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, December 25, 2006

The thirteenth step is to learn not to be an ass

This follows some recent conversation with poets in Phoenix and their views on divorce between me and NORAZ Poets via its executive director.

Following recovery, 12-steppers need to learn some love.

The addiction doesn't go away, it just changes form. For many, that underlying problem, not covered rather than dealt with, just makes them judgemental pricks. I'm all for the benefits, but I suppose that if you join a group wherein the first rule is to announce that you have no power to control yourself, you have a tendency to blindly ignore that capacity in others. That, and being "saved" from addiction bleeds over into other meanings of "saved," and thus, the gentle stumble forward into arrogant self-righteousness.

To elucidate:
It seems the shift from addiction
(I must have this drug or I can't function; no middle ground)
shifts to the 12 Steps
(I need help or I will die; no middle ground)
then to personal interaction afterward
(this person is my friend or my enemy; no middle ground)

I suppose that if these people learned moderation in the beginning with drug use, they could learn that people are not a drug - there's a whole lot of gray in human relationships.

But, I guess, just like hitting rock bottom with drugs, they have to hit rock bottom with friendships before they realize they need to attend the 12-Step Program of Not Being a Prick.

How long, Mr. Lane?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The West: a short poem

my grandfather rode horses for a living
across the open plains of Montana
he could field strip a rifle
or fix and engine block with baling wire
like a McGuyver cowboy

I am the grandson of pioneers
a son of a barrel racer
a nephew of bull riders
who wear cowboy hats out of necessity
not fashion
but they're always removed for church
"praise God
and pass the ammunition,
a pack of coyots have been harassing my herd
and after communion
we'll ride out and find them"
these men are better armed than gangsters
but it serves a purpose

they don't care where you come from
who you fuck
the hue of your skin
or your first language

"can you rope?
can you ride?
can you work?"
beyond that, most things don't matter

"in the name of
Hank Williams,
Johnny Cash,
John Wayne,
and America, amen"

this is my West

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Welcome to the Show

welcome to the show
we fit the parts cast by the playwright
dodge bullets in slow motion
according to the script
and the audience holds tightly
to the armrest
waiting for the quotable one-liners
that slip into the memes of later days

the girls said I was mysterious
over a glass of wine
and that they held onto the illusion
that I had a dark side beneath the sunglasses
the collarless navy blue coat
and the unwavering addiction to proper grammar
while I smiled inside
and wondered from where
they got that crazy idea

I'm as mysterious as sunlight
open your eyes
look up at the way it bounces off the leaves
and see what's already there
I'm two words and an invitation away
from spilling my guts
but somehow, no one wants to ask
"can you tell me your story?"

shyness, I suppose,
has unintended results
my words reveal the façade outside
put on to pass the days
to put it simply
I'm Calvin minus Hobbes
though I keep him at home on the nightstand
sometimes, in the city,
I'm Spaceman Spiff, until Wormwood
in all her incantations,
brings me back to the math class world

sometimes, I wonder,
what the world will say of me after I pass
will anyone step forward and reveal that they knew me best?
will the dots and dashes of my days
be readable to those still listening to my ramblings?

I catalogue my infatuations in my columns
each artist is a glorious interpretation
of who I might have been if born in them
instead of in this
I wish I could be them all,
but short of that, I'll let the readers know
in bits and parts
the pieces of me I see in them
my story is a transmutation of a thought:
we're all the same ash and dust
pushing out breath until we pass into oblivion
the stories, vices and art of our days
makes the moments between death and birth meaningful
though the dance is ultimately futile

but if we're doomed to fade
why make our days so trying?
smile wide, take her hand,
dance like a fool
kiss her when the moment is totally wrong
and make it right
because the judgment of a moment
is a matter of choice:
don't let fate decide the circumstances and react
with right or wrong
choose first, and fate will rewrite the facts

soapbox preaching only converts those willing to listen
and if no one does
I preach to myself
because I still need convincing from time to time
acting without forethought, in the present,
is what the zen koans elucidate
be one hand clapping
wash my bowl now empty of rice
thank the master, but don't take the stone
I need not be scarred by a bad choice
when a simple bow is all that's required
kiss when I feel like it
walk away when the time has passed
and find ways to live in freedom
that Robbins found through Satre

memes find me
at the time when I need them most
they hover around the edges
I'll known when to look for what I must find
temet nosce
and the pieces fill in the spaces appropriately

