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, March 31, 2012

Bill Campana's poem "Auto-Stigmata" made into a short film


A young lady visits a piercing parlor and gets more than she bargained for.

Directed by Matt Gismondi
Poem and Voiceover by Bill Campana
Starring David Tabor and Lauren Perry

Bill Campana features at the Sedona Poetry Slam on Saturday, April 7
In celebration of April as National Poetry Month, Sedona's Studio Live hosts a poetry slam Saturday, April 7, starting at 7:30 p.m. featuring Mesa poet Bill Campana and hosted by Sedona poet Christopher Fox Graham.

All poets are welcome to compete for the $75 grand prize and $25 second-place prize. The prize is funded in part by a donation from Verde Valley poetry supporter Jeanne Freeland.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Bill Campana features at the Sedona Poetry Slam on Saturday, April 7

Bill Campana features at the Sedona Poetry Slam on Saturday, April 7

In celebration of April as National Poetry Month, Sedona's Studio Live hosts a poetry slam Saturday, April 7, starting at 7:30 p.m. featuring Mesa poet Bill Campana and hosted by Sedona poet Christopher Fox Graham.

All poets are welcome to compete for the $75 grand prize and $25 second-place prize. The prize is funded in part by a donation from Verde Valley poetry supporter Jeanne Freeland.

The slam will the fourth of the 2011-12 season, which has been more moving, more energetic and more intense because this year as poets compete for a slot in Sedona's first National Poetry Slam Team.

After four years of collaborating with the Flagstaff and Phoenix metro area poetry slam scenes, the Sedona scene has the reputation and strength to send its own team to the 2012 National Poetry Slam in Charlotte, N.C., in August. The eventual four-poet team will share the stage with 300 of the top poets in the United States, Canada and Europe, pouring out their words in a weeklong explosion of expression.

Bill Campana

Before Campana blazed into the Mesa and Phoenix poetry scene in 1997, individuals would attend poetry readings and at the end of every dry, polished piece of mental origami, read with all the flair of a zoning law variance, those still awake in the audience would say "humph." Poets would get a smattering of courtesy applause, and everyone would go home feeling just a little more cultured than their neighbors who owned television sets.

Campana, however, knows that the only true way to respect culture is to break it into little tiny pieces. He came onto the poetry scene at full power, and suddenly the dry dusty notebooks of lesser poets got burned up in the shockwave.

Campana is the atom bomb that levels ivory towers. He got people excited enough about poetry to come back for more, and to see what would happen next. Soon, the audience was too big for the coffeehouse, a feat unprecedented since Socrates dared the baristas to make him a hemlock frappuchino.

Campana began writing poetry at the age of 17, quit at 22 because he realized that he had nothing to say. Twenty years later, he picked up where he left off, soon ran out of things to say again but has not stopped writing.

A member of five Mesa National Poetry Slam Teams, Campana has been to the semi-finals of the National Poetry Slam twice. He has hosted and featured across the Southwest, and continues to write at a feverish pace, always challenging fellow poets to better their craft on the page and the stage.

Campana takes elements of other art forms and applies them to his poetry. Although audiences can't hear the music, he insists it's in there in tributes to composition. Although audiences can't see the paintings and photographs they are there behind the words. Campana currently lives on the fine line that separates the page from the stage. From there he can reach people from both spectrums of modern poetry. Campana runs the weekly Sound Effects poetry open mic called in Phoenix.

Campana also recently released a compilation album, "The Hit List," that features 94 poems composed over the last 10 years of his performance career in Phoenix.

Sedona Poetry Slam
Photo by Harley Deuce
The April 7 slam will be hosted by Graham, who
represented Northern Arizona on the Flagstaff team
at five National Poetry Slams between 2001 and 2010.

To compete in the slam, poets need at least three original poems, each three minutes long or shorter. No props, costumes or musical accompaniment are permitted. All types of poetry are welcome.

The April 7 slam will be hosted by Graham, who represented Northern Arizona on the Flagstaff team at five National Poetry Slams between 2001 and 2010.

Contact Graham at foxthepoet@yahoo.com to sign up to slam.

Sedona National Poetry Slam Team
Competing poets earn points with each Sedona Poetry Slam performance between Dec. 3 and Saturday, May 5. Every poet earns 1 point for performing or hosting and 1/2 point for calibrating. First place earns 3 additional points, second place earns 2 and third place earns 1.

