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 423,000 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.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

When I Am Ancient

For the Sedona Semi-final Poetry Slam on March 26

when I am ancient
and these fingers curl so arthritically
they can no longer hold a pen
when my memory has bled Popsicle into the carpet
and sounds like origami paper
when I do not know my grandchildren
or recall drunk peppermint nights
sweating naked in dark youth
I promise you I will collect all the postcards
I sent to strangers about you

I’ve lost track of the number of postcards I’ve sent
so I’ve negotiated a truce:
Death will not collect me
until I am finished collecting them

they will bring you back
because memory does not live in sequence
but as a collection of moments we selectively remember

this boy will save the best of you
for the old man I will become

when I am ancient
I will shuffle from door to door,
and reincarnate you:
here, your painted toenails dance while you sip iced mocha
here, you say, "let's grow big bushy tails and become foxes"
here, your kiss sucks skin from my bones
here, you call me silly
here, your salsa hips seduce me again
here, I stop lying to you
forever
here, I write another poem that fails to capture your beauty
here, is the fear of your heart collapsing in your chest
here, I drown in your wetness
here, you swallow the sun to tease the moon
here, your kiss sucks breath from my lungs
here, I write another poem that fails
here, I write another poem that fails
here, I say “this is what being my wife would feel like”

this boy I am
will not let that man I will become
forget you

and here,
the day I left you
and I stand in my empty closet
with the door closed
and for that moment that stretched for days
the four walls supported the universe
of our breath,
our heartbeat
and our skins
you held me so tight
we could have shared the same apricot liver
I would have surrendered
my raspberry blood to share yours
i would have given you flower arrangements
scented back rubs
and sticky hazelnut butter sandwiches
until these young hands grew too old
and too ancient
and too useless to do anything
but stroke your cinnamon hair

we whispered things then
prophets should have written down

when i am ancient,
this boy’s last postcard
will make that old man smile himself into a boy again
and feel your peach kiss
on his lips again
when he whispers to death:
[exhale into mic]

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