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.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

"Go Fish" by Thadra Sheridan

Published on Mar 10, 2014. For full poems, more videos, and booking information visit

"Go Fish"
 by Thadra Sheridan
I don't have any track marks.
Hard drugs are for the cowardly and uncreative.
The only interesting thing about doing them
is not doing them any more.
I hear that's hard.
And, maybe,
coming up with enough cash to fund a good solid
mom-busts-into-your-room, intervention, re-hab-bound habit.
But you can just scramble for rent
and save your septum.
Self abuse isn't radical.
It's just lazy.
You want to be real hard-core?
Do your laundry and make it to work on time.
Look at your own dying face in the mirror.
My father
chased every day of his life since thirty with a bottle of scotch.
I am not impressed.
He just saved himself the trouble
of having to raise his own children.
And everyone noticed.
Where's the subtlety in that?
You can knock decades off your life with a little ingenuity,
and noone'll be the wiser.
See the trick is...
Having the balls to devour your own flesh while everyone's watching.
Now that
Cries for help are for the weak.
I don't even ask for directions in small towns.
Oh, I'm not saying I aint had it hard.
I've had to build closet organizers
to accommodate my skeletons.
But I don't need to
torture myself with butcher knives and sleeping pills, I just
get out of bed every morning.
There are a thousand imaginative ways to push yourself to the edge.
Time is helping me along.
I don't have patience for the maudlin and painfully obvious.
My mother is proud of her child.
I am a responsible and upstanding citizen.
But i have invented fifty-three silent killers,
and they're eating me alive while you watch.
My therapist says.....
I write poetry
and spend that hundred dollars an hour
on new shoes.
I wear two rapes on my lapel
like merit badges.
I drink
to prove I don't have to be my father.
At any given moment there are
fifteen monkeys
poised to jump on my back.
But not one of them can quite get a grip, because
there isn't a drug harder to master
than self-control.
So you want to shove needles up your arm, or
whittle yourself away, vomiting ex-lax?
Be my guest.
That just clears you off my teetering path
across the winking eyelid of doom.
And I'll be damned if I don't make it
to the opposite tear duct.
You see in life,
you have two choices:
You can take every short stick you've been handed
and build crutches to limp around on.
You won't get far,
but you'll get pity.
Or you can use them
as a tool
to chisel a mark so deep in posterity
you'd have to sandblast right through to erase it.
I take every bad card I've been dealt
and play a marathon game of go fish
with the demons from my waking reality.
I run tragedy through my head
like a laundry list of reasons I'm still
walking under the weight.
I drag every fucked-up thing that's ever happened
behind me like a dead chain gang.
And I'm not cutting one of them loose.
They're helping me build muscle mass.
I don't have hope.
I've got tenacity,
and an insight into this fresh hell that'd put a newborn puppy on prozac.
So what're you going to do?
You going to let that demon win?
Carve "Uncle" across your chest
with razor blades and cigarette burns?
Or you going to look him straight in the eye and say,
"Go Fish"

Copyright © Thadra Sheridan

Live from the Starry Plough in Berkeley, California
Video process by Wolf and Holmes Studios

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