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.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Blind Man and the Sun

tracing small town streets
she inches along in the shadows
filling thoughts between left turns
and Long Island Iced Teas
the barkeep at Olive'R Twist
serves me my regular
and I can't keep these hands
from paper confessions

there are as many miles between us
as days until I see you again
only patience or a Visa ATM
could shorten either
but late night phone calls beneath starlight
don't require oil changes and the days,
well, the days I use to cover pages in chicken scratch
to pave the way back to my front door

give me a Sharpie
and I'll cover our skins with enough words
to give deaf men back their joy of sound

I miss you like a blind man misses the sun
can feel it on his skin
but can't reach out and see its believers
so convinced of its divinity
that they glow back their conviction
for the rest of us to see

the drink is settling in
for a conversation with my liver
and these cigarettes are burning holes in my lungs
opening up the rest of me to pour out
reasons why I miss the nuances of your smile
my fingers recollect the secrets
the hairs of your legs told them
the last time I saw you

three hours a night when reception is good
and with full batteries
and a generous calling plan isn't sufficient
I want your voice to swallow me
30 hours a day

My ears are starving without you to feed them
they're holding out for the sushi of your stories
rather than the convenient store fast food
of the movie extras
who want to discuss the weather
and the "blah, blah" bullshit
to pass the time

give me your 1 a.m. brilliance
scribble your magic tricks on postcards
and mail them daily

you are a Doors concert in a sea
of garage band wannabees
let me crowd surf to your lyrics
while the rest of the world buys
black T-shirts and CDs burned on iMacs

you make me want to speak profoundly
write like statesmen scribbling their
final speeches en route to their own funerals
the only ink that should bleed from my pen
must save nations from civil war

make me a king
crown my prose with your hands
so I know I'm not wasting my time
bless my common verses into royalty
turn my blood blue with your sincerity
and that we'll build fiefdom of words

my neighbors at the bar
discuss police reports and margaritas
let me never be that dull
fill my lungs only with honest words
only faithful stories of you and I
visiting countries whose names people only know
from geography classes
watch movies as if we lived them
read books if we wrote them

I want to see you dance
own the stage with your feet
each footfall only echoing yours
I will never see movement again
except as a reflection of you

even in my last days
wrinkled and endlessly forgetful
I will recall a girl
who moved like a magic trick
that David Copperfield would envy

I flip through my wallet
slip out a card to pay for my truths
he gets $8 on a $12
and I get six pages of poetry
the payment of poetry to currency is acceptable
because alcohol was created
so poets could be free

these men at the bar speak of divorce
the way we speak of poems
lightly and without conviction
they play like children,
dropping names,
or bars or one-night stands
as if they matter

I won’t leave you over an argument
or sleep angrily in your absence
we'll never play this game
follow these men toward
such an easy separation of heartbeats

return to me and I am yours
over miles and time
and every morning you will wake
I will ask "how did your sun rise"

mine will always rise slow and brilliant
if your hand is in mine
if your skin speaks intimate secrets
tell me what haunts you
and I will do the same
now, with a kitten for a roommate to keep
me sincere of your confirmations

Chris pours his last drink
and I try to remember, but
they slip out and leave me waiting for you

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Imagine a Religion

imagine a religion
where words
are scripture
and we only speak to pray

this is how she and I communicate
each word with salvation on its edges
the sounds of angels in our speech
and god in our sentences

I never want to open my mouth
let sound spill from my lips faithlessly
I want each word to move believers
in the way I have been moved

I want believers to quote my prose
knowing that faith is in the understanding of language
I want them to take vows of silence
except with speaking sincerely

no tone or breath should leave lips
without a purpose
except to shatter shackles
or build homes for those less fortunate

words should hammers become
raising walls and roofs beneath which families may flourish
words should be so valued
that each one is written down in sequence

we speak with this brevity of purpose
where minds lock hands with minds
dropping the illusion of wordplay
in favor of doubtlessness

imagine a world
where tongues speak truth without suspicion
where people are judged only
by what they say

imagine the death of chatter
imagine a society where small talk is sin
where strangers are silent
except when faith convicts them to sound

imagine a world where lies have no substance
imagine children learning that words must have weight
or they are useless,
imagine people speaking only when the spirit commands it

imagine a world where all strangers can be trusted
if they break their silence
to tell us their names
or stories of how they came to be here

imagine a world where lovers
whisper in the dark
only to say what haunts them
so we may whisper back, "fear not, I understand"

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Welcome to the Church of the Word

Welcome to the Church of the Word

A poem for and about Random Acts of Coffee

n the beginning was darkness
then spoke the Word
it was noun and verb
a subject and its action
a declaration of self-aware existence

whatever you may believe in or don't,
the universe spoke the first poem
I am
and the art of existence detonated in a whisper stretching its arms and fingers across trillions of light years to the edge of the cosmos
leaving us in its wake to interpret
I
am
is simple creation
it is cause from nothing
we spoke the same words when we danced in half in our mother's womb
the words "am" and "i," waiting for a poet to pronounce them
you were that poet
and you answered with conviction, with sincerity:
"I am"
and your cells detonated in a whisper
stretching your fingers and toes into the poem you are now
comprised of 100 trillion cells, each holding a different word, and waiting for you to assemble them into your life story
begging you to speak

welcome to the church of the word
we are here to worship poetry
not what it is
not an abstraction
not the poet
but poetry
it is scripture that changes with every voice on this mic,
that builds a different temple in each of your minds
your interpretation becomes your own rabbi, your own guru, your own saint

those of us who spit verse on this mic
are just believers like you
who feel so moved by the word
we can no longer hold it in
who value notepads and pens more than money or heaven
because it is the word that will save our souls
now
not when we die

every poem we write is an echo of "I am" declaring itself in a new way
welcome to the church of the word
here, the only sin is silence
the only salvation is speech

you are blessing the generations to come after you
the word does not promise eternal life
but it does promise immortality
teach a child your poem
and they will teach a child
influence the next generation
and you will live forever

welcome to the church of the word