Upcoming Events

Word Life Presents the Banoffee Pie Tour Collective.
12th June, 7pm.
Cafe Euro, John Street.
£4 (£3 concs).

Featuring free pie and music from Bridie Jackson and The Big Society ("beautifully sparse and riotous, raucous new folk," Narc Magazine) and Newcastle-based singer-songwriter Kid Kirby, as well as poetry from Mark Doyle and Alabaster DePlume, who has been described as "harrowingly funny" by Citylifers.co.uk. More poets TBA.

Signposts presents The Shoebox Experiment.
15th June, 7.30pm.
The Riverside, 1 Mowbray Street.
£4 (£3 concs).

The third Shoebox Experiment is a night of poetry, storytelling and music featuring acclaimed Yorkshire writers Carola Luther and Linda Lee Welch. Arguments with Malarchy by Carola Luther is a sequence of 11 poems, an extended dramatic monologue in the voice of an old man. The sequence is woven around the rich tones of double bass improvisation by composer Jenni Molloy. Linda Lee Welch's At The Crossroads Café is a new commission by Signposts for The Shoebox Experiment. This musical drama about choices fuses a series of travellers' tales with the story of the café owners, whose relationship has reached a crisis point.

The Story Forge.
21st June, 8pm.
The Fat Cat, Kelham Island.
£2 (suggested donation).

The Story Forge is an open mic storytelling club based around tales from the floor with guest spots every other month. Come along with a tale to share or just to sup good beer in fine company and listen to the glorious cascade of words.

The Seven

Black hair, red lips and skin as white as snow
We saw her running down a forest track.
A blanket round her shoulders, frightened eyes.
At first we thought we'd keep out of the way.
She'd run from home, no doubt, for something small.
She'd soon calm down, and go back to the village

But Dopey said she wasn't from the village.
He'd seen her dainty footprints in the snow
(He said he'd never seen a foot so small)
They led toward the palace. He can track
A spider to its web. She'd run away.
Could not go back; we saw it in her eyes.

But all of us had fled from prying eyes
And wagging tongues, been chased out of the village
And here, deep in the forest, found a way
To live in perfect love, as pure as snow
Three couples, with our stories back on track,
And poor old Dopey: sad, alone, and small.

Though, actually, we're none of us that small.
Not dwarves, but "fairies", in our neighbours' eyes.
So now we live far from the beaten track.
Knowing we're not accepted in the village
So when this dark haired girl with cheeks like snow
Showed up, we thought we ought to find a way

To find out why she'd had to run away.
Eventually she came upon our small
But tidy cottage, nestled in the snow
She looked at us with disbelieving eyes
And asked if she'd already found the village.
We laughed and told her she was way off track.

She told us then, how she'd come down this track.
How from the queen she'd had to run away
She thought she might seek shelter in the village.
(Our bitter smiles told her the chance was small)
Her woodsman's blanket caught poor Dopey's eyes
He snatched it from her, sobbing in the snow.

The village is some five miles down the track
But in this snow, she'll never find her way.
Though our home's small, She thanks us with her eyes.

SARAH THOMASIN.

Wild John.

John was wild,
Kinetic with the drink,
Bouncing off the walls.
Out of the house,
Across the gardens,
Down to the row of garages.
Where better to shake off your clothes?
To caper round the car naked.
When that proved as pointless,
He sat on the cold concrete and he cried,
Drunk in the darkness,
Unable to see the joist or to tie the knot.
His wife, a martyr, (we all knew this),
Would have fifteen more years
Of going out, of other men,
Before the dementia claimed her,
Left her on a locked ward,
One room to ask her questions in:
"Where is John?" "This is not my house, is it?"
John would have five years
Before the heart attack,
Outside of Oxley's, by then a pool hall.
John would have five more years
And three more coaxings:
"Come off the clammy bonnet John"
"Put your clothes on, please John."
Three more mornings
To pass you on the street,
As if the night had not happened.

PAUL TOBIN.

Small Elephants.

The father taught his son a line,
remembered from his own childhood,
on how to spell "because".
"Big Elephants Can Always Understand Small Elephants", he said.
The boy laughed,
and his father smiled
because
he understood
that the child
would never
forget.

TONY WALSH.