This is the official blog of Northern Arizona slam poet Christopher Fox Graham. Begun in 2002, and transferred to blogspot in 2006, FoxTheBlog has recorded more than 670,000 hits since 2009. This blog cover's Graham's poetry, the Arizona poetry slam community and offers tips for slam poets from sources around the Internet. Read CFG's full biography here. Looking for just that one poem? You know the one ... click here to find it.

Friday, June 27, 2003


the Beats never spoke to me
Ginsburg, Burroughs, and Kerouac
sat alongside
Donne, Milton, and Sidney
in the list of poets I'd read
to graduate
but not read to enjoy

Academic and historical
the Beats were rings in the tree
that started with the Word
and ended with me
there, right close to the edge
close enough to know someone
who knew them
2 degrees separated over a beer
from Kerouac
3 from the rest
i thought i knew them
enough to forget them

then Neal Cassady cold clocked me

and I become the third silent musketeer
cavorting on the road
with Sal and Dean
starving hysterical naked
with those angelheaded hipsters
sleeping on the roof of the car
beneath mexican nights
loving women in moments
who'll can't comprehend our madness
continually criss-crossing the country
looking for a home we'll never find
or fit into

the Beat Gate
is not poetry on a page
in college classrooms
but poetry at 2 am
after a fifth and a sixpack
and Newport 100s littering our feet
while two Word-lovers
take turns reading Howl at full howl
and the words swim
in the alcohol chaos behind our eyes
swapping our stories of the crazy shit
we did as kids and would do tomorrow
cause we both know
the feel of jail bunks
when to throw a punch
or take the hit
and the fear of becoming our fathers

happiness is the dream requiem
after the drug enters your blood
or the silent thanks
when you wake the next morning
and realize you're not dead
everything in between
is a delusion by marketing departments
or filmmakers
nod your head and smile
nod your head and smile
miss the fucking point

the Beats opened their minds
and opened ours
by letting us accept a world
where freed conversations
get us closer to the Word
and make this cesspool of boredom
because when Dawn sheds off
the bedsheets of herself
and we can count three pack of cigs
two empty 40s
and not a drop of shuteye
since we saw her last
but instead recall meandering stories
winding through our histories
like we meandered across the map
the Beats break forth into our skins
like madman archangels
and the best minds of our generation
win one more battle
against the destruction of complacent time
that swallows us one by one by one
leaving nothing behind
but scattered graffiti
on apartment walls soon painted over,
or drunk poetic pronouncements
of the way God sees humor
shouted to blind sky
while the fallen slaves sleep
then wage for wages till they fall dead
of broken hearts and bulging prostates
while we, the bastard children of the night
sing of our sad songs
down another shot
and drive to another bar
as a conglomeration of brothers and sisters
breathing and breeding
staying a few steps ahead of the reaper
above the poverty line
and endlessly fighting
against unrealized and unrealizable hopes
of our parents and parent's parents
back to the first failure
of the First Boy or First Girl
that original sin that has doomed us all

but with the vanguard Beats
and bottles of booze breaking us free
from the frames that hold us here
from rules and rationalizations
[that don't mean shit in the long run
or when you think about it]
we can see the lives we should had have
if we were still angels
we can hear the Word clearly calling
but can't clearly comprehend the message
but there are enough of us
who hear it, who love it, who drink and join the dance
and interpret the echoes in our own way
and paint our pasts into the present
struggling to keep the drip-drop passion
alive one more day
till at the end of the end of the end
one of us may shout it all out
or write it all down
and make sense of the mess
we've endured since the beginning
before "let there be light" was shouted
in a thousand different simultaneous tongues
and the last of the last of the last
drunk and beat and in love
will speak back the Word
to the only ears listening
and then smile from ear to ear
as it all comes crashing down

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