Rueing Tattoos

When young she was drawn to that skin-art taboo
of embellishing flesh with a tattoo or two.
Now time’s marching on and gravity’s struck,
her sweet chickadee is akin to a duck.
And that spry butterfly, as blue as the sky,
that graced blissful space at the top of her thigh,
has slid to the back of her kneecap—poor fella;
he mimics the corpse of a crushed caterpillar.
Her fair derriere was once blessed with a bee
and her breast bore the crest of the family tree.
Now the bee’s been consumed by a slackening crack
and the crest’s disappeared and it’s not coming back.

But the ugliest twist in this tale of dismay
is her svelte Siamese—now an obese Shar-Pei.




“Genius lasts longer than beauty.” —Oscar Wilde

As genius long outlives the charm of beauty
my duty’s to impart my wicked wit;
a sage of middle-age, a highbrow cutie,
my mind outshines my wrinkles, it’s so fit.

As grey cells quell the hell of growing older
by shedding shallow, callow, fallow youth;
embracing lessons learned and growing bolder,
my brain’s a laser beam: supreme, foolproof.

Medulla oblongata territory
ensures I have a smart, scholastic mouth;
imbued with glory in my upper story,
my intellect’s eclipsed what’s slipped down south.

I’m a sassy egghead blessed with phrenic grit;
it’s a tragic shame I can’t remember shit!



Susan Jarvis Bryant is a church secretary and poet whose homeland is Kent, England.  She is now an American citizen living on the coastal plains of Texas.  Susan has poetry published in the UK webzine, Lighten Up On Line, The Daily Mail, and Openings (anthologies of poems by Open University Poets).

NOTE: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here.

53 Responses

  1. Joe Tessitore

    Does it get any better or funnier than you?
    What a talent!
    I’ll be smiling for the rest of the day!!!

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Joe, I’m am thrilled to have cheered your Saturday! Thank you for dropping by and reading my stuff.

      • MaryEllen Talley

        Delightful! Maybe you’ve explained why my tattoo artist son won’t tattoo his mother!

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        MaryEllen, thank you so much for dropping by – your comment is a delight. I would most certainly take full advantage of a the talents of a tattoo-artist son… perhaps you could risk a ladybug on your toe? 🙂

  2. Dave Whippman

    Clever work. Everyone considering a tattoo should be forced to read the first piece!

    • Peter Hartley

      Anyone stupid enough to have a tattoo done AFTER reading this should have their pudgies glutted and be forced to have a tattoo of a Shar-Pei carved on the left buttock with a Ukrainian phalange-bender.

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Peter, thank you for your hilarious comment! I always appreciate your observations and, even more, your poetry. I am spending this weekend reading “On A Boat To Barra”, which has arrived from over the pond. I’ve been writing poetry for years and I’m utterly amazed that you’ve taken this subject on with a keen and fine eye and you’ve gone that one step further and got every wonderful creation printed and open to the world. You have kicked my arse into action. Maybe, I should be doing the same… thank you for the inspiration.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you, Dave. Your observations remind me of exactly why I wrote this poem – to warn our younger generation of the pitfalls of vanity. The price is often high.

      • Dave Whippman

        You’re welcome Susan. My elder son has tattoos on his arms, though thankfully he has left his face and hands alone. I reminded him that hands and face show during job interviews!

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Dave, I have to admit some of the tattoos I’ve seen are intricately and beautifully done. I’m sure the one on your son’s arm looks spectacular. Please don’t show him my poem. I want him to revel in his tattoo for many years to come!

  3. Satyananda Sarangi

    Greetings Susan ma’am!

    My boring weekend’s well made with this dose of humourous display.

    Best wishes!

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      I’m glad you’re smiling, Satyananda. Thank you so much for dropping by.

  4. Sally Cook

    Dear Susan –
    On top of things and making us all smile, per usual. Loved the tattoo poem especially !
    Thanks, kindred spirit–

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you, my friend. I appreciate your fine artistic eye.

