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Inking semicolons;

Or on suicide awareness

In the words of poet Miguel Hernández, “If it weren’t for… I don’t know what/ my heart would write one last note…/ and I’d say to the world, you stay here.” [Editor's note: He probably wrote this in Spanish.] He went on to survive the Spanish Civil War and imprisonment by a fascist government, and he never gave in to the life's darker pull; he held fast to hope in the face of heartbreak.

Today in Albuquerque, people will take on a symbol of hope and permanence that will never wash off. At King's Kreation tattoo shop, an estimated 150 people will partake in Albuquerque's first-ever semicolon event; it's a project aimed at advocating against suicide by tattooing a semicolon somewhere on the body.

Why a semicolon? It's an enigmatic punctuation mark, and it means a series of commas, a verbal pausegreater than a commaapproaching the pause after a period. It also denotes conjoined, related ideas. Poets are fond of semicolons because they allow for the splicing of childbirth with sunrise in a single thought. “I never thought that I would get a tattoo that couldn't be covered by a shirt. Then this project came along. The metaphor is beautiful," says event organizer Jonathan Cottrell. "I've been a grammar geek for my entire life, and to use punctuation symbolically is something I have just never thought of.”

I think a semicolon tattoo is brilliant symbol of solidarity. A suicidal person needs breathing room, but they also need to talk; it's a way to work the emotional slivers out. The best thing you can do for a suicidal loved one is to listen to them. Tattoos are permanent, sans lazer; so even if there's a long, sad pause, there is no separation.

The (;) tattoo costs just $20 plus tax at King's Kreation (117 Seventh Street NW); don't forget to tip your artist. Half the event proceeds will be donated to Agora Crisis Center.

 

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    Oct 12th @ The Launchpad
    Oct 12th @ The Launchpad10.12.2014