Tattoo’ed Maps & Dragons – my Inspiration

My poem Mappa Mundi has been published by The Roanoke Review,

The editors asked me to write a little bit about the inspiration behind this poem.

Mappa Mundi was inspired by my passion for books of antique maps, some of them so large, I could step through them like doors into imaginary, naively drawn worlds. These maps are embellished with illustrations of dragons and sea monsters, and the words “beyond here be monsters” – which really meant that explorers didn’t yet know what lurked in those waters, and they let their imaginations run wild. In my poem, a lover’s body becomes my ocean and terra firma. I marvel at how little I know it, no matter how many times I stake my flag.

Mappa Mundi

My lips survey the length
of a tattooed dragon that twined
your side in Japan, his breath
drawn in flame.

His anatomy coils its axis
about the bright earth
of your skin,
claiming it with flags of fire.
His hubris knows
no bounds; he believes he scales
your flesh with one
hard haunch.

My hunger is drawn by
a current of curiosity:
which strokes are most
sensitive? The dragon’s neck,
or your tricep, trident-cleft?

Though I bite and bruise him,
he won’t fly away.
My teeth nips are battle scars.
His ego swells superficial
as a skin wound.

[Read more at the Roanoke Review]


{Image attribution}

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