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.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

"I Wish My Pride Was More Malleable," by Christopher Fox Graham

I wish my pride was more malleable
so I could remember the taste of you
but "forgive" is a seven-letter word
neither of us can say
without swallowing back into our chest
to burn deep into our spleens

to sleep
I have replaced your two arms
with two glasses of whiskey
so I don't spend the hours between midnight and daybreak
calculating how my 72¾-inch doorframe
can so perfectly divide us
Korean Peninsula-style
into two halves
sharing the same language and history
but without armistice or peace treaty
to settle the civil war
we both claim the other started
we are starfish:
all fingers and mouths but no ears

I kissed her because she was young and curious
and most importantly, wasn't you
but as her cheeks melted into my hands
she became comparison, afterimage, contrast
the joy of first kiss became science experiment
an astronaut's expedition to a new Earth
"can we survive here, like home?
will the atmosphere adapt to us
or we to it?
will our grandchildren bury us here
or will we bury each other?"

you were the home left behind
the hometown of my eventual obituary
linked to my biography the way
Lee, Marc Antony and Rommel are inseparable
from Appomattox, Actium and El Alamein

You earthquake-forest fire-kaleidoscope wrecking ball:
I understand why warzone survivors stand
in the wreckage of their homes
photographed stone-faced:
there's nothing left to mourn
when one's home isn't still here
just cremated into rubble and ash
it looks fixable,
but it's not
the way the dead, without gunshot wounds,
should spring back to life
after rebooting the hardware because we will it

but anatomy and history and car accidents
are one-way streets
sins we cannot unsay
we've collided at full speed
wreckage strewn across this bedroom
photographs and knickknacks
tagged and noted by the forensic investigators
to chart them back to the moment of impact
not a last kiss,
but the words, "I think you should leave"
spilling from these lips
without the addendum:
"but return tomorrow"
or "when time and reason softens your illogic
and you can remember you are meant
to be the better one of us"

but my unbending pride
will doom me to death by train impact
rather than move out of the way
and my last words
instead of the profundity of poets
with pithy statements
of time's brevity
or the beauty of life strung through mediocre moments
into something grand and glorious
or dying haiku masters in the bamboo forests
waiting for the end to suck the life from their lungs
grown ancient in the pursuit of shorter phrasing
will be something asinine
a gurgle of gibberish
a profane declaration


Theodore said...


Anissa said...

Beautiful. You're still my favorite. I love you and miss you....