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.

Tuesday, February 3, 2004

Spinal Language

(For Christmas)
give me a tattoo
deeper than skin
on the bones of my spine
onto the surface of every vertebrae
in every human tongue
tattoo their word for “poetry”
so that no language feels foreign anymore;
so that each human voice
can speak a word in me

let Arabic and Hebrew
sit side by side without throwing stones
let Cantonese and Hindi characters
link hands to hold Swahili and Hutu in a hammock
let Basque and Zulu finally touch lips Vietnamese
while Navajo rests it’s head on the shoulder of Malay

we speak six thousand tongues
but i’ll endure the pain and the time
so no human voice can speak to me
without being felt
down to the bone

let African syllables
share space with European articulations,
Asian morphemes,
and Aboriginal pronunciations,

line them up and engrave them
like an organic barcode written in Braille
readable by the worms that will one day convert me back
to the religion of dust and ash
that we believed in once
before this cult of flesh and blood
brought us out from clay
to play brief characters in the rain

let them taste the flavor of our words
let them consume poetry
and give it back to the soil
so the earth can feel the weight of our words
and not forget us
when we extinct ourselves
like the species before us

carve the last word
in morse code
at the base of my spine
so that I can hear the rhythm of the word
in my hips when i sleep
.--. --- . - .-. -.--
let dots and dashes spread
across all my bones in a virus of comprehension
so if i lose my voice
I can still speak a word
by tapping my fingers,
pounding a drum
or changing the rhythm of my heartbeat
to speak with my blood


six thousand tongues
playing my spine
in 33-part harmony
making a symphony of me
with a melody that reverberates
up my spinal cord
echoing louder and louder in the tunnel
amplifying the compounding music
all the way to the base of my brain
where it detonates
and resonates inside my skull
six thousand new expressions
for the same word
with the voices of six billion singers
into my six trillion thoughts
until I can take no more chaos
and their song explodes from my lips

offering the world
a moment of synchronized understanding
of one song
of one voice
of one man
for one instant

before the world blinks
loses focus
and listens to the echo
slowly fade away

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