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January 2014

 21 February 2014

The Tale of a Tin.

It was the late eighties, the country was living with the legacy of Mrs. Thatcher, and I was making ends meet playing piano in a duo with my friend Jeff. I had also known Fidjit since we met in ’85, and thus I became known to my close friends as Uncle - on account of my avuncular nature. Anyway, Jeff and I were both smoking roll-ups, and I liked the tins that Jeff’s came in.

This was when real tobacco came in tins (without government death threats) and you could still smoke at gigs. So, Jeff gave me my first tin, a blue oblong Capstan Navy Cut. I liked this tin so much, it amused me to see the colour gradually wearing off it, until it was all a dull bronze. This must have taken about a year of use, then I went and left it behind at a gig at The Robin Hood Inn, Ickelsham and lost it.

Fidgit had seen a round chromed tin with engraving, so now, at the turn of the decade, with Jeff not around anymore, I had the round one Fidgit liked. It was sad to lose a memento of Jeff, but I became equally attached to my new tin.
About another year later I left this tin on a bench in Edgerton park, and I was very upset by this. We tried in vain to get another one, but all we could find was a flat oblong one, again chromed and engraved. Over the next ten years I continued to use this with several narrow escapes where I left it behind somewhere but got it back.

The Millennium dawned but the world went on much the same. My step mum  called me up to say that at a boot sale at The Robin Hood (believe it or not )she had bought what was surely my round tin. It was, and I was re-united with it after ten years away! If only it could tell me what adventures it had had. It was looking a bit bent and the lid didn’t fit, but Fidjit fixed it and polished it up. I was over the moon.

For the next thirteen years I used them both together, keeping the round one for tobacco and the other for herbal mixtures that I had discovered. Needless to say, over the time I again lost either one or the other or both tins, leaving them behind somewhere - but always, sometimes by a near miracle, I got them back. One time I left my lovely round tin on the ground at The King’s Head, Udimore and Fidjit had to go all the way back and rescue it.

Last Christmas, 2013, we went to Morocco on holiday, and as soon as we landed I was desperate for a smoke. I sat on the ground in the airport car-park (what we smokers are reduced to.) I had my smoke, but when I got up I left my tin. This time there was no miracle, and I lost it. This almost spoiled the holiday for me and I was distraught, then despondent and agitated. This was the tin I had had for ten years, lost for ten years and found again!

But Fidjit came to the rescue, He found me another round tin, exactly the same, on ebay and bought it for me as a surprise. Now for the really strange part, the ebay package when it came, bore Moroccan stamps and postmark, now that is truly remarkable!

Uncle Michael and Fidjit

Circles of Life

A tiny baby forming in her mother's womb, growing and nurturing in a safe place, secure in her sac of fluid. A small heart that beats in tune with her mother's. She can hear her mother's soft voice that reassures her , as she prepares to make her way into the light. A long journey awaits her into a world of unknown where she may feel scared and vulnerable. Mum and Dad who love her unconditionally wait patiently for her precious arrival, to hear her first cry, to watch as she opens her eyes to the bright lights. A Circle of Love hangs over mother, father, and baby as they are united together not as a couple but a family.

Sue Rabbett


There are different types of circles. It's said that life goes around in circles, where you find yourself in the same situations over and over again and you never seem to be able to move on. You can have a circle of friends. You can have an outer circle or inner circle of friends. There are different types of circle shapes you see all around you every day.

Andy Gager

Friendship Circles

I must first admit it is sometimes difficult to make friendships but recently I have found a good and loyal friend.  His name is Harold James*.  He lives in Barden Tower* on the next floor down.  I live on the sixth and he lives on the fourth.  We get on very well.  He is just about a year younger than me.  I am sixty seven and a half years old.  He is sixty six years old.  We seem to have similar interests, although I did not serve in any of the recent conflicts.  He, on the other hand, volunteered for the Falkland Islands Campaign and came back to the UK with a military medal. From what he has said to me, I gather that the military medal is only just below the Victoria Cross.  It is given to men who, although they are seriously injured themselves, perform a brave deed which could cost them their lives.  

