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.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Slam Tutorial, Part VII, A Controversial Issue

Round Two: A Controversial Issue

Be it abortion, gay rights, domestic violence, or suicide, controversial issues all have personal stories behind them. Whatever your politlcal or social leaning, putting a human face on the subject makes the topic more than a cerebral debate.

A Moment in Albuquerque
This poem covers a topic of dear friend of mine and her boyfriend at the time who had to travel to New Mexico to have an abortion. She was under age 18 at the time and could not have an abortion in Arizona without her parents' approval. They did not know she was pregnant. I tried to make sure that this poem does not contain any political overtones belying my opinion, which really doesn't matter. It simply relates a story.

thump, thump
thump, thump
two hearts
one body

thump, thump
thump, thump
familiar landscapes drop away
in the rearview
summer moments falling behind
into the anxious embrace of the autumn
missed moons and winter choices
keep or cut loose

thump, thump
thump, thump
tires kiss asphalt
the way he kissed her
intentional and unavoidable
between the lines
between the sheets
the inevitable path onward
heads to skin to gas tank
skin to breath to pistons
breath to hips to axle
hips to rhythm to tires
rhythm to climax to road
and the headlights illuminate
the silent afterglow

thump, thump
thump, thump
the geography of bodies and maps
tell stories of our history
lovers' names tied inexorably to cities,
hometowns and vacation destinations
cities we've fled from or fled to
cities we met lovers or lost them
cities we've yet to see
or want to never see again
for her, Albuquerque carries a memory
most men can't comprehend
though the mathematics of the choice
we can calculate and counter
two bodies and a moment
equals three heartbeats in two skin
and a choice to subtract one in Albuquerque

thump, thump
thump, thump
November seems unseasonably cold
maybe it's the 80 mph highway wind
against the chassis
the silent air between them
as the miles tick by

thump, thump
thump, thump
what small talk should we have?
whatever slips of lips
seems woefully insignificant
if it evades the subject inside you
weather, road, womb, reaching fingers
desperate to comfort
so we say nothing
watch the passing headlights
chase the taillights ahead
from 89A to 17 to 40

thump, thump
thump, thump
thump, thump
"Welcome to New Mexico"
one of you won't be leaving
thump, thump
thump, thump
thump, thump
we made the choice before we left
thump, thump
three becoming two
thump, thump
two heartbeats, one body
thump, thump
thump, thump
thump, thump



an equation
a city
a memory
and the ambivalent road

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