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.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

somehow leftward

it still clings to these fingers
hangs on the strands of my hair
sleeps in the crevasses of my ear
like a drunk who wandered in to a pillow factory
every place in me is soft to the touch
the day after I saw her
in a split second glance leftward as cars passed.
a pocket of air surfs my veins
as a subway car carrying the memory
of the moment when my heart stopped
just long enough for every cell to stop thinking,
glance left too,
and watch her pass

decades from now
when the next filmmaker directs the story of my life
that moment will be the crux of the story,
a slow-mo scene lasting at least 7.5 minutes
a montage flashback of all her kisses
and the naked touch beneath bedsheets
interspersed with the glint of her windshield,
the shine of the black chassis,
her hair moving in the wind from her A/C,
and the bum-da-bum-bum of a stereo song
you can’t quite hear enough to repeat
but enough to know you know the tune

she was a somehow
a collection of what-ifs and maybes
and should-have-beens
that’s not how we should have lived our touches
and measured our accomplishments

in the future feature film,
those unfortunate missed opportunities
will be reworked by the screenwriters
so that the moments that should have been
and the footsteps of her passing
turn to the left, stop, and smile
and welcome me back

my character,
tough as nails,
bigger than life,
and getting paid a cool 7 million for the role
will swing the car into traffic
maneuver the 15 wide lanes,
dodge a bus of ninja nuns throwing grenades
and fly down the freeway shoulder to catch her
flag her down
kiss away every extra in the scene
then propose, wed, and make love
on the hood of the car
that bus of nuns were passing
with a priest aboard)
while the score soars
the trumpets and violins crescendo
and the credits roll
pending the sequel

but reality
is more cost effective
and I kept driving
waiting for that pocket of air in my veins
to dissipate into my blood
or reach my heart and kill me

in the should-be
maybe of us
she’ll be back
but my feet carve the absence between us
she’ll never fill or follow;
the handprints in the air,
moments before she touched me,
won’t be crossed anytime soon
and my cells shed away the memory of her
with every brush of skin against my clothes
how long until they are wiped clean of her lips
and brushed away or painted over
by a new inhabitant of my poetry

life should not last this long

it should stop just short of the moment
when regrets can coalesce
or ferment into a marketable vintage
before we can make sense of the absence within us
somewhere far beyond the reach of our voice
or too fine to be seen with the naked eye
it should stop there
or reset
or pause until the past before it is forgotten
or made unimportant by some other factor
yet here spill nuanced moments of bodies in motion
passing ships in the broad daylight of a suburban thoroughfare
hanging on the lips of lover
who clings still to the echoed skin
of her neck, the dip behind her ears,
the space along her collarbone
and ridge of invisible hairs along her belly
arching into the whirlpool navel I used to sail whispers toward
watch them drop over the edge
while sailors aboard cried out to widowed wives ashore
and pale exaltations for salvation from their gods

dreams deserve to suffer for all the crimes they commit
they should be strung up alongside murderers
thieves and rapists
and be forced to live through what they do to us
eye for a hope, tooth for a faith
lose a limb or pay restitution
we should offer insurance for the cost of the actions
we commit under their spell
like the time we lose thinking
of the should-bes
what-ifs and maybes
and all the wasted poems
on all the wasted paper
wasting away the time of boys that would be better spent
manufacturing automobiles
or growing cotton
or teaching economics
to bright-eyed children who should learn that love
was endangered and went extinct decades ago
due to destruction of their natural environment
and over-hunting by man
and while some lived a while in zoos,
they refused to breed
and disappeared one-by-one-by-one
until they exist now only in museums, books, and memories
of those who saw them once
in a leftward glance

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