Tattoo Story – Cindy Emch

Cindy Emch aka Emchy is an accordion player, poet and pop culture dork. She has three bands and you can learn all about them and her writing on her home page.

This tattoo was gotten for my wife on our anniversary. Always superstitious, I modified the grammar to read Love for the Life – incorporating a double meaning of love for life, and love for The Life – referencing the queer life. This to me makes it both universal and specific for who I am and who the tattoo was for. This tattoo was done by Mikal Gilmore at Black & Blue Tattoo in the Mission in San Francisco.

Wrist Stars
These were done by a friend who was just learning how to ink, they were her 3rd tattoo on actual human skin. They mark a moment where I chose to lead my life with more active choices and not just let life happen to me. These were done by Mikal Gilmore in a kitchen in an apartment in Noe Valley in San Francisco.

Grandparents Crest
This tattoo was specifically for my grandparents. I got it a couple of weeks after my grandmother had died. The heart with antlers represents the fact that I come from a family of hunters. The birds are my grandfather and grandmother’s favorite birds respectively. The acorns are a Michigan Red Oak and California Live Oak to represent where I am from and where I make home now. The stars number the months in a year. This is actually my favorite piece that I currently have. This tattoo was done by Scott Silvia at Black Heart Tattoo in the Mission in San Francisco.

Willem the spider was my first tattoo. Done in a closet made up to be a tattoo studio in the lower haight district of San Francisco, the image comes from the Lenore comic drawn by Roman Dirge. I had this image taped to my computer monitor of my day job for over a year before getting the ink done. I found the image charming and see Willem the spider as my protector. Willem was never named in the original comic strip, instead I named him based on a song from the Tom Waits / William Burroughs opera The Black Rider.

When I turned 30 I started taking my writing and my spoken word seriously. This was to remind me of who I am, and who I have been since I started writing poetry at age 7. This tattoo was done by Mikal Gilmore at Black & Blue Tattoo in the Mission in San Francisco.