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.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Friends remember The Klute, aka Bernard Schober (1973-2022)

The Klute, aka Bernard Joseph Schober
(Feb. 8, 1973-July 18, 2022)

Photo by David Jolkovski/Larson Newspapers

The Klute, aka Bernard Schober (Feb. 8, 1973-July 18, 2022), died following a hike on Monday, July 18. There is a new story at the bottom of this post if you want to read the specifics. If you don't, stop when I write about Klute's last public post.

Memorial SERViCES

It is with profound sadness that the family and friends of Bernard Joseph Schober announce his passing. Please find information on both his viewing and remembrance ceremonies below.

Green Acres Mortuary & Cemetery401 N Hayden RdScottsdale, AZ 85257


Viewing CeremonySaturday, July 23, 20223pm-7pm
Green Acres Mortuary & Cemetery
Main Building.

Celebration of LifeSaturday, August 13, 20224pm-8pm
Green Acres Mortuary & Cemetery
In the chapel
First hour dedicationFood and drinks available

Aug, 12, 2022
Hi everyone-
This is Bob. Thank you for your patience as we worked through the details to be able to webcast the Celebration of Life for Bernard. The event is tomorrow [Saturday, Aug. 13], and the details of time and place are listed on his website,
This event will be live-streamed on Facebook, via this official page, The Klute, located at:
While the service begins at 4pm, we will initiate the stream at 3:45 MST (or Pacific Time), or as close to it as we can. Please know that during the stream:
- We will not be able to respond to comments, and comments will not be shared with the live audience.
- Quality may suffer based on Internet availability. While we have secured an exclusive hotspot for access to stream with, it is still a wireless connection, and subject to the limitations of such.
Thank you all for the outreach to make sure that you had a way to be a part of this event. Should you have any questions, please feel free to DM Bob Nelson or message on The Klute's Page.

In the meantime, I process my grief I suppose the way any newspaperman does, by publishing the words and photos and stories of others so that you, dear readers, can use your own wisdom to weigh the measure of a man. I don't know how else to act. I will write about my feelings is a later post; I worked on this for the last 7 hours. This is still too fresh.

My wife Laura holding one of our oldest daughter's favorite stuffed animals. Athena loves sharks and loved when Klute would talk to her about them when visiting our house.

The last time I saw Klute in person was May 26 just after we brought our newborn twins home from the hospital. Klute performed in Sedona and was heading home when I begged him to turn around and pop in to see Athena because she had gotten all of her sharks ready to show off.
He visited and made a little 3-year-old girl feel very special.

I'll just say this:

I knew Klute 22 years. He helped me grieve the death of Christopher Lane when I could not grieve with anyone else. He was a slam rival and ally (the two are simultaneous in our sport), was groomsman at my bachelor party and wedding and one of my best friends. We talked politics and life in person and online and I valued his counsel in all things. 
Klute was a good man. 
I loved him as a brother.
I mourn him now.

See what all his others friends have to say:

Jessica Ballantyne-Keller

My best friend passed yesterday. 
I loved Bernard Schober like he was my family. 
He was my family. 
I cherished his friendship so much. 
He saved my life literally three times. 
I am currently completely lost after finding out this morning.
In lieu of flowers please donate to