Based on points, the top 12 poets in May are eligible to compete for the four slots on the Sedona Poetry Slam Team, which will represent the community and Studio Live at the 2012 National Poetry Slam in Charlotte, N.C.

All poets are eligible in the slamoff except those already confirmed members of or coaching another National Poetry Slam or College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational or Brave New Voices team. Poets can compete for multiple teams during a season and still be eligible to compete in the Sedona team.

The last slam of the season takes place on Saturday, May 5, featuring Brooklyn, N.Y., poet Sean Patrick Mulroy.

For poetry slam standings, videos from past slams, and updates, visit foxthepoet.blogspot.com.

What is Poetry Slam?

Founded in Chicago in 1984, poetry slam is a competitive artistic sport. Poetry slams are judged by five randomly chosen members of the audience who assign numerical value to individual poets' contents and performances.

Poetry slam has become an international artistic sport, with more than 100 major poetry slams in the United States, Canada, Australia and Western Europe.

Tickets are $7 in advance and $12 the day of the event, available at Golden Word Books and Music, 3150 W. SR 89A, and online at studiolivesedona.com.

Studio Live is located at 215 Coffee Pot Drive, West Sedona. For more information, call (928) 282-2688.


Sedona National Poetry Slam Team
Slamoff Point Standings
7 points
Ryan Brown, of Flagstaff
Shaun "nodalone" Sristava, of Flagstaff ✓
6 points
Rowie Shebala, of Phoenix ✓
5 points
 Josh Wiss, of Flagstaff
The Klute, of Phoenix ✓
Tyler "Valence" Sirvinskas, of Flagstaff
4 points
Christopher Fox Graham, of Sedona
Jackson Morris, of Flagstaff ✓
3 points
Christopher Harbster, of Flagstaff
Mikel Weisser, of Kingman
Frank O'Brien, of Prescott
Lauren Perry, of Phoenix
Tara Pollock, of Flagstaff
2.5 points

Spencer Troth, of Flagstaff
2 points
Tom Heymsfeld, of Sedona
1.5 points
Noberto "Bert" Cisneros, of Cottonwood
1 pointJahnilli Akbar, of New York City
Ellenelizabeth Cernek, of Sedona
Evan Dissinger, of Flagstaff
Gabbi Jue, of Flagstaff
Jack Egan, of Sedona
Gary Every, of Sedona
Josh Goldberg, of Oak Creek Ranch School
Aaron Johnson, of Phoenix
Michelle Peterson, of Sedona
Kendra "Kenj" Shebala, of Flagstaff
Mary Elizabeth Skene, of Sedona
Seth Walker, of Texas
0.5 points
Sasha Anderson, of Flagstaff
Gary Bowers, of Phoenix
Danielle Silver, of Sedona
✓ = won a Sedona Poetry Slam

Saturday, March 17, 2012

"The Peach is a Damn Sexy Fruit" by Christopher Fox Graham, performed with fruit


"The Peach is a Damn Sexy Fruit," by Christopher Fox Graham, sorbet poem at the March 10, 2012, Sedona Poetry Slam at Studio Live, Sedona. Performed with fruit. I did not practice how to present the fruit, but it comes off pretty smooth.

"The Peach is a Damn Sexy Fruit"
By Christopher Fox Graham

the Peach is a damn sexy fruit
if I could love a fruit like a woman
I would love a Peach
strong but soft
sweet but tart
the fuzz tickles my nose
and the sticky dewiness
is finger-licking good

you can keep your apples
Mr. Johnny Appleseed
that turn brown in minutes

you can have your bitter grapefruit
the blinder of eyes at breakfast

tempt me not tomátoes or tom%u0103toes!
cucumbers and zucchinis
those transvestite fruit
masquerading as vegetables!
for shame!
be true to yourselves!
do not deny that you were born as
and will always be fruit!

