For years, I heard folks talking about tattooed knuckles and I’d immediately correct them in my head: “That person has tattooed fingers, not tattooed knuckles.” The only other person I’ve heard make this clarification? Author D. Foy. Besides being pretty covered, Foy is also responsible for Patricide, which is the best literary novel I read in 2016. His great body art, writing chops, and the fact that he’s one of the coolest cats I’ve met online made him the perfect subject for Skin Stories. Here’s what he had to say about his tattoos:
“All of my tattoos are reflections, more or less, of visions. I “see” them, then sketch them up, then take them to my artist to interpret. My back piece came to me wholesale, for instance. It didn’t materialize exactly as I envisioned it, though it’s pretty damned close.
But my hands: I saw them in my sleep one night, just as they are today. This wasn’t a dream but a true vision. Were it not, my hands would be similar, but not precisely, to what I saw, as clearly as if I were awake—letters, stars, and all. I’d been studying Japanese poetics and philosophy a few years prior and come across the expression horohoro, which in Old Japanese translates roughly to “swirling petals” or “swirling leaves” and refers to the phenomenon of petals drifting from cherry blossoms in the spring or leaves from trees in the fall, and is an homage to the way of the things, which is ceaseless change.
In Western culture, carpe diem is the closest concept to horohoro that I can think of, only horohoro doesn’t have the grasping connotation that carpe diem has. In any case, this was the word on my hands in my vision, which sort of blew my mind when I came to. Not only was the concept made for my hands, and not only am I sure I’m the only man alive with such a tattoo, but also, regardless of how I place my hands, side by side or crossed, they mimic the concept they express. I called my tattooist the moment I woke up. It’s an understatement to say that a week later, when I saw this tattoo as it was in my vision, I was astonished. I’d seen the future of my hands, and, in a much grander sense, of my whole life.
Gabino Iglesias is a writer, journalist, and book reviewer living in Austin, TX. He’s the author of ZERO SAINTS (Broken River Books),HUNGRY DARKNESS (Severed Press), and GUTMOUTH (Eraserhead Press). His reviews have appeared in Electric Literature, The Rumpus, 3AM Magazine, Marginalia, The Collagist. Heavy Feather Review, Crimespree, Out of the Gutter, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, HorrorTalk, Verbcide, and many other print and online venues. You can find him on Twitter at@Gabino_Iglesias