Bernard Schober was my best friend. 
I don’t just mean he was my best friend because we were like family,
I also mean he was the best person who was also my closest friend. 
I keep looking at his page, because I’m amazed at all the good Bernard did. I watch in real time as another story rolls in, how good of a human he was. 
To be honest, I always knew he was a good person. Seeing it posted in real time from hundreds of people is a completely different story and I didn’t fathom on any level how amazing of a human my best friend really was. 
Grief is selfish. 
Grief says he was mine to mourn on a level that I didn’t think anyone else deserved to. 
But that just isn’t true because everyone lost him,
And to think of all the good he was going to do after all the good he had already done is just mind blowing and I can’t possibly hold all of that to myself. 
It’s an impossible feat. 
He was an impossible feat. 
From open heart surgeries to diving with sharks to writing his poetry. 
There are some of you out there who have told me how much this man respected and loved me. 
I know he did. Even on days I didn’t deserve it. 
But I also know how many of you he loved and respected. And exactly the reasons why. 
It’s no less than every single one of you who has a Klute story. I’m dead serious. 
He saw the good in everyone. 
He was sometimes the only good thing about me. 
I walked a little taller when I was with Klute. 
I sent him my poetry to go over, and he sent me his. 
I could never be the poet he was because he could arrange words like houses of cards.  I always felt like I was grabbing bingo balls from a cage. 
I beat him one time at slam. One time. 
I rode that victory for two weeks straight. And he let me. He made it to almost every single one of the birthday parties I had for as long as I knew him. 
We sang karaoke together. 
He would call me while he was visiting his dad in Florida while walking home from the bars, would miss his turn by two streets and somehow would still navigate home ok. 
We had a mutual hatred of United Airlines. 
And then there was the one time we flew to Texas together for Grand Slam on United, and I’m pretty sure that’s the only time I can remember we didn’t run into problems. 
I say Bernard saved my life three times. 
And on three seperate occasions he absolutely did. It’s not a figure of speech. 
He loved me unconditionally, just like he did with everyone in his inner circle. 
To say I miss him is a complete understatement. It’s the pain that keeps on giving. I’ve said before and I’ll say again it feels like I’ve lost a limb. 
I have gone to send him a text no less than a thousand times over the last two days and that’s the kind of pain that breaks a person. 
But I’m trying to remain steadfast. 
He wouldn’t have left if he didn’t think we couldn’t handle it. 
So I’m handling this. 
And because of him and his influence, I have so many of you to help lift up and who are helping lift me up. 
I will never forgive Bernard for making me make friends. 
Also he would have laughed at that. 
I have said a few times over the last few days that words have become very hard for me. And they still are. But I needed all of this to get out while I still had them rumbling around in my brain. 
I love you, Bernard.

Partners Bernard Schober and Teresa Newkirk

Lauren Perry

For the first two minutes of my morning when I woke up today Klute, it’s as if it never happened. As if the phone call at 2:29pm on July 18th hadn't occurred at all and it had just been a really awful dream, as so many nightmares tend to be. I remember this time years ago, when you dramatically called me and said “Lauren! I had a dream I was walking along the River Sphinx! And the toll man asked for my coins so I pulled them from my eyelids.” 
My birthday 2021. He made everything so much more special!

It's as if our entire friendship, you have been preparing me for this day and even still, I feel as if I am on stage with a blank piece of paper and my poem unmemorized. 

Classy tiki adventures at Captain's Cabin.

It still doesn't seem real; not hearing your voice again calling me through the phone, that you’ll never again stand in my doorway before we head to Captain's for tiki drinks with your newest tiki mug that is always better than mine. 
Tiki adventures: Cthulhu addition with his fancy new birthday tiki!

Where you will no doubt regale us with videos of the ocean of these beautiful sharks and massive stingrays from your adventures scuba diving in sunken, lost cities. We never got to go together. There’s so much we’ll never do again. I swear that someday you were going to tell me you had grown gills; it seems almost silly now I think about that now, but I was so happy for you when you found the ocean and fully embraced it. You deserved so much to be happy, you had so much love in your heart and you gave it without wanting or needing anything in return! 
Favorite memory, back in 2010. We'd just crushed a duet on stage and got a perfect 50 at the SLC Utah Arts Festival. We were clearly the coolest kids in school!

Your friendship was the best gift I could have ever received while still feeling undeserving of. To say you are my best friend is the understatement of the century, you are my other half! The Giles to my Buffy! I god damn love you so much more than I ever felt I could ever love another person and I'm so very appreciative that I had almost 20 years of knowing you while being in awe of your achievements, you're unending strength to push through challenges that would have crippled a normal person. To always know the right thing to say at the right moment. How did you always do that? You used to joke that I'd save your life at least two or three times but really, you saved mine.
Klute's birthday 2022. He was so happy and had such a great night!!!!

You never gave up on me or our friendship. In truth, I think we only truly ever fought a handful of times which is pretty great considering all those twelve-hour road trips, late night flights to Florida and poetry competitions, crammed together in overly priced hotels with the stresses of getting scored a perfect score on stage. 
Haunted house adventures 2021. We finally made it out of that blood corn maze after 30 minutes!

I'll never forget when you finally told me your real first name was Bernard or that you were actually from Illinois and let me think you were from Florida. Like who keeps that a secret?! You are so incredibly funny and only ever really messed with me a few times, but when you did it was really something! Like when you calmly said “oh yeah, my father is the zodiac killer” like it was nothing then just turned away to watch tv, letting it hang there casually in the air, and just let me sit there thinking your dad was actually the zodiac killer for thirty minutes then laughed at me for believing you! 
Dream team, killing it on stage 2013 at Copperstate with a duet.