Coconuts require hammers, screwdrivers, or stones
and I am not into fetishes

Raspberries are too fragile
and can not love my volatility

Strawberries went corporate and sold out
now just fruits of the Man

Bananas are too exotic, too high maintenance
I have no patience for their ego

Cherries are but pop culture prostitutes
in everything from couch syrup to antacids to condoms

give me truth!
give me tenderness!
give me consistency!
give me a Peach!
give me Peaches!
give me millions of Peaches
Peaches for me
millions of Peaches
Peaches for free

you can eat a Peach voraciously
diving into juicy goodness
dribbling down your chin,

or eat it slowly in slices - one by one
you can nip off the skin
bit by tender bit
in a slow seduction
and tongue and suck it to the end

or you can rub that Peach into your face
eating it like a drunk starving monkey
and leave the orgasmic dew
on your cheeks and lips for hours

when complete,
no matter how consumed
you have the core
as a reminder that we are all the same
beneath it all
when our flesh, youth, and vitality are gone

yet...

you can bury the Peach core
to be born again
because the Peach embodies hope
because the Peach embodies life
the Peach is a message
the Peach is sensual
the Peach is you and me
the Peach is a damn sexy fruit

Copyright 2003 © Christopher Fox Graham

Friday, March 16, 2012

Jackson Morris wins the fourth Sedona Poetry Slam of the 2011-12 National Poetry Slam Season

Jackson Morris, of Flagstaff, won the Sedona Poetry Slam on
Saturday, March 10.
Jackson Morris wins the fourth Sedona Poetry Slam of the 2011-12 National Poetry Slam Season.


Round 1
Random Draw

Calibration: Christopher Fox Graham, of Sedona, “Poetic Babysitting”
Josh Wiss, of Flagstaff, 22.1, 1:55
Mikel Weisser, of Kingman, 19.3, 3:01
Valence, of Flagstaff, 26.6, 2:52
Tom Heymsfeld, of Sedona, 25.9, 2:09
Rowie Shebala, of Phoenix, 25.2, 2:31
Nodalone, of Flagstaff, 25.6, 3:04
You Phonik, of Flagstaff, 23.7, 3:06
Jackson, of Flagstaff, 28.4, 2:57

Teaser: Seth Walker and Solomon Schneider

Round 2
Reverse Order
Jackson, of Flagstaff, 28.8, 2:55, 57.2
You Phonik, of Flagstaff, 20.1, 18.6 after 1.5 time penalty, 3:31, 42.3

Nodalone, of Flagstaff, 21.8, 2:27, 47.4
Rowie Shebala, of Phoenix, 24.2, 2:27, 49.4

Tom Heymsfeld, of Sedona, 23.6, 1:11, 49.5
Valence, of Flagstaff, 26.8, 2:04, 53.4
Mikel Weisser, of Kingman, 23.1, 2:34, 42.4
Josh Wiss, of Flagstaff, 24.3, 2:15, 46.4

Courtesy photo
Seth Walker and his cellist tour mate Solomon Schneider featured at
the Sedona Poetry Slam on March 10.
Feature: Seth Walker and Solomon Schneider


Sorbet: Noberto Cisneros, of Cottonwood

Sorbet: Spenser Troth, of Flagstaff

Round 3
High to Low
Jackson, of Flagstaff, 26.5, 26.0 after 0.5 time penalty, 3:16, 83.2
Valence, of Flagstaff, 25.1, 3:09, 78.5
Tom Heymsfeld, of Sedona, 25.4, 1:37, 74.9 
Rowie Shebala, of Phoenix, 25.2, 2:54, 74.6
Nodalone, of Flagstaff, 22.7, 21.7 after 1 point time penalty, 3:29, 69.1
Josh Wiss, of Flagstaff, 25.4, 2:38, 71.8
Mikel Weisser, of Kingman, 26.8, 23.8 after 3 point time penalty, 4:06, 66.2
You Phonik, of Flagstaff, 22.8, 1:52, 65.1

Sorbet:  Christopher Fox Graham, of Sedona, “The Peach is a Damn Sexy Fruit” with actual fruit

Victory: Jackson, of Flagstaff

Final Scores
Jackson, of Flagstaff, 83.2

Valence, of Flagstaff, 78.5

Tom Heymsfeld, of Sedona, 74.9 

Rowie Shebala, of Phoenix, 74.6

Josh Wiss, of Flagstaff, 71.8
Nodalone, of Flagstaff, 69.1
Mikel Weisser, of Kingman, 66.2

