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.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

"How to Make an Issue of the 'Zine Beat Tiger"

The Art Of A Haus Show

How to Make an Issue of the 'zine Beat Tiger
1 set of weights
2 black jumpsuits
2 black masks
2 pair of black shoes
1 pair of wire cutter
1 large van
50 pounds of raw, uncooked meat
200 cc’s ketamine
1 stopwatch
1 tiger
1 copy of “Apocalypto”
1 ear to the ground1 used typewriter
I oversize coat
1 lawyer on retainer
1 pack of artists, raw and unpasteurized, large size

Step One:

begin lifting weights
you will need the muscle later
dress yourself and a partner in black jumpsuits
black masks, black shoes
find the local zoo or animal park
use the wire cutters on the external fence

find the tiger exhibit
choosing the right tiger is key:
Indochinese and Malayan tigers are endangered
    and the penalty for poaching
    is solitary confinement
Sumatran Tigers are on the verge of extinction
    and you face lifetime imprisonment
    in an Indonesian prison
    and you do not speak Indonesian
Siberian Tigers are too closely watched
    by gay magicians in Las Vegas

And Ligers,
    while humorous in “Napoleon Dynamite,”
    simply do not count
Bengal Tigers are most numerous
    and most easily acquired
now, insert ketamine into the raw meat
and throw it over the fence
wait 40 minutes
use the wire cutters on the fence
drive your van into the enclosure
lift the 500-pound animal into the van
it’s a good thing you started lifting all those weights

drive the tiger home
unload the animal into your garage
take photos for this month’s ’zine cover
release the tiger into the woods
don’t do so near a school
the tiger will be hungry when it wakes

Step Two
continue lifting weights
you will need the muscle later
Begin watching “Apocalypto
understand that Mel Gibson is racist
forgive him, no one’s perfect,
focus on the film’s hero
watch it over and over
until you name your band Jaguar Paw
Memorize the following:
“I am Jaguar Paw,
son of Flint Sky.
My Father hunted this forest before me.
My name is Jaguar Paw.
I am a hunter.
This is my forest.
And my sons will hunt it with their sons
after I am gone.”

Step Three:
continue lifting weights
you will need the muscle later
take your ear
put it to the ground
hear the word on the street
all rumors are true
all conspiracies worth losing yourself in
repeat them, loudly, vibrantly and in print
feel free to embellish
that’s how rumors grow too big to control
become a cog in that wheel
find what’s “fair and balanced” in you
and delete that shit
bias is the only way to live
because it is sincere and punk rock
you are punk rock
say it, “I am punk rock!”
louder, you pussies!
life means nothing without passion and obsession

Step Four:
continue lifting weights
you will need the muscle later
head to the nearest thrift store
walk past the jeans
you have enough
stop in the T-shirt section
only if you’re a hipster
and to one-up other hipsters
but understand you’re a pretentious fuck
head to appliances
find a typewriter
a Brother Electric Typewriter is choice
choose one with character
like a bent “K” or a missing “Shift” key
so all your pages will be lowercase
capitalization is elitist
and we are the 99%

Step Five:
continue lifting weights
you will need the muscle later
but on an oversize coat
find an office supply store
ask who owns the place
if the cashier says, “that guy”
you are in a local mom-and-pop
pay full price
if the cashier says, “stockholders” or “some CEO”
you are in a corporate chain
so fill your pockets like it’s the day before the zombie apocalypse
and only staples and Sharpies will keep you safe
pack paper reams under your coat
if you are discovered,
feign going into labor
no one suspects a pregnant woman
if you are male, declare it a miracle
remember to thank Jesus loudly
if quarterbacks can do it, so can you
you’re a fucking artist, damn-it
and Jesus loves you, too
hide scissors in your sleeves
if you have to fight your way out
no security guard will risk bleeding out
over 10 packs of Pilot G-2s
Remember to thank the store in your Page 2 shoutouts