*names changed to respect privacy

Stanley Clark


Circulation of blood throughout the body, without which the body cannot have life. This is a vital function.  It literally means that without this circulation of blood through the body and most essentially the brain of a human being or animal life, as we perceive it, could not exist. I, in these circumstances, am speaking as a trained and qualified paramedic and trained first-aider.  I now do all my training and qualifying through the paramedic scheme as it is usually more convenient for me to travel to a community centre than for me to remain a member of the St John Ambulance, which I was for more years than I can even try to recall or remember.

Stanley Clark

Story about Circles

A circle can be about various things.  When we talk about circles what do we mean?  I once had to go on a mission.  I had to go somewhere to see someone.  It was a street - someone's home - and I had to find the street first in order to find the house. Well I walked up and down that road - I was just going round in circles.  I asked everyone I met and they told me to go up there, turn right, turn left.  I just couldn't find my way out.  It was just one big circle. 

However I did manage to get out of my circle to get back home.  I never did find the house I was looking for though.

Marion Alleyne

Circle of Life

Life is a circle, Running around each day Shopping, then you do the ironing Running around in a circle From one thing to another A very busy life, running around to different shops, with a lot of people running around.  People are so busy.  Haven't got time to stop.  The world is so fast, running from place to another.  Haven't got time to stop to talk to anyone.

Maria Gethin


The wind is like a circle, flying around, blowing all the leaves across the mountains and the trees.  There are thousands of leaves blowing up in the air.  How pretty are the leaves, blowing around so fast.

Maria Gethin

Circle of Friends

We have a circle of friends who are really great, if anything is wrong.  They all run around, helping each other.  They are special friends.  I think they are very special friends, running around everywhere.

Maria Gethin

Family Circle

Family are in a circle.  The love a family share is especially in one big circle, around and around, from daughters and sons.  Having children themselves, grandchildren, they make a large circle, getting bigger and bigger, and that is larger than life.  Circle, a large family in a large circle.

Maria Gethin


There's something called a circle of life
which causes lots and lots of strife
'cause a circle is also a single line
and woe betide they that cross over mine.

But this circle is just two sided
one's called in, the other's outrided
inside is all mine, my space
cross the line I'll contest at pace.

But then along came Georgie Boole
who we all learned about at school
He thought ten numbers far far too many
you just need two for number biogeny

with no more than nothin' an' one
we can have some really great fun
and build a world where we could give
a new explanation of where we live.

Tells us how if we cross that line
You're allowed to say, “Come, Share mine”
let the lines of my circle overlap
not see it as a great handicap

accept that mysterious overture
start a brand new adventure
and join inside your own Venn Diagram
Careful, or you might need a brand new pram

These circles in which you now move
may well show, or eventually prove
That circles are better when there's more than one
as long as you're careful, and don't over run

'Cause the Duality Principle
can ripple or triple
steer a straight line
or come round in a circle.

When it does that you need a new hat
'caues to be understood you need to look good
so a new suit, tie and maybe some shoes
and the 'piece de resistance', plenty of booze.

Dave Chambers
Newham Writers Workshop

A Circular Tale

Simple Simon met a pie man
Going to the fair.
His name is Pythagoras,
That's why his pies are square.
Simple Simon asked the pie man,
"Sir what is your theorem,"
He said that his formula's
Twenty two over seven.

(To follow on from Paul Butler's poem).

Andrew Diamond
Goodmayes Writers

In the den circle

It's passed repeated bullseye
Ring aground around targeted
Where the circle covers the inlets
Down shades Pentecostal lands
Cover coverage dings hammer
Smoked currently curly locks
Locksmith links milkshake curling
Licks penalty in the rye deeds
Once bouncing foot trips in a gripping
Ball floats on ocean tide movingly
On the horizon circuit circumference
Circumstances change clocks tics
One spot in speed circled In pot holds
sleep slept smelt smells smelled smart
The loop connections connected centres
Center pin pins the exact points
Electric circuit traveled one wag
In it's own under circle current.