You Phonik, of Flagstaff, 65.1
Scorekeeper: Alun Wile
Cameramwoman: Azami

Sedona National Poetry Slam Team
Slamoff Point Standings
7 points
Ryan Brown, of Flagstaff
Shaun "nodalone" Sristava, of Flagstaff ✓
6 points
Rowie Shebala, of Phoenix ✓
5 points
 Josh Wiss, of Flagstaff
The Klute, of Phoenix ✓
Tyler "Valence" Sirvinskas, of Flagstaff
4 points
Christopher Fox Graham, of Sedona
Jackson Morris, of Flagstaff ✓
3 points
Christopher Harbster, of Flagstaff
Mikel Weisser, of Kingman
Frank O'Brien, of Prescott
Lauren Perry, of Phoenix
Tara Pollock, of Flagstaff
2.5 points

Spencer Troth, of Flagstaff
2 points
Tom Heymsfeld, of Sedona
1.5 points
Noberto "Bert" Cisneros, of Cottonwood
1 pointJahnilli Akbar, of New York City
Ellenelizabeth Cernek, of SedonaEvan Dissinger, of Flagstaff
Gabbi Jue, of Flagstaff
Jack Egan, of Sedona
Gary Every, of Sedona
Josh Goldberg, of Oak Creek Ranch School
Aaron Johnson, of Phoenix
Michelle Peterson, of Sedona
Kendra "Kenj" Shebala, of Flagstaff
Mary Elizabeth Skene, of Sedona
Seth Walker, of Texas
0.5 points
Sasha Anderson, of Flagstaff
Gary Bowers, of Phoenix
Danielle Silver, of Sedona
✓ = won a Sedona Poetry Slam

Chasing Stephen Hawking


By Christopher Fox Graham for Vincent Theel
Inspired by Grey Brian Thomas’ brilliant poem “Life in Reverse”


he believes time should run backwards
He graduated college at 79
which is only surprising if you know
he entered first grade at 94
he counts his birthdays in reverse
starting at 100
because he says he works better on deadline
besides, if things normally go from bad to worse
then if you work in reverse
things are only getting better

he believes time should run backwards
so broken dreams can reform themselves into aspirations
then into infant urges created in a moment
like a shooting star born in the fire
of the earth's atmosphere
and shoot back into the heavens
to explore the cosmos
it's those moments he remembers being most beautiful

growing up, he heard men talk about killing time
while time
killed them quietly
and he knew it was because men swim against the flow
rather than embrace the stream
pulling us back to arms of our mothers
he believes if time ran backwards
we could tell our dead fathers
"see, we made you proud, just like you wanted us to"
then tell them of our accomplishments
as we unlearned how to build bridges
or repair automobiles
or shave our chins
our thinning grey hair would grow thick and dark with life
until it faded into peach fuzz
and we grow bald again

he believes if time ran backwards
the end of an empire wouldn't be so tragic
because we have a golden age ahead of us
and once it passes
we could remember where we came from
empty battlefields would give birth to forgotten men
who'd leave their guns and swords behind
strip off weathered armor and rush home
replacing the horrors of war
with the embrace of our loved ones

he says if time ran backwards
a white flower of smoke and debris
would coalesce into the Challenger
and seven astronauts would tell us
what it was like
to break the surly bonds of earth and touch the face of god

if time ran backwards
we'd put away all these electronics
and remember what it was like to shake hands
or receive a letter in the mail

he loves living backwards
because he can unsay his mistakes to lovers
bring them back into his arms
without the ache
of wondering what went wrong
he can unshutter the lost moments
from his favorite tattered photographs
and relive them all anew
last kisses become first kisses
done just right
and first kisses become last kisses
unbearably awkward for two lovers
who should know each other better

if time ran backwards
he'd lose the sins staining his skin
and recover his lost virginity
from wherever it went
he'd become a boy again
and feel awkward holding hands
like he remembered doing before

poems would unwrite themselves
and disappear into the ether
to return to their sources

if time ran backward far enough he says
all the gods who make us tremble
would fade away into our imaginations
until we were left to worship
nothing but the stars, the sun, the moon
the earth below
and all our ancestors yet to be born,
leaving them a world absent of plastics and toxins
and the memories of genocides
and the trajectories of explosives

and finally all this would shrink to size of a mustard seed
as all the disparate stars came hurtling together
and compress down into a pinhead
before one big bang
let us hold each other
forever in silence

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The poets of FlagSlam video by Tara Graeber

"Stories Through Poetry," the poets of FlagSlam from Tara Graeber with additional camerawork by Naomi Thalenbergon Vimeo.


