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.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I'm a volunteer at the National Poetry Slam 2010

Just received word that I will be a volunteer venue manager at the National Poetry Slam in St. Paul, MN, next week. Four days of work at one venue to make sure the bouts run smoothly.

Rock on!

See you all at NPS!

Grapevine Canyon, Nevada


Azami and I just downloaded these photos off a camera from our trip to Bullhead City and Kingman for a class I taught at Mikel Weisser's schools in April. After class and before the open mic, Mikel took us to Grapevine Canyon in nearby Nevada, right across the Colorado River.



























Saturday, July 24, 2010

Life in a Day

My Jedi sense says something important is happening today ....

Life in a Day is a crowdsourced documentary film comprising an arranged series of video clips selected from 80,000 clips submitted to the YouTube video sharing website, the clips showing respective occurrences from around the world on a single day, July 24, 2010.

The film is 94 minutes 57 seconds long and includes scenes selected from 4,500 hours of footage in 80,000 submissions from 192 nations. The completed film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival on January 27, 2011, and the premiere was streamed live on YouTube. On October 31, 2011, YouTube announced that Life in a Day would be available for viewing on its website free of charge, and on DVD.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Psychoanalysis v. the Irish

"This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever."

-- Misattributed to Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), but certainly true nonetheless, speaking as a part-Irishman.

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

Friday, July 16, 2010

Love Me Like a Cowboy

Love me like a cowboy
without cell phones or central heating
we’ll ride horses down city highways
pass Lexuses and BMWs
waiting for the lights to change
I’ll hoster my six shooter
except for trick shots
and love you dawn till dusk
then love you more
the Old West is a sunrise away
if we ride toward the sunset
we’ll ride the next day
in chaps and 10-gallon hats
on dapple greys or duns

imagine us shooting up the local tavern
making love in high-priced restaurants
and city subways
as if we were only watched by prairie dogs
hunts the suburbs for lost gold mines
and make camp in the middle of the expressway
I’ll ride shotgun while you
use a long rifle on lawyers
to thin out the herd

imagine us always having
a setting sun toward which to ride
a rolling prairie to call home
a pair of horses to carry us
from Deadwood to heaven to Virginia City
and a West forever wild

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ryan Brown wins the June 12 Sedona Poetry Slam

Results from the Sedona Poetry Slam

Saturday, June 12, 2010, Studio Live, Sedona, Arizona, 7:30 p.m.

Calibration poet and host Christopher Fox Graham of Sedona, "She Begs For Poetry"

Round 1
Random Draw
Liana O'Boyle, of Sedona, 23.1, after 2.5 time penalty, 20.6 (3:50)
Brit Shostak, of Mesa, 26.3 (2:50)
Tristan Marshall, of Mesa, 27.2, after 0.5 time penalty, 26.7 (3:13)
Champion Max Boehm-Reifenkugel, of Sedona, 24.8 (2:47)
Rowie Shebala, of Gallup, N.M., 23.9 (2:01)
Bill Campana, of Mesa, 26.8 (3:04)
Shi'ike, of Cottonwood, 27.9 (3:08)
Tufik Shayeb, of Mesa, 25.7 (2:45)
Mickey Randleman, of Tucson, 26.5 (2:41)
Lauren Perry, of Mesa, 26.4 (3:00)
Ryan Brown, of Flagstaff, 26.9 (2:55)
Evan Dissinger, of Flagstaff, 26.7 (2:23)
Mikel Weisser, of Kingman, 23.4 (1:03)
Doc Luben, of Tucson, 26.3 (3:09)
Randy Warren, of Sedona, 27.5 (2:51)

---intermission---

Between rounds, the audience will be entertained with a feature performance by the Klute, one of the country’s best slam poets and an Arizona artistic treasure.

The Klute, aka Bernard Schober, competed at the National Poetry Slam six times, for the Mesa Slam Team in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006, and the Phoenix Slam Slam Team in 2008 and 2009. He has led two of those teams to the NPS semi-final stage, ranking him among the best of the best nationwide. He was also the Mesa Grand Slam champion in 2005 and 2010.

In an era when most artists and poets shy away from confronting politics, the Klute stands apart.

He has earned a reputation for in-your-face political commentary and over-the-top humor targeting Neo-Conservative politicians, crass laissez-faire commercialism and Goth subculture.

Originally from south Florida, The Klute writes almost exclusively in free verse, making his poetry conversational and relevant to even those who see poetry as something to avoid.

Standing more than 6 feet tall and always bedecked in a black trench coat, the Klute is hard to miss. When poetry escapes his lips at full blast, he’s hard not to hear.