Step Six:
Search for vintage magazines
rescue them from recyclers
schedule a doctor’s appointment
don’t worry about insurance
you won’t be there long
instead, use a fake Social Security number
while the receptionist is busy
trying to solve that problem
grab every magazine older than 1983
you make need to make two trips
it’s a good thing you started lifting all those weights

each title serves a purpose
vintage Life is classy
    and you must have class
Vanity Fair is both chic and trashy
    you are chic and trashy
    and at 400 pages,
    it also offers plenty of material
National Geographic may have tigers
    but it always pictures of topless women
    in Third World countries
The Week is choc full of current events
    and you must inform
    most of your readers get their news
    from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert
Buy one vintage copy of Peanuts
Wite-Out speech bubbles
and make Snoopy as foul-mouthed as you are
rewrite Charlie Brown into a hipster
and Linus a badass pimp
Schroeder can bitch about Peter Zimmerman
while Lucy can mourn Drugs Bunny’s expulsion
from every Sedona band

Step Seven:
continue lifting weights
you will need the muscle later
find the fire within you
you’ll need a lighter and a pack of
American Spirit Lights
rollies are also acceptable
dirties are punk rock
and, as previously, determined
you are punk rock
liquid courage will keep your writing lugubrious
    know Big Flats is cheaper than PBR
    so you can get wasted on pocket change
    47 Pound Rooster won’t cause headaches
    so buy in bulk

Step Eight:
continue lifting weights
you will need the muscle later
then, light up your cigarettes
start pouring beer and wine for your contributors
it’s going to be a long weekend
pick music that is profound
choose Bob Dylan
the aforementioned Jaguar Paw
pick punk that pulls the passion from your pockets like paper magic tricks
have the rollies and dirties handy
use them to fight off writer’s block
take your shoplifted blank paper
    make sure it’s 100-percent recycled
    art should be good for the planet
set up the typewriter
treat it like an old lover
who hates you
or an ex-roommate
who still owes you money
beat the keys like a prison bitch
truth is in a prison
your ’zine is a prison break
you are the TNT
light the fuse and explode

use your stolen Sharpies
the five-finger discounted scissors
cut up the magazines
splice Jay-Z alongside Ben Bernanke
have them debate how the lights on Hwy. 89A
will make alien saucer landings easier*
Nico needs the inspiration and the validation
*this message was approved by the Illuminati
make a collage of your photocopied friends
and fashion models and ask:
    “who’s truly beautiful, motherfucker?”
place Lindsay Lohan next to Marilyn Monroe
    and whisper, “Lindsay, where did you go wrong?”
use the Pilot G-2s that hospitalized a security guard
and pen brilliant music reviews and short stories
warn youngsters about the perils of Bath Salts
and poetry and pen drawings
in all the white spaces
this isn’t an art magazine
you don’t get paid by the page
let loose all those rumors
spill everyone’s secrets
make them so outlandish
even the suspects doubt their guilt
you’re not a journalist
you’re a fictionalist with nonfiction characters
if you don’t have the dirt, make it up
then wait for the lawsuits to hit you
remember, you have that lawyer on retainer
list so many inside jokes
even you’re out of the loop

use the leftover dirties and hit the copy center
being blazed making photocopying a Zen experience
building a zine is Zen
even the spelling is close
remember to add the cover with the tiger picture
ignore the new stories about the bodies
apparently, it found that elementary school
well, you can’t make art without breaking a few eggs

Step Nine:
Carry your zine everywhere
they will be heavy
it’s a good thing you started lifting all those weights
Spread your zine like a pyromaniac spreads forest fires
light the city ablaze
shotgun your zine into the hands of artists
like a sperm donor
art needs a father / art needs a mother
and you are both
hold house parties to celebrate the brilliance
of the art you help create like children
have a poet write a poem like this
to recount the epic
build a scene on your back
for the rest of the city to share
the burden will be heavy
but friends will help carry the load
because they too, are punk rock
it’s a good thing we started lifting all those weights

Thursday, November 24, 2011

"Star Wars vs Star Trek" by Faldwin J. Bard and Christopher Fox Graham

The Shonare Vhekadla clan of the Manadalorian Mercs surprise
Faldwin J. Bardand Christopher Fox Graham at Bookmans
Here it is, nerds of the world. The duo poem Faldwin J. Bard and I wrote together for our Sunday, Nov. 20, poetry feature at Sundara in Flagstaff.

