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.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Extroverted Introspection by Brian "Seuss" Mosher

Extroverted Introspection
by Brian "Seuss" Mosher

The delicious ambrosia of differences astounds me;
This bouquet of uniqueness has come to pique my interest
Much like the scintillating spectrum that abounds and surrounds us
That weaves the tapestries of our dreams while making miracles manifest.

That said, during our waking life, we dazedly dream,
And in our dreams, we wander around in wonder.
It’s a wonder that we exist in this, yet know not what it means
to be a being amongst beings casting all the spells we’re under.

This deluded illusion does not have to be a plague!
The keys to a life of elation aren’t that subtle or vague.
All you need to know of control, you already knew;
Shakespeare said it also: “To Thine Own Self Be True”.

Now I have heard it said that we’ve reached the “End of Days”.
I’ve been implored to batten down and be regretful for my sins,
But my sins have been my teachers, I’ve lived many different ways,
So let the days pass into sunset, and let evening begin.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Sight

For Ronny Kraft

the problem with trying to see the world of the 21st century

is that it’s gotten so complicated, so enormous
that in order to compensate
we’ve condensed, concentrated, consolidated, cultivated, confined, refined,
abridged, purified, and focused our surroundings
to the point that we’re not sure if what we see is reality anymore
we’ve put contact lenses on our world view
without realizing that any clarification, by design,
produces a distortion
but we weren’t ready for one on this scale
and the human race has been at this so long
we’ve forgotten what reality looked like when we started
when we turned open savannahs into urban jungles
we stopped adapting nature to fit us
we turned other species into products and figured out how to exterminate the
competition because capitalism isn’t an economic policy- it’s genetic
we cut up the landscape and sold in pieces to the suburbs
we spread 18-hole golf courses across prime real estate
and prosecuted children for trespassing when they built castles in sandtraps
we built million-dollar mansions in the shadow of red rocks so we could get
away from it all
unfortunately, it came with us
because we can’t escape our history

we’ve spent so much time trying to figure out what makes human beings tick
that we’ve relegated human nature
to a mixture of chemistry, physiology, numerology, astrology, biology,
cosmology, psychology, and neurology
to the point that we accepted ourselves as nothing more than the sum of our
parts
but we’re more than “-ologies”
we’re human

but when we’re locked in a jihad over which group has more right to occupy a
piece of Middle Eastern real estate
or we’re stuck with the dogma or born-again apathy teaching us to love a name
2000 years dead rather than love each other
or we have to endure the pretentions of self-righteous New Age shamans selling
reinvented spirituality and self-help books then you can see why it’s so easy
to give up hope

now we’re waging a war of attrition where we’re the enemy
and we’ve been on the losing side for a long, long, long time
because we’ve given up hope that we’re still worth saving

it’s not that we lost our purpose
it’s just that we forgot we had to find one
without help from Oprah’s Book Club or a made for TV movie

but here, now, we can end this civil war
by refusing to settle for this restructured reality
we can take out these contact lenses we’ve used to see
rejoin Nature as a member, not it’s master
we can tear down the illusions we’ve constructed to make us forget
that race, creed, color, nationality, ethnicity, belief, sex, age, and
orientation
doesn’t matter when we’re dead
because we’re all just ashes and dust renting space
we can remember that knowing what we are
doesn’t matter a damn
but knowing who we are while we’re here
is a purpose always worth dying for

The First Big Bang of the New Year

We could have gotten drunk together tonight.
Watched the moon come up.
Marveled at the colors we create.
Kissed away the old years' civilizations
Stood among the fools and sinners
artists, insomniacs, and insanities
dancing in the exuberance of ending time.
Watched the world tick one heartbeat closer to the next big bang.

No Through Street by David Ward

No Through Street
By David Ward

I can see the end of this road.

I can send myself down
rabbit-hole memory

and trace the faded double yellow
past the old house with the
broken shutters hanging like black eyes
and the ancient bricks starting to let
their hands slip because
the past happened years ago
and tomorrow happens overnight,

the old house whose edges ar
as blurry in my watercolor poetry
as they are in my recollection
of ever having lived there.

