Alex got a new tattoo recently, and it’s inspired me creatively. She got two hearts next to each other, one inside a parenthesis, referencing one of our favorite poems, “[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]” by E. E. Cummings. I remember, back when I was a less experienced creative writer, attempting to write a poem based off of Cummings’s style, except I didn’t understand the nuances of line breaks and syntax enough to make it work. The eventual poem was embarrassing, and a few of my friends (mostly Greg) still bug me about it when we bring up how our creative writing lives are going.
But regardless, the tattoo carries some emotional weight for us. It’s a small thing on her right arm, and yet it means more to me than any of her other tattoos, including the Miyazaki montage tattoo. I read the poem line by line to her once, and it’s stuck with us since as a reminder of our relationship and its strengths. That, in spite of our individual shortcomings, there is something to be optimistic about in the companionship of two compatible souls. She got the tattoo on a whim when she was getting her Miyazaki tattoo touched up, and yet it’s been in my mind so much recently. For some reason, I can’t quite place in my memory when exactly it first showed up for us.
For Christmas, I got Alex a framed poster of the entire poem, to hang in our bedroom by the window. Since hanging it up, I’ve stopped to read it a few times, and it’s brought me the kind of joy you’d come to expect from reading one of your favorite poems. It’s like watching your favorite movie, or listening to your favorite song, except it’s always hung up in your room, waiting for you to enter and read it.