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.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Open letter to Dave Matthews

This is an open letter to Dave Matthews,

for those of you expecting the typical "ode to a musician" slam poem
this would be the point
where I would insert biographical references
of the Johannesburg-born guitarist,
raised in New York
who finally left South Africa to avoid military conscription

or obscure clues to his professional history,
like his honorary doctorate from Haverford College
or the anti-Apartheid theme of “Don’t Drink the Water”

this is the point where you’d expect me
to weave the names of his albums into the poem
as if I was “Under the Table and Dreaming”
just about to “Stand Up” “Before These Crowded Streets”
like I do “Everyday” before I “Crash” into “Busted Stuff”
but “Remember Two Things,”
and no they’re not “Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King”
one:
this is not one of those poems
and two:
fuck you, Dave Matthews
and not for the same reason we all hate
Hootie & the Blowfish,
no, this is personal

Dave,
the month I turned 18
I heard “Crash Into Me” for the first time
with lyrics so sharp they stung

for those of us
too shy to talk to girls
all tied up and twisted,
it was our ballad,
our song,
it gave boys like me hope
that even awkward outsiders
could find the right girl
even if we felt too creepy
to stand the sight of ourselves

Dave,
you expressed our dream
asked on our behalf
in way only you could
that they forgive us in our haste
yes, we were peeping toms
watching through the window
asking them to overlook our failures
and for both our sakes, to just
crash into us
just hike up their skirts a little more
and show the world to us

you said what we couldn’t:
“I’m lost for you;
I'm so lost for you
Touch your lips
just so I know
In your eyes, love, it glows so
I'm bareboned and crazy for you
When you come crash into me”
we felt creepy,  
but you made it sound sweet

Dave, you were king of the castle
we were the dirty rascals
and that song was our secret
I knew what the words meant
while everyone else just heard the melody

and then I met her
she loved that song, too,
and I don’t know if she felt like the girl inside
winking at us in the bushes
or she was outside with the rest of us
feeling awkward, too,
but she hiked up her skirt
and showed her world to me
and while that song played
she wanted to crash into me
wanted me to come into her in a boy’s dream

she was sweet like candy to my soul
sweet she rock
And sweet she roll
she wore nothing at all
but she wore it so well
we were tied up and twisted
they way we ought to be
I was her Dixie chicken
she was my Tennessee lamb
and we walked together
down in Dixieland
just like you said we would

but Dave,
fuck you,
that song only lasts 5 minutes 16 seconds
the longest bootleg I can find
is 8 minutes 23 seconds
and that’s not enough time to love her
she’s worth decades
but no one makes CDs that long
and I can’t put it on repeat ...

she’s too smart for that

if you had written the song to last a day
I might have held her longer than a year,
she’s tied me up tight
tied me up again
she’s got her claws into me, my friend
I’ve got my ball
I’ve got my chain
her wave crashed into me
and I’ve gone overboard

I’ve lived that boy’s dream,
I made it real and now she’s gone
you gave me hope,
but fuck you, Dave,
you never said what happens when the song ends
Just that into my heart she'll beat again
now whenever I hear those opening chords,
the song just crashes into me
knocks me overboard
leaves me drowning
in a boy’s dream

4 comments:

Joe's blog said...

I love Dave Matthews. I'm wondering why he's not that popular in Germany. Even musicians don't know him here. We are working on a duo-cover of So much to say...

Christopher Fox Graham said...

Thanks for the post.

Despite the poem, I'm a fan, too. I never had many album in my teens and college, but I had four Dave Matthews Band albums. I knew a lot of people in college who hated him or band, but not for any legitimate reason. Disliking Hootie and the Blowfish made a little more sense, because it seemed like fraternity boys liked the band, so people who hated frat boys hated the band by proxy. But disliking Dave Matthews still doesn't make sense. He's a good lyricist and the band makes great music.

Hope the duo cover goes well.

Julie Compton said...

Well, to use your words, "FU" for writing such a beautiful poem, Christopher Fox Graham! I stumbled across it because of the DMB reference, but now you have a new fan.

I've always thought the ones who express such hatred for the band "doth protest too much" - if you know what I mean. Most liked it at one time, but when it was no longer "cool" they professed to have seen the light and decided the band sucked. I suspect when they're older, and have grown out of caring what others think, they'll come back to it.

By the way, I don't think you needed to say in your comment that "despite the poem, I'm a fan, too." That's obvious. Only a fan could write such a piece as you've written. Look forward to reading more of your stuff.

Anissa said...

I love this. Well done, as always.

When we both worked at ASU, you gave me a DMB CD that you had burned. So I can vouch that you are a long-time fan.