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.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Nika and the Yavapai College Poetry Slam

I went to the Yavapai College Poetry Slam on Sept. 26. I had spoken to Paula Blankenship with the college a few months ago about her slam. I had agreed to perform whenever she wanted.

The night before I had gone to Flagstaff with Manifest Destiny and my soon-to-be new roommate, Molly Berg, to Mia's Lounge. We met up with Nika Levikov, a severely cute and unbearably intelligent Flagstaff girl that Manifest and I met on Wednesday. The whole night Manifest and I flirted back and forth with Nika. It's not that often that a someone I meet can keep my mind on my toes with questions. She made me belabor my responses.

I'm attracted for certain, but wary. I have an unbearable insecurity about intimacy. For the most part, I've sworn off relationships because of my bad run in Sedona. With few exceptions, the women here are 1) already married or in relationships; 2) woo-woo or crazy; 3) enduring their third divorce before age 30; 4) under 18 but trying to pass as 25; 5) tourists with only a few days in town. It's just been safer to not engage with anyone on a romantic level. Perhaps I'm over-thinking it, but such is my nature.

In any case, I really like Nika, but I have no idea about her status. I'll flirt and see where that leads. If she has no interest beyond poetry, I am content. If she is interested, I am content to pursue wherever that leads. Relationships and friendships with me tend to settle to level that they are destined to.

In the interest of full disclosure, I hope she follows the link in my e-mail address and discovers my blog link to read this; there's no point in playing games, and she should know what I'm thinking.

Manifest Destiny stayed in Flagstaff at Nika's. He called on the 26th to say he was staying in Flagstaff for another slam at Applesauce and would head down to Phoenix with one of the poets.

I called Apollo Poetry and Sean Mabe about the Yavapai College Poetry Slam, which started at 7 p.m.

SLAM:
Band
1) Set draw, 5 max.
Band
2) Set draw, 5 max.
Band
3) Set draw, 5 max.
Band
4) Set draw, 5 max.
Scores

The format was untraditional. The YC people hadn't hosted a slam before, so the didn't conform to traditional rules. They had scores of scorepads so anyone could judge. We didn't quite understand the "rounds" so we initially only signed up for the first round. Once Blankenship and Terrence Pratt explained the format, we signed up again, Sean and Apollo in round 3 and all three of us for round 4.

I opened with "We Call Him Papa." I had the piece perfectly memorized from the FlagSlam, so it was an easy opening. I also wanted to test it with the crowd, which was rowdy from the band sets.

Apollo and Sean opened with peace poems, also to gauge the audience reaction.

For round three, Apollo hit "Rusty," one of my favorites. I think the poem's weakness is that it has several strong endings, so listeners aren't sure where it ends. It's kind of like watching "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King." I personally think the line "... but you just saved mine," is the strongest.

Sean picked a poem to mock Sedona. It was also a test run for curse words. He tripped up a lot, but it was a funny poem, especially for a Cottonwood crowd who may not necessarily think of Sedona fondly.

For the fourth round, I picked "Peach," mainly because Apollo hadn't heard it, and I don't often read for him. My other options for memorized, ready-to-slam poems were "Three Minutes for Dylan," "Spinal Language," "They Held Hands," "In the Corners of This Room," "A Poem About Clouds," "Manifesto of an Addict," "Breakfast Cereal," and "Coming Home."

Sean followed my with Saul Williams' "Ohm," which he performed flawlessly. Apollo followed with a poem whose name I did not catch, but whose performance I really enjoyed.

I wound up winning, which came with a nice trophy. Two slam victories in three days. I guess I'm back.

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