Tova's Mockingbird Takes Wing

Late last month, I met Tova at my local Borders store. She was sporting this incredible tattoo on her upper left arm:

When she told me she had it recently inked at New York Adorned, I guessed correctly that Virginia Elwood had been the artist. Virginia in incredibly talented, and seems to especially excel at bird tattoos (her work has been seen previously on Tattoosday here, here and here).

Tova explained that she loves birds, and that this mockingbird reflects a turn of events that occurred in Southern California. She described to me how, the night before she had to take defend  her Ph.D. exams dissertation, her husband had a guest staying with them, and this individual seemed particular insensitive to the momentous occasion Tova was facing the next day, as he was playing loud music well into the night.

Tova recalled how her anxiety and displeasure over this guest’s inconsiderate activity forced her from her home in search of a little peace and quiet. As she circled her block, she was struck by the large number of mockingbirds that were flying around.

She successfully passed her exams defended her dissertation and associates the mockingbird with this landmark event in her life.

As her Ph.D. Is in English, I asked her if she was familiar with one of my favorite poems, Charles Bukowski’s “The Mockingbird”. She wasn’t, so I suggested she check it out and I thought it appropriate to share here:

the mockingbird

the mockingbird had been following the cat
all summer
mocking mocking mocking
teasing and cocksure;
the cat crawled under rockers on porches
tail flashing
and said something angry to the mockingbird
which I didn't understand.

yesterday the cat walked calmly up the driveway
with the mockingbird alive in its mouth,
wings fanned, beautiful wings fanned and flopping,
feathers parted like a woman's legs,
and the bird was no longer mocking,
it was asking, it was praying
but the cat
striding down through centuries
would not listen.

I saw it crawl under a yellow car
with the bird
to bargain it to another place.

summer was over.

Thanks to Tova for sharing her stunning tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

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