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, April 12, 2009

Easter benediction

I wrote this poem for and about Random Acts of Coffee. As the curtains opened at the Old Town Poetry Slam that I hosted, I stood with my confirmation Bible, a t-shirt bearing a praying mantis with its arm crossed above the word "atheist" and read this:

"Welcome to the Church of the Word"

In the beginning,
there 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 legs across billions 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
it is sound and fury
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 the words on paper
divorced from life and breath
not an abstraction
not the poet
but poetry
it is scripture that changes
with every voice on this microphone,
that builds a different temple in each of your minds
your interpretation becomes your own rabbi,
your own guru,
your own shaman,
your own saint

those of us who spit verse on this microphone
are just believers like you
who feel so moved by the word
we can no longer hold it in
who value notepads more than money
and holy ink more than heaven
because it is the word that will save our souls
now when we can relate our experiences
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
here, the only salvation is speech

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

welcome to the church of the word
by being here, you are converts
when you leave here, you are evangelists
when you return,
we hope you will want to join us
and preach your story
to enjoy life everlasting
welcome to the church of the word

1 comment:

ATrueNorseman said...

Seemed like it was a fun write ;P, I like it! ~looks at the impudence of church literature, but then again uses that literature's style to capture something of equal and actual intensity -- so: a good mind-read :D