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.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Three Days From Now

for Daniela Jara's 20th birthday on 6.21.04

three days from now
she will rise up to the playground of angels
fighter jets and zeppelins
burst open the door
translate her body into an equation
of one–hundred twenty pounds moving
nine–point–eight meters per second per second
and tumble from heaven
because she wants to taste the sky
on her birthday

this is the part of the poem
where I should drop metaphors
about falling in love with her
or how she's already fallen from heaven once
or something about shooting stars
or glass ceilings
but this isn't a love poem

I said I would fall alongside her
stretch out fingers to find her
falling ninety miles an hour
doesn't scare me nearly
as much as forgetting her touch

the romantic in me said
if her parachute does not open,
I will not open mine
instead, I would rather impress myself
emboss myself into the earth
next to her
so that the soil remembers me following her
always
until the crater I create
speaks poetry without my body there

she called me silly

I said
if her parachute does not open,
there is no reason to open mine

she said that if her parachute doesn't open
she'll reach the earth first
and she wondered what it would sound like

I said that it would sound like a dream exploding
it would sound like all the poems in history
being read simultaneously
it would echo across the earth
making poets of every language weep
like a thousand hearts breaking in unison


she wondered if it would be more like a 'thud'
or a 'squish'

I said that if my parachute doesn't open
I would hit first
so she could hear the sound
and in the next life, moments later,
she could tell me
she said I would have to wait her lifetime
for that story
and how much it would suck
to get her car keys from my pocket
so she could drive home

this isn't a love poem
because three days from now
she will fall away from me
and she doesn't want me to catch her

this isn't a love poem
because she wants to fall alone
I know now
I've never been good enough for her
she knows now
that she never needed me in the first place
that our kisses were forgettable
that the press of our skins together beneath sheets
kept her warm some nights
but that anyone else would do

she's not the kind of woman
who will wait for anyone to follow her
even at terminal velocity
she wants to fall alone
which is why I write these love poems

three days from now
my heart will become a projectile
as she shatters herself through heaven
from the other side

to her
this isn't a love poem
it's just some crap to read
before she leaps from the door
and tastes the sky
alone

to me
only the sky knows
what this feels like

3rd Annual Arizona All Star Slam: 3rd Times the Harm

Round One
(poet, poem, score, cumulative score, rank)

Akua, 25.3, 8th
Don McIver, 21.4, 15th
Dan Seaman, 23.1, 13th
The Klute, "NASCAR Über Alles", 27.5, 2nd
Suzy La Follette, "Suzy Strap-on" 22.3, 14th
Cass J. Hodges, "Sushi", 25.1, 9th
Bill Campana, 25.0, 10th
David Rodgers Luben, "Weed" My lament for those who toke instead of at least having the dignity to do real drugs 24.7, 11th
Brent Heffron, "24", 25.8, 6th
Logan Phillips, "¿Sin Voz?" 25.5, 7th
Eric Larson, 24.4 (after -0.5 penalty for 3:19), 12th
Sharkie Marado, 26.7, 5th
David Tabor, "A.A.D.D." - Another rant about living in the times that I do, 27.1, 3rd
Christopher Fox Graham, "Spinal Language", 26.9, 4th
Aaron Johnson, 27.6, 1st

Round Two
Aaron Johnson, 25.4, 53.0, 6th
Christopher Fox Graham, "Three Days From Now", 28.5, 55.4, 1st
David Tabor, "Slugger!" - Written after braking yet another printer while working on a chapbook. After braking my car-horn a week earlier, inspiration strikes. 26.3, 53.4, 5th
Sharkie Marado, 27.8, 54.5, 3rd
Eric Larson, "Alpha Male", 26.2 (after -1.0 penalty for 3:26), 50.6, 12th
Logan Phillips, "Prescription", 26.3 (after -0.5 penalty for 3:15), 51.8, 11th
Brent Heffron, 26.2, 52.0, 9th
David Rodgers Luben, "Preposition Noun" "In Love" being the specious phrase in question 28.0, 52.7, 7th
Bill Campana, 27.0, 52.0, 9th
Cass J. Hodges, "Beautiful", 27.4, 52.5, 8th
The Klute, "Cereal Aisle Racist, 26.8, 54.3, 4th
Akua, 29.5, 54.8, 2nd

Round Three
Christopher Fox Graham, "I’m Not A Poet For Applause" 25.7 (after -1.0 penalty for 3:22), 81.1 4th
Akua, 28.5, 83.3, 1st
Sharkie Marado, 27.7, 82.2, 2nd
The Klute, "Love Letter to Private Lynddie England" 27.2, 81.5, 3rd
David Tabor, "The Poem About My Dad" - About 20 years of my having breakfast with Dad every Sunday. Summed up in 3 minuets. 26.3, 79.7, 8th
Aaron Johnson, 28.0, 81.0, 5th
David Rodgers Luben, "Fat Girl Fuck" Which, after over a year, still makes my mouth go dry with fear every time I speak it in public 25.4 (after -1.5 for 3:31), 78.1. 10th
Cass J. Hodges, "Waking Up", 28.4, 80.9, 6th
Brent Heffron, "Super Drunk", 79.0, 9th
Bill Campana, 28.2, 80.2, 7th

