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.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Summertime Echoes - Poem

At an early summer party, a number of local artists brought their kids including Jess Johnson and Josh Robbins and their son Pax, Näthan Gangadean and his son, Amy and Jason Vargo and their daughter Amelia. David Reed and his wife Tara McGovern brought their 3-year-old daughter, Echo, who was the last kid at the day-long party and the one who lead us in a dance/costume party.

Summertime Echoes

Echo stands just about knee-height
throwing herself into stacks of costumes
pulling masks and plastics guns from the wall
to bedeck herself in another personality
and transfigure into a new little girl every few minutes
at 3, such changes take on heavy seriousness
because in mathematical proportion
these minutes mean more to her
than they do to those of us at 30

she wanders out to the party
leaping and running as her new self
while we tall people take her cue
and let go of our formalities
and try on new costumes, too
for a time, we become other echoes
of the children we once were

granted, the booze helps,
not Echo, but her bigger friends
yet deeper still
is the yearning to believe that a new hat
or a flowing cape
or jumpsuit two sizes too large
would actually convert us into our imaginations

before sunset
a newly-grandmothered woman
illuminated the semantic distinction between
a “daddy” and a “father”
a topic debated with the same serious as “the war”
or national fiscal policy
while I silently calculated
how I lost "daddy" at 12
and "father" at 23

watching Echo lead our revelry
I see that she still has her daddy
who danced with her whenever she asked
to the ’80s songs that filled the backyard
still filling that role when she needs

beneath my laughter
I longed for a similar connection
to my own flesh and blood
an infant daughter or son
who bears the features of a woman who loved me enough
to create a new tiny artist of our own
someone I could teach
how to love finger-painting
the rhythms of nursery rhymes
and the melodies of guitar strings

perhaps because I know I’ll see my newborn nephew
only when someone can distract my brother
who still hates me for some long-forgotten sin
something to do with my wild bohemian politics
or that I don’t play nice with those
who think monkey suits always need respect
my one and only curse to him
years ago
was that he have a son just like me
I pray that young boy’s first words
are spoken as haikus

when I first see him,
the mathematics of genes we share
will overwhelm my senses
because our shared bloodline
faces prospective survival for another 30 years
after my life story bookends with an obituary
but in the meantime,
I’ll take small joys in playing with little girls
who lovingly gaze at their fathers
in the midst of a summertime costume party
and hope that circumstances and blind luck
bring an artist-loving woman
who’ll endure all my spiteful idiosyncrasies
to give my newborn nephew his first cousin
who, if revenge is meted fairly,
will be just like my brother
dull, conservative and capitalistic
but I can hope that his anti-art recessive genes
met their genetic dead end
in him and our father
leaving only potential dreams and creative explorations
to survive in our blood
into generations as yet unborn

yet in the moment
I just have summertime experiences with friends
six-pack libations
and the wonderment of children
who have yet to learn that summer always ends


Symbi0sis said...

I love the way your poetry is almost story-like.

ATrueNorseman said...

Always love how you take your poetry and write it out like a book, it runs soo smoothly and uses soo many common articles and words as to loose detail and depth. BUT no, you somehow still keep that emotion and create some very respectable poetry. I had a mind cramp today and couldn't write anything how beautiful a summer day it was. It was bothering me soo much until i read your poem, reading yours satiated my need to make my own--i guess cause i know I couldn't have said it any better today.

haha, thankyou!

indecisive-x said...

This actually reflects a lot of my mindset at the moment. I'm starting a body of work at the moment based on my two young nieces (two years old, and the other six months old), and the idea of the unspoken family history being bled into their minds through the art that I leave behind.

The part that discusses the contiutation of a line really hit me, and the free-spirited/straight-laced dichotomy of siblings was also very close to home.

You have a beautiful way with the written word, and such a fascianting and poignant way of looking at things.

Such a beautiful piece of literature.

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