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, July 19, 2010

See the Big Easy

This is from part of a poem about Hurricane Katrina I found recently and decided to finish.

See the Big Easy

The journalist in me
wants to see the Big Easy
it’s not every day that a city
gets wiped off the map

there are stories that need telling
how two men survived on a rooftop
eating pigeons
when the canned food ran out
until a neighbor they had never known
carried them away
or the family of six that let secrets spill
for the first time in years
when they faced the end
and saw bodies floating by
the mystery of the man
with six shots in the torso
and two in skull
— his killer had to reload —
but what happened to change me
from homeowner to corpse?
there are stories that need telling
and my hands are aching
to tell them a world blinded
by the sheer numbers

Baltimore, what would you do?
Seattle, how would you behave?
St. Louis, how would you collect your dead?
Los Angeles, would your rage subside
for the sanctity of touch?

Atlantis sank
Pompeii turned to ash
conflagration mythologized Troy
reduced Rome to Nero’s fiddlesticks
ended London’s Renaissance
doomed Windy City bovines
erased Dresden’s heart
eviscerated Coventry, Darmstadt, Pforzheim, Brunswick, Stalingrad, Hamburg, Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, Hiroshima and Nagasaki
but the vanity of men
rebuilt them into new glories

each one will die in the old ways
or new, undreamed catastrophes
or ironically appropriate calamities
imagined only by trite screenwriters
yet those with the wherewithal
to hold on by fingernails
will merely collapse in the absence of men
fossilizing our bones in their bellies
before Fenrir swallows the sun
the vault of heaven falls
and grass covers all

I want to see how the end may come
interpret the foreshadowing doom,
behold the ego of man
smote by Mother Nature’s gloved fist
to remind us of our insignificance,
lest we forget
stand in the French Quarter
feel the wafting sin evaporate from the gutters
and understand right retribution
only witnessed before in Sodom and Gomorrah
I want to see the death of one great city
barely hiccupping back to life
before I, too, succumb to my personal tragedy
let me hear the jazz funeral tunes
echo over the eaves of abandoned tombs
when there are no saints left to go marching in

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