Final Rank
1, Akua, 83.3 $300
2, Sharkie Marado, 82.2 $75
3, The Klute, 81.5 $50

4, Christopher Fox Graham, 81.1
5, Aaron Johnson, 81.0
6, Cass J. Hodges, 80.9
7, Bill Campana, 80.2
8, David Tabor, 79.7
9, Brent Heffron, 79.0
10, David Rodgers Luben, 78.1

11, Logan Phillips, 51.8
12, Eric Larson, 50.6

13, Dan Seaman, 23.1
14, Suzy La Follette, 22.3
15, Don McIver, 21.4

"Major, major props for what I think was the best slam in AZ..." - The Klute
"I'm more impressed with the talent level of NORAZ every time I come up the hill." - David Tabor
"As always it was a blast. I especially loved the fact that I did well and didn't feel obligated to do three greatest hits and instead of performing I did what I love to do most, which is writing crazy shit and reading it to a frenzied crowd. Until next time..." - Bill Campana
"I felt incredibly priviledged to be at the All-Star Slam, and it meant a lot to me to be on the stage with a whole carnival of poets who seemed truly to feel that the work and the chance to share it was more important than points and praise. People who seemed to know the shit from the shit. Shiny." - David Rodgers Luben
"Love to Mr. Lane too for the host-y goodness." - The Klute

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Southwest Shootout Finals

Denver, 5 person group poem (Andrea Gibson, Ian, Eirean Bradley, Paulie Lipman, & Ken Arkind), 28.8
NORAZ, Logan Phillips, 12 Things You Need to Know About Mexico, 28.2
Berkeley, Mack Dennis, 28.5
Palo Alto, 4 person Group (Lee, Karuna Tanahashi, man, and woman), 27.0
Austin, Zell Miller III, 29.3

Palo Alto, Lee, 29.2, 56.2
Austin, Andy Buck, Janet Jackson's Tittie, 29.7, 59.0
Denver, 5 person group poem (Andrea Gibson & Eirean Bradley off-stage, Paulie Lipman, Ian, & Ken Arkind at the mics), Welcome to Suburbia, 28.6, 57.4
NORAZ, Christopher Fox Graham, The Peach is a Damn Sexy Fruit, 28.7, 56.9
Berkeley, Abdul Kenyatta, Fuck a Poet (with the line "I have a dream today / that Jew and Gentile / Black and White / Christian and Muslim / Lesbian and Gay / will spank a poet's ass tonight"), 58.9, 57.4

NORAZ, Eric Larson, Plea, 28.0, 84.9
Berkeley, Charles Ellik, 26.8, 84.2
Palo Alto, 28.5, 84.7
Austin, Christopher Lee, 29.0, 88.0
Denver, Paulie Lipman and Eirean Bradley, For the Survivors, 28.6, 86.0

FINAL SCORES
Austin 88.0
Denver 86.0
NORAZ 84.9
Palo Alto 84.7
Berkeley 84.2

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Southwest Shootout

First Bout at the Harwood Art Center

Dr. Trans All Stars, Matthew John Connelly, 26.4 (after -0.5 penalty)
NORAZ, Logan Phillips, ?Sin Voz?, 27.1
San Antonio, RIAlistic, 27.0
Colorado Springs, Kevin 23.0 (after -0.5 penalty)
Sante Fe, Henry Vasquez, 25.9 (after -1.0 penalty)

Colorado Springs, Carol, 26.1, 49.1
Sante Fe, Danyem, 25.3, 51.2
Dr. Trans All Stars, 26.7, 53.1
NORAZ, Christopher Fox Graham, Spinal Language, 28.8, 55.9
San Antonio, 27.0, 54.0

NORAZ, Brent Heffron, Battle Cries, 26.1 (after -0.5 penalty), 82.0
San Antonio, 27.0, 81.0
Colorado Springs, Karen, 26.8, 75.9
Sante Fe, 27, 78.2
Dr. Trans All Stars, Taneka Stotts, 28.6, 81.7


FINAL:
NORAZ 82.0
Dr. Trans All Stars(a pick-up team) 81.7
San Antonio 81.0
Sante Fe 78.2
Colorado Springs 75.9



Second Bout at the Harwood Art Center

San Jose, Mighty Mike Magee (2003 Individual National Poetry Slam Champion), I like you a lot, 28.4
Albuquerque, Group poem with Cuffee, Libby Kelley, and Jazz
Palo Alto, Duo with Lee and Melissa Rose, 28.7
Westside, Big Poppa E, I Can't Dance, 28.1
Austin, 28.0

Westside, Jerry Mondragon, Radio of Life, 27.8, 55.9
Austin, Da'Shade, 29.2, 57.2
San Jose, Caroline Harvey, A Crooked Line, 28.2, 56.6
Albuquerque, Group poem with Tony Santiago, Don McIver, Libby Kelley, and Cuffee, 28.2, 56.3
Palo Alto, Duo with Lee and Karuna Takahashi, poem about a female Palestinian suicide bomber and an Israeli soldier, 28.8, 57.5

At this point, a homeless man burst into the venue, host Danny Solis went to handle it and Taneka Stotts, Danny's co-host took over, but got the order mixed up.