Your sarcastic sense of humor was unmatched; a secret layer of your personality that you shared in the rarest of moments. You were so damn funny! You loved haunted houses but hated horror movies. Last year when we got lost in that corn maze when it was so bloody cold and had to have a clown walk us back to the front so we could go through the zombie house twice even though you hated zombies, but still waited 18 years to tell me because I love them. You believed that sharks were kind and gentle creatures so you saved clippings of newspaper articles about them in your journal. You wrote beautiful fun journal entries about food you’d tasted on your trips and were a phenomenal cook. You loved to dance but were very specific about to what kind of music. 
Nerd Slam, IWPS Flagstaff edition.

There are so many tiny details that make you up that I can't even begin to describe them all even as I think about every single one of them, every memory, every moment; I'm breathing through them, missing you. This is the longest we’ve ever gone without talking. All my life, I will cherish the time we had together, even as I wish there have been more. You are the true last king of Egypt. Klute, you’re dearest person close to my heart. Not a day will go by that I will not feel the absence of your presence. All my love.
نرجو أن تعيش إلى الأبد في حقل القصب. أفضل صديق لي. توأم روحي. لقد كنت جيدًا جدًا بالنسبة لهذا العالم.
May you live forever in the Field of Reeds. 
My best friend. 
My Soul Mate. 
You were too good for this world.
13th Floor Haunted House 2021. He jumped numerous times. It was awesome!

David Tabor

It is a thing. Most of us will remember “The Klute” in this way or some other variation being behind a microphone etc. Most of my time with him was spent with Bernard Schober if that makes any sense to anyone. 
I could probably say the same thing in some ways that most of you know “Tabor”. A larger than life version of myself that I present and manicure for others entertainment. It’s not that it is an bit per say, but it a cultivated part of my life.
Especially the last two years with the pandemic lingering. We moved our long standing Saturday coffee drinking to his backyard and was one of the few pillars of normalcy in my life left. That and work.
I feel like we’ll have something to commemorate at some point. It’s a tough call when you realized that you are probably that person who does this or should be a part of that. As another one who is in the “double income- no kids” club and also had a brush with mortality; I have wondered about who does what when I pass on.

Bill Campana

there is no way to ease into something as devastating as losing one who has been a part of your life for 22-years.  in a world gone haywire, Bernard Schober always made sense of the chaos.  he lived his life doing what he loved.  he won his final slam last week.  out with a bang.  he was the supreme traveling companion, soundboard for all incorrect comments, purveyor of good times, and always seemed to enjoy it when on saturday mornings during our 22-year coffee klatch he would freshen my coffee and i would say, "thanks, doll face."  we are all going to miss you, my friend.  the inner circle is going to spin out off balance for a long time.  word from teresa is while hiking on monday morning had a heart attack and dialed 911 on his cell phone.  doctors worked on him for an hour.  this is going to take some time to sink in.

The Klute and Marc Schaefer, dive buddies and partners in crime


by The Klute
I swim through the Blue Eternal.
She feeds me.
Truth told, that's all I've ever cared about.
Her waters are an endless buffet.
Bring me a Harp seal, 
Tender mackrel,
Robust tuna!
From each meal to the next, I devour the seas 
One bite at a time.
At the top of the game,
Atop the food chain
Who's the Great White Shark.
Who's an eating machine to all the fishes.
They say that's shark's a bad mother...
Shut your mouth!

I *can't* shut my mouth.
If I do, I'll die.
Mother Ocean and I are tied together
Bound by the oxygen I take from her body.
Five gills fluttering as bloody flags in the briny breeze
Keep me alive and in your nightmares,
Chasing you through REM sleep,
Waking you up in a cold sweat, 
Your heart pounding so hard
I can hear it whisper to me as I ply through the shoals
Close to your shore-hugging homes,
Tickling my senses with promise and delight.

I envy you.
Wishing I could stop and drift away
Stop my constant forward motion.
I know other residents of the deep can do it.
I have felt the wings of stingrays pull covers of sand over their bodies
Suprised dreaming dolphins bobbing in the waves,
Watches eels slip into crevices and disappear.
It looks wonderful.
To be able to stop, feel the wave's embrace
Cradling me in her arms,
The only movement a gentle tidal dance. 

