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.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

“Stop Talking and Fuck Me,” March 31/31 Project

For Doc Luben's March 31/31 Project
No. 9

“Stop Talking and Fuck Me”

By Christopher Fox Graham

"Feel me Love me Fuck me" by Andres Panesso
“stop talking and fuck me”
she said
removing any choice in the matter
I always appreciated decisiveness
too often I let thinking
get in the way of living
some days I just want to be a tool
a flesh machine serving at the pleasure
of her pleasure
“I’m naked already,
stop trying to seduce me”
she said
and again my mind has wandered
overthinking the moment
calculating the mathematics
of how to move her limbs
in puzzle piece to my own
so she can link ankles behind my back
wondering if I should cradle her head
or let it flop over the edge of the bed
as her eyes roll back
her mouth agapes to breathe deeper
how to best redistribute weight
so my arm doesn’t fall asleep
or I jab her with an elbow inopportunely
will she keep her eyes open
lock them with mine
as the rest of us dances tandem
we’re all Machiavellian perverts
when sex is the prize
the way she coos and flirts
forgets to wear underwear on formal occasions
because she know how it drives me mad
the way I feign disinterest when she’s moist
and just wants to fuck, then sleep

some women want a piston with legs
jackhammer hips erupting sweat
a fuck machine intent on reaching climax
roughly, quickly, or fanatically
I am not the Kool-Aide man
trying to punch her through the wall
I am a terrible dancer
so I’ve honed other skills to compensate
I am too methodical for sport fucking
my talents aren’t in the rage of hips
through poetry or carefully placed wit
my tongue wingmans this endeavor
but with the same vivacity
as flexing beach weightlifters glistening in the sun
coaxing in a lover
the rhetoric of convincing a crowd of one
to toss her clothes atop mine on the floor
and explore what makes us different
the bargain is alchemy’s equivalent exchange
it seduces, so it gets to play
the curiosity of which parts feel best
the persistence to thy all the angles
the dedication to not yield until she climbs the wall
forgets how to form consonants
and epileptically writhes
knocking over a water glass, alarm clock
and tearing the sheets
she’ll forgetfully ask later
if she caused the damage
and I’ll offer to repeat my instigation
each time we practice
the equations of pressure, speed and friction
become easier to calculate
her variables more familiar
I’ll never master her handling
but it’s worth anther try
and another and another

“why aren’t you inside me yet?
I told you to fuck me”
she said
I keep forgetting the moment
stuck in my head and not with her
delete the man
turn off his mind for a minute
become her toy;
my arm will fall asleep, elbows will jab
she can keep her head up if she wants
it doesn’t matter anymore
she just wants me to fuck her
oblige, I can think later

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Damien Flores headlines Sedona Poetry Slam on Saturday, get tickets now

The Quick:
Damien Flores headlines Sedona Poetry Slam
Studio Live
215 Coffee Pot Drive, Sedona, AZ
Saturday, March 26, 7:30 pm
$10 tickets at the door, $5 online in advance.

The Long:
New Mexico champion Damien Flores headlines Sedona Poetry Slam

The Sedona Summer Poetry Slam will explode at Studio Live at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 26, presenting three rounds of poetic competition as poets battle for pride and $100.

Between rounds, the audience will be entertained with a feature performance by Damien Flores, one of the top slam poets in New Mexico and a member of the 2005 National Poetry Slam Championship Team.

Photo by Eirik Ott/Big Poppa E
Damien Flores features at the Sedona Poetry Slam on Saturday, March 26,
at Studio Live, Sedona.

Damien Flores hails from Albuquerque, New Mexico. He received a Bachelor of Arts in English and Chicano studies from the University of New Mexico in 2009 and was recipient of the 2008 Lena Todd Award for creative non-fiction from the UNM English Department.

He was named "Poet of the Year" in 2007 & 2008 by the New Mexico Hispano Entertainer's Association.

Flores is best known as a member of four ABQ Poetry Slam Teams as well as the two-time National Champion UNM Loboslam teams. He organized the College Unions Poetry Slam in 2008 and is also a three-time ABQSlams City Champion.

His published works include "A Novena of Mud" and "El Cuento de Juana Henrieta," and published by Destructible Heart and Culture Lab Press. His work has appeared in Bomb Magazine, The Daily Lobo, Duke City Fix, and The Underground Guide to Albuquerque. Flores has also been anthologized in De Veras: Young Voices From the National Hispanic Cultural Center, Earthships: A New Mecca Poetry Anthology, The 2006 National Poetry Slam Anthology, and A Bigger Boat: The Unlikely Success of the Albuquerque Poetry Slam Scene.

