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.

Friday, July 19, 2013

"Kal-El's Lament" by Christopher Fox Graham

Written while listening to Nick Giello perform a set at Reds


I didn't ask to come here
it was this or death
my parents – my real parents
sent me when everything they knew
was doomed to collapse on itself

this country is unfamiliar
though I've seen so much of it
all I have of home are the recordings of my father
stoic and overbearing
telling from his tomb how to behave
"you must be a beacon
a ray of hope
a savior,
a super man
to these new people"

my mother is a memory
an image and a glimmer
her voice I've recreated
a hundred thousand times
with different timbre and tone
but it never sounds right
never sincere
and always in English
a language I knew she never spoke
I want to hear my native tongue
echoing off the crystal walls
or in the busy streets of cities
I want to see the skies again
feel the sun rising red on the horizon
be a boy
an ordinary boy
who climbs trees and falls from them
with bruises and cuts to prove it
who learns to fear the sight of his own blood
or broken bones

it's hard to be a man
when you've never learned to survive the pain
of growing up

The secret of silence is
if you say nothing
people assume the worst

only in solitude
can I scream out
"fuck this place
and these people"

but I've got nowhere to go
no home, no country
and no one understands
not my boss
not the people I help

my girlfriend thinks I'm someone else
she sees another face
calls me by another name
I can't tell her I only feel warm
standing in snow with no one
around for hundreds of miles
only there can I cry
be the boy I never was
instead of this man they think I am

she has her career
the news stories she chases
she's in love with another man
but never says so
she wants a man who isn't real
who lies to the world about who he is
when she could have me, right here
"we're not that different," I tell her
just cosmetic
different clothes, hair and glasses
but she doesn't see it
he's heroic and I'm just a small town boy

These people want so much from me
these weak, small creatures
who don't stand up for themselves
now that they have me
"why can't you fix this"
"prevent that?"
"why did he live
and my mother die?"
I'm just one man
I can't be everywhere
I have a life, too
I'm not here out of choice
I'm no civil servant – this is my free time
and it's not easy
I rescue you helpless children
you blind kittens
you insects
not because you deserve it
but because I'm not cruel
but I bite my tongue
swallow my pride

they call out for who they want
not who I am
"save us, save us, Superman," they shout
but my name is Kal-El
and this place,
this Earth
is not my home

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