They'll hover round the tomb

They'll hover round the tomb
long after I am a memory
trading stories of who knew me best
swap stories of this bar
that lover in the moonlight
while the best me smiles in the coffin in the corner

I plan an Irish wake

they'll trade the tales that made me to them
wondering who was closest
who knew the secrets that I told no one else
never guessing that the best parts
will be buried tomorrow

laughter will drown out the honesty
and they'll walk away
bellies full of my favorite dishes
eyes swelling with the booze I always ordered
stumbling home to write in lonely journals
that they learned more about me that night
than they did while I lived

and nowhere in those stories
are the nights I laid on my roof for hours
counting the stars of the milky way
or the secret soft lover I called Monica
who never existed in flesh
but danced across my pages
calling herself by a thousand different names
and slipped in silently
into the lovers I never held for more than a moment

there are gypsy Irish songs
I played only when no one was home
the poems saved on my hard drive
password-protected so no one would find them
it's so easy, friends, to read them:
just know where is home to me
and they'll open themselves to you

I loved women who will never know,
wanted to be boys who will count the days onward
never knowing that they were envied

the poems I wish I had written and
my secret sins will claw at the earth
begging for freedom if only someone would search beneath the surface

but those who venture close
will understand the magic tricks I played:
everyone thinks they know you
if you split a pitcher
and make the conversation revolve around them

I've learned the tricks of journalists
that I wish I could have elucidated earlier
most writers use their tales to show who they are
I use mine to hide me
behind those visages
that others know so well
the poet, the musician, the writer, the painter
my fascination with them
with what they create
hides my inner drives to do what I have done

and, of course, being the sad poet I am
I spit the hidden verses to reveal in bit and parts
what I wanted to say
when the moment was right
when the last girl was in my arms
when all the mathematics aligned
to find that equation that equaled me
but no one does math anymore
they merely wait for the blog entry
the poem, the song, the novel, the drunken pronouncement
to clarify their suspicions

I play harder to get
to know what hides beneath,
beat me in game of chess,
with my honesty on the line
catch me alone one night at home
with roommates gone
the dog asleep on the sofa
the computer off and all the electronics shut down
listen to that which makes me laugh aloud
read the lines that I reread a thousand times on weekends
watch my favorites movies run raw with wear

find the poems I have hidden places
where no one will find them in my lifetime
speak to the women I have passionately followed for years
and I'll be there hidden between the lines

playing this role
wherein all the players know my name
stop me in grocery stores
and chat about their day
what they want from me
or what they need me to do
they hold an image encapsulated by my name
that I often laugh at in early mornings
when I stand naked before taking a shower

we all hold our friends and foes
in the places that make sense most
puzzle pieces played on the board
to win the game
never knowing if our prize
is a coup d'état waiting for the moment to strike

to know a person is simple:
what would they die for
what would they kill for
what do they live for ..
and these are never the same

so for know
shout my name as I spit verses on stage
claim to know me on the street
or in late night bars
relate our mutual occupations of space
as stories to friends
read my writings and delve deep
pose with me for pictures for those who couldn't be there
slip between my sheets to hold me in the night
and when I pass
tell these stories to the assembled crowd
but know what foolishness you speak

because those who know this poet
will gather later
long after my corpse is resting
and laugh at my silly things
how she could make me wait with a whisper
how I cried to "Walking in Memphis"
the draw of a pretty girl anywhere
late night Irish drinking ballads
how a good story could captivate me
joy in friends' happinesses
unspoken affection for family
finding the girl I always sought
and how only those who knew me
sans façade, sans image, sans name
would have read a poem like this one