I can see the flowers growing in the
gravel beside this highway,
and I am not scared to remember
things I will see again.

I have walked this road
under skies with suns like fists
under skies like the breath mist in a mirror
under skies that are stretched too tight
and rip at the horizon.

I will walk this road
in days dark enough for moonlight
in days that fit without having to
crumple the edge
in days that come to early
and let the stars watch the first
minutes of dawn.

I can already feel the pavement
through the bottoms of my shredded soles
and there is no place to rest
in the orange glow of the tar tunnel
running like a worm-hole
through the heart of a mountain.

I can see where this road stops,
where it grinds to a halt at
some ocean's rough edge,
and I can wait there to be
broken by the breakers.

I can see the end
of this road.

It will die out with the
echo of my footsteps.
It will be reclaimed by the grass
that climbs up through
the unpatched cracks.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

First Christmas Without The Children by Mary Heyborne

First Christmas Without The Children
By Mary Heyborne

I waken early Christmas morn
Aware that we're alone,
Grasping remnants of fleeting dreams—
Of Christmas with children home.

Christmas, when all of us were young—
Those "vision splendid" years
When our arms could circle everyone
And only joy made tears.

And now we graying lovers sleep
Alone in our tinseled house.
No midnight tappings grace our door,
No "Can we get up now?"s.

No pre-dawn bounding from our bed
To stuff the biggest bird—
We'll start our little fowl past noon
And eat with scarce a word.

The rhythm of your breathing breaks.
I sense you're thinking, too,
Of distant loveds—and how this year
There’s only me and you.

I turn to your beloved face
And see reflected there—
Midst longing for what used to be—
The joys we yet can share.

We'll build a fire and open gifts—
Make all the Christmas fuss—
Then find the children's Santa mugs
And raise some juice to us.

Monday, November 22, 2004

We Call Him Papa

for Frank Leslie "Buster" Redfield
May 14, 1925 - Oct. 31, 2004




we call him Papa
and he could move mountains with his silence

he fathered a family of artists
who knew the value of labor
the efficiency of expression
if it is unclear, rephrase it
if it is unusable, remove it
if it is imperfect, rework it
until it is as much a part of you
as a limb
he never said this
but his life implied it

his stone eyes
edited lies from our speech
before we could speak them
his hands held me tight once
after I sinned
they held me soft
when my father translated himself
into a mythology
I've since ceased believing in
his hands were the tools
with which he spoke through his silence

he carved and crafted rifles
like Stradivarius made violins
and the first recoil
was a symphony
compressed to a split second
he brought wood to life
as though generations of forests grew
to make the right grain
the right feel worthy of his talent

he did not build airplanes,
he built aircraft with the precision of a heart surgeon
knowing a loose screw, one misaligned wire
could transform a craft of beauty
into a coffin
and wife like his into a widow
he made no widows
except one

he crafted art that soared like mechanical angels
and made us feel
how he must have felt with Grandma

even in his absence he scares me
because he was so much more
of what a man should be
than the men I see around me
than the man who fathered me

he was sometimes the machine moving me
he was sometimes the monster under my bed
keeping me from going gently into the night
without fighting the darkness
he was sometimes a giant
stretching hands from horizon to horizon
holding down the sun and moon
and dictating their rising

I am convinced that eastern Montana
is so perfectly flat
in awe of him

we call him Papa
and he could move mountains with his silence

I never heard him say he loved her
not in words
not in a way I could steal
not in a way that the cheap poet in me
could have plagiarized into a stanza
for some mediocre poem unworthy of his memory

