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.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"No Gravity," by Brian Omni Dillon

My favorite poem from the 2012 National Poetry Slam in Charlotte, N.C., was Brian Omni Dillon's "No Gravity." This is an awesomely well-done video performance of that piece.


"For Eliza (No Gravity)"
Performed & Written by Brian Omni Dillon
Shot & Edited by Sean Gallagher
Music by Thom O'Connor
www.IntangibleCollective.com

"No Gravity,"
By Brian Omni Dillon

For Eliza, No Gravity

The tenth girl after you is how I found myself saying these things. Her hands are smaller. She smells different, but her eyes are planets, like yours. I am reminded of what it was like to first love you every time her mouth opens. Every inch of it is a mural in neon. A symphony of paint and torch.

The ninth girl after you is prettier than she needs to be and she knows it. She'd only kiss me in the corner and still slash out the bulb with a switch of black hair. She doesn't deserve me.

The eighth girl is pornography. She's clit-ring, cocaine, bar-fight. She’s the filthy you. The one desperate to save us in our last months sharing a home. Her face is trampoline, her chest is an airbag. She got as much respect in the end as you did.

The seventh girl after you is a decade my senior. She's a bright light in a mineshaft. Her face is a poppy plant and she kisses me like she’d swallowed the still-living wrist of an addict. We are elephants feasting on bush meat to survive the drought.

The sixth girl after you is a totem. An east-river biplane on the fourth of July. She always wears black like shes seducing the scythe. Always on the way to another funeral. Her body is a comic book. Her skirts are wreaths of flames. You loved her poetry. So does everyone else.

The fifth girl after you is Egypt-thick. She is jeans to the ankles in the bathroom. She is vomit in the bedsheets. She sucks dick like her life depends on it and it might.

The fourth girl after you is an angel. She didn’t mean anything by it. Like you, shes in love now. She's square-peg, square hole. Like you, she wont answer my texts.

The third girl after you a mother, like you are now. And I don't flinch and sputter when she shows me photos of hers like I do with photos of yours. She and I never slept inside of one another. Never argued playfully about how early I could teach her sons to ice skate. It was wine, it was sloppy, it was stupid and it was temporary.

The second girl after you is a panther punched against the wall by the crack of lighting. A white light artery in the midnight’s arm. She is so small and dirty I wear her under a thumbnail. Every inch of friction in our laps was another syllable in a goodbye note. I am the suicide calling the car crash an accident. I'm the whiskey breath and the wheel. I am the indent her teeth left in her bottom lip. I'm a reason to cut yourself.

The first girl after you was a cake-shaped wound in your thigh. She's the reason your sons were named incorrectly. The reason they won’t have my hair. The reason I won't be invited to a wedding that I'd just ruin in a spill of bourbon. Your sons are beautiful. Your eyes are planets. I'm a fucking spaceman. No gravity. Your eyes are planets. And your sons should be grateful for them.

2011 © Brian Omni Dillon







Photo by Jonathan Weiskopf 
Brian Omni Dillon
Brian Omni Dillon is a performance poet, author, educator, and organizer from New York City. Currently a professor of performance poetry at New York University's Gallatin School, he is also the fourth-ranked slam poet in the world and a writer-in-residence at the Nuyorican Poet's Cafe.

In 2011 Dillon finished in second place alongside his Nuyorican teammates at the National Poetry Slam in Boston, Mass. His debut novel "Eat The Rich" was published in the winter of 2011 by DefWords Press. 

He has served as a guest host and featured poet on the world renowned Indiefeed performance poetry podcast numerous times. In his free-time, Dillon is an aficionado of youth ice hockey, designer lighting and bad music.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Jordan Ranft features at the Sedona Poetry Slam on Saturday, Dec. 1

Sedona's Studio Live hosts a poetry slam Saturday, Dec. 1, starting at 7:30 p.m. featuring poet Jordan Ranft, of Santa Rosa, Calif., and hosted by Sedona poet Christopher Fox Graham.