Friday, November 3, 2006

Fight Club

the bass beats run wild
while the johnny walker
reminds me of the daily pulse
dot dot dot
and drink down the night
deck me in the jaw
to remind me we're friends
that's how the pulse goes sometimes
while heavy metal rips on the speakers
god, life feels close
when pain is a fistfight away
bloody my face
and we're never part friendship

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The planet formerly known as Pluto

On Sept. 7, the former 9th planet was assigned the asteroid number 134340 by the Minor Planet Center (MPC), the official organization responsible for collecting data about asteroids and comets in our solar system.
The move reinforces the International Astronomical Union's (IAU) recent decision to strip Pluto of its planethood and places it in the same category as other small solar-system bodies with accurately known orbits.
Pluto's companion satellites, Charon, Nix and Hydra are considered part of the same system and will not be assigned separate asteroid numbers, said MPC director emeritus Brian Marsden. Instead, they will be called 134340 I, II and III, respectively.

Saturday, October 7, 2006


kinetic push of flesh
moving the body art
through choreographed scenes
while the mind flutters circumnavigate
the candlestick of memory

I dance the tango of the days
spit out the lines at the appropriate scenes
and wait for the invisible audience
to reward my perfect pronunciation
at the end-of-year ceremony

on autopilot, calendar dates are irrelevant
stories are games to tell
and the drama of living
can be evaded like doing dishes during commercials

none of the day-to-day matters
so it slips away like echoes
"remember whens" archivists will have to assemble
when all is said and done

what moves me
hides beneath the shell outside
a director manipulating the scenes
a wild-haired physicist
measuring the proper mixture
of language, action, time and place
to produce results
sentience is a word it seems only I know
but choose to ignore
so as to fit in with the flesh machines
responding to stimuli of biology and linguistics

yet a wild-haired speck of skin among the pantheon
seeks me out
dotting the I's and crossing the T's I'd forgotten
backtracking me to the whys of my whats
fencing me into a corner that my science can..t elude

her language-hilted rapier
slides past my parries
cuts the skin
and stings the softer spots

car chases and explosives flash on the screen
but her teases leave more impact
and she's winning all the Oscars

the plastic mold wrapped around this name and image
melts into a puddle in the desert
the deities lose their feathers
and can't hold their thunderbolts
flesh curls over Geppetto's pawn
the liar's sins are clear as noses
and excuses make no difference

in those languid embraces
the sorrow of centuries
breaks through the skin
bleeding my ache into the sand
the words held tight for the sake of image
fall as rain
soaking the desert for the first time in years

These night with wide-open eyes

these night with wide-open eyes
beers poured straight from the tap cold on barren lips
while warm memories of days past
hang in the air
swirling with cigarettes and stories

they laugh in the moments
faces illuminated by the fire
telling the same stories nightly
with new characters, new names

while indoors, through the glass
the musicians try to reinvent the wheels of chords
drummers play new beats
guitarists verse new instruments
poets pen new lines
and explode from the doom of days

we are heading daily toward death
trying to forget our inborn destiny
with swift fingers, kisses and pretty words

"if only we could drink them away"
the poets and musicians say between the lines
hoping that riff, that lyric will make it so
begging the drum beats to shake loose our age
and return us to youth and oblivion

but we wake in dawn's light
to the same fate day after day
knowing the course hasn't changed:

our hair will gray
drop to the floor
and remind us in the echoes
that lover's kisses are fleeting remembrances
forgotten with too much time or distance to part us

we will spill our incoherence from lips
dream of days past
press memories into photo albums
to remind our older selves
that we lived once
when the Golden World still held its glimmer with sheen
and we will sigh at all the appropriate times
when reminded and cued

