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.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Sedona jet crash

On Wednesday, May 25, a small private jet crash landed at the Sedona Airport.

As our photojournalist Tom Hood was already on his way to cover the Sedona Red Rock High School Class of 2011 graduation, I went to the airport to get a photo.

Mac McCall, the airport manager drove me down the tarmac, but the U.S. Forest Service had closed off the area as a HAZMAT site due to a fuel leak coming from the port wing, which was ripped open in the crash.

Sedona Fire District Battalion Chief Jayson Coil, however, recommended that I hike over to Table Mesa to get a photo, which turned out to be a far better idea considering the steepness of the terrain let me shoot photos that put the whole crash site into perspective in regard to Airport Mesa.

The hike was about 0.44 miles, if GoogleEarth measurements are accurate. I got to a great angle about 90 minutes after the crash.

The two pilots and three passengers all walked away.

I love covering breaking news.

You can read the Sedona Red Rock News Story here.

Monday, May 23, 2011

"Revolution 2.0 (We weep with you, Wael Ghonim)" audio recording

Revolution 2.0 by FoxThePoet
Revolution 2.0
By Christopher Fox Graham

type, type, send
type, type, send
the revolution begins not with a bang
but with a text message

Wael Ghonim on DreamTV, Egypt, on 9 February 2011.
we weep with you, Wael Ghonim,
you did not sign a declaration
shoot a gun
nor take an assassin's bullet
you ran a Facebook page

Egyptian secret police held you blindfolded for 11 days
promised you would be buried nameless, anonymous


as a Facebook event,
your ghost of Khalid Said,
brought down a dictator

we weep with you, Wael Ghonim,
you unintentional revolutionary,
you sob as the names of boys fallen
crawl across the bottom of the screen
as Mona el-Shazly asks you to gaze up
swallow the Facebook images and off-kilter photographs
taken at parties
or late-night on-the-towns
images become epitaphs,
of boys like us
who before January 25
just watched girls pass
traded albums
downloaded music
called their mothers on thieir birthdays
and never thought their country
would ever be theirs

if we could stand with you, Wael Ghonim, we would
embrace you as man to man
wrap arms around you to hold you standing
convince you to believe us
that your hands are clean
your soul is unstained
the blood of brothers and sisters on them
wasn’t spilt by you
use it to paint flags
touch it to your childrens’ foreheads
and tell them “this was shed for you,
by men and women who gave more than we did,
it is why you now have a voice
why 'freedom' is more than a noun”

wash it off in the Nile
let it taste of the mother river
swim upstream to the sources
and down to the Delta
tell all of Egypt
from Luxor tombs
to pyramid shadows
to the library halls of Alexandria
that your country is free
shake the earth
so dead pharaohs wake trembling
and living tyrants flee from their thrones

Egyptian Christians protecting Egyptian Muslims from pro-Mubarak
counter-protestors during their prayers in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Feb. 10.
we weep with you, Wael Ghonim,
we stood with you in Tahrir Square
we were the breath of bravery
you felt beside you
when the enemy rode in on camels
we stood beside you
five times a day
when you knelt to pray to Allah
we,
atheists, Christians, Buddhists
Hindus, Sikhs, and Jews
we watched your back
stood guard in silence
we were the ghosts you felt
assuring you the world was listening
we don’t know your prayers
but understood each word because
“freedom” never needs translation
it feels the same
no matter the shade or age of skin,

we weep with you, Wael Ghonim,
because your tears are too heavy for one man
let us carry them for you
permit us bear their weight
because we could not physically stand alongside you
allow us sing our lullabies in 1,000 languages to your children
let us tell them our words for "liberty"
so no matter where they travel
we have that in common

we weep with you, Wael Ghonim,
because you are not alone
you never were

                  now,                 sleep,
guiltless

weightless

and free




Wael Ghonim is an Egyptian computer engineer and head of marketing of Google Middle East and North Africa who was living in the United Arab Emirates. He ran the Facebook page that organized the Jan25 movement to protest Egyptian President and dictator Hosni Mubarak. In January 2011, Ghonim persuaded Google to allow him to return to Egypt, citing a "personal problem." Planning only a six-day visit for the protest, he was captured by Mubarak's security forces and held blindfolded for 11 days and the protests swelled in Tahrir Square, Cairo. The day he was released, he appeared on a DreamTV program hosted by Mona el-Shazly.

