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.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Letter of Advice to My Son

Spit the verse in you; the music will subside.
Life has a volume knob if you know where to look.
Bleed away the bullshit. Kill it with a 40, or a pack of cigarettes
Stand bare naked before a bathroom mirror and count your scars.
Name them in chronological order.
Invent new histories for them; they won't care.

Pretend into fact: dive bar fistfights, whores with forgettable names.
Make new your old skin and become a rough-and-tumble drunkard in your imagination.

Learn to sneer like an old west cowboy played by John Wayne or Clint Eastwood
Name your dead horse. Work him into random conversations.
Sit alone in the desert and remember the long rides.
Weep for him and let the desert swallow your tears.

Cut your skin deep, so you won't fear pain.
Watch yourself bleed.
Understand that that time
is doing the same thing to you.
Then let it heal and forget.

Fuck without fearing it
Don't call the first three.
They will haunt you appropriately.

Then, only fuck for love
Only lonely nights, remember. them all
You may love hundreds
or just one for decades
but sin or death will take them all in time
leaving you with only cherished moments
so cherish all the moments
as if they will be your last

Face the city alleys
Know their darknesses:
and the difference between a stray cat
and a street gang.

Forgive your fathers.
Let them teach you how not to live.
Where they failed, do not.
Know that their sins were simple:
they did not see you coming
teach your son better
accept that you will fail
but he may forgive you
for your effort

Some men deserve to die; you are no exception

Fear the indifference of good men more than evil

Know that fools no different than you built all institutions.

Embrace solitude. It will save you on the lonely nights.

Accept no story as fact unless it happens to you.

Once a year, lay down in a gutter to learn how to sleep there if need be.

Suicide can be rational
men are not.

Watch sunsets prayerfully, to learn why we first worshipped the sun and the moon.
Count stars nightly - know that some will die tonight and never shine again.

Name constellations in your honor. Invent their mythologies

Learn to lie well.
do it sparingly, but be dedicated
Confess to no one
Honest lies become truth in time.
Not all lies are sins
Learn the difference

never admit to being an artist
they are pretentious
if you are an artist
history will take care of it for you

change jobs constantly
stagnant waters are poisonous

serve your community selflessly
it will repay in kind
Know it can turn rabid
flee when necessary
mobs cannibalize leaders

Resist authority always
Obedience must be earned

Governments replace anarchy, but they are not free from it

Love your nation and your tribe
never call yourself a patriot
you are better than that.

Admire the pageantry of humanity
but do not believe it
we all wear silly hats

Converse with lunatics
they have much to teach
speak their dialects

Women are sacred, always.
Men are expendable, always.
Without women, our tribe is lost.
So raise your daughters to be warriors.

Breed intelligently
you owe it to your grandfathers

Know that your honor and your pride
are the only gifts you give yourself
and the only things no man can take from you

Death is evitable
embrace this
die nobly if you can
we are meat puppets
be sure not to spoil

Words can kill
use them wisely
Speak honestly and slow
Enunciate with conviction.
Your words will bind you when all else is lost.

Poetry is the captured sincerity of a moment
you live for only a moment
live poetically

Monday, February 14, 2005

Cool Down

some say "cool down"
I say "stay warm"

some say "cool down"
I say "I'm hot, hot hot"

some say "cool down"
I say "you're being a douche-bag, mr. JB jr."

some say "cool down"
I say "you only wish you were hot"

some say "cool down"
I say "melt down"

some say "cool down"
I say "God Save the Queen"

some say "cool down"
I say "you're just scared"

some say "cool down"
I say "I'm brighter than the sun, baby"

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

My Fucked Up Friday

On Jan. 22, a local 11-year-old, RayLynne hung herself. It's been the third such suicide by hanging in the Verde Valley since my last post. The first was an 8-year-old boy in Cottonwood; then a 15-year-old boy, the son of Camp Verde's Town Manager; and now RayLynne. At the newspaper, we've debated endlessly about if and how to cover these events. The consenus is that our job as journalists in to inform our community about the facts. It's not easy. With RayLynne, rumors started flying about her death; I heard from the parent of a child at her school that she had shot herself - another that it was a drug overdose. Neither was the case and to prevent gossip and serve our community, we have to be both accurate and respectful.

There is something seriously wrong in the Verde Valley. Why are these kids killing themselves and why by hanging?

On friday, RayLynne's mother had a meeting with me. The girl's grandmother had faxed a letter to the editor thanking local organizations and individuals for support and donations to the girl's funeral expenses. The mother wanted to add some names. No big deal, I thought.

She came in Friday and she was tweaking at the meeting. Shows up on meth at my newsroom after what her daughter had done. I helped her out as much as I could and made the changes she requested, but I wanted to punch her. This was the reason RayLynne felt helpless and there was nothing I could do for her now, but shit Christ woman, you'd think your daughter's suicide would be cause to get clean.

I left work immediately after. I just wanted to break something. I came home, threw stones, whacked on a stump with a 2x4 and cried.