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About Literature / Professional Christopher Fox GrahamMale/United States Recent Activity
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Some magicks are best contained beneath the skin
while others should be loosed to the world,
unrestrained in an unyielding fury of kaleidoscopic colors
bedecked in cat ears or fox tails or deer antlers
a child’s wonder on their tongues and bellies full of fires
some are still the unpasteurized joy of days gone past
all tiger-teeth, shark-fang wildness of youth in its hooligan infancy dancing in the moonlight of playing in a sealess playa
dreaming of cars turn mutant when swallowed in the dreams of artists
like those beneath her eyelids

do not fret the days when stars can still be counted as we once did
skipping digits while applicable or when unnecessary
knowing the final number was reachable
and always the same in the this county or the old

as the decades churn old histories into misremembered mysteries of what-whens and who-hows Seuss would have created had he the lexicon
futures remain unwritten, though envisioned by madmen young boys never listen to,
coaxial lifespans stretch into the undreamed ether threading parallels when the geometry is right
yet the soft hands holding cracked hearts bend outward to find horizons
the foolish forgotten with half-bitten tongues wish for the best days as yet-to-bes yet-to-comes rather than as what-may-have beens

and as the cycle of stars circles round a child-sun playing marbles in the dark,
on one, unremarkable in its ordinariness,
dances a spirit in tutus and feathers
Saturning her hips in hoops
marking one more checkbox of numbered years toward days-to-comes and soon-to-bes and not-yet-nows
preparing smiles for the nightwandering desert dreams to sail in on the breeze
to sleep soundly until the next dawn asks her
how her sun rises
Some magicks are best contained beneath the skin
A birthday poem I wrote for my exgirlfriend Azami. Every line is an in-joke or personal reference to past poems, stories involving her or us, and other such obscurities, but it also works pretty well as a standalone visually rich poem.

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this microphone was crafted for one purpose:
to take sound and amplify it across A ROOM

its brothers exist in a thousand places:
in the bedroom of a high school guitarist
at a candidate’s podium
in an Elks Lodge Bingo Hall

but this microphone
this microphone
stands at a poetry slam
give    it    purpose

fill this room with your art

this stage
is devoid of props or sets
it needs nothing else but you
this stage merely holds your weight
make it creek and bend
under the heaviness of words

make these wood beams
wish they were
         a sinner’s coffin,
or a church’s rafters

or a hangman’s gallows        
something easier to bear
than the soapbox
of poets

this audience
sits on the edge of its seat
voices silent
waiting for your three minutes to fill their ears
word by word

they did not come to hear pickup lines
and internet jokes
they want to feel something
do    not
their    time

in the shadows of this stage,
there is a man with a gun
aimed at your temple
and when your three minutes end
he will turn your brain
into art on this wall

you cannot escape his bullet
so do not try
make your words count
give them weight and substance

make us feel something
turn these eyes into faucets
overflow the kitchen sink of our chests
’til this room fills
and spills out into the street
sink this city like Atlantis

or make us laugh so hard
our bellies and faces ache tomorrow
as we recount each punchline verbatim
but    do    not    waste    our    time

if there’s a boy or girl in the back of the room
you want to kiss
or fuck
or marry
get off the stage
and say it face-to-face
because when you’re here

belong to

and if your words don’t seduce
every boy and girl in this room
you’re wasting your time

this stage is
8:12 a.m. Hiroshima
12:27 p.m. Dealey Plaza
8:43 a.m. 99th floor North Tower

you have three minutes
until the world changes forever

this microphone
will not hate you
it will not love you
and it will not judge you

this stage does not care
if you are a good person
if you are rich or poor
young or old,
gay, straight, or in between

we only care about your life story
edited to the best three minutes you can speak
how did you live?
what did you learn?
what will you teach?

that man is not moving
the clock is ticking
the laser sight is beginning to burn

what will you say?
why should we care?
why do you matter?