  5. Jeff Eardley

    A couple of gems here Susan. I will recite to the next tattooed lady I encounter but I fear a thick ear may ensue. It reminded me of a chorus from English songwriter Peter Skellern. “Shame on the man who pursued her, The Villain who viciously wooed her, She fell in a faint, so he pulled out his paint, And the first thing she knew he’d tattooed her”
    The last line of “Knew it all” had me falling off my chair laughing. Thanks again, wonderful stuff.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Jeff, I’m thrilled I made you laugh. I love the Peter Skellern chorus… I’m laughing too. In fact, I’m gonna let you into a little secret. I laughed as I was composing these poems, just like a poor comedian laughs at their own jokes. Please don’t pass this info on. It will be the finish of me!

      • Jeff Eardley

        Susan, your secret is safe with me and just to let you know that your amazing poetry is having a big effect on my friends over here. Well done and thank you for a welcome blast of light relief.

  6. Joseph S. Salemi

    Tattoos are a big mistake, as a lot of people will discover when their flesh starts sagging.

    I’m baffled at the thought of a woman having a bee tattooed on her man-catcher. Talk about turning a guy off! Even the now standard tramp-stamp is repulsive.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      The bee/man-catcher image has me sniggering. Thank goodness my beautiful bumble bee tat hasn’t slipped to those depths just yet. LOL

  7. Theresa Dould Cummings

    Your poems – what fun to read! I have a few friends whose body art
    has gone from Rembrandt to Picasso as time marches on!
    Your second poem was like looking for my glasses upon my head!
    Simply marvelous

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Theresa, your “Rembrandt to Picasso” observation, and “looking for my glasses upon my head!” simile are hilarious and should be crafted into a poem all of their own. Thank you for your fine eye and wonderful humour.

  8. David Paul Behrens

    Rueing Tattoos is very well written and quite humorous. It reminds me of a song written by E.Y. Harburg and Harold Arlen, performed in the movie “At the Circus” by Groucho Marx.

    Lydia , the Tattooed Lady

    Oh Lydia, oh Lydia, say have you met Lydia?
    Lydia, the Tattooed Lady
    She has eyes that folks adore so
    And a torso even more so

    Lydia, oh Lydia, that encyclopydia
    Oh Lydia the Queen of Tattoo
    On her back is the Battle of Waterloo
    Beside it the wreck of the Hesperus, too
    And proudly above, waves the red white and blue
    You can learn a lot from Lydia

    When her robe is unfurled, she will show you the world
    If you step up and tell her where
    For a dime you can see Kankakee or Paris
    Or Washington crossing the Delaware

    Oh Lydia oh Lydia, say have you met Lydia?
    Oh Lydia the Tattooed Lady
    When her muscles start relaxin’
    Up the hill comes Andrew Jackson

    Lydia oh Lydia, that encyclopydia
    Oh Lydia, the queen of them all
    For two bits she will do a mazurka in jazz
    With a view of Niagra that nobody has
    On a clear day you can see Alcatraz
    You can learn a lot from Lydia

    Come along and see Buff’lo Bill with his lasso
    Just a little classic by Mendel Picasso
    Here is Captain Spaulding exploring the Amazon
    Here’s Godiva but with her pajamas on

    Here is Grover Whalen unveilin’ the Trilon
    Over on the West coast we have Treasure Island
    Here’s Najinsky a-doin the Rhunba
    Here’s her social security numba

    Oh Lydia, oh Lydia that encyclopydia
    Oh Lydia the champ of them all
    She once swept an Admiral clear off his feet
    The ships on her hips made his heart skip a beat
    And now the old boy’s in command of the fleet
    For he went and married Lydia

    I said Lydia (He said Lydia)
    They said Lydia (We said Lydia)
    La La!

    Of course it sounds much better when you see Groucho perform it.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you for this, David. I absolutely love it! After reading the lyrics, I searched the internet and found Groucho Marx performing it – utterly hilarious! I then saw a version by Kermit and Miss Piggy – well worth viewing. I have to admit, my poetic observation pales in comparison, but I’m so glad it sent me on the path to a joyous Saturday afternoon of song and dance all in the name of tattoos. What fun I’ve had!

      • Joseph S. Salemi

        “Lydia,” being a dactyl, is hard to rhyme. Groucho’s song is a real tour de force, and the high point of the silly movie “At the Circus.”