The Klute has released three poetry chapbooks, "Escape Velocity," "Look at What America Has Done to Me" and "My American Journey," which prompted a cease and desist order from the attorneys of former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

“Despite the heat, [The Klute] wears a black trench coat almost everywhere he goes and if the setting permits, he’ll blast through enough slanderous commentary to make Andrew Dice Clay blush,” according to Phoenix 944 Magazine. “Today, his addiction for getting in front of the microphone and spitting out everything from a Dick Cheney haiku to a long-winded prose on race car driving to the late Hunter S. Thompson is as strong as his love for vodka and absinthe. If anyone’s seen ‘The Klute’ in action, they’d know it. If they haven’t, they must.”

Round 2
Reverse Order
Randy Warren, 24.5, after 1.5 time penalty, 23.0 (3:39), 50.5
Doc Luben, 24.7 (2:57), 51.0
Mikel Weisser, 23.0 (2:24), 46.4
Evan Dissinger, 25.2 (3:09), 51.9
Ryan Brown, 28.2 (3:05), 55.1
Lauren Perry, 26.7 (3:09), 53.1
Mickey Randleman, 26.4 (2:52), 52.9
Tufik Shayeb, 25.2 (2:49), 50.9
Shi'ike, 24.2, after 4.0 time penalty, 20.2, (4:29), 48.1
Bill Campana, 24.2 (2:49), 51.0
Rowie Shebala, 25.8 (2:55), 49.7
Champion Max Boehm-Reifenkugel, 26.9 (1:54), 51.7
Tristan Marshall, 27.2, (2:48), 51.5
Brit Shostak, 25.4 (2:22), 51.7
Liana O'Boyle, of Sedona, 25.0, after 1.0 time penalty, 24.0 (3:25), 44.6

Round 3
High to Low
Sorbet poet: Kayt Perlman

Ryan Brown, 27.9 (2:26), 83.0
Lauren Perry, 25.6 (2:56), 78.7
Mickey Randleman, 26.2 (2:47), 79.1
Evan Dissinger left the slam early
Champion Max Boehm-Reifenkugel, 26.7 (1:38), 78.4
Brit Shostak, 26.0 (2:23), 77.7
Tristan Marshall, 23.9 (3:01), 75.4
Doc Luben, 25.2 (2:55), 76.2
Bill Campana, 23.4 (3:09), 74.4
Tufik Shayeb, 23.1 (2:21), 74.0
Randy Warren, 26.5, (4:07), 77.0
Rowie Shebala, 23.3, after 0.5 time penalty, 22.8 (3:14), 72.5
Shi'ike, 26.6 (2:40), 74.7
Mikel Weisser, 22.7 (1:16), 69.1
Liana O'Boyle, 23.4, after 1.0 time penalty, 22.4 (3:25), 67.0

Final scores
1st: Ryan Brown, 83.0, $100

2nd: Mickey Randleman, 79.1

3rd: Lauren Perry, 78.7

Champion Max Boehm-Reifenkugel, 78.4
Brit Shostak, 77.7
Randy Warren, 77.0
Doc Luben, 76.2
Tristan Marshall, 75.4
Shi'ike, 74.7
Bill Campana, 74.4
Tufik Shayeb, 74.0
Rowie Shebala, 72.5
Mikel Weisser, 69.1
Liana O'Boyle, 67.0
Evan Dissinger, 51.9* (only competed in 2 rounds)

Slam staff
Scorekeeper and Timekeeper: Jessica Laurel Reese
Host: Christopher Fox Graham
Organizers:
April Holman Payne, Jenn Reddington, Studio Live
Christopher Fox Graham, Sedona 510 Poetry

Her cat killed a bunny, which died in my hands

Azami is watching Deeds' house and her cat, Mr. Knightly. Her cat has a tendency to catch and kill animals, usually birds and lizards. Most recently, he caught a bunny. Azami saw him and yelled for help, as girls do with small mammals killing other small mammals, and I came to the rescue, of sorts.

The bunny died in my hands.

Azami held him, too.

Azami built a little altar as an art piece, a la Burning Man, before we buried the bunny in the backyard.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Canada Day in Sedona

Canadian-born Sedona residents celebrated Canada Day — the anniversary of the country’s founding in 1867 — at Posse Grounds Park on Thursday, July 1. The group included, from left, Joanne Marco, Tony Marco and Jacquie Randall, all from Hamilton, Ontario; Sedona Police Department Cmdr. Ron Wheeler, from Winnipeg, Manitoba; Harold Gorny, from Toronto; and Azami Ishihara, from Kingston, Ontario.

Azami at the grill.

The group gathers to eat and reminisce about Canada.

Zach Brutsche and Azami show off the Canada Day temporary tattoos she brought back from Alberta.