John Joseph Sheehy

Circle Blues

Oh what sort of child are you!
An embarrassment
To think you’re borne of me
And not a corner to your name

I was just talking to Mrs Trepezium
About her young son, Rhomboid
Such a lovely boy
Such sound sides
Unlike you, no decent side to your name

Going out now are you?
Well remember to comb your top
And show your best side
And polish your angles
Oh what’s the use?

Where are your bloody corners anyway?
At your age
And not a proper angle to your name
No wonder your friend Pythagoras buggered off
No fun around you

Oh and I can’t get anything to fit him
Well who the hell has an inside leg of 2piR
Looks scruffy in anything
And Pi R squared for a collar
A laughing stock

Ah look; Square and Triangle are out playing with their sides
And there’s young Octagon
Ah bless them ...
But you... you must get it from your father
Damn it; turn and face me when I’m talking to you.

Paul Butler
Newham Writers

Un Cimi para Pedrito Santaliz

Como una gran estrella
En la isla de Borinquen y Manhattan
Los que construyeron El Nuevo Teatro Pobre de las Américas
Y los que escribió hondas palabras
Como quieren los ricos en la miseria nosotros
Tu risa es como un pan de mi vida
Y el grano rojo de trigo
Y las otras es la visión semitrópica
A la cultura popular del pueblo
Como una azúcar caliente
A la libertad de la Patria Borinquen
Mi recuerdo del verano de los 70
Las obras de Cofresí
Paso a paso
En el barrio de Loisaida
Sur del Bronx
De Harlem
Y Jersey City
Con Victor Montañez, y sus Pleneros de la 110
Y Willie Colón
Más que una noticia
Es mi corazón de mi vida
Habla solo tiempo pa’ gritar y vivir
Como tu libro de poemas
La luz de cada día
Pedrito Santaliz
Generaciones y generaciones
No van a olvidar
Su gran momento popular de poesía y teatro
Borinquen bella.
Pedrito está presente
Tu amigo, poeta, y actor,
La voz de esta tierra

©4/11/2008 Carlos Raúl Dufflar
The Bread Is Rising Poetry Collective

A Circle for Pedro Santaliz

Like a great star
In the island of Puerto Rico and Manhattan
The one who built the New Theater of the Poor of the Americas
The one who wrote deep words
As the rich want us to be of misery
You laugh, in which is my life
Which is bread and red grain of wheat
The other is a semitropical vision
In the popular culture of the people
Like hot sugar for the freedom of the land of Borinquen
My memories of the summer of the 70s
In which your play of Cofresí
Step by step
In the barrio of the Lower East Side
South Bronx
And Jersey City
With Victor Montañez and the Pleneros of 110th
And Willie Colón
More than just news
This is the heart of my life
Speaking a long time to shout and live
Like your book of poems
The Light of Each Day
Pedrito Santaliz
Generations after generations will not forget
The popular grand moment of poetry and theater
And the beautiful Borinquen
Pedro is presente
From your friend, poet, and actor
The voice of this land

©4/11/2008 Carlos Raúl Dufflar
The Bread Is Rising Poetry Collective

In the Circle with Sister Zannette
for Zannette Lewis

A Black Star shines forever
when she brings the circle together
to call for justice around the world
and down the street.
When Sister Zannette called to honor all the story
of Dr Martin Luther King Jr
her circle became wide
yet always under the shade of an Elm-in-the-City.
To this day,
it is where drums, dance, and poetry are called
under the watchful eyes of the Olmec head
to the join the circle to protect the Earth
in the forests
in the parks
in the housing projects.