        I’ve only tried rhyming the name once:

        A low-rent young harlot named Lydia
        Once gave me a dose of chlamydia.
        I screamed at her “Whore!
        Never darken my door!”
        (And girl, am I glad that I’m rid o’ ya).

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Dr. Salemi, I am laughing in delight at your naughty limerick, not just because the subject is funny – the skillful rhyming is the main cause for hilarity. I already had the word “chlamydia” in my head when thinking of a rhyme for Lydia, but you have taken it to genius level with “I’m rid o’ ya”. I haven’t giggled so hard since my limerick trip to Nantucket. Rhyming is fun, but these rhymes need to come with a warning… if anyone died laughing, this limerick would most certainly be the cause.

  9. Rod

    Oh Susan you had me in stitches with your tattoo poem….and it’s so true! Beautifully written and presented as always…. thank you. I suspect your wisdom is far greater than that of the short sighted, if helpful, young lady in the following limerick:
    On the chest of a barmaid from Sale
    Was tattooed all the prices of ale
    And then on her behind
    For the sake of the blind
    Was exactly the same
    But in Braille !

    Keep smiling
    Warm regards

  10. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Thank you very much for your wonderful comment, Rod. I’m glad my poetry brought a smile. I love the limerick – the closing line is hilarious.

  11. Terry L. Norton

    Susan, both poems are wonderfully witty. Your tattoo poem perfectly crafts some thoughts I’ve held about the long-term effects of inking young flesh. My only complaint is that I wish I could have written the piece. Bravo!

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Terry, thank you very much for your lovely comments. I’m certain the tattoo poem could be used as an effective deterrent for anyone considering a tattoo -especially with an accompanying picture. LOL I’m thrilled to hear you enjoyed both poems and only wish I’d included a monkey in the list of unfortunate tattoo images. With much gratitude.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you very much, David. Your comments are, as ever, much appreciated.

  12. Cynthia Erlandson

    This is fun and insightful humor. And I love all the internal rhyming in “Knew-It-All”.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Cynthia, thank you very much for your encouraging comments. I’m so happy you enjoyed the poems. I had such fun writing them.

  13. Joseph S. Salemi

    One question about “Knew-It-All” —

    In the first line, do you take “genius” as having three syllables (GEE – nee – yus)? If so, the line scans. But I have always assumed that the word is disyllabic (GEEN – yus). If the latter is correct, than the line could be revised so:

    “As genius long outlives the charm of beauty…”

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Dr. Salemi, thank you very much for this observation. I do pronounce genius with three syllables, but would be interested in revising the line should this be unusual.

      I will admit to being at odds with pronunciation at present. Having spent nearly a decade in Texas, I speak Texlish – a sort of Kentish English with a soupcon of Texan.

      • Rod

        Never thought I would be at odds with Dr Salemi but I have to say that for me the word “genius” has always been tri – syllabic. My wife concurs and she should know….she is one!

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Rod, thank you for your observation. It’s tri-syllabic for me too. As this is an American site, if my pronunciation doesn’t suit the majority of readers, I’m open to change. I have trouble with the spelling, too. If it’s an obvious British poem (my tribute to Dame Vera), I choose British English. If I’m talking to someone British, I do the same. Otherwise, I try to use American English… but now, after nearly a decade in Texas, I’m starting to get confused. I read my poems aloud to Mike before submitting, but sometimes his Texan ear doesn’t align with others from different states… oh, the dilemmas I face. Lol

      • C.B. Anderson

        “Genius” is disyllabic except for those who, advised not to count syllables, now count vowels.

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        C.B., In British English, the pronunciation of “genius” is tri-syllabic, as I pointed out (backed by Rod) almost four months ago. It would appear you have spent an awful long time deliberating over this and are in need of further evidence, so here is a link to pronunciation:
        I can assure you, at no stage during the composition of “Knew-It-All” was a single vowel counted – I’m laughing at the mere suggestion. I’ve already explained and bowed to the American pronunciation and altered my poem accordingly… what is the purpose of making me do it twice? I hope you’re not having a little fun at my expense.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Dr. Salemi, I like your revision (the two syllabled version is far more common) and the poem has been edited accordingly. Thank you.