Tickets are $10 in advance through Nov. 30, $12 on Dec. 1.

(The $2 discount appears at checkout).


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 is the third of the 2012-13 season, which will culminate in selection of Sedona's second National Poetry Slam Team, the foursome and alternate who will represent the city at the National Poetry Slam in Boston and Cambridge, Mass., in August.

The local poets 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. Sedona sent its five-poet first team to the 2012 National Poetry Slam in Charlotte, N.C.

Jordan Ranft

Jordan Ranft, of Santa Rosa, Calif., features at the Sedona Poetry Slam at
Studio Live on Saturday, Dec. 1.
Ranft loves poetry. He loves writing it, and he loves performing it. In the few years he has been practicing his craft he has taken the scene by storm. First starting performance career out in Colorado Jordan placed several times at the Mercury Cafe Slam in Denver.

Now residing in northern California he has performed all over the San Francisco Bay rea, won multiple slams, and has featured at several big events including the Northbay Poetry Slam, Desert Rocks Music Festival and the San Francisco How Weird Street fair. He derives his poetry from personal struggle and growth. His main goal is to be true to himself while putting on the most entertaining show he possibly can.

Sedona Poetry Slam


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 slam will be hosted by Graham, who represented Northern Arizona on six FlagSlam National Poetry Slams in 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010 and 2012.

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

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.

All types of poetry are welcome on the stage, from street-wise hip-hop and narrative performance poems, to political rants and introspective confessionals. Any poem is a "slam" poem if performed in a competition. All poets get three minutes per round to entertain their audience with their creativity.

2013 Sedona National Poetry Slam Team


Competing poets earn points with each Sedona Poetry Slam performance between September and May. Every poet earns 1 point for performing or hosting. 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 2013 National Poetry Slam in Boston. Poets can compete for multiple teams during a season and still be eligible to compete in the Sedona team.

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

Tickets are $10 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.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Buy your tickets now for the Sedona Poetry Slam on Saturday, Nov. 17

Houston Hughes features at the Sedona Poetry Slam on Saturday, Nov. 17

Sedona's Studio Live hosts a poetry slam Saturday, Nov. 17, starting at 7:30 p.m. featuring Fayetteville, Ark., poet Houston Hughes and hosted by Sedona poet Christopher Fox Graham.


Poets 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 is the first of the 2012-13 season, which will culminate in selection of Sedona's second National Poetry Slam Team, the foursome and alternate who will represent the city at the National Poetry Slam in Boston and Cambridge, Mass., in August.


The local poets 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.

Sedona sent its five-poet first team to the 2012 National Poetry Slam in Charlotte, N.C.
Sedona's Studio Live hosts a poetry slam Saturday, Nov. 17, starting at
7:30 p.m. featuring poet Houston Hughes from Fayetteville, Ark.

Houston Hughes


Houston Hughes was introduced to poetry slam in 2006, and by 2010 had made finals stage at the Individual World Poetry Slam, placing him among the top 12 performance poets in the world.

In the time in between, he won individual recognition at the 2008 College Union Poetry Slam Invitational tournament, led the Hendrix College team to win the Region 12 championship in 2009, and has been part of the Ozark Poetry Slam team for two years.

Hughes has toured across the country and has opened for a variety nationally known acts such as Saul Williams and Otep.

Hughes currently resides in Fayetteville, Ark., where he is part of the planning committee for IWPS 2012.

For more on Hughes, visit:
www.HoustonHughes.tk
www.reverbnation.com/PoetryByHouston
www.facebook.com/PoetryByHouston

Sedona Poetry Slam


To compete in the slam, poets prepare 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 slam will be hosted by Graham, who represented Northern Arizona on six FlagSlam National Poetry Slams in 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010 and 2012.