Westside, Sonia Dragon, 27.7, 83.6
Danny Solis took over, explained the situation and said that his name tonight was "MC Protest Denied". Slam resumed as follows:
Albuquerque, duo with Tony Santiago and Don McIver, Johnny Cash, 28.9, 85.2
Palo Alto, Karuna, Peanut Butter (funny and erotic), 28.8, 86.3
Austin, Tony Jackson, Black Coat, 29.2, 86.4
San Jose, Eric Sanchez, 29.0, 85.6

FINAL:
Austin 86.4
Palo Alto 86.3
San Jose 85.6
Albuquerque 85.2
Westside (a pick-up team) 83.6


3rd Bout at the Blue Dragon
FINAL:
Denver
Berkeley
Albuquerque High School
Dallas
Houston

Tonight is the finals
the 5 teams:
NORAZ
Berkeley
Austin
Denver
Palo Alto

Saturday, June 5, 2004

Ode to Tarah Leija


Ode to Tarah Leija:
A silly little poem

oh Tarah,

for whom my heart beats

oh Tarah,

who art squeezably soft

oh Tarah,

with hair dark like midnight
and other poetical things that are dark,

oh Tarah,

the tarahlisciousness of thy skin makes me weep
weep like a little boy
a little boy with melting ice cream
and hands too small to enjoy the dairy joy on a cone
with chocolate sauce

oh Tarah,

you are the square root
of love

oh Tarah,

you are the kiss and oak tree gives a Jetta at 80 miles and hour

oh Tarah

may little girls want to grow up to be you
and little boys want to grow up to love you

oh Tarah,

who is so sexy,
she makes that final "H" in her name silent in shock
of her beauty
and makes it speak to the rest of us,
"H" (an exhale)

oh Tarah

tall enough to shatter skyscrapers

oh Tarah

whose smile still breaks hearts
from 151.67 miles away
I looked it up on Mapquest

of Tarah,

you are the comma (,) in this sentence
and the period at the end of this one (.)
you are still punctuating my poetry
with a smell of skin that I can't deny
semi-colon, question mark, exclamation point, exclamation point, ellipse
;?!!...

oh Tarah

why do you tease me so
by not marrying me?

oh Tarah

I would buy you dishes
with a great china pattern
that your mother would love
like she would love me,
the boy who loved Tarah

oh Tarah

if you were a Kangaroo,
I would watch you hop

oh Tarah

if you were the moon
i would build a rocketship
land on you
and hit golfballs in a spacesuit
just to make an MTV commercial
20 years later

oh Tarah

you are where my keys are

oh Tarah

lets hyphenate your last name
with mine
and say them together
every time we meet someone new
that's real love, honey

oh Tarah

your name means Earth
if it were spelled differently
and we all spoke Latin
but we speak English
and it's spelled with two A's
and a silent H
which is Latin for nothing
but not nothing
i mean nothing translates into Latin
from "Tarah"
which is how I like
to love you:
untranslatably.

Ode to Tarah Leija

Ode to Tarah Leija:
A silly little poem

oh Tarah,

for whom my heart beats

oh Tarah,

who art squeezably soft

oh Tarah,

with hair dark like midnight
and other poetical things that are dark,

oh Tarah,

the tarahlisciousness of thy skin makes me weep
weep like a little boy
a little boy with melting ice cream
and hands too small to enjoy the dairy joy on a cone
with chocolate sauce

oh Tarah,

you are the square root
of love

oh Tarah,

you are the kiss and oak tree gives a Jetta at 80 miles and hour

oh Tarah

may little girls want to grow up to be you
and little boys want to grow up to love you

oh Tarah,

who is so sexy,
she makes that final "H" in her name silent in shock
of her beauty
and makes it speak to the rest of us,
"H" (an exhale)

oh Tarah

tall enough to shatter skyscrapers

oh Tarah

whose smile still breaks hearts
from 151.67 miles away
I looked it up on Mapquest

of Tarah,

you are the comma (,) in this sentence
and the period at the end of this one (.)
you are still punctuating my poetry
with a smell of skin that I can't deny
semi-colon, question mark, exclamation point, exclamation point, ellipse
;?!!...

oh Tarah

why do you tease me so
by not marrying me?

oh Tarah

I would buy you dishes
with a great china pattern
that your mother would love
like she would love me,
the boy who loved Tarah

oh Tarah

if you were a Kangaroo,
I would watch you hop

oh Tarah

if you were the moon
i would build a rocketship
land on you
and hit golfballs in a spacesuit
just to make an MTV commercial
20 years later

oh Tarah

you are where my keys are

oh Tarah

lets hyphenate your last name
with mine
and say them together
every time we meet someone new
that's real love, honey

oh Tarah

your name means Earth
if it were spelled differently
and we all spoke Latin
but we speak English
and it's spelled with two A's
and a silent H
which is Latin for nothing
but not nothing
i mean nothing translates into Latin
from "Tarah"
which is how I like
to love you:
untranslatably.