    • Mike Bryant

      Gee-nee-us or Geen-yus

      The tri-syllabic “genius,”
      It’s use must be pretentiousness.
      When uttered bi-syllabically
      It’s sometimes called licentiousness.

      Now, I put forward modestly
      That neither case will really fly,
      For both are proper, perfectly,
      As known by all the Genii.

  14. Jan Darling

    Screamingly funny, Susan. Witty and wonderful, too. If I’m ever condemned to one friend and a desert island I’ll choose you.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      LOL!! I’d be glad to join you, Jan. If our attempt at survival fails at least we’ll die laughing. Thank you so very much for popping by and putting a huge smile on my face.

  15. Joseph S. Salemi

    One of the differences between American English and British English is that, while there is a standard “Oxbridge” pronunciation of English in the U.K. that marks one as educated and non-provincial, this isn’t the case over here in the U.S. The various accents and varieties of American speech vary from state to state and region to region, and they do not necessarily carry any overtones of class and social status (except for very drawl-ridden, twangy, and rural accents from the Deep South, or from mountain areas).

    In broadcasting, things are different. It used to be that announcers on the BBC all spoke in the wonderfully “plummy” tones of perfect Oxbridge English, but this has changed over the years as pressure grew to include speakers with Scottish, Irish, and country accents from the shires. In America, the opposite has happened. The accepted speech patterns in broadcasting are now a very bland and whitebread “American,” with precious little regional variation. This will of course differ with some small local stations, but the big American networks and media outlets aren’t going to hire anybody with the accent of Slim Pickens, Dennis Weaver, or Andy Griffith. Even the traditional Noo Yawk accent is taboo.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you very much for this interesting information. It reminds me of the hilarious story of my naturalization ceremony. Out of a huge hall of people becoming American citizens, there was one other person from the U.K. – a lovely and enthusiastic lady who was most eager to congratulate me. She came from Scotland and as she stood chatting to me, I couldn’t understand one single word she said. How utterly embarrassing. I am thrilled she didn’t ask me about the meter and stresses in a Shakespearean sonnet.

      Another strange observation on pronunciation. All the females in my family have a different accent to the males. My mother speaks the Queen’s English. My father is a Cockney. All the girls speak like my mother and the boys speak like my father. I didn’t notice until my Texan husband pointed it out to me. An example – water. I say wa-tah. My son says – wa-uh. To drop one’s tees in England is a crime… only if you’re female, it would appear. I have had great fun teaching Mike Cockney rhyming slang. Perhaps that’s the origin of my love of poetry.

      • Joseph S. Salemi

        I learned a lot of Cockney rhyming slang during the trips I took to London.

        “Watch yer loaf!” (loaf of bread = head)
        “That’s bloke’s ginger” (ginger beer = queer)
        “I like her tom” (tom-foolery = jewelry)
        “A nice pair of bristols!” (Bristol City = titty)

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        I love it!! “Lovely whistle” (whistle and flute – suit)
        “Nice mincers” (mince pies – eyes)
        Would you “Adam and Eve” it (believe it)
        Have a “butcher’s hook” (look)
        Just a few. But I love how Cockney rhyming slang evolves. My current favorite is: You’re having a “Steffi” (Steffi Graf – laugh) – hilarious!!
        I am always surprised and amazed by your “watch and chain”!

  16. Joseph S. Salemi

    Here are some others I remember:

    You owe me a lady! (Lady Godiva = fiver)
    My plates are aching! (plates of meat = feet)
    I’ll kick his bloody khyber! (Khyber Pass – arse)
    She’s got a nice tight victoria! (Victoria Regina = vagina)

    I was there in London for scholarly research, but as you can see I didn’t spend all my time in the British Museum Library.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Dr. Salemi, I know three of the four of these – l fear Mike may censor me if I give you any more examples. Lol Never mind the British Museum Library, you received the best education England could offer. No wonder your poetry’s so darn spectacular!

  17. Mike Bryant

    I always smile when I read Your poetry… but this is laugh out loud stuff! Simply amazing.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.