"remember when?"
"yes, drunken poet, those were the days"
we raged against the dark loneliness of life
sweating in the arms of someone young
and gloriously beautiful
we dropped synonyms
and danced with our long hair swishing about hips rocking
to the beat
loosened our fingers as through
they were broken free from hands except for skin and intention
we shook arms and legs with reckless abandon
and tipped the barkeeps
too much for their troubles

but tonight
raise your fists
beat against the blind sky
and scream out in drunken ecstasy:
"tonight with not be the last!
we have more days to forget our names!"
more minutes to press lips to microphones
and believe in our own desperate words

we are dust and echoes in the pageantry of dying skins
renaming ourselves when the dialects change
live fast, die young at heart
and leave a poem, a song, a story for those who bury you

all that matters is the moment
the musicians, the poets, the lovers and the dancers
scream into the night
forget all that doesn..t matter
which is all of the human drama

we waking shadows
we walking dreams
we face the inevitable echo
that haunts all our days
that one morning will be silent and sober
when we are forgotten

on that morning,
the songs will change
and the band will play on

Days Keep Counting Down

these days of weighted dreams
hanging onto my psyche
pulling me down from those lofty places
I used to hold tightly
the pitter-patter stories
we, as boys, promised ourselves
we would follow
all those paths from hand-holding
to kisses at altars
and all the mishmash afterward
we boys dreams like little girls do
but hold them much more secret
and share them only with stuffed animals
spill them later on the teenage pages
as dreams ferment in our bellies into the angst
that drives us to wars and booze
as our hairs begin to gray

those boy's dreams wage war
with the boy I have become
whose lovers are few and far between
measuring the distances
with drunken nights, the newest novels
more poems than needed
road trips, porno pages and borrowed CDs

we make excuses about the ones we left
the one we're waiting for
if only time would hurry us there
and moments of the brain-blinding joy
when we think with butterflies
is this it, is this her?

but time keeps clicking
the scope of rifle zeroing in on moving targets
waiting for the round that will hit us
before we hear it

and our bank accounts fill and empty
the calendars fall from the walls
and the numbers keep adding up
while days keep counting down

Monday, September 11, 2006

Sacrifices by Rebecca Allen

By Rebecca Allen

I believe that everything happens for a reason. And because of this belief I can honestly say that I
appreciate and understand that for me to be who I am now, my dad had to be a drug dealer. Before and after I was born my dad was an Angel Dust (PCP) dealer. He left my mother and I when I was ten days old. But growing up I was as naive to the situation as one could possibly be. I thought that my dad was the captain of the world and I was his first mate. I claimed ignorance until a childhood friend in the fifth grade revealed to me what my dad kept from me for years.

At this point in my life, I was just starting to become aware of what drugs were and wasn’t sure what the appropriate course of action was. So I kept quiet, like my dad had been doing for all of those years. I waited. After having my eyes forced wide open, I started to pay closer attention. Closer attention to why people did what they did and how outside forces affected them. I realized that instead of my dad continuing to sell drugs, he had become an alcoholic.

Being a drug addict and being an alcoholic are two completely different states of addiction in our
society’s mind. But my mind couldn’t accept that just because my dad could legally be addicted to alcohol that it was right by me. I know that I made harsh judgments at an early age and as a result of that I asked my dad to put down the beer can, but he wouldn’t. There is very little that I ever asked from my dad and because he refused me I haven’t talked to him in over two years.

I believe that everything happens for a reason, but above that I believe in the power of addiction. This experience was only the beginning of an entire world filled with addiction for me to find. Addiction has continued to pry open my eyes to the bare essentials of human desire. I didn’t understand that addiction is a poison that reaches all around the world and because I didn’t understand that then I sacrificed a relationship that can never be completely filled. We give addiction the opportunity to bring us up to the highest when nothing else can stifle that desire, but there is a long downward spiral waiting to blind us of everything else. I believe in the power of addiction because if we want something enough there is little that can keep us from it.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

The Borderlander: The artist culture's need to find the frontier

The Borderlander:

The artist culture's need to find the frontier

Everywhere was once "The Frontier"

Despite the advancements in technology, the human race remains a hunter-gatherer society wherein the role of warrior, homemaker, mother and father remain paramount. As members of the species outgrew the confines of the twenty-person tribe into nations, the parameters of the tribe remained, among its core tenants: provide for the tribe, do not kill members of the tribe, provide for and protect the next generation, and proportionately punish those who violate those rules necessary for survival.

Each tribe, then nation, and then ethnic culture adapted rules, rewards and punishments in accordance with their locale, terrain, food supplies, traditions, and value systems to enforce these basic rules.

