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.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Poets compete for grand prize at the Old Town Poetry Slam

The art of competitive spoken word explodes with the Old Town Poetry Slam — a high-energy poetry slam starting at 7:30 p.m., on Saturday, April. 11.
Twelve of the region’s best performance poets will compete for a grand prize of $100 at the Old Town Center for the Arts, 633 N. Fifth St., Cottonwood.
The Old Town Poetry Slam comes on the heels of the Old Town Shootout in December in which four Arizona poetry slam teams competed in one of three statewide regional competitions.
April’s poetry slam is open, meaning any performance poet is welcome to compete. Poets need at least three original poems, each no longer than three minutes.
The Old Town Poetry Slam will be hosted by Sedona poet Christopher Fox Graham, who has represented Sedona and Flagstaff at four National Poetry Slams. To compete, poets need to register via e-mail to Slots will be determined on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Founded in Chicago in 1984, poetry slam is a competitive artistic sport. Poetry slams are judged by five random members of the audience who assign numerical value to individual poets’ content and performance. Poetry slam has become an international artistic sport, with more than 100 major poetry slams in the United States, Canada, Australia and Western Europe.
Tickets are $10. For tickets or more information about the Cottonwood poetry slam, call the Old Town Center for the Arts at 928-634-0940.
Additional ticket outlets include Green Carrot Café, Jerona Café and the Desert Dancer in Cottonwood; Golden Word Bookstore and Crystal Magic, in Sedona; The Worm bookstore in the Village of Oak Creek; and The Sage Post, in Jerome.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Letter of Advice to My Son

Letter of Advice to My Son
First published Feb. 21, 2005

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

Be blunt with allies
for their loyalty comes through self-reflection
be relentless with enemies
for they will do the same
know that honesty turns friends to foes too often
and deception keeps the peace
build yourself an army
so when all is lost
you have ground to go to

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