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.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Love Like A Scar, Part II

Love Like A Scar: Part II
She Bit Me In the Face
When She Says, "Don't Move, Trust Me," Don't Fucking Move

and now the poem:

she cut me above right eyebrow
scar shimmers still fresh red
she is always with me
below the surface

in decades hence
when the biographer asks, tape rolling,
who marred my brow,
I plan to lean back and with straight face
declare the flesh wound
a sniper bullet
from the Euro-American War of 2035
as I dashed from demolished home
to cinderblock shelter
carrying Mighty Mike McGee B-side bootlegs

or maybe Battle of Satin Hill shrapnel
during the Second American Civil War
dodging landmines on the eastern front near Kansas City
rescuing a microphone once used by Derrick Brown
molecules of his saliva clinging to the mesh
long after he is but two stars left of the North American moon

I saw draftee boys drop like flies
to restore the Republic
while I was on a mission to clone the lost poets
into Founding Fathers and Mothers
so they could draft a new Constitution
that could be read in 3:10
and yet bring a tear to the eye

the biographer will write down “madman”
because fiction will have overtaken me by then

the truth of this scar
is hard to explain
but humorous to declare:
“my girlfriend
bit me in the face”

it was no unrestrained passion
nor a tryst turned to domestic violence
but rather innocent:
she, perched above me
on a Saturday afternoon,
so eager to cuddle
she could not wait to hold me
she told me not to move
as she collapsed wrestling match-style

of course,
I moved

and tooth struck brow
tearing open skin

she cut me
leaving a mark of her inhabitance
proof she reached deeper than touch
left residue no shower could flush away

if lightning strikes me dead
between back door and laundry room —
or Babel reprises
and one Tuesday morning
we forget the sounds of English —
or poems worldwide
so intensely hold human passion they spontaneously ignite
explode all the words they’re unable to speak
burn notebooks and shoeboxes to cinders —
if memory just ... evaporates —
I’ll still have the scar
evidence for the Grand Jury
that I was guilty of loving her
my carefully constructed alibi evaporates in the face of habeas cicatrices

more than poems or photographs
the scar of her marks me
in mirrors,
in the reflection of car windows
the snap of portraits
the mark a centimeter wide
that could tear open like a zipper
on a beaten-up, used childhood toy
and spill out my stuffing

I am unable to amnesia her away
when Alzheimer’s settles in to play a hand of bridge
nurses and other patients will quietly ask
“Mr. Graham, how did you earn that scar?”
and I’ll repeat the details as best I know them
a thousand times,
each one again anew

no matter how misanthropic I may become
as these hands wrinkle in the coming decades
this mark whispers witness
that I was touched once —
let a lover past my front stoop
through my bedroom doorway
where she evaded resistant arms
wrapped her Canadian limbs
around my torso
and got so close
that she even tried to eat me
swallow me into her — right eyebrow first

even rendered mute by death
my corpse will speak to strangers
that she visited this skin
touched this household of dust and ash
saw the mask that I hid in
tried to open me like a can of soup
to spill out my brain and ego

she wanted nothing
but for me to hold fast and trust her
and I could not
this mark proves my doubts manifest
leaves me to forever contemplate
my near-impossibility to love someone else selflessly
the cut a battle wound
no less serious than seppuku across the belly
a shotgun blast to the ribcage
I failed in a split second
and the path of blood from bed to sink
still stains the tile grout
reiterating every morning to my toes
the eschatology of our love affair

these arms still reach out to empty air
still beg the dawn that her absence is conjectural
I haven’t washed my sheets since she left
in hopes that the smell of her in the bed
will bring her back like a bloodhound
searching the crime scene for the victims

I’ll go mad some morning
and take chisel to the tile
attempt to chip out each cell of hemoglobin
force them back into the wound
pick out all the solitary strands of her hair
embedded in the carpet
and glue them back together
use all the collected powers
of every clairvoyant and bullshit psychic in this city
to pull me back through time
return to that moment
and tell that son-of-bitch in the bed
that "when she says 'don’t move'
"you don’t fucking move
"you let her collapse into your arms like she meant to
"you hold her so tight, it hurts to exhale
"because you're pushing her heart millimeters away from yours
"you stop thinking about whether she might hurt you
"because even if she does,
"she's still here"

and as the future-me
begins to back away into the shadows
he fades away into nothing as they taught us
in all proper science-fictions,
the past-me and she
will swing arms wide into ocean waves
wash over and crash into each other
until the sheets are drenched in salt and seawater

this tiny cut
this scar to remember her by
will be last thing to fade
supernova-ing into the ash of angelsdisappearing in a twinkle like forgotten star
without even a single pair of lovers on summer grass
somewhere in the galaxy
to note its passing
and wonder, “what was that?”

It wasn't until after I had written this poem and went back to read it how the ending of this poem, while initially unintentionally, is heavily influenced thematically by Derrick Brown's "A Finger, Two Dots, Then Me," which is both one of mine and Azami's favorite poems.

(For "Love Like A Scar: Part I")

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

that I was guilty of loving her
my alibi evaporates when you see the cut.
There is no shame in love...for it is the stuff of stars and god.
discover the source of your guilt.

more than poems or photographs
the scar of her marks me
in mirrors,
in the reflection of car windows
the snap of portraits
the mark a centimeter wide
that could tear open like a zipptouched this household of dust and asher
on a beaten-up, used childhood toy
and spill out my stuffing
...Now you know that love heals all...reflect love. The universe, all that is sacred, worth dying for, and spirit, is love.