remind us everyone here
has a gun
pointed at our skulls
and one day that round
will fire
make us believe these moments we spend here with you
are the best three minutes of our lives

your heart is a grenade
pull the pin and explode
leave word shrapnel buried in our skin
so in weeks and years hence
when your name is whispered

we few,
we happy few
who witnessed your detonation

will point to the scar

reread the line,
and say

when you slam a poem
any poem

leave your blood in this microphone
leave your heart on this stage
don’t care about the scores
don’t care about the time
don’t hold back
never apologize
believe every word
is an atom bomb
these are your last words

this is your epitaph
this is what will be scrawled
on your tombstone

long after we
are all dead and buried
prove you had
at least one
good     reason     to


my time is up

this microphone is yours

turn this stage to splinters
Poem for Evan
This is a first-round slam poem, or a sacrifice/calibration poem. Written for my friend, slam poet Evan Dissinger, after a long converstion about his desire for poets to spit poems with substance and emotion.

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our people did always speak the language of fists

there was a time
when words were still throat-magic,
the stars,
our ancestors, which we named personally
the setting moon and rising sun
were mysteries beyond explanation
and myths were solid trees we could touch

spears and arrowheads brought us food
but fists became our arm-hammers
because fists have no purpose
except against other people
we taught our men to speak in fists to survive

without words fists say
and “hurt”
in breaking bones
and bleeding skin

evolving into nations of fists
they say “this is our land, flee from us”
“we are masters, you are slaves”
or simply “we live, you die”

we taught our men to speak in fists
to survive
each other

we still teach our girls
they are made of sugar and spice
and everything nice
while our boys
are made of snips and snails
and puppy dogs tails
and we wonder why our men
grow to speak in fists

we teach our boys fists
speak “faggot” without misinterpretation
spit the hate of
or class
into the bones of wrong-place wrong-time strangers

we teach boys that might makes right
and right is irrelevant
without force behind it:
if he hits you
strike back
do not turn the other cheek
strike hard
do not turn the other cheek
strike over and over and over
so they do not rise again
do not turn the other cheek

the last man who said "turn the other cheek,"
we nailed to a cross
around your neck,
you wear the proof of his weakness
now not even his father,
nor the other gods dare tell us what to do

we should teach our boys fists say
“never again”
“set my people free”
“leave him alone"
or "I will defend my brother and sister”

and his sister,
my daughter,
will not understand the language of fists
she will know they are meant to answered with turned back
slammed door
car ignition
police report
and no second chances
no apologies
no I promises

my daughter will not understand the language of fists
because I will not teach her how to ever listen
she will learn fists are just shy starfish

she will speak the dialect of palms
know that open hands can build homes and meals
pull strangers up from the ground
tell children and old men
without words that they are beautiful
she will use them to kiss her ancestors in the stars
tell the sun “good night”
and the moon “good evening”

my daughter will not understand the language of fists
because I will show her how to pull them
into the gravity well of history
and leave them with all the other broken toys
we abandoned in caves
after we said
“we should live better than this”
“we can live better”
“we are better”

and she will teach her boys
how to silence their fists
that they are just shy starfish
waiting for a new language

and how make them speak like palms
before we named the trees
we feared the dark
ran from the shadows
monsters stalked us
in daytime’s tall grasses
and nighttime’s nightmares

we feared fire most of all
it ate the unnamed trees alive
its breath choked the beasts we hunted
we could not hold it
and could not fight it
just fear it

but one of us
The First of us
saw an infant spark
and treated it like a child
she learned to wield it
our first tool
brought it into the caves
and taught us not to fear
but use it
to chase away the monsters

fire is always the same
because a flame is never the same
from moment to moment
by always changing
the flame never changes

with fire
we learned to control the shadows
we danced them onto cave walls
where we trapped the monsters in ocher and ash

we used the fire to keep the beasts away in the night
to cook the bounty gathered from the earth
and roast our meat from the day’s hunt

and with bellies full
in the glow of the fire
we learned language
around campfires
as our elders told stories
of their young days long passed
they told us the names of trees:
they spoke of the strong mothers who raised them
the great hunts of their brave fathers
how they leaned ways to teach us these things

they told us
of ancestors who had long since turned to bones
and were now dust
who had sprinkled themselves across the heavens
to watch over us
glowing in the dark
like flames in the night