Dolphins always talk of dreaming.
When they close their eyes
They can let the currents carry them to places long forgotten,
To places never been.
They can swim with the dead that my kind took from them,
Or simply float to half-heard whale song from the unfathomable depths.
It looks and sounds wonderful,
But I can't stop, not even for a moment.
My life is a series of forward motions,
Punctuated by 
     Speed up, 
Keep moving forward
Forward! Forward!
Forward, forward, 
Never stop moving forward.

I am forever swimming towards death.
Mine, yours, theirs...
The line between such trivialities grows thinner
With each passing flick of my tail, each meal, every mate.
The hourglass will always be half-empty to someone 
Who can never stop to turn it over,
But sometimes I imagine what it would be like to stop.
If destiny wants me to keep moving,
Who am I to argue with destiny?
But I can slow myself down until I'm just... barely...
I cannot close my eyes, 
So I let myself sink to where the light does not reach
My tail barely moves,
And I begin to think I know what it must be like
To live without perpetual motion.
So deep that the sounds of waves against rocks grows ever silent
I sink deeper,
Into the endless black of the infinite sea.
I feel my fins flutter gently and twitch
I begin to feel Mother Ocean embrace me
And it feels wonderful.
I cannot stop.
This is not what she created me to be.
Sometimes though, I think I know what dreaming is.
I do not need to stop,
I only need to slow down.
I only need to sleep. 

Laura Lacanette

Bernard Schober your time here was over too soon but you really lived the hell out of this life. I’m absolutely devastated for your family, your partner, and your many dear friends. 
Thank you for always being so kind and welcoming to an awkward newbie, for making space and encouraging others, for supporting the weird and offbeat without judgement. Your talent with poetry and comedy was something I looked up to and I feel honored to have been able to share space and get my ass kicked by you on stage. 
You always used your larger than life presence to bring people up. I’ll never forget when I performed a nerdy poem that bombed, only to look out into the crowd and see you and Lauren standing up cheering your heads off. I wish I could tell you how much you meant to me and how much you will be missed. 
I hope you’re somewhere swimming with sharks, winning all the slams, and pissing off online trolls. So long Klute, and thanks for all the fish.

Laura Lacanette, Russ Kazmierczak, the Klute and Lauren Perry at Phoenix Fan Fusion, or, 

Julie Elefante

Dear Klute,
Bernard Schober. I hate that you died because you were so damned good at living. My torso is a heavy fist, but it loosens its grip when I read all the eulogies collecting on your page and feel the love that you put out coming back in with the tides. The affirmation, the ebb and flow, is soothing. We grew up next to oceans on opposite ends of the country, but we always celebrated the kinship. When people are born and bred by the sea, it threads its silver hooks and fine white lines along their spines and sways them into sleep. In turn, people of the sea leave their lines in everyone they touch. What a wonderful net you wove through all of us, and how well you filled it. 
Here are stories, things I’m grateful for:
A lot of people have talked about their poetry friendships with you. You did all that for me, too. And even after I left slam behind, you always asked me if I was going to read whenever you saw me at poetry events. There’s something so validating when a well-known, well-loved writer tells you they want to hear your words, and you did that for a lot of us. Thank you for that.
Looking through my hard drive, looking for memories of you, I’ve found hundreds of documents—photos, art, and of course poems. All the edits, layouts, and final proofs for so many of your chapbooks and books from the last 17 years. I loved that you asked me to take care of these, partly because you knew I’ve always loved layouts and editing, and partly because you trusted me with it all. AND, for every book, I was guaranteed a delicious home-cooked meal, some fine drink, and an evening of cartoons and conversation. Thank you for giving me all these opportunities to let me express my own passions, for believing in me and trusting me with your own. 
For a few months, when you needed a place to stay, I offered you a room in a house I was renting. Thank you, Klute, for being one of those rare roommates who was easy to live with, for cleaning up after yourself and around the house, for paying your share of the rent and bills on time, for just adulting so well. Sorry you had to clean up that chicken bone in a sock; the previous roommate wasn’t so good.
At one point, I was struggling with money but too stubborn and proud to take handouts, so I was picking up side jobs here and there. You took me aside and told me you were looking for a sort of personal assistant. You’d find random chores and errands that I’m sure you were just making up—putting all your printed poems into a binders, sorting out a pile of stuff you said you wanted to list on eBay, stuff like that. You paid more than the work was worth, that you could’ve done yourself in far less time and much more efficiently. I told you I’d tried pawning stuff, and during one visit to my place, you asked if I still used my old bike from college. It was several years old, well-used, and banged up, but you said you’d been meaning to buy a bike and asked how much I originally paid for it, and that’s just about how much you gave me for it. I don’t know if you ever rode it, and I can’t imagine you pedaling along with your long black duster flapping behind you in the breeze. You said you were enjoying it, though. That made me feel better. Thank you for treating me with dignity and generosity in equal measure. 
So your body is gone, but your light is still with me, inspiring me with everything you accomplished while you were here and were still pushing to do, ever so intrepid. Thank you for your friendship and your part in making me a better version of myself, thank you for weaving me into your life and letting me weave you indelibly into mine. 
Love you, Klute,