I got a temporary tattoo above my real tattoo.

Gov. Jan Brewer speaks in Sedona, defends immigration law SB 1070

By Christopher Fox Graham
Larson Newspapers

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer used Sedona as a platform Thursday, July 1, to discuss the nationwide reaction to Senate Bill 1070, Arizona’s new immigration law.

Brewer said that the bill merely mirrors existing federal law. Passage of the bill was necessary to secure the Arizona-Mexico border, she said, because the federal immigration process is broken.

For the rest of the full story on the Sedona Red Rock News website, click here.

Photo by Tom Hood/Larson Newspapers

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Loch Ness Monster vs Trolls: In Haiku

These were a series of haikus I used in a head-to-head death match against Tucson's Teresa Driver in October. Just found them.

I was assigned the Loch Ness Monster, she was assigned trolls. Enjoy.

Loch Ness Monster Haiku #1
Bring it on, you trolls
come to the shore and face
my Flippers of Doom


Loch Ness Monster Haiku #2
Monster of Loch Ness
rises from the deep to feed
tourists run screaming


Loch Ness Monster Haiku #3
They say I'm hiding
I'm just biding my time
2012 is near


Loch Ness Monster Haiku #4
Trolls carry spears, swords
and have to hunt in packs.
Bite, swallow, then nap.


Loch Ness Monster Haiku #5
At Moria mines,
even Hobbits fought the troll
but all flee from me


Loch Ness Monster Haiku #6
Dungeons & Dragons
has many troll editions.
But I need just one.


Loch Ness Monster Haiku #7
Fear trolls at nighttime.
In daylight, walk free. At sea,
you always fear me.


Loch Ness Monster Haiku #8
If troll comes for you
he must sneak in. If I come --
you can't hide. You're doomed.


Loch Ness Monster Haiku #9
The troll-free Bible
names both Leviathan and
Jonah's whale. Tremble!


Loch Ness Monster Haiku #10
"Jaws" "The Abyss" and
"It Came From the Black Lagoon"
Name a troll movie.


Loch Ness Monster Haiku #11
Captain Jack Sparrow
Spent three films running from me

What film do trolls have?


Loch Ness Monster Haiku #12

The Leviathan
even made Yahweh tremble.
Bible is troll-free

Saturday, July 3, 2010

How big would the oil spill be near you?

If BP's Deepwater Horizon oil spill occurred in Sedona, this would be its current size.

How big would the oil spill be near you?

Oil Dealers and Deepwater, Part I

Part I – Oil Dealers*

drive the needle deeper
we need this to fuel us
drive it deeper
till it hits
suck it out like Mother Nature
was givin’ a blowjob
it hurts, yeah, but hurts more
when we don’t have none



used to have our own,
but never enough
I found some pure stuff
bought it cheap
right next door
who knew the neighbor was a dealer?
had to go under the water
not so easy and finding it in the dirt
but don’t matter none
once it goes in
you don’t think about where it came from



got it pure and cheap
got it from B.P.
always trust a Limey, I say
they talk like us and don’t do no wrong



drive the needle deeper
we need this to fuel us
drive it deeper
till it hits
suck it out like Mother Nature
was givin’ a blowjob
it hurts, yeah, but hurts more
when we don’t have none



we don’t trust the Saudi dealer anymore
he’s got too many issues
beats his wife for speaking out
little brothers always bitchin’
’bout how we smack ’em around
Saudi thinks we like him
but we won’t even know his name
if he didn’t have any



his crew don’t trust us none
last time we went there
one o’ them ragheads
left us with a bloody lip
knocked over a few towers in our neighborhood
but we done fucked him up good



we only go to the Saudi for this junk
when we’re desperate
— and when we’re armed, rollin’ with our boys
got to show ’em who’s boss
if you want a fair deal



had some homegrown
but it’s gone bunk
always need more
if we’re going to make it ride
and if it runs out
we still got the Saudi
he’s eager to deal
if he don’t sell to the Chinaman first
but if he do
we’ll just go back with bigger guns
bleed him dry till he’s done
maybe go visit the Chinaman
sure, he packs heat
and rides with his boys
but I think we can take him
We’re ’Mericans,
and we don’t take no shit
John Wayne wasn’t no pussy
we're bad motherfuck'rs



drive the needle deeper
we need this to fuel us
drive it deeper
till it hits
suck it out like Mother Nature
was givin’ a blowjob
it hurts, yeah, but hurts more
when we don’t have none



spill a little, no big deal
always more where this came from
if you lose control
let it flow, let it burn
give Mother Nature a facial
it hurts, yeah, but hurts more
when we don’t have none

*All BP satire logos from www.logomyway.com