One of my favorite videos in a long time. Slam poets spitting verses in our familiar locales, off the slam stage. The music is a great addition, too.

Starring Christopher Fox Graham, Evan Dissinger, Ryan Brown, Shaun Srivastava, Mikel Weisser.

“Shit Poets Say” video by Meg Waldron



“Shit Poets Say” video by Meg Waldron.

Yes, the “Shit ___ Say” meme is fairly played out, so much so that meta “Shit People Say About 'Shit People Say' Videos” are making the rounds. Case in point:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Get your tickets now for the Sedona Poetry Slam on Saturday, March 10

Tickets are $7 in advance and $12 the day of the slam, available at Golden Word Books and Music, 3150 W. SR 89A, and online at studiolivesedona.com. Click here to buy your discount tickets now. (The tickets appear as $12, but a discount appears at the checkout window before you pay).



Seth Walker features at the Sedona Poetry Slam on Saturday, March 10

Sedona's Studio Live hosts a poetry slam Saturday, March 10, starting at 7:30 p.m. featuring Texas poet Seth Walker and hosted by Sedona poet Christopher Fox Graham.

All poets are welcome to compete for the $75 grand prize and $25 second-place prize. The prize is funded in part by a donation from Verde Valley poetry supporter Jeanne Freeland.

The slam will the fourth of the 2011-12 season, which has been more moving, more energetic and more intense because this year as poets compete for a slot in Sedona's first National Poetry Slam Team.

After four years of collaborating with the Flagstaff and Phoenix metro area poetry slam scenes, the Sedona scene has the reputation and strength to send its own team to the 2012 National Poetry Slam in Charlotte, N.C., in August. The eventual four-poet team will share the stage with 300 of the top poets in the United States, Canada and Europe, pouring out their words in a weeklong explosion of expression.

Seth Walker
Sedona's Studio Live hosts a poetry slam Saturday, March 10, starting at 7:30 p.m. featuring Texas poet Seth Walker

Seth Walker is Houston, Texas’ premiere national poet and Grand Slam Champion of 2007. In 2007, Walker took second at the Texas Blue Bonnet State Competition. That November, he left Houston to follow his art and travel across the country to find it … he has not yet stopped.

Since then Walker has performed at nearly every major venue in the country including Da Poetry Lounge in Hollywood, Calif., The Green Mill in Chicago, and The Nuyorican Poets' Cafe in New York City. Along the way he won several noteworthy titles such as Slam Champion of the Utah State Arts Fair Poetry Slam in 2009, North Beast Indie Slam Champion -- the northeastern regional 2010 as well as as slamming most recently with the 2010 Austin Poetry Slam Team.

With Solomon Schneider, a multi-instrumentalist folk musician and other rotating national artists, this notorious “road dog” poet travels 10 to 11 months out of the year, dedicating his art to whomever he meets.

“Neobeat slam poet Seth Walker’s words were a perfect counterpoint to the message at hand. With lyrics that celebrated triumph of the spirit over the degradation of life circumstances, Walker engaged the audience and, hopefully, galvanized them to take up the cause even after the show was over,” wrote Melonie Magruder in The Malibu Times in Malibu, Calif.

Sedona Poetry Slam
Photo by Harley Deuce
The March 10 slam will be hosted by Graham, who
represented Northern Arizona on the Flagstaff team
at five National Poetry Slams between 2001 and 2010.

To compete in the slam, poets need at least three original poems, each three minutes long or shorter. No props, costumes or musical accompaniment are permitted. All types of poetry are welcome.

The March 10 slam will be hosted by Graham, who represented Northern Arizona on the Flagstaff team at five National Poetry Slams between 2001 and 2010.

Contact Graham at foxthepoet@yahoo.com to sign up to slam.

Sedona National Poetry Slam Team
Competing poets earn points with each Sedona Poetry Slam performance between Dec. 3 and Saturday, May 5. Every poet earns 1 point for performing or hosting and 1/2 point for calibrating. First place earns 3 additional points, second place earns 2 and third place earns 1.

Based on points, the top 12 poets in May are eligible to compete for the four slots on the Sedona Poetry Slam Team, which will represent the community and Studio Live at the 2012 National Poetry Slam in Charlotte, N.C.

