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.

Friday, March 2, 2012

"Do you have a baseball bat?"

"Do You Have a Baseball Bat? An open letter to my future self"
By Christopher Fox Graham

“Do you have a baseball bat?”
She asks questions like these
when world gets too tough
she asks for wooden implements
branches, hockey sticks, golf clubs
I no longer own an axe
better the back yard tree then me
but the shrubbery can only take so much punishment
and the neighbors are beginning to ask questions

this is an open letter to my future self:
the next time some injustice brings her to tears
because her laborious hands
and good intentions
simply can’t end genocide
halfway around the world

or when she ceases to believe
goodness in the human heart
outweighs the darkness 100 to 1
the mantra that kept her pushing
back and forth across this continent
hitching free rides with nothing more
than an outstretched thumb, a smile and story

or even when “customer service”
elevates her frustration
beyond levels you can handle

take a deep breath
move your hand slowly to her cheek
if she slaps it away
turn to the other cheek
and try again
when skin meets skin
reinterpret ways to say you love her
imagine no one else has said ever words like that

take her by the hand
and lead her to the driveway
let the morning sun dapple her face
remind her that you could map her freckles
like astronomers do stars
sometimes she forgets
you navigate by her

pull her close
so she can feel your heart
still beating first-date style against her ribcage
start barefoot and feel the dirt
imagine you are a circuit
and the thumping Earth
sends a pulse through you
into her and back down
you’re glowing enough light for the entire world
even leaves on the trees are turning away from the sun
and catching the light you’re burning through palms

the next steps don’t require music,
but it helps
remind her that this is what life’s about
two lovers can only do so much
everything else will work out in time
tell her she’s the only music you need
you can already hear it in her breathing
the melody dances in her laughter

before her tears have Left,
tell her she’s Right
and you have her Back

even when she Left
your arms felt Right
and she came Back

when she moves Left
and you move Right
you both come Back

because a love like this
is a dance between two mismatched hearts
that beat in rhythm
sometimes she’s the melody
and you’re just the harmony
trying to complement her chords
other times, you’re the strings
and she’s the woodwinds
but you can’t write a symphony with just violins
because no one listens to classical music anymore
chamber music is for our grandparents
and their world is fading into history
but feature films always need soundtracks
and the drumbeats of your love
could win an Oscar if the Academy gave awards for it

now your three-step swing
can slide into her meringue,
but let her lead,
she’s been to Cuba
and you, you’re still white
hold on to her hip
like you’re riding a wave to Havana
her seas are rough
but she won’t you drown out here
all she wants is partner to watch the sunset with
to hold her in bed late past Sunday sunrise

this is when you should kiss her
do it as if it’s the last time
so hard the trees lose their breath
make it long enough
that stones ask if your kiss will outlive them

and Christopher,
if still she’s with you when you read this
put down this poem
touch her on the cheek
take her hand and lead her outside
she’s the only music you hear
and you can make up the song as you go
if you need to remember the melody
you can find it in her hips
still echoing in her kiss

Video shot March 1, 2012, at Sundara in Flagstaff by Vivian Abernast

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