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.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Valence: member of the 2011 FlagSlam National Poetry Slam Team

Tyler Sirvinskas, aka Valence, is a poet among other things.
Valence has been a slam poet since 2010 and new to the format of slam, but not to the art of writing.

After living 14 years in Chicago, he has spent six years and counting in Arizona.
"Ordinary as Mountaintops"
by Valence
from the 2011 FlagSlam National Poetry Slam team chapbook "Gossamer Outrage"

Photo courtesy of Tara Graeber 
 Valence will perform at the Sedona Poetry Slam on Saturday,
July 30.
People are icebergs … only a fraction of us is visible.
And there’s nothing I wouldn’t give to see beneath the surface,
but I’m accepting the fact I’ll have to ask you what it looks like —
I’m an unreliable narrator too, so I won’t hold it against you
when you don’t give yourself enough credit
If your only regret is that you didn’t start diving,
climbing those underwater mountains sooner, then I’d say
you’re the kinda sinner that makes saints look impossible
beautiful sinners all bound to bear weight alone
the lining of your heart may be stone, and precious beyond measure
so remember it isn’t just saline coming out of your tear ducts
it is mountain spring runoff
your tears melt from ice
and give life to the soil
so continue drying your eyes
you have the kind of hands that could grow beautiful roses
makes me wish I was your first rose …
to know you like your mother did,
to know you like your firstborn.

I wish I’d been your imaginary friend,
your last greatest loss collecting dust
but I’m only a man and I don’t have that power
to see and feel your life as if it were ours
but I’m trying to climb.
I wanna know how you managed a head in the clouds
but your roots like a mountain so deep underground
I wanna breathe the thin air up there
where you see the world from,
because life is a climb and we haven’t got long
it is only to the hearts of our friends that we hold on
please call me your friend, so when it’s all said and done
I know I’ll live on,
it will show in the soft purple stripes on your roses
grown with mountain spring runoff.

We remember our loved ones for the places they take us
when we see from that clifftop through their favorite angle
That’s why I grow roses, to color the landscape
that absent hands led me to once, in the past

and I know I never said, but my first stargaze after we met
I fancied the night sky just some strange arrangement
that the asteroid belt was only god’s theremin.
It sings to us now in the form of a sunset.
Copyright 2011 © Valence Tyler Sirvinskas

FlagSlam poet Valence features at Sedona Poetry Slam on July 30

Sedona’s Studio Live hosts a poetry slam Saturday, July 30, starting at 7:30 p.m. featuring the four members of the Flagstaff National Poetry Slam Team.

The slam follows on the heels of the recent premiere of the documentary poetry film “Louder Than a Bomb,” offering Sedona audiences a live poetry slam to watch, judge or even compete in.

The four-poet team will share the stage with some of the Southwest's top poets pouring out their words in an explosion of expression.

All poets are welcome to compete for the $50 grand prize.
Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 the day of the event, available at Golden Word Books and Music, 3150 W. SR 89A, and online at
The team will also have its new 28-page chapbook "Gossamer Outrage" available. All proceeds from ticket and chapbook sales help the 2011 team - Northern Arizona's 10th – fund its trip to Boston to represent our region of the state against 71 other teams at the National Poetry Slam in August.
Studio Live is located at 215 Coffee Pot Drive, West Sedona.
For more information, call (928) 282-2688 or visit

1 comment:

Mom of SpokenWord Poet. said...

Valence is an incredible poet, and besides being my son, of which I am immensely proud, he has an authentic humanity which he shows in his vulnerability and quiet genius, when performing the spoken word poetry that he writes. I believe he is a rising star and will do well in Boston this week,as he performs at the 2011 National Slam. Look for some Media on him as he is discovered to be one of the best new young poets in America.