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.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Old bar poetry

An older poem I found scribbled on a notepad, probably written at Szechuan Martini Bar. Chris Bailey must have been barkeeping ....

Watching the to-and-fro dance of barkeeps
knowing too intimately the intoxicating brilliance
of slurred words and slow eyes
We are such fools with our poisons
paid for at these neon tombs
alcohol apothecaries promise honesty
in concoctions named for pop culture references

Light up another deathstick
get something on draught
and talk to me of God
you have my undivided attention
if you buy the next round

The barkeep knows me by name
because I tip well and order simply:
local brews and screwdrivers

I laugh when he does
at the kids with fake IDs
who can't get the months right
or spell their last names
and the barflys who raise hell
just like last week
and the tourists with the new names
for the same blend of liquids
all asking the same questions
he answers differently every time

I don't listen unless the musician is orginal
if I can here it on vinyl
I don't want your version
Tell me your stories
make me wonder about the world
no which album you're covering
and I promise never to scribble down Jabberwocky
and claim it as my own
I don't come here to meet people
just old friends
share a pitcher and here a tune
jive to a poem that ripples the untouched drinks
Remind me that I'm human
and the next round is on me
remind me that it's good to bleed sometimes
why heartbreak builds character
why poverty with joy
enriches more than lotteries
show me that I'm not alone in my rage
against the futility of words
why old lovers, gray-haired and slowly dying
are worth envying
more than night clubs and blind loins
kiss my ears with long, slow lyrics
punk rock kýrie eléisons
written on buses on over cheap wine
while the smell of long-lost lovers
drowned you in memories
show me the lives I could have lived
had I not been born this man
Own my imagination
I give you passage to take the helm
teach my student ears your scripture
Show me that my debts are unpaid
unless I move another
Reteach me that we are all poets
yearning to speak free

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