Writing with Faldwin was a lot of fun. We wrote the poem at Bookmans in Flagstaff, which coincidentally was visited that day by the Shonare Vhekadla clan of the Manadalorian Mercs.

Of course, I had my lightsabers in the truck and I was wearing my vintage Star Wars T-shirt, so, well perfect.

Beneath this handsome exterior

beats the heart of a nerd
and not your typical

“I’ve read the novelizations of the Harry Potter movies”
or “I Wikipediaed ‘Twilight’ to sleep with the girl at Bookman’s”


we’re NERDS
we’re NERDS
Spend six months working on a costume for a three-day convention


Memorize the inner workings of interstellar starships
Spend more money on an authentic prop than I do on my girlfriend


Become fluent in a fictional language I’ll never be able to put on my resume
we devote our life to the greatest space epic of all time
we devote our life to the greatest space epic of all time
filled with alien races from exotic worlds

interstellar travel with impressive special effects
grand galactic space battles

exploding torpedoes
Of, course we’re talking about

Wars    Trek
Star Trek?
Star Wars?
Pointy-eared Vulcans and color-coded pajamas?

Wrinkly green gnomes and shit-colored bathrobes?
How is Star Trek better than Star Wars?

One word: Klingons

You mean wet dream machines for filler episodes?

Yeah ’cause nerds need to point out we only get laid once every seven years

So what’s so great about Star Wars?
Jedi Knights with Lightsabers

Grown men dancing around with flashlights?
The Force

Yeah, it was totally cool when Matilda did it

Midi-chlorians. ‘Nuff said.

At least my technology makes sense

Give me some dilithium crystals and a forcefield and I can build you a warpdrive

because I have the specs for that memorized

I doubt you can build a lightsaber
Whatever, I prefer my space epic focus on the characters not “Treknobabble

You fix a busted hyperdrive the same way you fix a busted TV

You hit it with Wookie

“Calibrates the vertarium cortenide power grid with compressed personnel transporters”

Why would you use vertarium cortenide for personnel transports?

The molecular structure isn’t complex enough to handle organic lifeforms
Stop! It’s not about technology, it’s about characters

C3PO is just a rusty servant with a shitty British accent

Did you just insult the silky smooth baritone of Capt. Jean-Luc Picard

the Barry White of the Milky Way?

at least he doesn’t sound like he’s been smoking two packs a day for 800 years

“emphysema, I have”

who trained Obi-Wan Kenobi,
“tumor causing, teeth staining,
smelly, puking habit”
Star Wars is a modern retelling of ancient Greek heroic epics:

a boy becomes a man

finds his father

Rescues him from himself

and saves the galaxy

or he’s a whiny brat with daddy issues who kisses his own sister
But with the Force

Star Wars is better (said while doing the Jedi Mind Trick)


Don’t use your Jedi Mind Trick on me

I will mindmeld your ass

faster than you can say Pon Farr
Wait, what’s the difference between a Vulcan and a Romulan again?

I’d explain, but we don’t have all night

Isn’t an Ewok a dwarf Wookie?

The Force!



Wait, did you just say “gorram-it”?

Shiny. You like “Firefly”?
Of course. Cowboys in space. What’s not to like?

So hot
So hot

It’s so messed up that it got canceled
Yeah, what the hell was Fox thinking?

(exit stage together)
(exit stage together)

Azami with the Shonare Vhekadla clan of the
Manadalorian Mercs at Bookmans
Azami sent the Mandalorians over to our table. Which is one reason why she's awesome.