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, January 31, 2007

What I Believe

What I Believe:
A 500-word essay for Rebecca Allen

Every person is an artist

Beneath the layers of skin,
genetically imbedded in our evolution
is the need to create

all living things have one intention: to survive
they breed, kill competitors, protect offspring
knowing that even if the individual must die
the species survives
and with it, some remnant of the survivor

the quest for fame or immortality is no different
we want to survive
and knowing the body cannot, our art can
tied more completely to us
because over it, unlike genetics,
we have complete creative control

and if we can't be immortal
and only bear so many children
that drive to create and survive must release into art
or we'll go mad with yearning

the aesthetic too
is buried within us
that which is beautiful
we never want to leave:
lovers, landscapes, ecstasy, words and music
no one feels this as foreign

we want to feel the electricity and satisfaction of creation
that's why we invented god
because the sensation of making everything as we see fit
must feel transcendent

every person wants to be
Michelangelo, Mozart, Shakespeare,
Baryshnikov, da Vinci, Spielberg,
Tom Hanks, Pavarotti, Bill Gates,
Bob Dylan and a pregnant mother
all at once
but our mortal curse
is that we can not be

we all have stories
different experiences we can relate through speech and art
we differ from all other species
in that we can communicate across time
to those yet unborn
and those long dead
can tell us of life back then
a conversation is art
sounds creating visual images
depicting wit and irony
which we can laugh at
or a tragedy that can cause tears
we want to see, touch, taste and live it all
in every body, place, time, age and culture
but since we can't,
we want to be told
and live vicariously through the art

every human life is a epic tale of
war, loss and victory,
love and strife
we are all warrior poets
destined for royal thrones
in whatever realm we create
be it the page, the battlefield, the bedroom, or our daily insanities

those who aren't artists
aren't looking hard enough
and those who aren't skilled
aren't practicing enough

natural gifts and intuition go a long way
but the brilliance of the great artists
can be taught
if the student is unhindered, fearless, patient and dedicated

know that all things human
institutions, traditions, and technology
were made by overgrown children
that anyone can learn
and we change it all if want
the key is to gain collective agreement
the goal is getting others to see our logic
either rationally or emotionally
but the medium is art, language or otherwise

art is as important as air, water, food, shelter, warmth
we want to love and be loved in return
by family, lover and tribe
for what we create and provide
art makes us immortal
as if we don't live and die in vain
the only people who aren't artists
are already dead or as yet unborn

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