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.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Seven Years of Solitude

Seven years of solitude
one-night stands
and last names lost to the wind
I wrote them in chronological order
carved their names in the sand
rewrote our mythologies
into my own fictions
to win 10s from strangers who preferred verses
rather than the cut and dry facts of thrusting hips
and white lies to strip cotton from our skins
before clothing ourselves in dawn-lit shame
of till-we-meet-agains

I found her literally in my own back yard
spreading dandelions along her path
on highways and backcountry roads
from the tundra to Sonora
fallen into disuse by travelers —
save Kerouac scholars

she called herself a hobo,
always homeward bound
but yet to find a doorstep to call her own
she came to kiss the red from the rocks
paint her lips with this Martian dust
swirl pirouettes in the vortices
verify that stars here match home
and chase down crash-landed aliens
looking for a one-way trip home to Perseus

she broke me open like an egg
scrambled my contents with her garlic smile
smothered in maple leaf syrup
and salted to taste

she coaxed herself inside
to better hear the word
by smiths more crafted than me
pressed skin to skin
and melted my insides into cheddar
smothered the sheets
in her unrepentant smiles

she is joy
unpasteurized, caffeine-free, antioxidant-rich
joy
if it could drip from its source
sculpt itself into flesh and skin and bones
camber its soft exterior into curves
tender to trepid fingertips
hesitant to brush capsulated ebullience
lest it evanesce into vapor
like the morning fog
she zipped herself up behind a smile
radiant as auroras
to stay warm in the Yukon

we knew from the first kiss
the impending expiration date
I could only hold her so long
before wanderlust reignited her blood
pumped visions of highway sunsets into her aorta
pulled her sticky sunrise from my bed
I held tightly to dreams
that I would foresee us waking unshared unemptied
in the decades to come
but behind shuttered eyes
one loses the path of footsteps
roads meander as they must
not as we desire
and mountains have yet to yield to men

we were doomed to end
from the first morning we shared
each time we pressed hips and lips
I tried to capture the details
with scientific precision
to reconstruct the crime scene of her illegal emigration
from the homeland I built
she could have packed and parted a thousand times
without a second thought
or smile in a stranger's rearview
after her outstretched thumb purchased passage
yet I found her bedecked in my socks
or shirts or shorts and boxers after a time

I would have shed my skin to keep her warm
if it would have delayed her departure
a few hours more

she left me thrice:
to smell the stories wafting on Diné desert
see tors resistant to harassing winds —
play in a park where symbols of peace
were even written on the stones —
pioneer the plateau seared asunder
by patient waters that still run wild
too oblivious to laugh at our cages
knowing that they too will one day fall
Ozymandias could not conquer the sands
Hoover cannot break the canyon's will
though the crest once offered us a view
down to the moonlit sea
all endeavors come to an end
despite the glory
of their lofty dedications

each time, the gravity of our weight
pulled orbits back to the same ellipse
we shared atmospheres
and now with her light years across the plain
it's harder to breathe the air
before I knew her grace

in the winter nights
with the rest of the house bursting with life
lovers pressing tender touches
uncaring of audiences
friends rehashing old wounds reopened
musicians repeating tunes remembered by fingertips alone
I long for her pride
I languish for the smell of her with days trapped in hair
I yearn for the exhilaration of her tender brilliance
dropping falling stars into my exosphere
to scar the surface
leaving us again in the naked ecstasy
when the world faded away
leaving us alone with our uninhibited vices

the nights seem colder
and my limbs never warm enough to sleep through the night
awake with dreams unremembered
each one leaves a passport of her absence
the way she alone could seem to fill the bed with her laughter
as I left her in the mornings

our last day
remains wickedly vivid
how I longed to break my fingers and toes
to render my hands unable to labor
feet unable to leave her
knowing that as the door closed
when I next returned
she'd not greet me with outstretched arms
and leopardic leaps to pin me beneath her passions