In no particular order, the poets for Saturday are Jeremiah Blue, Charles Levett, Jackson Morris, Bert Cisneros, Joshua Wiss, Gabrielle Lee, The Klute, Joy Young, Evan Dissinger, Maya Hall, Gary Every, Valence and Austin Reeves. Sorbet: Jackie Stockwell. Calibration: Josh Floyd and Taylor Hayes. The list is currently full, but seats are still available, click here to buy your tickets now.

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.

All types of poetry are welcome on the stage, from street-wise hip-hop and narrative performance poems, to political rants and introspective confessionals. Any poem is a "slam" poem if performed in a competition. All poets get three minutes per round to entertain their audience with their creativity.

2013 Sedona National Poetry Slam Team


Last year, five poets represented Sedona at the week-long National
Poetry Slam in Charlotte, N.C. In August 2013, NPS will be held in
Boston and Cambridge, Mass. Will you be among them? Or will you
help choose who represents Red Rock Country in Beantown?
Competing poets earn points with each Sedona Poetry Slam performance between September and May. Every poet earns 1 point for performing or hosting. 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 2013 National Poetry Slam in Boston. Poets can compete for multiple teams during a season and still be eligible to compete in the Sedona team.

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

Tickets are $10 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.

"Verballistics: Issue 1" awesome digital zine published three of my poems

My friend Verbal Kensington in Flagstaff has just published her first zine anthology, "Verballistics: Issue 1" featuring poetry, art and prose from artists all over the country.
 The online version is wicked cool. Every poem and prose piece is paired with art to complement it and with this tool bar you can move around and zoom in, just like you were looking at a real print edition:
 And for any page turned on its side, hit the eye to view it right side up.

Three of my poems are include, "They Held Hands," "To the Planet Formerly Known as Pluto," and "Ragnarok." The photo for "Ragnarok" includes an image of Mathias Rust landing his plane in Red Square.





"Verballistics: is a publishing endeavor which, like poetry itself, defies definition. ​​ We believe that life is poetry, and we are all poets. We promote work which blends the lines between art and literature, and pushes the boundaries of traditional publishing. Our contributors have a message to share with the world - whether it's a shout from the mountaintops, or a whispered secret which somehow cradles the universal in us all. We are devoted to the artistry of language. We celebrate the experimental. We honor the linguistic lexicon, and the vernacular virtuoso. ​ ​We'd love to help you Get Verbal!"

The publication includes a copy of my poem, "They Held Hands:"

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Fire dancing and the Names of Trees

For a Dia de los Muertos performance at Tlaquepaque in Sedona with the Sedona Sacred Circus fire troupe, of which Azami is a fire dancer. A trio began the poem acting like monkeys and wild animals until one discovered how to use fire, like the rest of the dancers and spun fire for the rest of the poem. Bradley Blalock, Vusi Shibambo and James Turner performed percussion with Jason Vargo on sound.

Kyle, Lynn and Azami of the Sedona Sacred Circus perform in Tlaquepaque for Dia de los Muertos.
The Names of Trees

before we named the trees
we feared the dark
ran from the shadows
monsters stalked us
in daytime’s tall grasses
and nighttime’s nightmares

we feared fire most of all
it ate the unnamed trees alive
its breath choked the beasts we hunted
we could not hold it
and could not fight it
just fear it

but one of us
The First of us
saw an infant spark
and treated it like a child
she learned to wield it
our first tool
brought it into the caves
and taught us not to fear
but use it
to chase away the monsters

fire is always the same
because a flame is never the same
from moment to moment
by always changing
the flame never changes

with fire
we learned to control the shadows
we danced them onto cave walls
where we trapped the monsters in ocher and ash

we used the fire to keep the beasts away in the night
to cook the bounty gathered from the earth
and roast our meat from the day’s hunt

and with bellies full
in the glow of the fire
we learned language
around campfires
as our elders told stories
of their young days long passed
they told us the names of trees:
oak
ash
banyan
pine
bodhi
fir
palm
cedar
sugi
cypress
they spoke of the strong mothers who raised them
the great hunts of their brave fathers
how they leaned ways to teach us these things

