speaks with Chelsea Pohl, organizer of the Boulder Tattoo Project.

[Photo: Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova] Chelsea Pohl's tattoo from the Lexington Tattoo Project.

 

Boulder Zodiac

by Anne Waldman

 

nuanced light, coyote yips

full Sagittarian moon’s clear shadow

you might spook yourself, seething centaur

drawing up the Boulder dawn into your chest

your lungs, take aim, it’s your own heart

 

city of choice, of modernity, of ancient creeks

a few miles from Continents’ Divide

and Arapahoe mystic native lore,

great-horned Capricious ones party here,

where Rockies crash Great Plains

 

where granite meets bone and Aquarius sheds

his water semi-arid land thirsts for

let it come down, sweet, dramatic, sudden

let it gather and  snow melt lift the Great Platte

river is your life, your guardian

 

largemouth bass got lucky, and then not so

stocked out by Walden Pond,  silvery,

the Piscean transmigratory life,

the  way we see through water miles from it

land-locked, but look up at  primordial Flatirons,

 

feel irony of topological wrench, of negative ions’s

clarity, your mind stays high and clear

leads the pack, you are Aries

the “agrarian worker” and you settled here

to see the future ride the terrifying Dark Age

 

here in humility where poetry

thrives, where a warm chinook  carries

gentle tread of the inscrutable bull down from Heaven,

a Buddha, who stops and sits, Taurus mind

of “negative capability”,

 

comfortable in doubt, in curiosity, study of

place , flora, fauna, every columbine flower,

Indian Paintbrush,  cottonwood tree, Stellar’s Jay

mind doubles,  being Gemini sees “both both” mirrored

in struggle, flames licking at canyon mouth, flood warning

 

crises at the gate! move to higher ground,  rescue

meteorological  archive of  topological shift, note coming

hard times, scarcity of water on diffident Crab whose job  is to scuttle

over  surface, dig in, soul mate to the prairie dog perhaps who

surveys the environs with keen eye, raise a ruckus!

 

for  mountain lion also, be sure to go asymmetrical

not turn your body, make loud noise, back away

honor his kinghood in these parts, roaming

Bald Mountain, O  hungry Leo, lokapala of this berg

citizens, guard your house pets, do not be careless

 

honor the great open space, honor semblance of wilderness

Virgin wildflower, first bud of spring, close to tundra

once ocean and you feel pull of tide

another  equinoctial moon over the downtown Mall,

Tibet’s magic shop. bookstore to browse, diverse eateries

 

share the wealth, education, sporting life, don't mess with

balance of tolerance, keep Scales  aligning, remember habitat is

your ecos- your house, your hearth- your ecology – your health

tip  the scales and you go down, Libra,  stay

wise, proactive, run the marathon, save the planet

 

from itself, do no harm, transcendent friend!

spiritual Boulder! aspirational Boulder! inspiring

with  new age awareness slow growth ethos, re-inventing

herself as the Scorpion does, grows back her tail in intricate

iteration, will not sting but seductively beckon….