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, May 10, 2009

Love Like a Scar

Betwixt my eyebrows
a three-second mistake
of my 6-year-old self
dug a pox mark divot
forever into flesh
the reminds me daily
in the reflection of mirror,
glass frame and inverted spoon
how a reckless moment
marked me months and miles
after context collapsed into confusion
and left me with a scar that pulls me back into
that moment with increasing vividness
so that the facts
enrich and embellish themselves
a vibrant fiction
worthy of Vonnegut or Tolstoy or Tolkien

she scars memory in the same fashion
breaking my heart
whenever her image emerges from picture frames
or she slips into my peripheral
to hang on every unsaid word
I refuse to speak
knowing the desperation
with which she longs to hear them
I revel in sadistically parrying
her stabs toward my affections
and hate myself for it
the burning pleasure that lurks in abusing power
seeped beneath skin in shameful celebration
best elucidated in how children kill small animals
then tearfully confess to parents hours later
part of me wants to crush her beneath my boot heel
while the other half of me wants to save her from it
unreconciled, the two factions vie for control
of my unsatisfied electorate
whose ever-changing pulse pollsters calculate

I've longed a decade
for a lover beholden to my whims
whose loyalty could dance on my fingertips
and here, she twirls,
a paper doll
I want the conviction of her sincerity
the fire of her resistance
to burn my palms with any attempt to hold fast
she yearns for a master
but I require no puppet
I left my toys in a box
when I chose to play with words
she finds new boys daily
who seek the newest shiny thing
to touch and prod and jiggle
until it breaks or they get bored
I learned too quick
grew up too fast
calculating the physics of matter
while most boys were adding lips to lips
I solved her equation long before I met her
and now want new math
to entice my interests
she bears potential to spend my head like a top
but refuses to try
misbelieving I am some dull creature
like those she's met before

I want to want to love her
free from scars or fictions
let her slip into my mind
as easily as she slips into bed
when I'm too drunk, too tired
or too uninterested to resist
I won't share the parts of me she wants
because she hasn't earned them
she can't invite the army of fingers or
heavy artillery of tongue
or invasion of cock
if my mind generally refuses
to fall for an ambush
I’ve read Sun Tzu too many times
to acquiesce to her bait
or be drawn into the conflict
from which I know there is no swift retreat

I should erect a Great Wall between us
hold back her barbarian mess
stand guard all along the watchtower
and prevent her flanking maneuvers
something in me
longs for a pitched battle
a contest of wits
strategies, forces, and tactics
the conflict between worthy adversaries
a sparring match
a fencing gambit
a card game with control of an empire on the line
because so few past lovers
offered challenge beyond the moment

I pull back too often
shelter in my warm deceptions
hold back from feeling
the fall of water
the touch of soil
the warmth of fire
the caress of wind
and the shutter when nature shatters shelter
too afraid of the stain
I resist hearing the sound of rain
just grab my gun
and bring in the cat
before she gets close enough to harm me
I stand mome with mimsy sword in hand
against the fabled frumious Jabberwock
with jaws that bite and claws that catch

the men who know me
just want me to get laid
“it’s just one more pussy vacation
to notch on the headboard”
but I’ve been down this road
chipped so beaverly into the wood
that it fears collapse if I orgasm again
and new ports match old harbors
I don’t care where I drop anchor
because no storm yet has sunk me
she’s merely a summer squall
shimmying the jibs and fluttering books on deck
but the crew is sleeping drunk down below
oblivious to the winds stirring the soup outside
she wants to swamp the boat
but her crests fall below the gunwale

I should sleep through her winds and waves
remember her as a crossed-off calendar date
but she scarred me in a moment
somehow, somewhere, some when
so that my fiction-focused protagonist
fills in the potentials of how and why
I’m unable to withdraw my rearguard
trapped Slaughterhouse-style
on her Vietnamese hillocks
Tễt transfigures into Groundhog Day
whenever she walks into my room

this divot forged a new history
once the flesh that filled it
departed my skin for an undiscovered country
but its secession stares back
a perpetual absent passenger reminding me
how adults can be broken
by their own childish naïveté
reminded with every wayward glance
every new “hello”
and every “good to see you again”
how she marked me the same
although the evidence lurks beneath skin
I can still see her with these eyes
and gritted teeth
I yearn for a plastic surgeon who can fix me
restore me to the way I should be
before I met her
made the mistake of loving her for a moment
longer than I should have
but enough to mark me with the reminder
of how the absence of her
will ride shotgun into my last decade
separated only when my final campfire
frees my visage from this flesh frame
and converts Earthbound skin and bone
into the ash of a million gray angels

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