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Mike Pullman / Ros Ayres / Ian Rollitt + More

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Tishk Barzanji

We've got five poems for you this month to celebrate coming back into print after summer.

Autumn is always the busiest month in Sheffield's literary calendar, with Off The Shelf Festival of Words returning in October. They gave us a sneak peek of their programme and we can reveal highlights including Viv Albertine, guitarist from cult post-punk band The Slits, a mini-strand curated by Forced Entertainment's Tim Etchell entitled Strong Language, featuring Joolz Denby and Courttia Newland, and a reading organised by The Poetry Business, with Mimi Khalvati and Michael Schmidt. Check out offtheshelf.org for more details.

Joe Kriss

SPOKEN WORD LISTINGS

Gorilla Poetry

Mon 17 Sept | Gardeners Rest | Free

Sheffield's most laid-back open mic evening returns to one of the city's best pubs, the beautiful, community-owned Gardeners Rest in Neepsend.

Wordlife - Poets In The Kitchen

Thu 20 Sept | South Street Kitchen | £20/£15

We're back after our August break with a brand new literary night for Sheffield. Poets In The Kitchen features three poets, served with every course, alongside a brand new bespoke menu from new cafe South Street Kitchen at Park Hill.

YOUNG LOVERS IN A SHEFFIELD CAFE

Oh wet black impossible night beware,

As the grimy world flies past their window stare.

Dirty white vans and the Easy Barber

Who'll cut your hair for under a fiver.

Phone driven humans and human driven cars,

Soaked flat sleeping bags and not even stars.

Swollen steaming buses with grimy cheap adverts

Of weight lost women photo shopped and chest pert.

The normality of ugliness in man-made urbanity.

The industry and ignorance of second term intimacy.

Oh miserable night in January what hope can there be,

Except in the joy of young lovers in a Sheffield cafe.

Mike Pullman

A MONDAY NIGHT BEER

We arrange to meet up. it's a spur

of the moment thing, a monday night,

but why not?

Just the one, we can do sensible.

We start to chat, our conversation

is a relay exchange. Words volley

back and forth, each taking our turn

to share our news. It's been a while.

There's so much to say.

Go on then, one more won't hurt.

We get honest, actually, everything isn't

fine. Our chat becomes unfettered,

more of our insides come out.

You feel that too, I thought it was just me.

I'll get these.

Hours pass, we're a bit drunk and

it's time to go. We hug. Holding onto

the anchoring of best friends.

It's not just the beer, feeling unsteady,

that is being human.

Ros Ayres

MAN ON A MOWER

In the park,

I walk past a man

on a mower.

I know him, sort of.

I used to work with his missus.

She said that he liked a drink,

he looks drunk now.

She said that for one birthday

he gave her a jar of pickled beetroot.

She's allergic to the stuff.

As I walk past him

I am hit by the smell of

freshly mown grass.

What a life!

Working in the park

drunk

loved by a woman blind to him

and everyday the smell of freshly mown grass

everyday, spring.

Ian Rollitt

INSERT BRAIN HERE

Crumbling Castleford Station;

strangers stealing body heat.

A lonely platform, broken ticket machine.

Station pub filled with regulars,

whose ashes will seep

into classic eighties, floral carpet.

Three blue plastic chairs,

floating like an island in the greyness.

A red paint-peeling off shack.

A bored-out-of-her-mind girl waiting

for the once-an-hour train to Sheffield,

sees written in neon pink -

Insert Brain Here.

She traces a neat line around her skull, imagines

removing the top, scooping her brain out.

But where does it go?

A mystery, [in neon pink].

Kayleigh Campbell

ONE BREATH BARROW

how

I

mean

so

little

and

yet

value

so

much

the

time

spent

on

this

is

a

madness

laid

on

altars

and

steeples

it

just

sounds

and

we

hear it

James Lock

Next article in issue 126

Found Fiction: Stories That Find People

Before reading a novel, we may peruse the blurb, read reviews and thumb through the opening pages to get a gist of what the story is about. …

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