Damien Flores is currently an educator in Albuquerque and hosts the Spoken Word Hour on 89.9 KUNM-FM.

All poets are welcome to compete in the slam.
Slammers will need three original poems, each lasting no longer than three minutes. No props, costumes nor musical accompaniment are permitted.

The poets will be judged Olympics-style by five members of the audience selected at random at the beginning of the slam. The top poet at the end of the night wins $100.

Poets who want to compete should purchase a ticket in case the roster is filled before they arrive.

The slam will be hosted by Sedona poet Christopher Fox Graham.
The slam will be hosted by Sedona poet Christopher Fox Graham, who represented Northern Arizona on the Flagstaff team at five National Poetry Slams between 2001 and 2010. He has hosted and competed in poetry slams and open mics in Sedona since 2004.

Graham has performed in 40 states, Toronto, Dublin, Ireland, and London, and wrote the now infamous “Peach” poem.

Tickets are $5 online at or $10 at the door.

For more information or to register, call Graham at (928) 517-1400 or e-mail to
See video from previous poetry slams at

Founded in Chicago by construction worker and poet Marc “So What?” Smith in 1984, poetry slam is a competitive artistic sport. Poetry slam has become an international artistic sport, with more than 100 major poetry slams in the United States, Canada, Australia and Western Europe.

For more information about the worldwide phenomena of poetry slam, visit and

Home of the Sedona Performers Guild nonprofit, Studio Live is located at 215 Coffee Pot Drive, West Sedona. For more information, visit

Saturday, March 12, 2011

"A Plea to Kitsune," March 31/31

For Doc Luben's March 31/31 Project
No. 8

A Plea to Kitsune
Regarding the 2011 Japan earthquake

By Christopher Fox Graham

the world splits open
cracking the rock, a loaf of bread
the angry sea pitches
rolls uphill turning beaches into seabeds
Honshu homes built with sweat
float inland as driftwood
resistant to Godzilla and Mothra
the rage of Akira
and a 1,000 manga disasters
but the Earth’s quiver
a shudder at climax
topples shopping centers and temples
rips roads from foundations
pulls down a country made of chrysanthemums
cherry trees weep as roots drown in salt water

Einstein’s mathematics harnessed
already wiped two cities into cinders here
and a third teeters on the edge
the pride of Bushido
the nobility of seppuku and honor
as poetic as any martyrdom
has suffered this country too much already
this is the nation that gave us
the word for “tsunami” after all

she may have been there
a Bento box and sushi
fresh from the sea
reminding her of an age
when she still had trouble walking
when she reached up for father’s hands
to cross the street in safety
I gave her a warning
told her to be careful

if there is a world of shadow
underneath this one
where djinnis and angels play cards with fate
shades and yōkais plan their tricks
fairies and daemons brew new magicks
I can only hope a kyuubi no kitsune
unfaded from the eaves
warned her on my behalf
to be near a doorframe
stay away from the beaches
stand firm when the earth beneath did not
I beg him to whisper tonight
that he wrapped his nine fox tails
around her limbs and torso
roundhouse-kicked the falling roof panels
or ceiling tiles or tumbling walls
kept debris from falling on her
left her pristine, unbroken and unblemished
until she returns to my country
and if he could not find her
could not reach her in time
would tell her she is beloved half a world away
by the dozens of us who’ve know her
that we long to know she is unharmed

she doesn’t even have to know it was me,
just pass these words to her

Friday, March 11, 2011

"Tongue Tied," March 31/31 Project

For Doc Luben's March 31/31 Project
No. 7

Tongue Tied

By Christopher Fox Graham

Always a smile
with legs to heaven and back
her kiss must be languishing
and a little sloppy
if she even kisses boys

I wonder if she knows
that my heart skips a little
when she smiles
always at a loss for words
I sound like a bad playright's dull love interest
a faraway caricature of a boy
made of static and cardboard
penciled in by an uninterested editor
as the protagonist girl
seeks some inner wisdom
my conversation forced and insincere
small talk just to dance in the reverberation of her voice longer

when what I'd rather say
is how we should turn our bodies into geometry
and strive to determine each other's hypotenuse
race to see who can calculate our quadratic equation
taste what makes us different
while dividing by zero
add one plus one
multiply thirteen times three
or subtract my age from a century
until the climax of our calculations
removes any doubt of mathematics' sincereity

or perhaps I'd rather
she'd unloose her tiger blood
leap on my in the midst of strangers
and make the Adonis DNA in my blood
cry out in sheer madness

or even share truer words
of what I really want to say
when my mouth is footless

let my language follow the sincerity of my smile
to speak with untangled tongue

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Embrace March Madness at Sedona's Second Saturday Art Häus

Celebrate March Madness with some of the best of Sedona’s art scene at the Second Saturday Art Häus.