Saturday, July 16, 2022

"Another Planet" by B-Jam

B-Jam, aka Benjamin Gardea, performing "Another Planet" at The Rebel Lounge in Phoenix, AZ on May 24, 2022.

Ghost Poetry Show is committed to creating a community of writers from the greater Phoenix area (and beyond) to share their work on stage. We take pride in having poets that have never performed their work in front of anyone, all the way up to poets that have competed at the national level. No matter gender, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or age anyone can take the stage and compete in the three round poetry slam.

Friday, July 15, 2022

"You common cry of curs," Coriolanus, performed by Paul Mauch

Paul Mauch performs as Coriolanus, in "Coriolanus" Act III, Scene III. 
Gnaeus Marcius is a Roman general who earns the toponymic cognomen "Coriolanus" after his military feats besieging the Volscians at the town of Corioli in 493 BC. Following his success he seeks to be consul in 491 BC, two years after Coriolanus' victory over the Volscians, as Rome was recovering from a grain shortage. A significant quantity of grain was imported from Sicily, and the senate debated the manner in which it should be distributed to the commoners. Coriolanus advocated that the provision of grain should be dependent upon the reversal of the pro-plebeian political reforms arising from the First Secessio Plebis in 494 BC. The populace were incensed at Coriolanus' proposal, and the tribunes put him on trial. The senators argued for the acquittal of Coriolanus, or at the least a merciful sentence. Coriolanus refused to attend on the day of his trial, and he was convicted. 
Coriolanus makes this speech berating the plebians before fleeing to the Volsci in exile. 
There, he was received and treated kindly, and resided with the Volscian leader Attius Tullus Aufidius. Coriolanus and Aufidius led the Volscian army against Roman towns, colonies and allies. Roman colonists were expelled from Circeii. They then retook the formerly Volscian towns of Satricum, Longula, Pollusca and Corioli. Then the Volscian army took the Roman towns of Lavinium, Corbio, Vitellia, Trebia, Lavici and Pedum.
Coriolanus's mother Volumniam Coriolanus's wife Virgilia and their child, dissuade him from destroying Rome, urging him instead to clear his name and he signs a peace treaty on behalf of the Volscians. When he returns to the Volscian capital of Antium (Anzio), conspirators, organised by Aufidius, kill him for his betrayal.

"The Other Solos" are a series of Shakespeare monologues that deal with issues of identity, migration, power and exile, performed by actors whose mother tongue is not English. This project was developed in response to recent world events and the increasing sentiment against migration in the media and Western society.

from "Coriolanus," spoken by exiled Roman General Gnaeus Marcius Coriolanus


You common cry of curs! whose breath I hate
As reek o' the rotten fens, whose loves I prize
As the dead carcasses of unburied men
That do corrupt my air, I banish you;
And here remain with your uncertainty!
Let every feeble rumour shake your hearts!
Your enemies, with nodding of their plumes,
Fan you into despair! Have the power still
To banish your defenders; till at length
Your ignorance, which finds not till it feels,
Making not reservation of yourselves,
Still your own foes, deliver you as most
Abated captives to some nation
That won you without blows! Despising,
For you, the city, thus I turn my back:
There is a world elsewhere.

"If," by Rudyard Kipling, read by Sir Michael Caine

By Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you   

    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

    But make allowance for their doubting too;   

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   

    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

    And treat those two impostors just the same;   

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

    And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   

    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

    If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   

    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!