I couldn’t have loved her better
goodbye was always on our lips
but when the last one came
it broke me down the middle

in the center of my city
tourists who came for millennial stones unbroken
saw us cleave together our last moments
and for the first time, she shed tears
broke open her dam
to cleave the street beneath us in two
in a way only the canyons know
the red rocks above trembled in dread
conjuring that winds and creeks had taken their toll
but she, unleashed, could finally break them into red sand
washing them like blood into the seas

there, at a crossroads I could recreate from memory
she said I would not cross the road with her
I was unable to follow
could not take her trek homeward bound
because I had never been
she carried my heart across the asphalt lanes
tied up in her pack
beneath snacks for the road
betwixt books and rolled socks
she carried it in secret
which I knew as she walked away from me
along a stretch of road
that seemed to widen for miles
until I lost her behind what could have been her next ride
or mere passersby
stained with her goodbyes
I watched until she was vapor and wind
red hat and pack
and then a mirage
as if she never was
but the hollow in my chest
beat her empty echoes with thumps in rhythm to her wandering footsteps
I send out platoons of foxes to find her
seek her out even in cities unknown to their habits
hoping their spying slyness
can catch her eye

now I seek out hitchhikers
the way addicts itch for a fix
I want to ask if they've seen her
if I can glean some knowledge of her whereabouts
and if they haven't yet
if they would pass on a message in my absence:
when the first winter breeze
blows in from the north
I will strip naked wherever I am
in the midst of Times Square,
the hollow of empty woods
or in my own living room
let her cold kisses caress all my sharp curves
feel her twirl around all my edges
inhale her joy so deeply
the atmosphere in my lungs turn to ice
all my pores will rise into goosebumps
to return her ten-thousand kisses
send all my silent words northward to find her
along whatever road she finds herself
wrap the embrace of breath around her
so she feels my arms again
even if just once more
even if just in dreams
even if she never knows

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Kyuubi no Kitsune

Kyuubi no Kitsune
(Nine-Tailed Fox)
12.3.09

She tells me of Kitsune
a nine-tailed trickster
in the shape of a fox
who slips into gentlemen’s homes
from Hokkaido to the Ryukyus
tells them tales
brings magic stories to their doorsteps
she holds them tightly in the night
until love binds them

the Greeks, too, had their nine
daughters each graced with a gift
to dispel on poets and playwrights
inspire the great works
and leave the men besmirched with laurels

as she loves the most secret parts of me
I wonder what mythology we’re living

I see nines in everything nowadays
the edges of maple leaves
the measure of minutes on the alarm clock
until I have to leave her
Saturday and Sunday have seemingly doubled in length
leaving me two more days to love her arms
in the morning dawn light
the tips of her foxtails slip out from beneath the sheets
fading into ether by the I find my glasses to catch them
and all the artistries
flow through my fingers when her warmth wraps around me
and demands that I create

this is some Grecian Zen monastic koan
to bleed my mind dry of superfluous thought
focus my attentions to the nexus of my world
leave my mind free to wander
sans distraction
sans intention
poetry tabula rasa

Monday, December 28, 2009

Josh Fleming at Sedona Poetry Slam, Saturday, Jan. 2

Start off the new year with a Poetry Slam, featuring FlagSlam alum Josh Fleming

Sedona's Studio Live hosts a poetry slam Saturday, Jan. 2, starting at 7:30 p.m. and all poets are welcome to compete for the $100 grand prize.

Studio Live is located at 215 Coffee Pot Drive, Sedona.

Josh Fleming, a nationally touring, award-winning slam poet and college instructor, will perform in a featured reading between rounds.

Fleming started his poetry career in Northern Arizona where he competed with the first-ever Flagstaff National Slam Team, was its first-ever Grand Slam Champion in 2001, and traveled to Seattle for the 11th annual National Poetry Slam.

Fleming was part of the "Save the Male" national poetry tour in 2002, has authored one chapbook, "What Happened to Me," and co-produced a spoken word album, "Sonnets to listen to by an open fire..." with fellow poet Christopher Fox Graham, of Sedona.

Fleming then fell off the radar, worked at a gas station, was a zoo tour guide, went back to school, got his masters, fell in love, got married, bought a house, settled down and now teaches and coaches speech and debate at Pasadena City College, in Pasadena, Calif.

He loves poetry, he's missed poetry and he's glad to be back, Fleming stated in a press release. In conclusion: He's pretty sure he rocks.

To compete in the slam, poets need at least three original poems, each three minutes long or shorter. No props, costumes or musical accompaniment are permitted. All types of poetry are welcome.

The slam will be hosted by Graham, who represented Northern Arizona on the Flagstaff team at four National Poetry Slams between 2001 and 2006.

Founded in Chicago in 1984, poetry slam is a competitive artistic sport. Poetry slams are judged by five randomly chosen members of the audience who assign numerical value to individual poets' contents and performances.

Poetry slam has become an international artistic sport, with more than 100 major poetry slams in the United States, Canada, Australia and Western Europe.

Tickets are $10, available at Studio Live or Golden Word Books, 3150 W. Hwy.. 89A.

For more information, call (928) 282-0549 or visit http://studiolivesedona.com.