“I grew up like an earthquake, all across California.”

From the Fall 2011 issue of West, where I am co-poetry editor, the rhymes and rhythms of Joseph McDaughtery, with an excerpt from his introduction by West editor Nuala Lincke-Ivic:

Joseph McDaughtery and the Name Tattooed on the Area of Skin Just Above His Eyelids

I first met Joseph in one of my writing classes, and I noticed him immediately—not as an artist—but because of his tatts: He had the word “Jesus” tattooed on the smooth, velvety chocolate-colored skin above one eyelid and the word “Christ” tattooed on the skin above the other eyelid. He also had crosses tattooed on his face. “Oh…!What has this kid done!” I thought; “What has he done to his face, his beautiful face!”


I didn’t like Joseph’s tatts, but I was also very curious about why he had tattooed Christ’s name on his eyelids. Eventually, he told me why he had tattooed the Christians’ savior’s name above his eyelids and the crosses on his face: He wanted to remember who he wanted to be—a good person—every time he looked in the mirror.

“Earthquake” by Joseph McDaughtery from West LA College Media on Vimeo.



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1 thought on “Earthquake

  1. I love this song. The reason behind his eyelid tattoos is refreshing. What a talented and interesting young man!

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