Those that failed starved until they adapted or went extinct.

The Birth of Civilization Delineates "The Frontier"

However, as the human race spread and multiplied, those rules changed to reflect the sheer size of the tribe, which numbered in the thousands, then millions.

As each nation state adapted rules reflecting the unique genetic culture and social history, the system of laws, whether ruled by book, the whim of a ruler chosen by merit or from the most powerful and influential family, or a heritage of agreed-upon rules, became the underlying governance of the basic hunter-gather tribal structure to keep the peace.

What is "The Frontier"?

In the long history of the human race, those who disobeyed or rejected those rules found either punishment and annihilation or ostracism as liberation. The frontier has always been the salvation of the tribe.

In the small society, those who left founded their own tribes. If the new tribe failed, it died. If it succeeded, it later conquered or assimilated the founders, conquered or was conquered by another, and in some cases, created a new tribe or nation state that found an equilibrium with the founders, either as neighbor and sometimes ally, sharing a mutual common heritage, or as the dominating or subservient tribe of its founders until rebellion or assimilation reestablished a nation state capable of survival.

As such genocide, or at least a cultural genocide, is ingrained in human heritage as it is with other species on a far longer, but no less important genetic scale. The new mutated species survives and becomes something new, while the older species either adapts to the change or becomes extinct itself, or the new mutation becomes obsolete and a genetic dead end.

Physical Frontier Has Disappeared

But the human frontier has disappeared. Until travel and colonization to the deep sea and to other worlds becomes possible, there is no more wide-open frontier. The forests and wild lands have reached their limits and the barren north or south is simply too remote and inaccessible.

The human race continues to adapt and reject its own systems, but is cannibalizing the structure to reestablish a frontier. With no new terrain, the landscape is the cities and countryside in which the human race has already inhabited.

The Need to Rebel Into the Frontier Turns Inward

All human societies face rejection and rebellion from within more so now than ever. Traditions that have stood for centuries or longer are being rejected. They worked to keep the society safe when they were created, but are growing more obsolete in the face of new art, technology and interaction between nation states.

While one nation developed laws and government according to its unique landscape, both physically and sociologically, access to information bombards a nations people with new ideas. People finding error with their systems look elsewhere and find better ways to behave individually and collectively, but without understanding the systems, success and failures that led to that particular adaptation.

"Civilization" is Slow to Effectively Adapt

Thus, cultures are adapting traits that should work, but fail completely or create more problems. The heterogeneous cultures are striving to adapt and fix underlying issues that have plagued their systems and are stumbling toward developing a homogenous social structure that can apply to all of a nations people and its immigrants, however, they still strive to keep their dominant cultural heritage.

The result in the short run will be a social structure that eventually collapses into anarchy as the heterogeneous elements reject the mainstream and fight first the dominating power, then each other, until a new equilibrium is reached, or a complete restructuring of the social structure that creates a bland, cultureless superstructure that ignores the genetic and cultural distinctions between peoples that seeks only to keep the peace.

This peace will only last until the cultural vestiges evaporate through interbreeding, blending the species until a single amalgamated race, or until a majority-minority power structure ignites into anarchy and the combative tribal structure again reestablishes itself.

From the 1998 movie "Bulworth": "All we need is a voluntary, free-spirited, open-ended program of procreative racial deconstruction. Everybody just gotta keep fuckin' everybody 'til they're all the same color."

Until a New Physical Frontier is Found, Civilization Faces Violence From Within

Due to scale of the human race, especially as the population continues to increase, will still create a cultural regionalism and culture based on place reflecting the values of locale over genetics and cultural heritage that will result in regional values overtaking the super-nation or global values and result in perpetual animosity, violence and war until a new frontier, new worlds made habitable by new technology, becomes available until the human race reduces itself back to the stone age through global disease or catastrophic world war, or simply becomes extinct.