All poets are eligible in the slamoff except those already confirmed members of or coaching another National Poetry Slam or College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational or Brave New Voices team. Poets can compete for multiple teams during a season and still be eligible to compete in the Sedona team.

Future slams will take place on Saturday, April 7, featuring Mesa poet Bill Campana; and May 5, featuring Brooklyn, N.Y., poet Sean Patrick Mulroy.

For poetry slam standings, videos from past slams, and updates, visit foxthepoet.blogspot.com.

What is Poetry Slam?

Founded in Chicago in 1984, poetry slam is a competitive artistic sport. Poetry slams are judged by five randomly chosen members of the audience who assign numerical value to individual poets' contents and performances.

Poetry slam has become an international artistic sport, with more than 100 major poetry slams in the United States, Canada, Australia and Western Europe.

Tickets are $7 in advance and $12 the day of the event, available at Golden Word Books and Music, 3150 W. SR 89A, and online at studiolivesedona.com.

Studio Live is located at 215 Coffee Pot Drive, West Sedona. For more information, call (928) 282-2688.

Sedona National Poetry Slam Team
Slamoff Point Standings
7 points
Ryan Brown, of Flagstaff
6 points
nodalone, of Flagstaff ✓
5 points
The Klute, of Phoenix ✓
Rowie Shebala, of Phoenix ✓
4 points
Josh Wiss, of Flagstaff
3 points
Christopher Fox Graham, of Sedona
Frank O'Brien, of Prescott
Lauren Perry, of Phoenix
Tara Pollock, of Flagstaff
2 points
Christopher Harbster, of Flagstaff
Spencer Troth, of Flagstaff
Valence, of Flagstaff
Mikel Weisser, of Kingman
1 point
Jahnilli Akbar, of New York City
Bert Cisneros, of Cottonwood
Ellenelizabeth, of Sedona
Evan Dissinger, of Flagstaff
Gabbi Jue, of Flagstaff
Jack Egan, of Sedona
Gary Every, of Sedona
Josh Goldberg, of Oak Creek Ranch School
Michelle Peterson, of Sedona
Kendra Kenj Shebala, of Flagstaff
Mary Elizabeth Skene, of Sedona
0.5 points
Sasha Anderson, of Flagstaff
Gary Bowers, of Phoenix
Danielle Silver, of Sedona
✓ = won a Sedona Poetry Slam

Sonya Renee, "What Women Deserve"



"What Women Deserve"
By Sonya Renee

Culturally-diversified bi-racial girl,
with a small diamond nose-ring
and a pretty smile
poses beside the words: “Women deserve better”.

And I almost let her non-threatening grin begin to
infiltrate my psyche-
till I read the unlikely small-print at the bottom of the ad.
‘Sponsored by the US Secretariate for Pro Life Activities
and the Knights of Columbus’
on a bus, in a city with a population of 563,000.

Four teenage mothers on the bus with me.
One latino woman with three children under three,
and no signs of a daddy.
One sixteen year old black girl,
standing in twenty two degree weather
with only a sweater,
and a bookbag,
and a bassinet, with an infant that ain’t even four weeks yet-

Tell me that yes: Women do deserve better.

Women deserve better
than public transportation rhetoric
from the same people who won’t give that teenage mother
a ride to the next transit.
Won’t let you talk to their kids about safer sex,
and never had to listen as the door slams
behind the man
who adamantly says “that SHIT ain’t his”-
leaving her to wonder how she’ll raise this kid.

Women deserve better than the three hundred dollars
TANF and AFDC will provide that family of three.
Or the six dollar an hour job at KFC
with no benefits for her new baby-
or the college degree she’ll never see,
because you can’t have infants at the university.

Women deserve better
than lip-service paid for by politicians
who have no alternatives to abortion.
Though I’m sure right now
one of their seventeen year old daughters
is sitting in a clinic lobby, sobbing quietly
and anonymously,
praying parents don’t find out-
Or is waiting for mom to pick her up because
research shows that out-of-wedlock childbirth
don’t look good on political polls.
And Sarah ain’t having that.

Women deserve better
than backward governmental policies
that don’t want to pay for welfare for kids,
or healthcare for kids,
or childcare for kids.
Don’t want to pay living wages to working mothers.
Don’t want to make men who only want to be
last night’s lovers
responsible for the semen they lay.
Just like they don’t want to pay for shit,
but want to control the woman who’s having it.

