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, August 27, 2011

"Orion" by Christopher Fox Graham

By Christopher Fox Graham
For Azami

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

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