The converse is a personal sovereignty wherein the overarching rules each individual is permitted to behave obeying those few basic rules of the tribe, now the species as a whole: provide for the species, do not kill members of the species, provide for and protect the next generation, and proportionately punish those who violate those rules necessary for the species survival. The advantage of this structure is that as the species encounters new technologies and new environments and later new worlds to colonize, the members of the species will be able to adapt and keep extinction at bay until it can find success then equilibrium with the environment.

Creating A Temporary Psychological Frontier Through Artistic Expression, Bohemian Lifestyles, and Becoming a "Cultural Rebel"

This adaptation begins earlier, and can be seen in American culture now. The borderlanders, the underground, the outlanders are those who see the laws and governance as inherently flawed as those rules are based on a time and place that is no longer applicable. They break the rules that do not harm to individuals involved. They slip beneath the radar of the system and learn to function and succeed as outlaws in the frontier beneath the social strata.

The overarching norms of the mainstream which, in America are capitalism, the pursuit of wealth and financial security are rejected and ignored.

These individuals have found that rejection of these has not lead to poverty and destitution, but rather to a particular lifestyle that is as distinctly liberated as the frontier of the West used to be 100 years ago. They have found that one can live, not just sustain, but comfortably live, without life insurance, investments, homeownership, nine-to-five employment, 401Ks, taxes, and pensions. They take little from the system and seek one underlying distinctly American value, perhaps more at our core more than any other to be left alone in peace.

"The Borderlanders":

The quintessential borderlander creates art, works for a living, contributes to his or her local community economically, politically or socially, raises children and/or benefits the offspring of other economically, politically or socially, occasionally indulges in minor vices which are still seen as negative by the elitist power structure, travels, experiments with their art, lifestyle, body, and morality, and spreads of living liberated within the society as ideas via a network of like minds.

They reject the system that restrains them by disobeying the rules that don't apply and communicating a new set of individualized values through art, but it in literature, music, visual art, or other mediums.

The goal, whether known or not, is to impart a value system of equality in members of the species so that as the species reaches the crux wherein it must decide to become bland and homogenous and face perpetual regional warfare, or embrace individual sovereignty.

The mainstreamer takes what is given, buys what they are fed, serves in the system and fights and hates what they are told. The mainstreamer is too complacent, too afraid, or too uninspired to see anything but what the system serves. They work hard but economically, politically or socially deposit their gains into a system that seeks to do the same to their children, in the often vain and intense vague hope that they will work up the ladder to a place of power and authority which seeks to feed on the masses for its power. It is a parasitic mind consuming a living corpse that maintains equilibrium as long as those in power dont get too hungry for more and as long as the body doesnt get too small or weak. Eventually, the system will tip one way or another and result in a totalitarian despot or open rebellion.

Draining troops from the mainstream is a social rebellious element that has been growing in strength for decades and presents a problem for the elite. As long as the masses have their bread and circuses, they are easily controlled.

The Threat of Political Rebellion

However, if the rebellion stirs the pot, shows those in the system that they don't need the system to be comfortable, creative and productive, the elite loses power. As power diminishes, the elite weakens, gets frantic, and uses its power to hold on to it. In time, this will lead to conflict. Either the elite will openly confront the rebellion and force the mainstream to choose, which will essentially cause it to fragment into factions, or the elite will lose its power and dissipate, or the elite will destroy the rebellion and reassert its power.

In other cultures and in other times, the elite has had forces in position to maintain power. At various times in human history, armies, the church, secret police, federal investigative agencies, fear or invasion, and the numbing powers of drugs, entertainment and television to kill or assimilate the outlaw borderlanders or cause the mainstream to turn against them.

Globalism Accelerates the Psychological Frontier

However, with the advent of new information technologies, the freedom of movement nationally and now internationally, the diminishing threat of invasion by enemies or outsiders is creating a structure wherein the concept of "us" is no longer a cultural, national or nation-state concept, but becoming one of a global community. It's hard for members of a nation such as the United State to hate members of another when its legal system openly and legally accepts everyone from anywhere to become one of its citizens. To become an American, equal to each every other American, all an imigrant need do is repeat the Naturalization Oath, and then they have as much right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as the dead white men who first penned those words.

