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Monday, 22 May 2017

the streets stopped time

the streets stopped time
and strumming twelve-bar blues
we sung
and danced
and talked
table clothes

Monday, 15 May 2017

*Insert expletive

poets are allowed to swear
as long as they do it
in a way that makes clear
why you / me / us / we / they are ...*

Saturday, 13 May 2017

The Sign of Jonah

Jonah was a fisherman.
The Lord said to Jonah, "Go there."
Jonah said, "No.
I am a fisherman. I know
where the fish are. That's where I go."

The Lord sulked.

Jonah was a fisherman.
He took his boat to sea, to go
where the fish were. Halfway there,
The Lord raised a big storm,
Broke Jonah's boat
And drowned Jonah -

Or, so The Lord thought.

But ... er ... Jonah was a fish ...
er ... man. Jonah turned into a big fish
And swam to shore.

Not to be out done, The Lord made tell
how he'd told Jonah, "Go there"
and Jonah'd said, No
And how he, The Lord
had cooked up a big storm,
and broke Jonah's boat,
And how he, The Lord,
had sent a big fish to save Jonah
And how the big fish had taken Jonah
To the place he, The Lord,
Had said to Jonah, "Go to this place."

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

The Refugee Crisis & Why Acts of Solidarity Matter

Public Meeting

at The Exchange
50 Rutland St, Cultural Quarter, Leicester LE1 1RD

11 May 2017
6.00pm - 8.00pm

https://www.facebook.com/events/1863853347186169/


The Refugee Crisis & Why individual and community acts of solidarity matter is a salon-type event that will look at what is happening in refugee camps and squats in places like Greece and the north of France

At the event, a number of people from Leicester and Leicestershire who have recently been to the camps and squats will share their experiences and views on why the support individuals and communities are giving to people who are looking for refuge remains vital.

Speakers include Maya Harding who has volunteered in the squats in Greece and who, most recently, spent a number of weeks with the arts and clowning troupe‎, The Flying Seagulls, supporting children who are seeking refuge.

Other speakers will be confirmed closer to the event.

The event, which has been organised with support from CivicLeicester and the Leicester Migration Network, starts at 6pm and is free and open to all.

Monday, 8 May 2017

once upon a time

1
once upon a time
i embraced a universe
called it mine
even though i did not
could not
did not want
to own it

the universe was my world
my world was the universe,
even as the world crumbled
i embraced the universe

2
travelling between worlds
i took two things
lost one in the sea
gave the second to another
in a different world
who took it
to the sea

3
in your hands, darling
cradled on your lap
the petal was a star, green
with a fire glow heart

Monday, 1 May 2017

Stephen Crane Imagines Hamsters

A hamster said to the Universe,
"Sir, I'm on a treadmill!"
"You are a hamster," the Universe replied,
"What did you expect?"

Monday, 24 April 2017

journeying

journeying between worlds
spirit-fish piloting a course
through the fabric of time

Monday, 17 April 2017

How the story ended

Eddie, you never said
How the story ended,
Did you?

In the end,
Did Joanna give you
The hope you asked for?

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Leicester: an Extraordinary City?

A few years ago, Fiona Allan, the then Curve Theatre director, gave a TEDx Talk titled, "Leicester: a City of Culture".

The speech remains as relevant today as when it was first given because it shows part of how people who have an interest in the city and in the arts view what is happening here, what the city has to offer, and what needs to improve.

In her speech, Allan's main criticism seems to be that there is a mismatch between the way the city talks about itself and how others perceive it. As examples, she cites a Labour Party manifesto that describes Leicester as a City of Festivals and another document that describes Leicester's Diwali celebrations as "world famous", and she suggests that these descriptions are either exaggerations or hyperbole.

However, while there are a number of places around the world that are defined by or known for or associated with a particular large scale festival that takes place there, part of what makes Leicester different is precisely that many things of various sizes are happening at more or less the same time such that no one festival defines the city.

What Allan calls 'volume' or 'quantity' is actually a plurality of festivals. This plurality is part of what makes Leicester a City of Festivals. The plurality is a good for the city because, among other things, it means there is activity all round the year around the arts in Leicester. The plurality and activity also creates more opportunities to create, experience and take part in arts-related initiatives for more people than would happen were Leicester a mono-festival city.



Running through Allan's commentary is the observation that much of what happens in Leicester is hidden or not known beyond the city.

While I agree with that observation, I dispute Allan's suggest that this relative invisibility is because what is happening in this city is not good enough to garner national or international attention. Instead, I suggest that the relative invisibility is because of a number of factors, one of which has to do with how London-centric media coverage and promotion of the arts in Britain is.

Allan proposes the city can enthuse others about what is happening around the arts in Leicester if it improves the way it talks about itself. At the same time as I agree with Allan, I would also say the city is trying to do just that and that as part of those efforts, the city ought to set up a dedicated arts and culture research and publicity team that, among other things, maps, documents and spreads the word about arts-related activity taking place in and around Leicester.

Talking to a friend about all this, a few days ago, we agreed that another thing the city could do is draw on its strength - its plurality, diversity, internationalism or how there is someone from everywhere who calls this city home - and start having conversations with its population's source villages, towns, cities and countries about the extraordinary things that are happening in Leicester.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Adrian Mole's 50th Birthday Bash

Dear Diary

A friend of mine has a granddaughter who never wants things to end. Today, I understood how the granddaughter feels.