when the fire in their own hearts
began to flicker
they asked us to built fires to mourn their death
help ascend their bodies
so they could watch over us from new stars
alongside their ancestors

around the fire
we learned to structure nouns and verbs
into rhythm and beat
rhyme and stanza
turning the articulation of breath
the staccato of consonants
the tone and pitch of air in living lungs
into the art of poetry
stories we could pass from generation to generation
long after the first lungs to hold them
were silent beneath the dirt
we still tell some of those stories
passing along the poetry
of heroes
who are no longer bones
no longer dust
but vapor in the wind

around the fire
we passed on what we had learned
to the children who would mourn us
consider these frail lifeless bones still sacred
because they once held them
in their infancy

long after our bones turned to dust
and the dust turned to vapor
and the vapor exhaled by something new
they would remember … us
in the stories around the fire

a ribbon of flesh and fire
tied us to the infant spark
that The First one of us
held without fear

fire is always the same
because a flame is never the same
from moment to moment
by always changing
the flame never changes

it is consumption and combustion
a moment of reaction
between earth and air
the tangible and ethereal
in a spark of life
never the same from one second the next

nothing is eternal but change
so our civilizations learn to adapt
like tongues of flame
growing together or apart
rising and falling
expanding and shrinking
dancing in a campfire

we sometimes forget that lesson
so our empires defy it
our monuments stand against it
our great cities are abandoned
for new homes
is now just artifacts
has become Scrabble word
31 dynasties ruled Egypt,
each falling to the next
the dream of Rome
became a dream again
the sun never set on the British Empire
until the day it did
and young America too
will grow old into history books
but the fire will still be the same
because a flame is never the same
from moment to moment

even now
in the glow of digital screens
behind the wheel of combustion engines
or miles above the earth
in steel aircraft
or space stations
we are still mesmerized by the flame
we gather around fireplaces on holidays
remembering the ancient reasons for things
we light wax candles for dead loved ones
hoping whispered words
might rise to their ears in the heavens
where they watch us
alongside ancestors

we find ourselves
still captivated by campfires
staring into them
unable to look away sometimes
while we tell stories
just like we used to
when home
wasn’t made from stone and brick
or animal skins from last year’s hunt
but the warmest cave
on our nomadic trek
following the herds
teaching our children
the names of trees

some day
when we no longer fear the dark
a descendant of the flame that first warmed us
as we lay dreaming of stars
will help send a few of us
beyond the reach of Earth
never again to see this home
more will follow
using flickers of fire
to pass the boundaries
break the laws of gravity
that we will refuse to obey any longer
and sail across the night
unafraid of the monsters we left behind
trapped on cave walls beneath ocher and ash
they will make their homes
on marbles of every color
swirling in the dusty arms of space
and in the wildernesses of new worlds
they will name new trees
tell stories around campfires of ancestors
strong mothers
brave fathers

fire is always the same
because a flame is never the same
from moment to moment
by always changing
the flame never changes

some day
when “human”
means something else entirely
and whomever we become
sails on the winds of supernovas
finds no fear exploring black holes
the last place darkness can hide from us

they may communicate the poetry quasars and quarks
with the same beauty as verbs and nouns
but still stare at the surface of suns
and without explanation why
know the fire burning before them
is still wonderful to witness
because in the glimmer of a memory
dancing with the arithmetic of orbiting atoms
and the geometry of galaxies
they can feel something deep in their bones
tying them like a ribbon of flesh and flame across time
to a tiny world
whose name they have forgotten
or can no longer pronounce
and remember
ancestors who wielded an infant spark
to no longer fear monsters or the dark
but listen around the first campfire
to poetry
and stories
and the names of trees
The Names of Trees
Written for a fire dancing performance held at Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village in Sedona. A troupe of three women performed a fire dance to it.
the last thing he remembered
was her étouffée
the way shrimp and chicken
could fall apart in his mouth
the texture of onion,
the soft burn of the bell pepper,
the crunch of celery
the way a drop of saffron
could flavor a whole meal
for a moment
after the alarm sounded
after the shock of fear subsided in his spine
he was there again
in her Pointe à la Hache kitchen
surrounded by the smell of her labors