Collage art at February's Second Saturday Art Häus by Pam Paggao
This underground art event rotates between private homes in the Sedona area, offering visitors a night of intimate discussion with the participating artists, as well as other arts supporters and patrons.

Each month, the featured artists are challenged to paint, sculpt and draw a number of pieces to match the theme.

Previous Art Häus themes have included “Fight or Flight” and “Cowboys, Indians and Aliens.”
Last month’s theme of “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre,” included art of candy hearts, broken hearts, real hearts and the infamous St. Valentine’s Day massacre of Chicago mobsters in 1929.

This month’s theme is “March Madness,” so expect art ranging from enthusiasm for college basketball to outright clinical insanity. The artists are free to explore themes as they see fit and produce several varying works depicting it. 

Plan on edgy, humorous, and up-to-the-minute paintings exploring the off-the-deep-end crazy rants of actors Mel Gibson and Charlie Sheen, in addition to more conventional dabbling in the realm of madness.

Art by Brian Walker at the Second Saturday Art Häus on Feb. 14
According to a press release, the show highlights the work of Sedona’s best known up-and-coming young artists. The featured artists include:
  • Painter and sculptor Molly Berg, a Chicago transplant
  • Sculptor and painter Miguel Guzman from Philadelphia
  • Phoenix-born painter and pen and ink artist Jarrod Karimi
  • Milwaukee minimalist painter Timmy Kehoe, a longtime Sedona resident whose work is featured around the city
  • Pam Paggao, a collagist who hails from Chicago
  • Chicago-born painter Brian Walker, a longtime fixture in the Sedona scene whose paintings are exhibited in several galleries and on a series of bottles from a Page Springs area winery
“We all bring our own styles into the mix, which makes for a vibrant and sometimes controversial take on each individually themed show,” Walker said.

“The art can be as soft and compassionate as cotton or as edgy as a nic fit,” he said. “That’s juxtaposition of the show, how different each of our styles complement and contrast with each other. It’s beautiful chaos. It’s like creating explosions in your hands.”

The art of Kehoe, Karimi and Walker have all been separately featured in the Sedona Red Rock News’ Sedona Underground arts column.

Refreshments will be provided. This month, Second Saturday Art Häus takes place at 80 Birch Blvd., West Sedona.

For more information, visit “2nd Saturday Art Haüs” on Facebook.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"Exsanguination," March 31/31 Project

For Doc Luben's March 31/31 Project
No. 6


By Christopher Fox Graham

when did you break?
some moment
between our last meaningful kiss
and the last time we shared a bed
you broke
the laugh is the same
stories haven’t changed
the proximity of your warmth
exudes the same radiance
but no one tends furnace

whatever I once loved
could not be without
the heart-skip of sight
somewhere between us has ceased
a stranger in a body
that once thrust itself beneath mine
rocked in rhythm to my hips
a tongue that dove into my mouth
like a toddler in the surf

a shadow lives there
inhabiting the shell
a squatter in a house
I longed to inhabit
secured a loan and put in escrow

I could blame the housing bubble
and economic downturn
the credit crunch
for the foreclosure

she made me outgrow you
swell into a man
with 44-inch chest
too large for your narrow sleeves
eager to teach
she gave me more in less
than you did
shoved me into high school
while you were at recess

you’re no different
the same mathematical equations
processed in a mainframe
grown obsolete with technology’s growth

but the girl you were
with fire in your belly
wrath in your chest
blazing roads into the constellations
dimmed in day
lost passion in dusk
and emptied all the contents on the floor
the stars are specks now
instead of destinations
while you forget to reach up
I learned to chart them
we are strangers
it only took too long to notice

