Thom Francis (left) adjusts the mic stand for
host “Christopher the Poet.”

It was the second of the women-only Slams at Valentine’s, but first the open mic, hosted tonight by “Christopher the Poet.” Apparently the Southern crowds at such events are louder than us in the Northeast as our host kept trying to pump up our volume until by the end of the night I was a bit hoarse.

Fortunately I was signed-up as #1 on the open mic list & still had my voice then. I started off with the new poem “Trailer Park,” then my 2006 poem on random shootings, “Secrecy Guards Oldest Pine…” Billy was next, noting the 50th anniversary this year of the publication of On the Road & read a long epistolatory page turner to “Mr. Kerouac.” Alyssa‘s ironically titled “Thank you” was addressed to partners she didn’t want. Rain Dan read the first of what we can expect to be many poems on the Newtown shooting, “When He Comes,” addressed to his children, then 2 very short pieces.

Jackie works on her poem.

Jackie K(irkpatrick) read a list poem titled “Time Line of Dating a Poet Preferably Me” giving full warning to the guys lurking out there. el presidente Thom Francis read a poem by Rebecca Schumejda (“Stretching Felt Over the Edges”) from her new book Cadillac Men (NYQ Books), then his own happy love poem celebrating the here & now, “At this Moment.” Our host, Christopher the Poet, performed one of his signature pieces, a poem to his future son, or daughter. Poetyc Vysonz ended the open mic with one of his signature inspirational pieces.

There were only 3 contestants for the Slam tonight, guaranteeing that all would be in-the-money tonight. The Slam was done in 4 rounds, each with different time limits.

Tasha, Alyssa, Thom Francis, & Rita

Rita was a new-comer with decidedly un-Slam poems, most with attempts at rhyme, philosophical; in the 1-minute round she came in with a 15.8 seconds untitled piece. Tasha‘s poems were the opposite, done in Slam style & cadence, including themes of cutting & bullying. Alyssa, doing most of her poems from memory, included a poem on weight & body image, along with a couple love poems. When the dust cleared, the scores tallied, the money counted, it was Alyssa in the #1 spot, Tasha was 2nd & Rita 3rd. A good night for them — & for the rest of us too.

The Nitty Gritty Slam is the 1st & 3rd (& the 5th) Tuesday of each month at Valentine’s, check out the schedule at AlbanyPoets.com.