I never heard him say he loved her with words

he said it with his eyes

he said it in the stories my mother would tell me
about how he would raise armies and wage wars
just to bring her flowers

he said it with the way he told me
about driving across New York and Pennsylvania every weekend
just to see her for two hours between college classes and curfews

he said he loved her by playing "waltzing matilda" on a harmonica
like he was asking her to dance for the first time,
even after all these years

he said he loved her
by showing us how good man
should love a woman right

we call him Papa
and he could move mountains with his silence

he is the poet
me, his eldest grandson,
I am just his microphone

Nameless Daughter

she jumps on a trampoline
in a yellow sundress
barefoot and giggling
like every little girl
should be doing when they are 8 years old

she is my nameless daughter
and on nights like this one
I wonder where she is
what she's thinking
how much longer she will wait to see me
and what poems I will write
when her long dark hair
parachutes behind her
before she whiplashes back into the sky
I will speak a thousand poems in a moment
when see flies free

she is my nameless daughter
with tree branch bruises on her arms
grass–stained knees
sticky fingers of who–knows–what
and a way of telling stories with giggles
like my grandmother that gives me back
my 8–years–old eyes

she moves as though she is always dancing
and snuggles close to me on road trips
we speak a language her mother can not decipher
because the way she says "daddy"
has a hundred different meanings

she is my nameless daughter
and I am terrified to meet her
because I am not better than this
I am skin and flesh and bone
and the mistakes of my history
I am forgotten fathers
I am the lies to lovers
I am the nights when I should have been writing
instead of sleeping or drinking or fucking
I am all the days of my life
that I did not seize by the throat
and ride into the sunset

I am terrified to meet her
because this is the man I have become
and she deserves better
than this

she is my nameless daughter
and I am terrified to meet her
because I have known the men
who have held daughters in their arms
shattered by forces they could not control
I have known the men
who have tried to breathe back life
into hollow lungs
I have known the men
who would have given everything they had
just to stop the bleeding
I have known the men
who have had to bury a daughter
instead of being buried by them

I have seen the eyes of men
who have seen their daughters
for the last time
and their eyes can never be mine

she is my nameless daughter
she should not see the world I have
she should not learn the words I know
she should not live by the mistakes
of all the fathers before me
who did not know she was coming
she should have a father
who is better than the man I have become
in a world that is better than mine

she should have a world where everyone
is still 8–years–old
no one has last names
and the word "stranger" is meaningless

she is my nameless daughter
and I am terrified to meet her
because these are the only arms I have to hold her
these are the only lips I have to kiss away bruises
this is the only voice I have to scatter the monsters
from beneath her bed and out into the night
this is the only body I have to sacrifice
to keep her safe
she deserves more
because I am not enough

Sunday, November 7, 2004

Bush wins four more years. I'm buying a gun. No, seriously.

“Fascism is an extreme right-wing ideology which embraces nationalism as the transcendent value of society. The rise of Fascism relies upon the manipulation of populist sentiment in times of national crisis. Based on fundamentalist revolutionary ideas, Fascism defines itself through intense xenophobia, militarism, and supremacist ideals. Although secular in nature, Fascism's emphasis on mythic beliefs such as divine mandates, racial imperatives, and violent struggle places highly concentrated power in the hands of a self-selected elite from whom all authority flows to lesser elites, such as law enforcement, intellectuals, and the media.”
- Benito Mussolini

"Not as tyrants have we come, but as liberators."
- Adolf Hitler, 1938, about Czechoslovakia

"We come not as conquerors, but as liberators."
- George Bush 2003

"I have a headache this big, with '4 more years' written all over it."
- Christopher Lane Nov. 6, 2004

"Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master."
- George Washington

I'm buying a .45 caliber next weekend. God bless the second amendment. Fascists always go after the poets first.

Saturday, November 6, 2004

We Call Him Papa

My grandfather, Frank 'Buster' Redfield died Sunday 31 Oct at 11:00 a.m.


