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Stan Skinny / Otis Mensah / Gav Roberts + More

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A big thanks to everyone who turned up to our events with Off The Shelf Festival of Words last month. Congratulations to Chris Singleton and Matthew Nicholson, who became Joint Champions of the Northern Slamhouse.

We've got a mixed bag of poems for you this month: a new one from Rotherham's finest, Gav Roberts; a love note to ITV from Sheffield's tallest poet, Stan Skinny; a hip-hop poetry piece from the newly-appointed Sheffield Poet Laureate, Otis Mensah; and a jazz-influenced prose poem from Jack Mann.

Joe

Spoken Word Events

Sheffield University Poetry Society

Wed 14 Nov | 7pm | The Green Room | £2

Sheffield University Poetry Society presents an evening of poetry at The Green Room, featuring sets from Gevi Carver, Sophie Shepherd and ten open mic spots. Non-students welcome.

Gorilla Poetry

Mon 19 Nov | 7:30pm | Gardeners Rest | Free

Sheffield's largest open mic night returns for another instalment at The Gardeners Rest. If you'd like to read, just turn up. Hosted by Kinsman.

Like Therapy

It's like therapy to me

riding waves of systematic heresy at sea.

Ridding you of that uninvited stranger that never leaves

empty houses and holes in stories lit up like

Tel Aviv at night.

Life in the 21st century

where they pump my people full of corn syrup and fluoxetine

causing toxic dreams but

these words are like kerosene to the cerebellum

that light up lanterns by my feet.

So I can see and avoid this pier of brown broken glass

a town bestowed to clowns

in cloaks and masks

where rats and roaches laugh

at people coaxed by stats.

Otis Mensah

Taken from Otis's forthcoming book, Safe Metamorphosis. His latest EP, Colours Of It All, is out on 19 November at youtube.com/OtisMensah.

The Robin's Nest

Everything drips - drip drop jazz stop and piano back in the backing drums and bass drum incessant - didn't get it when I were young now I realise what the crowd are clapping - nobody's looking for a full perfect section - for that stanza - they're looking for the phrase where the three four five nineteen headstrong independents click and find the bastard it - brass blown homegrown valve depress talent impress on the crowd who know what they're looking for only once they've found it - horn belts blasts eyes closed feels the most in this moment as he breathes jazz exhaling inhaling accommodating it.

Jack Mann

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Gav Roberts

Hoover

Every night I shut my eyes and pray on bended knee

for the world's biggest hoover.

A hoover so big it's Hoover Dam-sized,

but with wheels. So I could push it about easily.

I dream of taking my hoover, parking it up

just outside the ITV2 studios and picking them off one by one.

Ssssuck...

Get in my hoover bag, I'd say

As Holly Willoughby wooshes in.

Her peroxide smile still flashing as

she reels off the latest This Morning feature about diabetic cats.

Woosh. Get in my bag.

Rylan, in your black roll-neck dick sweater.

No, I don't want a chance to win £10,000 and a Sports Mini

by answering today's simple question.

Instead, answer my simple question of why do you exist?

Then get in my bag with the rest of your thin-ankled,

no sock-wearing, tango-skinned, protein-snorting, fame-hungry shit munchers.

Mark Wright, whoosh, go start a new Love Island

on a cloud of dust and STIs in my bag

where no one cares about you or how hard abs are.

Or why Chantelle let Marco finger her next to a palm tree

even though she has feelings for Tarquin.

Get in my bag, I'll roar

sat just outside the county of Essex,

sucking up whoever tries to leave.

Every singing, whining, desperate, toilet duck fuck.

It's the only way, I'll scream.

Come look fleek in my hoover bag

covered in bits of dog hair and carpet beetle vomit.

Come look reem choking on biscuit crumbs.

Be well jell in a plastic bag of dried dead human skin.

And when all the battery-farmed life-mould wannabes

have been sucked up,

All future ITV programmes

will be replaced with just the noise of my hoover.

Whirring and hawking at full blast

like the sound of the universe imploding, stars colliding

the screeching of ten-thousand dying bats.

The same noise I hear whenever Joey Essex is talking.

But then, who would I have left to despair at?

As he ponders:

How many sides does a square have?

Is Danish a type of meat?

Is Africa a consonant?

Does Russia border Wales?

Aspiring to be nothing more than a walking wet towel.

In bright white trainers.

Stan Skinny

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