Maggie & Michelle

Michelle Knickerbocker's "with the sun" and Maggie Brewer's "and the moon" (photograph by Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova)

Michelle Knickerbocker’s “with the sun” and Maggie Brewer’s “and the moon” (photograph by Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova)

Maggie and Michelle sent us their narrative before we met them at Third Street Stuff on a warm night in December. Because we had read their words, we expected to have fun photographing and chatting with them. And we did! They are indeed as colorful and charming as the complete rainbow they make when they are together.

“Michelle says: Maggie and I both enjoy the Lexington arts scene and when we learned about the Lexington Tattoo Project we were so excited. We knew immediately that we wanted to be a part of it because we love poetry, Lexington, and Bianca Spriggs. But we were too late. We found the project right as it was finishing. So when we heard about Love Letter To the World, we knew we wanted to be part of the movement. We read the poem. And we reread it. We were so moved by the content, we seemed to struggle to find which lines we wanted to represent. I wanted to represent the whole poem, the whole connection we humans have with our amazing planet and our amazing individual lives and our mistakes and successes and everything. How could I pick just one part? I had almost decided on the title as my piece. And then Maggie and I started talking about the lines, which ones we liked and why. We started talking about how we related to the poem, each other, and the world. We realized that we were right there in the poem; we had chosen our symbols before this project was even considered. Maggie has always loved celestial imagery and has moons and stars all around our house and lives. I grew up in sunshiny Florida, loving the year-round rays. I still spend too much time soaking up the sun, laying there, wondering if that’s what Superman must have felt like when he was recharging. Because we both favor the celestial, just by different imagery, early in our relationship we began referring to each other as ‘the sun’ and ‘the moon.’ I was making quiche for her one weekend and arranged her refrigerator magnets into a little love poem that included the sun and moon as representations of us. So when we were pouring over Frank’s poem together, we kept coming back to the lines ‘with the sun’ ‘and the moon’ and we decided to have lines that didn’t just connect us to the project and the poem. The lines we finally chose connect us, our relationship, our love, and our whole hearts to the heart of this poem, the hearts of the participants, the world, and the heavens.

Maggie says: When Michelle and I were first dating, she would often make quiche on the weekends.  She would wake up early while I was still asleep and sneak into the kitchen to cook.  I had a set of magnetic poetry on the side of my refrigerator and she sometimes wrote me little poems but one day she wrote this:

She who is moon
and me the sun
bring good change to this
thick life
full of every color

Imagine our rich shadow dance
turning through time and seasons
between here and there
a gentle morning cloud rounds into
the hard dark happy night

her and me
that beautiful
cold red
hot blue
sky
makes we

I have always loved moons and stars and Michelle is from Florida and embodies sunshine so we see each other as yin and yang in this way and many other ways.

When we read Frank X Walker’s poem, Michelle felt like these would be perfect lines to get together.  I wanted to get them in cool colors and warm colors, not only to represent the sun and the moon, but also to show that when we are together, we are the complete rainbow.”

Note: If you’d like to see more photographs of Maggie’s and Michelle’s tattoos, watch the video artwork that includes all the photographs of Love Letter To the World participants we’ve received and taken. Keep refreshing and playing it again–it is different every time!