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.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Envisioning Your Return

Envisioning your return
before the Boeing touches down on tarmac
when fuselage doors kiss jetbridge lips,
the long tongue brings you inside the terminal
the screenwriter of my imagination
writes the thousand variations of our reunion

you'll drop your bag at the first sight of me
run unabashedly into my longing arms,
shoving bystanders aside like wheat
as your Anemoid spirit —
transformed from Eurus into Zephyr by a layover
and all the metaphors that entails —
obliviously brushes them aside
in the eager anticipation of my embrace
in all likelihood,
my Jedi reflexes will fail at the moment of impact
and we'll collide with the Earth as meteors
your giggles replacing the "timber!" of lumberjacks
bystanders will Polaroid the moment
add anecdotes to their dull lives
so that in decades hence,
when asked by grandchildren what love is
they'll ponder and remember
relate a moment they saw on a promenade
when spacetime became an irrelevant hindrance
to two strangers who could not be held apart any longer
crashing into over-vacuumed carpet
leaving an impact crater that echoed joy for days

but maybe you'll be stationary,
and I, unable to wait another moment
will hurdle chairs as an Olympian yearning for gold accolades
or streak frantic-mad as a Berliner at Checkpoint Charlie
or a Jew at Sobibor, dodging abandoned luggage like mines
as though your arms are my only chance at freedom,
peripherally blind to the passersby
feet achieving speeds akin to Superman or the Flash
security would reach toward Tazers or radios
thinking I had homicide on my mind,
until I stop short of you
wrap arms parentally around your small frame
as if a refuge father wanted to banish any fear of orphanhood
vault you into the air,
bring your lips to mine
transform the terminal into a bedchamber
unusually populated at this time of night
and swallow your breath
to taste all the words you longed to say in person
whispered into the Canadian wind too long
fill you with all the unspoken poems
kept gestating in my belly
burst them back into you mouth
with my Morse code tongue
while security,
seeing berserker rage transmogrify into unshielded joy
before they could bring guns to bear
would relent as pulses return to humdrum levels
while at the center of the world,
we'd stand still,
letting it all spin at epic speed
making dizzy those around us

but perhaps the moment would be more tame
something from a yuppie romantic film
I'd sit in the trendy coffeehouse
sipping cappuccino and reading The New York Times
as if I'd brought the paper from my driveway
comment to the barista about faraway places
I'd seen on business trips,
"I've been to a café down the street from this bombing,
so sad, so sad,"
and wax philosophical about days long past
you'd approach, drop your bag along the table,
I'd look up, quote a headline,
or ask for a crossword clue,
you'd reply with an answer that fit the spaces,
but metaphorically encapsulate our relationship,
like "destined" or "prophetic" or "sui generis"
I'd pencil it in, aware of the subtext
and that the word wasn't the answer to the clue —
the "e" turns "mate" into "mete" —
but the answer to us
then ask about your trip home to me
as though you'd made it a hundred times before
you'd complain about the in-flight film
laugh about playing pattycake with a 6-year-old at 40,000 feet
then ask where I'd parked the truck
we'd stroll out, arm in arm
like 60-year-old lovers who'd always been
while the barista's next customers would order mochas
and wonder about our youthful love
unaware of our underlying plot

rather, you'd find a quiet bar
between gate and baggage claim
and I'd see you in the shadows of mood-rich track lights
move in like Casanova,
order a pinot noir and dirty martini
stroll strangerlike to your table
ask unassumingly if "is this seat taken?"
pitch a half-hearted pickup line
nothing too obvious or offensive
offer the wine or gin,
whatever your taste
and make small talk
you'd say you're a college professor,
here to speak about the nuances of Joseph Campbell
in the mythos of Kerauoc and the Beats
as it relates to modern pop culture and the idealized rebel
I'd pretend to comprehend,
then explain I was an architect
recently returned from a conference on New Urbanism
chaired by spouses Andrés Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk,
with whom I enjoyed a drink the night before in Miami,
I'd discuss walkable neighborhoods and pedestrian spaces,
you'd say James Dean played the role but missed the intent
but we'd both find common ground
in having recently read "Love in the Time of Cholera,"
and mutually vowing to never wait as long as Fermina and Florentino
we'll look into each other's eyes
and a moment would last too long
before we'd break away
you'd say you would have to be going,
find a taxi to your hotel,
while I'd offer a you a lift,
it's on my way, and I know a little bar near it,
you'd hesitate, then acquiesce,
in hopes of another longing look
I'd fumble for my keys
and hope there was a little bar nearby
because I've never anywhere near there,
and my house is on the other side of town
but your eyes are worth the drive

perchance I'd simply stand stoically,
sly smile painted on lips
slowstep at a glacial pace,
and meet in the middle
I'd say this was as I'd foreseen
you'd ask how long
I'd smile, look away, and tell you the moment it first came
you'd ask why lips had shuttered before the telling,
I'd say no one believes Cassandra
who saw Troy burn before Agamemnon set sail
you'd ask for all my secrets
and this time I'd tell
catch the other shoe before it fell
and change destinies

knowing your games, however,
you'd walk on by, making me a stranger,
I'd ask if you were looking for someone
you'd reply, a boy, who hadn't come,
I'd ask his description which would eerily resemble mine
you'd throw up arms in jest
unable to believe he'd done it again,
left you somewhere strange
while I'd ask if I could take his place
his loss, my gain

instead, when you come within earshot,
I'll leap atop a counter
address passengers and well-wishers
ask for forgiveness for what they're about to hear
pull a poem from my back pocket
toss out dry erase boards to five strangers
and slam verses as though this terminal
was the NPS finals' stage
and we're in second place,
needing a 29.9 to tie, but a 30 to win
spout metaphors about a girl I loved,
who left me standing naked in my skin
on the side of the road as she left too soon,
turning in the ether of a mirage
as I couldn't stop her
chest damp with our shared tears
mixed like blood in a John Donne poem
about a flea and two lovers
I once read her
the poem would slam itself, I'd be told later
by those who understood the reference
and you, red-faced and embarrassed at my pronouncements
would see the gesture romantic even if foolhardy
hoping I'd quit soon, but still love the moment,
as something we'd whisper about later under covers
some Sunday morning weeks ahead
the point wasn't the points, but the poetry
which strangers would quote to their lovers
pretending it their own

but all these visions conclude
I watch too many movies

instead, I'd prefer a reunion our way:
across the terminal, in the back our minds
as you leave transport and I approach the gate
we'd feel a disturbance in the Force
a trembling in the air around us,
dart senses warily around the inevitable battlefield
lock eyes across the distance
as all else fades into shadow,
simultaneous "snap-hiss" of lightsabers
mine in cobalt blue,
yours in royal violet
dash madly toward each other
and leap above civilians in the last stretch,
cross blades mid-air
I'd tumble into luggage
you'd somersault into strangers,
unperturbed, we'd resume
slash, parry, thrust, passata-sotto, spin
beat, riposte, lunge, redoublement, in quartata
flèche, croisé, quinte
and blades lock as bystanders stand in awe
having never seen Jedi spar except on celluloid
"been too long, Azami"
"yes, it has, Cyph"
then hiss-snap as blades retract
fall to floor like shooting stars
kisses collide with more power than Death Stars
sending shockwaves across the galaxy
from Endor to Korriban
Sith Lords shudder on their thrones
Cylons cower in their chasses
Vorlons feel the urge to flee
knowing the Jedi have returned
and on a tiny corner
of a tiny world
you and I find home is shared heartbeats
after too many moments apart

1 comment:

iamyuva said...

home is shared heartbeats..indeed.