I don’t know if I could have saved her
kept her skin intact
instead of the permeated husk
that bled out in my absence
and in the months since
has weaved her way back into my atmosphere
but a derelict devoid of reason
to find interest in the hows and whys she’s around
fruitless lovers and vapid moments
bear no interest anymore
not since the heroine protagonist
ceased to inspire the reader
your haughty lovers can think they've cuckolded me
then strut and preen their self-interest
forgetting how vents carry sound
or that recycling isn't theft
something can't be stolen
if it's already tossed aside

we can’t go back
not now
not with the paths overgrown
you still lost in the woods
and me overlooking the shining sea
I’ll remember our moments
but you’re still too forgetful for them to matter
but I can’t wait anymore
there are fire-bearing girls still out there
somewhere along this shore
reaching for stars
longing for a boy eager to meet them
if you reach this place
I will leave you markers to follow
show you where I’ve gone

but you won’t be coming
the signal flares I send up
merely light my way
because you only see
how they cast your shadow
you’ve stopped looking skyward
and my toes no longer touch the earth

"She Would Have Been Three," March 31/31 Project

For Doc Luben's March 31/31 Project
No. 5

She Would Have Been Three

By Christopher Fox Graham

she would have been three
I’m guessing
I never wrote things down in a calendar
especially dates I slept with someone
I do keep a list of names
I’m one of those
because lovers’ last names are too often forgettable
call them notches in the bedpost if you must
judge me, Philistines
pretend you don’t have a similar list
hidden in shoebox
written in code in a diary
or recounted in living memory
leaving no trace should death come suddenly
we’re all whores
those who aren’t,
are virgins, saints or liars

I am no saint

she would have been three
not sure of the months
I never understood at what point
a child is no longer counted in years
as if there’s a threshold
when time stretches into longer periods
I am 372 months now
I would have been 348 then, give or take

she would have been three
could have been mine
I was not her your only lover then
I was a name on your list
a notch on your bedpost

I only heard what happened
secondhand years later
flush of fluid
damage within
a loss, the swallow
a haphazard explanation
a medicalized synonym for bad plumbing
to seemingly make the justification less crushing
“your pipes, dear, just can’t hold water
must have been the installation”
you always bore a tough exterior
but fragile around the edges
I knew how to hurt you
with flippant words about how you waste your time
knowing now
if I could unsay those things
knowing what time would mean later
I would chew them back into my tongue
spit them back into my bowels
until they dissolved into my blood
and I could bleed them into a sink

I would do this

but breath has a way of mixing with air
to make itself irretrievable
hiding as ninjas among other atoms
of nitrogen and oxygen
if we only lived in vacuum

I can not ask if she was mine
I was never meant to know
told in secret confidence
why you had grown so distant
in vino veritas in nox noctis
he assumed I knew
had already heard through gossiping grapevine
understood the absent months
the quiet reemergence
the unanswered messages
ignorant of the earthquake that flattened your city

I can never know her name
ask if it was Rachel or Penelope
I always loved your name
the way it rolled of the tongue
like it was made to live there
explore the space between us
did you name her for your mother
had she been born
instead of bled
nine months whole
instead of shattering brevity
you would have told me
father or not

she would have been three
standing knee-high now,
with my eyes
or those of a stranger
but your smile

she would have been three
but in her absence
I have no name to call her
so in mind when I imagine
all she could have been
and that she could have been my daughter
I know the name I would have chosen

I call her by yours

Sunday, March 6, 2011

"Finches," March 31/31 Project

For Doc Luben's March 31/31 Project
No. 4


By Christopher Fox Graham

every morning, the finches feed outside my window
they come each season
their mustard seed brains
containing physics equations of aerodynamics
instantly calculating how to move weight and mass
with the precision to dodge hawks
and avoid power lines
their grey matter specks
contain songs passed down generations
from father to egg
to coax mates from other lovers
the architecture of building a home from twigs
where to house themselves inconspicuous
from snakes and housecats on the prowl
synapses hold cartography of this country
tracking paths from one feeder to the next
returning here with such regularity
I should charge them seasonal rent
or give them each a name

amid that mess of maps and math
buried beneath sonnets of bird-speak oratory
I can see their curiosity
as some gaze back in my window
and wonder where you went
they remember seeing us bare skinned weekend mornings
wrapped around each other as discarded gloves
they were the only ones permitted to see us naked
slumbering until past noon
content together even if the rest of the world
imploded beneath its angry weight
only these feathered peeping toms
could give testimony of how my arms sheltered you
describe unbiased the concavity of man and woman
their mathematics can still see the geometry
of your trapezoid torso
my lithe limbs
four unclawed bare feet
two unfeathered heads rising from beneath sheets
my face buried in your raven hair