he had seen a blowout on another rig
before BP
before Deepwater Horizon
everyone jumped to their posts
did their jobs
and when all was said and done
insurance wrote off the damage
and they thanked heaven no one got hurt

for a moment
he flashed back to that rig
hoped it would repeat

and as the rumble rose
his eyes dimmed
the world fell away from focus
and he could taste  her étouffée in his throat

the moment was too quick to prepare
he saw the faces of the men around him
he had seen them all today on the rig —
they were 11 roughnecks who would go home
when the job was over
they were strangers before the rig
and they would be afterward
they always wanted to be forgettable
for a roughneck,
to have one’s name known
means you’ve fucked up
you screwed the boss’s daughter
you carelessly killed a man
or you died on a rig

they were 11 men
whose names would be remembered:
Jason Anderson
Aaron Dale Burkeen
Donald Clark
Stephen Curtis
Gordon Jones
Roy Wyatt Kemp
Karl Klepping
Blair Manuel
Dewey Revette
Shane Roshto
Adam Weise
no longer forgettable

when it came
the rip roar of steel and crude
swallowed in a sun
the last thing he remembered
was her étouffée
the last thought
was the smell of Cajun cooking
the feel of her arms around him
as the bowels of the earth
those billions of animals
compressed into oil
buried for millions of years
saw the sky again
released the rage of imprisonment
ignited into fire
rose into the sky
carried his disintegrated memories
with them
rising like steam
from a cooking pan
of her étouffée

the earth hemorrhaged billions of gallons
like a head wound
across the Gulf
to her, it was bloodstain

denied his body,
she collapsed
the first time she touched the oily surf
prayed that somewhere in the black crude
there was some drop of him
some molecule of her husband
the size of a saffron seed

after she walked home
barefoot from beach across the bayou
she refused to wash
the oil would fall away
but he would hold her
sink into her skin
flavor her like saffron
she has no gravesite to visit
but she can smell him in the kitchen
anytime she cooks étouffée
Oil Dealers and Deepwater, Part II, Etouffee
I wrote this following the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill and apparently never uploaded it to deviantART.


Christopher Fox Graham
Artist | Professional | Literature
United States
Christopher Fox Graham is a Montana-born boy raised in Arizona to be a poet, artist, writer and sometimes singer with unending wanderlust. He's fascinated with art and other shiny things, a good story will keep him captivated and silent as he soaks you in.

In truth, he is good at only three things: poetry, kissing, and driving.

A slam poet since 2000, he has been on eight National Poetry Slam teams from Flagstaff, in 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014 and runs the Sedona Poetry Slam in Sedona, Arizona.

He believes that all slam poets are Jedis.

FoxThePoet blog:
Official website:

Current Residence: Sedona, Arizona, USA
Favourite genre of music: original, indie
Favourite photographer: Sarrah Wile
Favourite style of art: Realism
Operating System: PC
MP3 player of choice: iPod nano
Skin of choice: Human
Favourite cartoon character: Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes
Personal Quote: In the tender brilliance of falling stars stereoscopic disability flattens things into 2 dimensions

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Add a Comment:
mono22chrome Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
you sir, are amazing...
astrozombiesss Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2011  Student Digital Artist
Hello Christopher!

this is Shernise! aka, tyler s. 's girlfriend.
saw your link on facebook!
Dancing-Naked Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2011   General Artist
Thank you! I'll let you know when I share it. :)
MusicalAlchemy Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2012  Hobbyist
Dancing-Naked Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2012   General Artist
Not yet.
hightides Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2010
now's the time for an uninvited suggestion: perhaps you should collect all your haiku poems into a single deviation and number them for separation. my desire to read them all is losing its war with indolence. what do you think?
MusicalAlchemy Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2010  Hobbyist
Forgive me for adding some of your poetry to my favourites with no comments. When something can be improved, i can offer criticism or words of help, but with your work there is none of that. I can only thank you for writing them, for putting my own thoughts and feelings into your words.

Thank you.
ColdContactKiss Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2010   Artist
Silent observer, I am; was wondering if you keep an account with Facebook.
foxthepoet Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2010  Professional Writer
ColdContactKiss Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2010   Artist
My thanks.
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