we call him Papa
and he could move mountains with his silence

he fathered a family of artists
who knew the value of labor
the efficiency of expression
if it is unclear, rephrase it
if it is unusable, remove it
if it is imperfect, rework it
until it is as much a part of you
as a limb
he never said this
but he implied it

his stone eyes
edited lies from our speech
before we could speak them
his hands held me tight once
after I sinned
they held me soft
when my father translated himself
into a mythology
I've since ceased believing in
his hands were the tools
with which he spoke through his silence

he carved and crafted rifles
like Stradivarius made violins
and the first recoil
was a symphony
compressed to a split second
he brought wood to life
as though generations of forests grew
to make the right grain
the right feel worthy of his talent

he did not build airplanes,
he built aircraft with the precision of a heart surgeon
knowing a loose screw, one misaligned wire
could transform a craft of beauty
into a coffin
and wife like his into a widow
he made no widows
except one

he crafted art that soared like mechanical angels
and made us feel
how he must have felt with Grandma

even in his absence he scares me
because he was so much more
of what a man should be
than the men I see around me
than the man who fathered me

he was sometimes the machine moving me
he was sometimes the monster under my bed
keeping me from going gently into the night
without fighting the darkness
he was sometimes a giant
stretching hands from horizon to horizon
holding down the sun and moon
and dictating their rising

I am convinced that eastern Montana
is so perfectly flat
in fear of him

we call him Papa
and he could move mountains with his silence

I never heard him say he loved her
not in words
not in a way I could steal
not in a way that the cheap poet in me
could have plagiarized into a stanza
for some mediocre poem unworthy of his memory

I never heard him say he loved her with words
he said it with his eyes
he said it in the stories my mother would tell me
about how he would raise armies and wage wars
just to bring her flowers
he said it with the way he told me
about driving across Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania every weekend
just to see her for two hours between college classes and curfews

he said he loved her
by showing us how good man
should love a woman right

we call him Papa
and he could move mountains with his silence

he is the poet
me, his eldest grandson,
I am just his microphone



Frank Leslie “Buster” Redfield, age 79, passed away from natural causes on Sunday - October 31, 2004 at the Odyssey Hospice Medical Center in Chandler, Arizona. Services are planned for Friday – November 12, 2004 at 2:00 P.M. at the United Methodist Church in Opheim, Montana. Memorial services were held November 8 in Chandler, AZ. Funeral services will be November 12 at 2 pm at the United Methodist Church in Opheim with burial on the family farm. Bell Mortuary is in charge of arrangements. Pallbearers are his grandsons Logan, Cole and Chase Redfield, Jeremy and Ryan Thievin, and Zachary Cherry. Honorary pallbearers are Lanny Hanson, Tom Hanson, Larry French, Lowell Hallock, C.D. Markle, and his sons-in-laws Bill Elliott, Hank Sheer, Al Cherry, and Marty Thievin. Memorials may be made to the Opheim United Methodist Church or the Opheim High School Library. He was preceded in death by his parents and one grandson, Lane Redfield.
Frank Leslie (Buster) Redfield, Jr., 79, died October 31 in Chandler, AZ. He was born May 14, 1925 in Glasgow, MT to Mary and Frank Redfield, Sr. and attended school in Glasgow and Opheim. He served in the Navy on the USS Princeton and in the Army during World War II. He married Sylvia Slife on Dec. 6, 1947 in Atlanta, GA. They lived in Montana during 1948 and 1949 where their first child was born and then moved back to Georgia where he served on the Atlanta police force from 1951 until 1956 when they returned to Montana to farm with his father. He loved motorcycles and airplanes and was a spray pilot for many years. Since 1989 Frank and Sylvia have spent winters in Chandler, AZ and summers at home on the farm near Opheim. He was a member of the Opheim Methodist Church, the American Legion, the Masons, the Shriners, and the York Rite Bodies.
Survivors include his wife, Sylvia; three sons, Alan (Laurie) of Pray, MT, Les (Lisa) and Myron (Alice) of Opheim; four daughters, Georgia Sheer (Hank) of Louisville, KY, Lynn Cherry (AI) of Fayettville, NC, Sylvia Elliott (Bill) of Chandler, AZ, and Lisa Thievin (Marty) of Richland; 17 grandchildren, Erin Sheer, Jason and Zachary Cherry, Katie and Jodie Redfield, Chase, Tatum, and Haylee Redfield, Christopher and Nicholas Graham, Jessica, Danielle, and Kristina Elliott, Logan and Cole Redfield, and Jeremy and Ryan Thievin; one sister, Dorothy Fossum of Richland, and many nieces and nephews.