Adrian Mole turned 50 today and a birthday bash was held for him. As happens at parties such as these, there were people talking about how they knew Adrian, what Adrian meant to them, and what it must be like to be Adrian.

One person spoke of how he came to Leicester because of Adrian's influence. Hearing the person speak reminded me how, many years ago, when I first came to Leicester, it felt like I'd been here before and I was coming back and how, many years later, I attributed this to Adrian's influence.

Like my friend's granddaughter, I didn't want today to end because the company and conversation were very good.

The food and the cake were very good as well.

I might take a nap now and think about how to put, in words, the taste of pineapple and cheese on a stick.


Monday, 27 March 2017

tea and biscuits

Have I told you
I keep meaning
to invite you
for tea and biscuits
and then
the day gets filled
with things to do
and I close my eyes
and it is the next day
and we haven't talked
about tea and biscuits?

Friday, 24 March 2017

we painted the sky

1.
the song was a bird
and it lived in the jungle
and it woke up each morning
and sang the sleep off the jungle

the jungle was a story

the story was a hunger

2.
we painted the sky,
populated it
                    with fools
                                     about to step off
                                                                precipices,
                            month-long parties,
                            trails
                                     of journeys taken,
                                     and
                            possibilities

3.
there was music in your voice

4.
we iced the future
with hope
                 and cast it
                 across the sky
                 like stars

5.
the hunger was like an ulcer
                 feeding on itself
                 from the inside
                 out

Monday, 13 March 2017

The things Theresa touches

The things Theresa touches
wilt,
rot
and die

She laughs

lisping
with a forked tongue

dancing round the bonfire
of fractured hopes

Monday, 6 March 2017

archives

create
curate
archive
         past hurts

take them out
         often
display
clutch
scrap
scratch
twist them
   until they hurt

archive them

repeat

Monday, 27 February 2017

unicorns and rainbows

1.
under the right conditions
donkeys will turn into unicorns

2.
rainbows are created
when unicorns fart

Saturday, 25 February 2017

butterflies dream

dreams
that smell like hope
and taste
like tomorrow
on wings
                 just
                         out
                                of reach

as leaves fall
                        a tension
              in the air

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Armed Police Patrols in Leicester: a sign of things to come?

Public Meeting 

at The Race Equality Centre
3rd Floor, Phoenix Yard, 5-9 Upper Brown St, Leicester LE1 5TE

23 March 2017
6.30pm - 8.30pm

https://www.facebook.com/events/259227621165988/

Speakers: 
Leicestershire Police Chief Constable Simon Cole and Firearms Officer Suk Verma 



Leicestershire Police Chief Constable Simon Cole and Firearms Officer Suk Verma to speak at free public event on Thursday 23rd March about policing in our local community.

For 13 days, from December 22, 2016 through to January 3, 2017, visibly armed police officers were patrolling a number of crowded, public places in the city centre in Leicester.

Leicestershire Police Chief Constable Simon Cole will talk about the deployment, what it means, and why the police think the exercise was necessary, what it achieved, how it was received and whether or not the exercise is a sign of things to come.

The Chief Constable will be accompanied by Firearms Officer Suk Verma who will also give a presentation on the work firearms officers do.

The presentations will be followed by a Question and Answer session where Simon Cole and Suk Verma will take and answer questions from the audience.

The event will be held on March 23, 2017 in the Conference Room which is on the third floor at the Race Equality Centre, Phoenix Yard, 5-9 Upper Brown Street, Leicester LE1 5TE.

The event is part of a series of public events jointly organised by The Race Equality Centre (TREC), the University of Leicester's Unit for Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement (DICE), and CivicLeicester.

The event starts at 6.30pm and is open to all.

Monday, 20 February 2017

an invitation

against a fence
by the footpath
a box of early windfall apples
and an invitation

Photo (c) Louise Sings.

Monday, 13 February 2017

How to Let Go in 5 Easy Steps

1. Go outside.
2. Fill a balloon with helium.
3. Tie the end with a piece of string.
4. Tie a thought to the string.
5. Let it go.

Monday, 6 February 2017

butterflies dream

dreams
                               that                                   smell
                                          like hope
                                                                                                                         and
                                                                                                             taste
                                                like
              tomorrow
                                                         on the wings
                                                                                             
                                                                                                                      just
                                                                                                                                  out
                                                                                                                                              of
                                                                                                                                                       reach


                                        as leaves fall
            a tension
                                                                        in the air

Monday, 23 January 2017

I, Magician

Standing still
I jump in eight directions
at once

With hands
tied behind my back
I embrace galaxies

Dancing
I light fires
with my feet

Monday, 16 January 2017

Monday, 9 January 2017

because you were there

You didn't see how,
because you were there,
the room lit up?

You didn't hear how,
because you were there,
there was music all around us?

Monday, 2 January 2017

the way home

journeying
didn't we meet
in the room at the top of the inn?

didn't the music flow from person to person
and swirl around the room
and flow some more?

didn't the music
show us the way home?

didn't the music show us
we were home?