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 423,000 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, July 20, 2013

"Marine Fossils on Mount Everest," by Christopher Fox Graham

the phone rings
it's her
lying in bed
unable to move
it's either call me
or cut herself again

I am naked words
over a phone line
trying to hold her
but this tunnel
doesn't have light at the end
exit, oncoming train or otherwise

so I talk about Mount Everest

she says she doesn't want to about
mountaineers conquering their fears
besides, the only way off
is to fall or freeze
and she's fallen so far
that the world is cold to the touch already

I say I want to talk about Everest
now, hidden on its slopes …

she says she doesn't want to hear about Shangri-La
a place where dreams come true
if we just let go
of what ties us to the material world
there's no secret entrance to open
with prayer and password

I want to talk about Everest

she says she doesn't want to hear about yeti
how we adapt to our environment
become creatures who can survive anywhere
given circumstance and intention

I say "stop"
I want to talk about Everest
up there, there's no room for metaphor
now, hidden on its slopes
beneath the snow and limestone
under the feet of mountaineers
the tracks of yeti
and the temples of Shangri-La
sandwiched between the stones
are the tiny tombs
of billions of marines animals
despite the claims of creationists
that the gods did it in Noah's drunken haze
or atheists planted them
as if that's all they needed to clinch the contest

there are billions of marine fossils
creatures who fell so deep
swallowed in the muck and mud unmourned
but they were patient
and in millions of years
waited for colliding continents
to shove themselves
colliding like struggling elk
shoving each one higher
until those fossils reached air
higher and higher
until those fossils felt snow
higher and higher
until those fossils scraped the sky
and could gaze across the curve of the Earth
and see it was just a marble floating
like they once did in the sea of space

it takes patience to see the beauty of the world
the wait's not always easy
rainstorms and tectonic shifts
can waylay the best laid plans of mice and men
you don't want to fade away
you ask what the point of life is:
to leave an imprint
a legacy
make a dent in the world
so all your years are worth the time you put in
hold fast,
don't be in a hurry to leave
it takes time to find the right place
the perfect soil to last forever
live like you're already priceless