they come now and wonder
why you’ve been gone so long
ponder perhaps there’s a nest in another room they can’t see
where you may be raising young
or whether you’ve flown away
gone north or south for the season
but note the vast bed we shared still has space for you
a wide ocean of sheets
visited only by slim limbs reaching
finding nothing to fill them
then retreating home to my sides

they feed and fly on to their next destination
wondering if they may see you elsewhere
when they can tell you
if you stray too far away too long
you may forget you way home
back to the warm shelter
where they fell in love with how we fit together
and gave them a reason to always visit

Saturday, March 5, 2011

"Revolution 2.0," March 31/31 Project

For Doc Luben's March 31/31 Project
No. 3

Revolution 2.0

By Christopher Fox Graham

type, type, send
type, type, send
the revolution begins not with a bang
but with a text message

we weep with you, Wael Ghonim,
you did not sign a declaration
shoot a gun
nor take an assassin's bullet
you ran a Facebook page

Egyptian secret police held you blindfolded for 11 days
promised you would be buried nameless, anonymous

as a Facebook event,
your ghost of Khalid Said
brought down a dictator

we weep with you, Wael Ghonim,
you unintentional revolutionary,
sob as the names of boys fallen
crawl across the screen
as Mona el-Shazly asks you to gaze up
swallow the Facebook photos and off-kilter photographs
taken at parties or late-night on-the-towns
images become epitaphs,
boys like us
who before Jan25
watched girls pass by
traded albums and downloaded music
called their mothers on birthdays
and never thought their country
would ever be theirs

if we could stand with you, Wael Ghonim, we would
embrace you as man to man
wrap arms around you to hold you standing
convince you to believe us
that your hands are clean
your soul is unstained
the blood of brothers and sisters on them
wasn’t spilt by you
use it to paint flags
touch it to your childrens’ foreheads
and tell them “this was shed for you,
by men and women who gave more than we did,
it is why you now have a voice
why freedom is more than a noun”

wash it off in the Nile
let it taste of the mother river
swim upstream to the sources
and down to the delta
tell all of Egypt
from Luxor tombs
to pyramid shadows
to the library halls in Alexandria
that your country is free
shake the earth
so dead pharaohs wake trembling
living tyrants flee from their thrones

we weep with you, Wael Ghonim,
we stood with you in Tahrir
we were the breath of bravery
you felt beside you
when the enemy rode in on camels
we stood beside you
five times a day
when you knelt to pray to Allah
we, atheists, Christians, Buddhists
Hindus, Sikhs, and Jews
we watched your back
stood guard in silence
we were the ghosts you felt
assuring you the world was listening
we don’t know your language
but understood each word
in your prayers because
“freedom” never needs translation
it feels the same
no matter the shade or age of skin,

we weep with you, Wael Ghonim,
because your tears are too heavy for one man
let us carry them for you
permit us bear their weight
because we could not physically stand alongside you
allow us sing our lullabies in 1,000 languages to your children
let us tell them our words for "liberty"
so no matter where they travel
we have that in common

we weep with you, Wael Ghonim,
because you are not alone
you never were

now, sleep,
and free

Wael Ghonim is an Egyptian computer engineer and head of marketing of Google Middle East and North Africa who was living in the United Arab Emirates. He ran the Facebook page that organized the Jan25 movement to protest Egyptian President and dictator Hosni Mubarak. In January 2011, Ghonim persuaded Google to allow him to return to Egypt, citing a "personal problem." Planning only a six-day visit for the protest, he was captured by Mubarak's security forces and held blindfolded for 11 days and the protests swelled in Tahrir Square, Cairo. The day he was released, he appeared on DreamTV, where I first saw him.

The video is below. The last five minutes will bring anyone to tears.

On 9 February, Ghonim addressed the crowds in Tahrir Square, telling the protesters: "This is not the time for individuals, or parties, or movements. It's a time for all of us to say just one thing: Egypt above all."

The scholar Fouad Ajami writes:
"No turbaned ayatollah had stepped forth to summon the crowd. This was not Iran in 1979. A young Google executive, Wael Ghonim, had energized this protest when it might have lost heart, when it could have succumbed to the belief that this regime and its leader were a big, immovable object. Mr. Ghonim was a man of the modern world. He was not driven by piety. The condition of his country—the abject poverty, the crony economy of plunder and corruption, the cruelties and slights handed out to Egyptians in all walks of life by a police state that the people had outgrown and despaired of—had given this young man and others like him their historical warrant."