Acting outraged at abortion,
when I’m outraged that they want us to believe
that they believe
“Women deserve better”.

The Vatican won’t prosecute pedophile priests,
but I decide I’m not ready for motherhood
and it’s condemnation for me.
These are the same people
who won’t support national condom distribution
to prevent teenage pregnancy—

But women deserve better.

Women deserve better than back-alley surgeries
that leave our wombs barren and empty.
Deserve better than organizations bearing the name
of land-stealing, racist, rapists
funding million dollar campaigns on subway trains
with no money to give these women—
While balding, middle-aged white men
tell us what to do with our bodies,
while they wage wars and kill other people’s babies.

So maybe,
Women deserve better than propaganda and lies
to get into office.
Propaganda and lies
to get into panties,
to get out of court,
to get out of paying child-support.

Get the fuck out of our decisions
and give us back our VOICE.

Women do deserve better.

Women deserve choice.

Video from the Salt Lines Tour 2009, shot at Evergreen College in Olympia, Wash.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Josh Wiss, "The Declaration of Fun" at FlagSlam on March 1, 2012

Josh Wiss performs "The Declaration of Fun" at FlagSlam on March 1, 2012. Proof he deserved to win the slam.


Video by Vivian Abernast

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:
Christopher,
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

"Oh, the Places You'll Go" on Dr. Seuss' 108 birthday




Theodor Seuss Geisel
Beloved children’s book author Dr. Seuss would have turned 108 today, and he would surely have been proud to see that his works are still relevant as ever, resonating with children—and adults—of all ages. Born Theodor Seuss Geisel in 1904, the writer produced more than 60 children’s books before his death in 1991.

So many of his books are classics, marking milestones of their readers. Both the book and the film adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas are holiday classics. Oh, the Places You’ll Go is a wildly popular high school and college graduation gift. And one in four American children receives a Seuss work as his or her first book.

While many of us know him through the lens of his beloved characters, there was much more to Geisel than his drawings and rhymes. Below are a few things you may not have known about good ol’ Dr. Seuss:
  • Geisel started using the pen name Dr. Seuss after he was forced to resign from his post as editor-in-chief of the Dartmouth humor magazine, Jack-O-Lantern. He was caught throwing a party and drinking gin with his friends in his room, and because this was back during Prohibition, he had to pay the price. He managed to keep writing for the magazine, but under the pseudonym “Seuss,” which was his mother’s maiden name. He started using “Dr. Seuss” after he graduated college, as a consolation to his father for never pursuing medicine.
  • The Cat in the Hat author originally said the correct pronunciation of “Seuss” rhymes with “voice.” He later changed it to rhyme with “goose,” as it was how most people pronounced it.
  • Geisel also wrote under the pen names Theo LeSieg and Rosetta Stone.
  • He is said to have coined the word “nerd.” According to TheFW.com, the first recorded instance of the word “nerd” is in Seuss’ 1950 book, If I Ran the Zoo.
  • Before he started writing children’s books, Geisel was an ad man, creating satirical advertisements for General Electric, Standard Oil, NBC, and others. He was also a World War II political cartoonist, and joined the Army as a Captain, making educational and propaganda films. Two documentary films based on works he created (Hitler Lives? and Design for Death) won Academy Awards.
  • Dr. Seuss practiced what he preached: his first book, And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was rejected by 27 different publishers before it finally got picked up. “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!” Seuss once wrote. Try, try, try again, he did.
  • Though he knows how to write for children and their wild imaginations, he never had kids of his own. “You make ’em, I amuse ‘em,” he once said. His wife said in an interview once that he “couldn’t just sit down on the floor and play with them,” and was always a bit uncomfortable and afraid around them.
  • He had a bit of a dirty mouth, and would try to sneak in some PG-13 language into his works. The first version of “Hop on Pop” that was sent to his publisher included the word “contraceptive” in one of the verses.
  • Geisel considered his greatest achievement to be killing off the Dick and Jane books, which he said weren’t challenging enough for children, and were boring. Dr. Seuss’ books became the new standard in children’s publishing—expanding the imagination through brilliant illustration, social issues, and clever rhymes and vocabulary.