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, November 16, 2008

Smoking a Menthol

This poem was sent to me from a fan after a poetry slam in Flagstaff last Wednesday:

Love, Ithaca

a little girl in love with a man

because he spits like nobody can

i only write angst but it's not sad this time
you've given a soul to my immature rhyme

a beautiful poet exposing himself
wih words that others would leave on the shelf

a time and a place and a moment in space
when each of your words explode in my face

you've officially released my epitomized hunger
if only,
if only,
you were about ten years younger

My reply:

Smoking a Menthol

Age is just a footnote
a rank and role occupied for the convenience of labeling
name it to own it
but it defines the owner instead
i am no man
just a boy in well-worn skin
who still says "when i grow up ..."

in the days when i still thought
i could count all the stars
if I just kept trying
I believed there some faraway day
would welcome me to the adult fraternity
with pomp, circumstance and silly hats
but the calendar cycles never changed gears
and i'm still that boy counting stars

those who know four score and seven
but still see wonder in sunsets
are boys no older than me
and i've met old men
in the eyes of children
who stopped listening to strangers' fairytales
they're dying before growing tall enough to live

when generations divide at dinners
i prefer the kids' table
because the conversations are more honest
and imagination is just another utensil
i don't squirm to say the right thing
or earn favor through pleasantries
adults are done learning
they speak to be heard not to answer
glance nervously when i dangle a spoon from my nose
or crash land asparagus into mashed potatoes
with sound effects in stereo

a decade ago
i was too ripe off the vine
too raw to taste
it took ten years
shaken, stirred and slammed
by our wars of words
to ferment a vintage worth savoring
to shake loose the stems which formed me,
try on a thousand different skins,
ingest the angst, swallow the sins
let the teachings of sages sink in
and find new wisdoms to spill out
onto my pages in poems and prose

ten years passed
ten-thousand miles traveled
ten million words spit
to siphon out what needs saying
what needs burning
and what needs sanctifying
for students seeking guidance

assuage your hunger with our wine
each word is a sacrament
passing from speaker to speaker
assembling into our three-minute sermons
reciting scripture while hallelujahs await witness
hold each word holy
because the only gods worth knowing
are the stories we choose to teach
break your body
spill your blood
and spit "let there be light"
in your own tongue
to taste divinity on your breath

pull the unused words off the shelf
give them purpose with conviction
pack them tighter than dynamite
and detonate poems
to move the mountains
between you and the stage


Anonymous said...

blah blah blah
write sentences
write another


you write poetry.

Christopher Fox Graham said...

... that's pretty much what writing is ... you can draw pictures instead, but that's painting ...

Rachel said...

We haven't spoken in a long time, but your words have always been beautiful and continue to be.

Thank you for reminding me of the reason I wrote so long ago, and the hope that I will once again find more time for it in my day to day life.

-Rachel (or one you may have called sanguru)

Rachel said...

And to mister/miss anonymous:

Perhaps poetry is nothing more than sentences broken up into lines. If that's all your get from it, then I feel sorry for you.

Words have the ability to empower people, give them hope, let them dream, and to see pieces of the writer. Words tell stories, just like in books. Poems are smaller novels that still speak volumes.

If you think it's so easy, I'd love to see you try it.