Friday, March 4, 2011

"Extinguished," March 31/31 Project

For Doc Luben's March 31/31 Project


By Christopher Fox Graham

the world once fit in her hands
she could hold it like a egg
to break or raise into a feathered dream
but the weight of world bent her back
the taste of drugs
warmth of a warm body
the belief that like her mother
she could not rise above
left her swirling in mediocrity
she owns the men who chase her
they obey her whims unaware
of their adherence to her religion

behind her brown eyes
the fire burned
curiosity sought stories
macheted a path to my doorstep
no world would halt her

but unrequited, unanswered
she diverted course to smoother seas
let the doom of days pull her to simpler courses
the blaze forgot the taste of wood
let the ashes swallow the rage to burn

extinguished flames smolder
blacken the skies with the dreams she told me of
near her longing eyes
one can’t see the sun
she stands broken
tongue cut from throat
unarmed Lavinia ignorant of the crime
dancing delirious in Titus’ shadow

I share tea with Time
tell him of the story lost in tragedy
forgetful of the narrative
try to wipe away the stain of her eyes
how they burned into skin
coughing on the smoke
she passes me in shadows now
forgets herself from her history
the ancestry come ’round
the egg broken underfoot

she wanted poems about clouds
but never rose to meet them
just curses the sky for damning her
blames the heavens for circumstances
over which they lacked control
the faded fire lurks in photographs
reflects in mirrors in moments unclaimed
the girl who burned them
gone into shadows
her mother remade
as Time marches on

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

"She Loved Me Better On Paper," March 31/31 Project

For Doc Luben's March 31/31 Project

She Loved Me Better On Paper
By Christopher Fox Graham

she loved me better on paper
it was easier to forgive my sins
the ones deletable
or ascribed to fast typing or bad penmanship
on second reads it was simpler
to prepare herself for previously discovered ones

she loved me better on paper
flesh was too temperamental
too harsh with spoken words
too adaptive to her moods

when she got fed up with the content therein
she could not close the pages
and place me on the shelf
then grow to forget the offenses,
fondly recall the quotables
reinvest herself in the mystery
of footstep word after word
marching reincarnate on the same path
from moment to moment
pull me back into her wearied hands
and relive the story again from the beginning

paper was easier to throw away
to set ablaze and watch burn
skin, it seems, has a fouler odor
scratches and scars don’t heal with the same cleanliness
as those pencil marks needing erasure

even now,
she still loves me better on paper
prefers the me captured in moments
frozen in ink on pressed wood pulp
the notations she marks
remain without my trademark forgetfulness
or willful delusionary deception

in print, she owns me as she likes
without having to concave her ego
bend to match me in mutual reverence
admit she, too, could be mistaken sometimes
on the pages,
she is always right, my errors unrepentable
a good lover can shamelessly admit wrong
confess to death-penalty guilt
even when in the right

she loved me better on paper
but forgets to understand
those dead words will never breathe
unchanging youth frozen immortally vampiric,
they will one day suck the life from her
pull her into the longing for more
but unanswered
they will be just a tombstone of text
made by a dead man years ago

there is no ghost here, child,
he does not inhabit these pages
buried in your backpack or bookcase
his soul is still dancing elsewhere
breathing in the sunrises with wine-stained lips
somewhere else, he kisses the moonlight
and whispers to stars who’ll still listen
about how he loved this girl

she adores those paper words
but they can never hold her
never caress her bare gymnast’s back
soothe her into sleep
wake her into daybreaks
remind her why lovers always come in pairs

she loved me better on paper
in the same way
I loved her better in absence
because our present was untamable
it demanded too much compromise
too much acquiesce to the other

she loved me better on paper
but he can never say he was sorry
never reiterate that love
— the kind of love that forever tugs at all that aches
demands a heart break itself open
when she traipses through the mind from photographs —
that kind of love does not require reciprocation
saints, martyrs, crazies and dogs teach us this

while the flesh me has no one to say those things to
just lets the words fall from his lips
spill out into the ether
crawl into new pages
onto new paper
so she can love it instead

revere, write, abide
papers yearn for her
it will suffice
it must
it has to