It started as an outline,
Celtic symbol, unknown meaning,
and wrapped itself around his arm
until the arm was dressed.
A sleeve the artist called it
and coloured it in shades
of black and grey with white highlights.
But how could one sleeve be enough
for any man with two arms?
So, soon a tiger leapt from his left shoulder
to catch the prey that
slithered round his wrist,
and cherry blossoms filled the gaps
surrounded by leaves and
Two arms with different character,
blank canvass in between.
“My back” he said “Must be the masterpiece.”
So, soon giant, leaping Koi sprang
from where his kidneys hid
and splashed along his spine
with liquid drops that reached his neck
and touched lilies and lotus flowers
“Colour me!” he gasped
and orange hues were added
to the fish’s scales and aqua tones
to the foaming waves.
His chest was next to bear the ink,
adorned with a red eyed Hannya mask
rising from clouds which swirled and curled
around his groin, and tendrils reaching
up, up to caress his Adam’s apple.
“It’s not enough! My legs were made
for pin up girls” he cried
and chose them for their glamour,
the gaps around them inked with symbols
of the Tao and Buddha and his girlfriend’s
name, in Arabic, in case she left him.
“At last I’m done,” he sighed
and stood before the mirror
a tattooed tear unmoving on his cheek.
“But who am I?
I chose this art as means of self expression,
but find I am a canvass
for another man’s vision.”