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.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

"In the Blood" by Christopher Fox Graham

"In the Blood"
by Christopher Fox Graham

Fair warning,
you die first.

"...written with his own blood" by Janina-Photography

I know, you’re thinking that with all my whiskey nights
I’d cease the fight first
but fate plays dice —
my eulogy isn’t profound, but between us
it’s the only poem worth all the blood I’ve verbalized
my heart beats after yours
because I never could imagine the world without you
so you had to show me the hard way
even this old, I’m still chasing you
like I did at the beginning

— 10 —
Our daughters visit one by one
find me holding one hand
while a machine holds the other
beeping,
beeping,
beeping
with clockwork regularity
counting down the heartbeats you have left —
I read you 60 years of blood poured into poems
“The Peach” still makes you laugh

— 9 —
We send our son a message to the colony on Mars
he can never visit,
when he boarded the shuttle
we knew it was a one way trip
I tell him to hold his sons tonight
gaze across the terrain
and remember that the red in his blood
is deeper and darker
binding him forever to home

— 8 —
On the first day of our retirement
we burn all your business cards
and all my button-down white shirts —
we make love in the kitchen like horny teenagers
I later find your red underwear in the sink —
the pasta boils over and burns the pot
so we feed it to the neighbors’ dog
you hate the neighbors
but like the dog

— 7 —
after my wedding toast,
I swing dance with our youngest daughter at the reception
because I save all my slow dances for you
rest my hand in the small of your back
kiss your crimson lips like the first time
when we get to our empty nest,
we split a bottle of Jameson
and wake cuddling each other’s pounding hangovers

— 6 —
you get almost leave me three times
the first two are admittedly my fault —
I don’t learn about the third until years later
when your reasons have faded to such silliness
you laugh when you tell me why
I buy red roses for a month anyway

— 5 —
in the Red Chair Hotel lounge in Prague
we hold hands
not saying a word
and for an hour
no one else enters
that was the moment —
the one I’d hold onto
when asked,
“what was the best day of your life?”

— 4 —
By the last one, you’re a pro —
but you leave my arm bruised
when our first child is born
one fingernail drew blood
and the scar is my joy
that I became a father

— 3 —
the proposal was unexpected
I stood on the stage
performing a poem you’d heard before
but you noticed two lines changed
and midway through, a new stanza flipped the meaning
before I dropped to a knee and asked
the time penalty cost me points
and the other poets called you a “prop”
but we got four 10s and a red heart
when you said "yes"

— 2 —
I apologize for our third date
everything goes wrong
the restaurant is terrible
you kiss me so deep I get hiccups
the sex is sloppy
I cut my hand changing the flat tire
so the first time you say it
I am staring at the bloody bandage
wondering about stitches
so I have to ask, “what do you say?!”

— 1 —
I small talk
to mask my skipping heart
although I can’t tell if you like me
when you finally ask me out
blood rushes from my fingers and toes
leaving me warmly cold

but all the way home
I think how the first poem
should start at the end
and work backward
so the only mistake I’ll ever regret
was waiting so long to begin

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