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.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lexington, Bull Run and Live on CNN

Lexington, Bull Run and Live on CNN
By Christopher Fox Graham

America, the absent-minded lover
who forgets your name in the ambivalence of night
doubts the pressure pressed gently to it yesterday was worth remembering today
America, you drunk rapist of suburban children
seeking to know your currents
pull themselves higher to see the view
know the far side of your hulk

you, America, show shadows of past days
bring down the cultural acme
to a level you can conduct with a symphony of fools playing off and out of meter
you, America, want us to love you
and your ideals that you stopped practicing
long before most of us came here,
you want us to love you
the way you were
and ignore the bombs of contempt and leaflets
dropped on Americans who just haven't moved here yet

you, America
with your blind eyes and traffic stops
with your breathalyzers of dissidents
shatter our hopes with your material wealth
and the need to make more

you draw in our children with your Technicolor dreamscapes
teach them that 2-D television love lives
can fill the void we feel
by not reaching out to feel our neighbors hands
call 9-1-1 instead of showing up
to speak some next-door words

you, America, that forbids our secret pleasures
from leaving us happy for a night
let us damn ourselves if you believe in the freedom
with which our ancestors built you
let go of wrists because these nations' hands
have empires to wreck
and men to free
we have lovers to swoon
and stars to call our own
without the cataloging of spheres of gases

we have dreams of starlight
to worship lovers beneath
without the fist fall of your suspicions
let us alone, America,
you redneck whore,
you control freak with good intentions
our way to hell is paved with your statutes
that enforce the will of do-nothing meat puppets
instead of letting the artists
live for art's sake
and drag the moonlight out into day
name the blind sun with our own tongue
and kiss the clouds into tomorrow

you, America, the destroyer of worlds
the doom of dreams
leaving broken roads not taken
through yellow woods unseen
bought with slaves wages

we will resist you
cap your mountains with our footfalls
bring down the gates of mud
and bury them for peach tree orchards

you, America, may doom us one by one
but the enumeration of our mysteries
will hopscotch through our daughters' minds
raise the sons
to raise the armies to resist you
tear down the towers
overlooking our prison camp daymares
America, we love you
but you do very bad things
no man or thing is evil
but actions may be
and sometimes crimes deserve just punishment
when too many have been broken

we, America, your sons and daughters, lay broken
but we won't here long
soon we'll rise
it will only take a moment
when one swift kick in the ribs
proves one too many
and we retake our place
and the bearers of freedom
the entrepreneurs of artistry
one more artist with shotgun dentistry
one more ghetto enclave to genocide the unwanted
one unlucky fuck who gets too close to the riot line
and takes a round on live network daytime TV
one martyr who didn't want to be
to raise the call in us
get us to pull each other up by the bootstraps
and bring down the highjackers of our grand experiment
and make you remember that you
are ours
we are not yours

you, America,
you were a republic once
and a republic can last forever,
but empires, all empires
must one day fall

I wrote and performed this poem tonight for the Sedona Visual Artists Coalition's "PATHWAYS...A Visual Journey" show in the Tlaquepaque Sala de la Milagro ballroom.

Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Wood, and a reply















Two Roads Diverged
in a Yellow Wood
A Road in a Yellow Wood
By Robert FrostBy Christopher Fox Graham
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
We parted ways in that yellow wood
split at the fork to wander onward
I, the grassy one who wanted wear
my partner, the one bent below
the undergrowth where I could not go

the traveler stood between us
weighing our claims for his future
looking down us both as far as he could
as if the first footfalls hence
could reveal our destinations

Others had stood here on other mornings
longingly stretched their dreams down us
then trodden black the fallen leaves
and none had ever come back
to retry the other road

the traveler chose a route,
and made his way down his road
where he wound up, I cannot say
I am just the road in a yellow wood
the difference was his to make


I wrote and performed this poem tonight for the Sedona Visual Artists Coalition's "PATHWAYS...A Visual Journey" show in the Tlaquepaque Sala de la Milagro ballroom.

Orion

MapQuest the miles in the sky
it's easier to find you that way
than to traipse the hills between us

begin at Betelgeuse,
the moment we met
you, smiling as a stranger yet to know me
me, tripping over words
until I learn the rhythm to match you
we trace the lines
the midnights you teach me the art of touch
the mathematics of how to hold you
wrap starstrings of limbs to encase you
and become a hammock for your dreams

I first kiss you
near the lips of Meissa
taste the words camping in your backyard tongue
bring them inside mine
swirl them around until they lost track of their speaker
and became one breath

on the edge of Belatrix
we start our roadtrips
showing you all the places I loved
atlasing each one in sequence into new memories
snapping photographs for future shoeboxes
and Facebook updates

the fights erupt near Mintaka
parry, thrust, riposte,
we practice the arts of combat
study the hows and ways of pushing each other
you always win the battles, even if you don’t believe me

near Alnilam, you proffer forgiveness
and I discover how to say "sorry"
without losing face
on the brink of the Horsehead Nebula
I dive into all your stories
bleed out all of mine
let you examine all my sins
with the enthusiasm of a hell-bent prosecutor
working an open-and-shut case
but on the executioner's block
before the guillotine blade drops
the electric chair switch makes contact
or the Sodium Pentothal entered the vein
the pardon comes
and into my arms you sweep like a storm
tsunaming my defenses to wreckage
and calling me back to bed

we swim to the Orion Nebula
lovers in the surf of a black and white movie
drenched in the waves
as if to tell Nature and the gods,
"your eternity will not outlast us"
"our kisses will still come ferociously
long after this sand is washed away to bedrock
and the waves have evaporated in the heat of a dying sun"
"Your mighty Olympus will fall into Eden's vacant valleys
before we yield to your earthquakes
shrug off lightning bolts and burning bushes"
"our pulses will be the last thing the universe will hear
before entropy turns all the matters into orphaned atoms
finding lonely refuge in the dark"

we lost ourselves in those nebulas
swallowing stardust to give birth to new suns
we seemed to live there for eons of mortal time
just black sheets, bare skin, whispered poems
smiles and slumber

but in the bliss, we drift just past Alniltak,
and differences became too much too bear
so we kiss for last time
make love for the last time
said our last words as lovers
and go our own way

You sail on to Saiph,
I go home to Rigel
leaving phone numbers scarred on each other's aorta
mine still beats out the ten digits daily
when the moment feels right
and in the time it takes to draw a line between them
with the tip of finger remembering the sequence
we fold space like bedsheets in the blink of eye
so two points become one

and we cross the thousands of light years
become lovers again, drunk instead on words
remember the old times,
the joys in Orion and Horsehead,
the battles of Alniltak, Alnilam and Mentaka
the road routes to Belatrix
the kiss of Meissa
and the first hello in the orbit of Betelgeuse
but when the phone clicks off
and the points unfold,
you shine in Saiph
and I glow bright above Rigel
so we can see each other

and if on some little world called Earth
where two lovers like us
gaze up and see us shining on the same night and wonder
so be it
navigate by us if you will
send wishes heavenward if you think it'll do any good
but know we don't glimmer for you
we, instead, burn brilliant so the other can see us
and know that despite it all
love travels faster than light
and our story is wide as a constellation

I wrote and performed this poem tonight for the Sedona Visual Artists Coalition's "PATHWAYS...A Visual Journey" show in the Tlaquepaque Sala de la Milagro ballroom.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Best Headline

I forgot to post a photo of this new plaque when I got it last month.

The winning headline was "Santa puts 4 on the naughty list for drug smuggling over the holidays."