On 9 February, Ghonim addressed the crowds in Tahrir Square, telling the protesters: "This is not the time for individuals, or parties, or movements. It's a time for all of us to say just one thing: Egypt above all."

On 11 February, Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman announced that Mubarak had resigned as president and transferred authority to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

"Orion," audio recording

Orion by FoxThePoet
"Orion"
By Christopher Fox Graham
For Azami
Written Nov. 18, 2010

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

"Unbreakable," audio recording

Unbreakable by FoxThePoet


She’s unbreakablebut easily bent
as stubborn as a mule
but when push comes to shove
concaves her spine into the wind
so she doesn’t need me
until she needs
craves my embrace only
when it’s near enough to envelop her

in the absence,
we are just strangers sharing familiar history
and phone lines,
whispering “until I see you again …”
when she’s here,
we’re a psychic friends network
finishing each other’s thoughts
but languishing in the laborious lugubrious articulation of sentences
when she’s gone,
she becomes ancestral myth
remembered theoretically as a moral teaching tool
cleaving us apart
is like banishing a twin
while the collision together
equally disturbs our rhythms
shakes loose the axis of the galaxy
affecting space alien trade routes
halfway across the Orion Arm
until patterns synchronize and stabilize

I miss sharing her pulse
the give-and-take battles
of ego and surrender
hers as much as mine
although mine takes center stage more often

in her vacancy
personality fades into vapor
ceases to break the surface
slumbers for days at a time
before rising to check the calendar
realize her eviction
then shutter eyes again

how her chapters scribe themselves
I can only conjecture
pen what I imagine
and wait to crack her fortune cookie shell for the answer

unbreakable, she bends in the wind
opening her fate like a sail
landing wherever the breeze blows,
spine bent, but unbowed
conviction untamed,
pride untarnished
mouth closed
ears open
arms wide

"A Plea to Kitsune," audo recording

A Plea to Kitsune by FoxThePoet



A Plea to Kitsune
Written March 12, 2011

By Christopher Fox Graham


the world splits open
cracking the rock, a loaf of bread
the angry sea pitches
rolls uphill turning beaches into seabeds
Honshu homes built with sweat
float inland as driftwood
resistant to Godzilla and Mothra
the rage of Akira
and a 1,000 manga disasters
but the Earth’s quiver
a shudder at climax
topples shopping centers and temples
rips roads from foundations
pulls down a country made of chrysanthemums
cherry trees weep as roots drown in salt water


Einstein’s mathematics harnessed
already wiped two cities into cinders here
and a third teeters on the edge
the pride of Bushido
the nobility of seppuku and honor
as poetic as any martyrdom
has suffered this country too much already
this is the nation that gave us
the word for “tsunami” after all

she may have been there
a Bento box and sushi
fresh from the sea
reminding her of an age
when she still had trouble walking
when she reached up for father’s hands
to cross the street in safety
I gave her a warning
told her to be careful


if there is a world of shadow
underneath this one
where djinnis and angels play cards with fate
shades and yōkais plan their tricks
fairies and daemons brew new magicks
I can only hope a kyuubi no kitsune
unfaded from the eaves
warned her on my behalf
to be near a doorframe
stay away from the beaches
stand firm when the earth beneath did not
I beg him to whisper tonight
that he wrapped his nine fox tails
around her limbs and torso
roundhouse-kicked the falling roof panels
or ceiling tiles or tumbling walls
kept debris from falling on her
left her pristine, unbroken and unblemished
until she returns to my country
and if he could not find her
could not reach her in time
would tell her she is beloved half a world away
by the dozens of us who’ve know her
that we long to know she is unharmed

she doesn’t even have to know it was me,
kitsune,
just pass these words to her


Click to donate to Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami relief through the American Red Cross.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Phoenix poet Shaikh Sammad headlines Sedona Poetry Slam

The Quick:
Phoenix poet Shaikh Sammad headlines Sedona Poetry Slam
Studio Live
215 Coffee Pot Drive, Sedona, AZ
Saturday, June 11, 7:30 pm

The Long:
Phoenix poet Shaikh Sammad headlines Sedona Poetry Slam

The Sedona Summer Poetry Slam will explode at Studio Live at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 11, presenting three rounds of poetic competition as poets battle for pride and $100.

Between rounds, the audience will be entertained with a feature performance by Damien Flores, one of the top slam poets in New Mexico and a member of the 2005 National Poetry Slam Championship Team.

Shaikh Sammad is a poet, actor, vocalist, performance artist and activist.