they told us
of ancestors who had long since turned to bones
and were now dust
who had sprinkled themselves across the heavens
to watch over us
always
glowing in the dark
like flames in the night

when the fire in their own hearts
began to flicker
they asked us to built fires to mourn their death
help ascend their bodies
so they could watch over us from new stars
alongside their ancestors

around the fire
we learned to structure nouns and verbs
into rhythm and beat
rhyme and stanza
turning the articulation of breath
the staccato of consonants
the tone and pitch of air in living lungs
into the art of poetry
stories we could pass from generation to generation
long after the first lungs to hold them
were silent beneath the dirt
we still tell some of those stories
passing along the poetry
of heroes
who are no longer bones
no longer dust
but vapor in the wind

around the fire
we passed on what we had learned
to the children who would mourn us
consider these frail lifeless bones still sacred
because they once held them
in their infancy

long after our bones turned to dust
and the dust turned to vapor
and the vapor exhaled by something new
they would remember … us
in the stories around the fire

a ribbon of flesh and fire
tied us to the infant spark
that The First one of us
held without fear

fire is always the same
because a flame is never the same
from moment to moment
by always changing
the flame never changes

it is consumption and combustion
a moment of reaction
between earth and air
the tangible and ethereal
in a spark of life
never the same from one second the next

nothing is eternal but change
so our civilizations learn to adapt
like tongues of flame
growing together or apart
rising and falling
expanding and shrinking
dancing in a campfire

we sometimes forget that lesson
so our empires defy it
our monuments stand against it
our great cities are abandoned
for new homes
Sumeria
is now just artifacts
Assyria
has become Scrabble word
31 dynasties ruled Egypt,
each falling to the next
the dream of Rome
became a dream again
the sun never set on the British Empire
until the day it did
and young America too
will grow old into history books
but the fire will still be the same
because a flame is never the same
from moment to moment

even now
in the glow of digital screens
behind the wheel of combustion engines
or miles above the earth
in steel aircraft
or space stations
we are still mesmerized by the flame
we gather around fireplaces on holidays
remembering the ancient reasons for things
we light wax candles for dead loved ones
hoping whispered words
might rise to their ears in the heavens
where they watch us
alongside ancestors

we find ourselves
still captivated by campfires
staring into them
unable to look away sometimes
while we tell stories
just like we used to
when home
wasn’t made from stone and brick
or animal skins from last year’s hunt
but the warmest cave
on our nomadic trek
following the herds
teaching our children
the names of trees

some day
when we no longer fear the dark
a descendant of the flame that first warmed us
as we lay dreaming of stars
will help send a few of us
beyond the reach of Earth
never again to see this home
more will follow
using flickers of fire
to pass the boundaries
break the laws of gravity
that we will refuse to obey any longer
and sail across the night
unafraid of the monsters we left behind
trapped on cave walls beneath ocher and ash
they will make their homes
on marbles of every color
swirling in the dusty arms of space
and in the wildernesses of new worlds
they will name new trees
tell stories around campfires of ancestors
strong mothers
brave fathers

fire is always the same
because a flame is never the same
from moment to moment
by always changing
the flame never changes

some day
when “human”
means something else entirely
and whomever we become
sails on the winds of supernovas
finds no fear exploring black holes
the last place darkness can hide from us

they may communicate the poetry quasars and quarks
with the same beauty as verbs and nouns
but still stare at the surface of suns
and without explanation why
know the fire burning before them
is still wonderful to witness
because in the glimmer of a memory
dancing with the arithmetic of orbiting atoms
and the geometry of galaxies
they can feel something deep in their bones
tying them like a ribbon of flesh and flame across time
to a tiny world
whose name they have forgotten
or can no longer pronounce
and remember
somehow,
ancestors who wielded an infant spark
to no longer fear monsters or the dark
but listen around the first campfire
to poetry
and stories
and the names of trees