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.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Slam Tutorial: Rely on Your Grandma

"Grandma's Got it Going On (Rise and Shine)"
By Shane Koyczan

Every day, Grandma would come into my room and I would hear her say-
Rise and shine, the world has a whole 'nother design, there’s
out there
some where
young man.

So I rose and I shone put on my shoes and I was gone.

See, Grandma bought me my first phone, she said Don't bother calling the people who care, call the people who don’t.

Don't bother calling the people who have taken up the fight, call people who won’t.

And I learned at a very young age where my grandma’s rage came from: The entire congregation of God. Never ask grandma about God.

I'd argue with her everyday and all she'd say was, Go down to the store, buy some light bulbs. And when you run out, buy some more.

Because the light at the end of your tunnel needs to be maintained.

You can't let it be stained by "their beliefs are better than your beliefs" and you can't agree to disagree because they're fucking wrong!

It's not the strong who have gotten lazy, its just your vision is a little hazy- you're not sure what it is you want but what you've got is all you need.

It falls to greed.

For every hypocritical church-goer who won’t walk past beggars because they can't spare a dime, Grandma says fuck them.

I don't speak to God because I think God's a tyrant.

And yeah, it struck me as strange every time I walk past a brother that stops to ask me "Hey, can you spare some change?" because yes I can. You see, I don't carry change around in my back pocket; I don’t wear it around my neck on a chain in some locket.

I keep change on the tip of my tongue so I can climb the rungs of a ladder to a better place; I forgot about saving face, Grandma told me save your grace.

I keep change in the tip of my pen and it seeps out every now and then as bursts of anger that make me think, maybe the writing on the wall could use a little revision.

Grandma told me stop trying to calculate the difference between people, people don't need division. Gotta stick together, gotta love each other, father brother sister mother uncles sons and aunts, forget about the chants the cheers the jokes the tears after two thousand years you'd think we'd know by now!

Grandma said We will only find equality in our number of tears.

And she was right because I don’t know what injustices you've suffered based on size sex race religion or the political pigeon shitting on the shoulders of us versus them like in Bethlehem when a man said Hey, I could be wrong, but why can't we all just get along?


So we nailed him to a tree. See?

Justice isn’t just isn't, it just is.

And I can't change it, you can’t change it, so we just gotta try to rearrange it and if at all this miracle got the chance to work would I see people the way they see me?

Because seeing is believing and if you see what I see you wouldn't want to see anymore. But I’ve got a little surprise in store.

For every man who looks upon me with judgement in his eyes, there’s a woman looks upon me with wetness in her thighs.

I'm the world’s greatest overweight lover.

And you might just laugh and you might just gulp but my bones are big for sticks and stones and names just piss me off and Grandma told me, Young man you cant be concerned with whatever it is that they've got the only reason they think they're beautiful is the same reason they think you're not. And Young man, you have beauty beyond measure you are a treasure entrenched in this earth, you can’t let strangers determine your worth, Rise and shine.

So I rose and I shone, I put on my shoes and I was gone.

See, Grandma bought me my first phone, she said, Young man from time to time I too need to smile, would you do me a favour and keep me on speed dial.

Yes grandma,

I will.

And still to this day I can call her up and can hear her say It’s a game, you play, you win, you play, you lose, you play.

Rise and shine the world has another whole design, there’s someone out there somewhere but young man if you are playing to win the first thing you have to do is apply within.

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