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 670,000 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, October 26, 2008


This is one of my favorite photographs. Tasha was one of KuK's neighbors. She and her brother used to come over and play with KuK and Nikki. I was getting ready to leave with them, Kevin and Erin to do a photo shoot for my 2006 chapbook "Square Root of the Word."

Tasha put on these ears and was running around. I asked he to stop for a second so I could shoot the photo, and she changed her expression in a moment from a playful 11-year-old to this stern, piercing look.

I paired the photo with my poem "Nameless Daughter"

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

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