As the enemy outside fades, the elite targets trouble-making nations to instill fear and keep power. Within, the elite targets anything outside the norm that is still not accepted by the predominate culture, such as those with differing social morals, practicing different sexual orientations, speaking different languages, wearing foreign dress, with different religious and cultural heritages, etc.

However, the borderlanders, in their quest for the frontier, the different, embrace and assimilate these outsiders. First as social tourists experiencing something new and different, second as like minds also ostracized for being difference from the mainstream, and third because borderlanders come from these outside groups a readily as from the mainstream.

The Borderlanders are Destined to Congregate

The borderlanders come from urban areas of large cities where the rules of the mainstream are least applicable because of the removed applicability and general obsolescence from the reality of the environment; or from suburbs and medium cities where complacency has created an structure of indifference to all but the most severe crimes and punishments; or from isolated small towns wherein a small minority has had influence to the art of the borderlander network; or art-centered towns where the artistic expression of borderlanders is more common and accepted than the mainstream itself.

Potential borderlanders in small towns where the population is stable and content, economy is healthy, the government is representative and adaptive, and art is conservative, have little complaint and generally no need to rebel against the local elite. However, regional or national issues can easily tip the scales one way or the other.

"Outlaw" Artists Will Create Enclaves

The outlaw artists seeking expression, the borderlanders, will seek out those places where they are accepted to create and to bend and break obsolete rules without consequence.

While the borderlanders have held onto pockets of their genesis the urban areas, suburban enclaves, and pockets art-centered towns are the future, the new frontier, where the borderlanders, social outlaws and art rebels can more free express, experiment and share.

They will congregate, agitate and adapt their unique regionalism into the locally predominate culture.

The Inevitable Conflict

While the timeframe could be years or decades, the elite will continue to fight and hold on to the mainstream and seek to destroy these outposts until the borderlanders either change the mainstream or the elite brings economic, political or social conflict in its final throes before it either collapses in the unrest it has caused but suppressed; or the elite assimilates the image of the borderlanders and feeds it to the mainstream in a package the elite can control; or the borderlanders face extinction and retreat back to pockets of isolation where the process can continue until it again finds a frontier to weaken the elites power hold again.

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

In the corners of this room

In the corners of this room,
the dust is centuries thick
accumulated from the hundreds of thousands
of footfalls that have shaken the hardwood floors

in the corners, the dust narrates stories
of surviving the earthquake that leveled the city of Lisbon
in 1755 but left this building standing

its tiled walls still echoes the voices
of the men from the 16th century
who filled this library
whispering to each other
the truths that they gleaned from illuminated books

this dust heard Napoleon at the gates
held safe the patriots that resisted him
the vaulted arches comforted both factions
in the civil war without choosing sides
to further divide the brothers already at war

the dust in this room withstood the revolution,
the coup d'état, the book-burners,
the two world wars
and the end of an empire

the dusted lasted all these years
but never has it seen anything
as beautiful as her

she, the dancer, glides across this hardwood floor
on bruised and battered toes
her arms ache from repeating the movements
until they are flawless

she takes the train
the bus, the metro
to come here
suffer the abuse of a teacher demanding no less
than perfection
she is intimidated by her own passion
yet will not surrender

she, the dancer, is artistry in motion,
skimming over the hardwood
with every limb, every ounce of her
articulating all the poetry that used to fill this room

books are no longer necessary
define beauty … watch her
what is art? … watch her
is there a god? … watch her
speak to me a radiant poem about a sun rise …
watch her and the poem
will spill from lips like breath

she does not move like us
her muscles are an army
every part, an instrument
combining the chorus of her feet
with the brass of her legs
the strings of her arms
the percussion of her chest
beating her heart drum
in rhythm to the symphony of her presence
if the tiles had eyes
they would not blink
fearing that she would wisp away like a dream
in the sunrise streaming through the windows

fill this space with the memory of your movements
dance across these wood floors that creak underfoot
and ache to hold your steps
for a moment,
like a lover would

as she dances at the center of the world
the dust, in the corners of this room,
forgets all the years
forgets the wars, the blood, the books, the whispers
and she,
at this moment
is why this building stands