Katie Asson

A founding member of the Huntsville, AL Slam along with Linda Wheeler, friend and mentor, Katie got her performance poetry start the best way she knew how: submersion. In 1997 she anchored the Huntsville team's debut at the Southeastern Southern Fried Poetry Slam Regional Competition. Also that year she featured at the Florence Poet's Collective, was guest speaker for the Huntsville Museum of Art's progressive dinner, and even had five minutes on the soap-box in Speaker's Corner, London. In 1999, Birmingham became her new Slam home and she again anchored her team at Regionals, placing tenth in the Southeast. She was also a part of Birmingham's National Slam debut in Chicago, home of the Slam and site of its tenth anniversary. Katie has also been a featured poet at Birmingham City Stages and the year 2000 finds her traveling, speaking, and collecting a variety of poetry gigs including Americus, GA and the Cantab in Boston. Ranked top Slam poet in Birmingham and Montevallo, she plans to again compete regionally and nationally. Currently a senior BFA Art Major at the University of Montevallo, Katie specializes in ceramics and photography. She is applying to graduate schools and plans to avoid the "real world" as long as possible.

Red Shoes

I bought some red shoes
at the specialty store today.
Red shoes
hiiiiiiigh heels
so high
it looks like you could just
knock me down and fuck me.

Very feminine, I hear.

Red shoes so stylized
my footprints abstracted into two dots,
one bigger than the other.
Two dots:
no arch
no instep,
just pointy toes and stilt-like heels,
hiiiiiiigh heels,
defying gravity...
and anatomy.

Red shoes
the color of come-hither
World War Europe whores' heels
that the boys liked so much
they brought them back
for their wives to wear
performing housework
once they steel-tipped boot kicked them
out of their jobs,
whose jobs?
And what kind of shoes did they wear then,
when the men were away?

Red shoes
like my mamma used to wear
while preening in front of metallic mirror
every morning in her flesh-colored slip
staining her lips to match
the pain of her Achilles
shrunken and tight like a wound-up rubber band
her voice shrill at the end of the day,
"Oh, these feet, 
you'd think I've been put through a meat grinder."
She's shuffling about the cold linoleum floor
in stockings straining to contain her
stubby toes
cracked nails

She's tenderizing the beef.
She can't see the irony.

And neither could I,
as a child crayon-coloring in the lines
of my alphabet book:
S is for shoes,
you can see it the contour
of the highly feminine rendering
of the latest foot-wear apparel
that never seems to change.
History the same 
in my mother's closet,
boxes carefully labeled-
R is for red...

I slid the cardboard container
out of the wall of similar bricks,
blew off the dust,
and opened a Pandora of
broken toes
contorted tendons
Chines torture
only for the women,
that the West liked so much
they picked it up and ran with it,
and now half of us can't run
But we look so nice
tinker-toy tottering
on the feet of our broken past
and our inevitable

I'd take my red shoes back to the store today,
but I can't seem to get them off...