The Smile Jar.

My first crack at so called ‘flash fiction’. Not entirely sure if I’m comfortable with that phrase.

The Smile Jar

Someone shot me a warm smile in a coffee bar this morning.

Normally I can take a warm smile in my stride. But this one………well, I wasn’t ready for it – nearly fell off my chair, in fact.

Let’s just say it came from a rather unexpected source. You see, there’s some water under the bridge between her, and I.

She didn’t need to smile, didn’t have to. But she did so anyway. And within a short while, I kind of rediscovered the ability to empathise. Things came flooding back. They were not particularly pleasant things, but they nonetheless were important things.

Nothing else would have worked. Funny, that a warm smile could have done what a thousand arguments and a hundred public house conversations wouldn’t, and couldn’t.

And didn’t.

I tried to return that warm smile.

Really, I did.

It’s been quite a while since those particular facial muscles have been exercised.

I think I managed some kind of response. I don’t think it was a warm smile.

But life is too short for resentment. And for denial, and for double-barrel surnames.

So I rummaged around in my rucksack to see if I had any warm smiles on me.

After I had thrown out all of the pens, notebooks and iambic pentameter (its amazing how much space that shit takes up), there remained-but half a packet of Brazil nuts, some headphones in the usual spaghetti-tangle, one sweaty sock from yesterday’s gym session, and some notes on IFRS 2: Share-Based Payments that I was going to need for work.

But alas, no warm smiles. I wanted to give a warm smile in return, never mind receive one. Where are they when you most need them?

Back at home, I checked the kitchen cupboards.

There were the lentils, the chick peas, the black eye beans, all present-and-correct.

Then I found a jar labelled: furtive glances.

………..then another: failed romances,

………. then another: courtship dances.

The warm smiles had to be round here somewhere, surely.

And right on the point of giving up, I saw  two further jars. One was labelled:

……………wasted chances

and then finally, the other:

…….inappropriate advances.

It was little more than a pill-box really. I unscrewed the lid, and there they were. Five rather dated-looking warm smiles that were past-best, judging by the whiff. Brown at the edges and bouncy-hard, as they cascaded onto the laminate worktop like poker dice.

I put them in my rucksack. Maybe they will come in handy.

And yes, I did remove the sweaty sock.



Adam raised a Cain

In the Bible Cain slew Abel
And East of Eden he was cast,
You’re born into this life paying,
for the sins of somebody else’s past

Looking fwd to seeing this poet-songwriter one more time (possibly for the last time? …I hope not, but let’s face it he is 66 and a half)……….. on 25th May, back up in the frozen, piss-wet-thru, rain-sodden, God-forbidden, satanic-mills  North.

And if he wants to bring his viagra-takin, history-makin, booty-shakin, love-makin band with him, then that’s just fine by me.



Poetry Platform

Tempus fugit.

Seems like only last week, the January romp.

February Poetry Platform is at the Railway again this Tuesday evening  (23rd).

Kick off around 9.00 pm would be great to see friends there again.

Lots of talented people reading out their stuff….plus me as well 🙂

Plus-plus,  if you haven’t yet bought a copy of Smug yet you can order online at (free postage)

The print-quality is astonishingly good.

The journalistic quality?………. Judge for yourself.

Or pick up a copy from independent coffee bars and pubs throughout the City including:

The Art Café Jewry St.

The Place, Cathedral Square

The St James Tavern, Romsey Road

The Fulflood Arms Cheriton Road

The Hyde Tavern.. in erm…Hyde.

The Corner House (Parchment St. / North Walls)

The Albion ( near the train station)

and a few other places I cant recall off-hand (apologies)


Lest we forget…..

’tis the anniversary week of the birth and death of the Crown Prince / Clown Prince of Slam-Poetry-Performance-Art…the greatest of them all.

Such a pity he drank himself dead.

“Since then each woman I have taken into bed
They seem to lie in my arms
And they whisper in my head, Next! Next!………”