A native of Newark, N.J., Sammad now resides in Arizona where he divides his time between the Phoenix metro area and Cottonwood in the Verde Valley. An avid gardener, he spends the majority of his time developing community gardens to feed residents in low- to no-income areas.

Additionally he has taken on the role of Youth Arts Program director with the Tigermountain Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency which encourages urban farming as a means of community development. He believes strongly that all people should have access to affordable, nutritious, locally grown produce regardless of race, gender, age, class or income. The stage is a powerful place to begin the exchange of ideas.

Shaikh Sammad, of Phoneix, features
at the Sedona Poetry Slam on
Saturday, June 11.
Shaikh Sammad stated in a press release that he "looks forward to sharing his messages of love, faith and community as feature poet at the Sedona Slam on June 11, 2011."

All poets are welcome to compete in the slam.
Slammers will need three original poems, each lasting no longer than three minutes. No props, costumes nor musical accompaniment are permitted.

The poets will be judged Olympics-style by five members of the audience selected at random at the beginning of the slam. The top poet at the end of the night wins $100.

Poets who want to compete should purchase a ticket in case the roster is filled before they arrive.

The slam will be hosted by Sedona poet Christopher Fox Graham, who represented Northern Arizona on the Flagstaff team at five National Poetry Slams between 2001 and 2010. He has hosted and competed in poetry slams and open mics in Sedona since 2004.

The slam will be hosted by Sedona poet Christopher Fox Graham.
Graham has performed in 40 states, Toronto, Dublin, Ireland, and London, and wrote the now infamous “Peach” poem.


For more information or to register, call Graham at (928) 517-1400 or e-mail to foxthepoet@yahoo.com. See video from previous poetry slams at www.YouTube.com/FoxThePoet.

Founded in Chicago by construction worker and poet Marc “So What?” Smith in 1984, poetry slam is a competitive artistic sport. Poetry slam has become an international artistic sport, with more than 100 major poetry slams in the United States, Canada, Australia and Western Europe.

For more information about the worldwide phenomena of poetry slam, visit www.poetryslam.com and foxthepoet.blogspot.com.

Home of the Sedona Performers Guild nonprofit, Studio Live is located at 215 Coffee Pot Drive, West Sedona. For more information, visit www.studiolivesedona.com.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Learn to write a press release that will publish

For people working in the arts, marketing, public relations or with nonprofit organizations, publicity is everything.

Learn the art of writing a press release from media professional Christopher Fox Graham, on Saturday, May 21, starting at 12:30 p.m.

Workshops taught by public relations professionals may focus on writing a press release, but as a professional newspaper editor, Graham approaches the topic from the other angle — representing the media professionals responsible for choosing which press releases to publish and where to place them in their publications.

Drafting an effective press release may seem an impossible skill to master. Press releases often lack key information, such as location, dates, costs or contact information. Others fail to provide sufficient background to be considered effective by the media outlets and news organizations that receive them.

Photo by Saar Inglebert
Creating an effective, informative, yet brief and easy-to-read press release is often more art than skill. A good press release provides succinct details to inform newspaper or magazine readers, website users and radio listeners about news events, offering just enough information to pique readers’ interest in the topic without boring them.

Using real-world examples, Graham will demonstrate the differences between good and bad press releases; how to transform a bad release into a great one; what media professionals look for; mistakes that will get your press release thrown out and how to avoid them; how to write an eye-catching and informative press release; and how to deal with members of the media.

The workshop is designed for artists and musicians trying to promote their work, public relations and marketing professionals, nonprofit organizers and business owners.

Graham is currently assistant managing editor of Larson Newspapers, which publishes the Sedona Red Rock News, The Camp Verde Journal and the Cottonwood Journal Extra. As an editor, his duties include prioritizing and editing press releases and helping to assign them to pages for publication.

Graham earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a focus on literature and linguistics and a minor in history from Arizona State University.

He has worked as senior copy editor for The State Press at ASU, copy editor for Larson Newspapers’ three publications, managing editor of the arts publication Kudos and a private media consultant.

Graham is also a writer and performance poet. Over the last 11 years, he has toured and competed worldwide in poetry slams, a competitive art form that is focused as much on how the language is presented as on the content itself.

This workshop takes place Sedona Community Center, 2615 Melody Lane, West Sedona. Seats are $30 for the three-hour workshop. For more information or to reserve a seat, visit the Sedona Area Guild of Artists website, sedonaareaguildofartists.com.