Zannette Lewis founded the annual festival Martin Luther King Jr's Legacy of Environmental Justice, held as of 2014 for 18 years at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven, Connecticut (a/k/a The Elm City)

© 27 jan 2014 Ángel L. Martínez
The Bread is Rising Poetry Collective

Writers Circle

Shakespeare had a way with words
But didn’t know his Dick the Thirds,
And though he’d travel outside Stratford
He had not seen much past Catford.
What history he knew was bitty,
So they wrote Shakespeare by Committee;
Men who knew of foreign shores,
Of Danes, Italians, Romans, Moors;
Penned by those who knew the facts
And Shakespeare put them into Acts.
Well, at least this is my theory;
Maybe you know better deary!

Andrew Diamond
Goodmayes Writers


I hear myself force out a bleating cry
And reach out in a weak jerking motion
Unused to this space- this movement.
I blink and see a plastic band around my tiny wrist.
I focus, blink again and then see inscribed:
‘Infant girl Reardon-7lb 02 ounces - born 07:12 hours- 07/10/1962.’

I am joined in laughter and games with childhood friends..
Looping a skipping rope round and round
As we jump and leap and hop in and out.
I can twist my hips with determination, and master
The thin plastic hoola-la- hoop, spinning it around and around.
I concentrate hard and my tongue slips, curling to the corner of my lip.

I giggle and whisper with my group of girlfriends
As we have small round holes pierced into our earlobes
And swirl our hair round tender ears embellished with new silver loops.
And on Friday nights on regular sessions
We dance - hesitantly- excitedly - all around our handbags
In small protective clusters.

I have a close gathering around me- family and friends that are close.
There is an unfamiliar garter pinching ever so slightly around my thigh.
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue…
I lovingly caress the new gold band around my finger.
I feel this is the happiest of days, absorbed in husband’s loving gaze
I feel secure, sure in his strength and caring arm around my waist.

I feel the pushing dome of our baby’s head -
But only see the ripe bulging fullness of my pregnant belly
Just six seasons have now past - and he enters this world.
A soft scattering of downy hair upon the precious spherical head.
They scoop him up and wrap a tape around his head
To measure it’s circumference.

Many moons later, I leave the round fake coffin
Full of unwanted magnetic resonating imaging information.
I accept my fate - I have tried to live life to the full
Encompass in my life love, laughter, music, dance, emotion and sunsets, shared special moments and uplifting embraces.
The last circle in my life is a beautifully crafted, aromatic funeral wreath.



Throw a pebble in the river
Spreading circles to the shore
Rippling outwards from the centre
Disappearing till no more.
So our actions, like the pebble,
Send their ripples, make their waves;
Intermingling all our circles
From our cradles to our graves.
No one knows what’s coming next
Unaware of the effects.
Will this lead to our destruction,
Will salvation be our end?
There’s one thing of which I’m certain;
I will never know, my friend!

Andrew Diamond
Goodmayes Writers


Was it an apocryphal story, or did hand and charcoal
prove true? The Leonardo's story has to be told twice,
once for the luck in it, (think, looking down the barrel
of a gun), and again, while the world turns,
and a flat footed visitor marvels at unearthly skill.

Bruce Barnes
Friend of TheFED

First Circle

We stood in a circle
And drank milk from bottles
I walked to the middle
And sicked on the mat
My first day at school
I felt such a fool
And had an aversion
To milk after that

Andrew Diamond
Goodmayes Writers

Never argue with a fool

The proverbial stars states
never arque with a fool folly
Foolish talk scowling fooling
Cooling the the trama truth
Trusted face clicks rainbows
Circling chilling chilled   cloudy
Among the wise stand wisely
Closets cloud click fog figure
Finsbury park partying paved
In mist aer grass brass kites
Circle circus clowns clients
Tents ropes trapeze flies
Flutist flute glens echo flying
Greenhorn greenness grass
The proverbial star states
Never arque with a fool folly

John Joseph Sheehy

Bersham Spoil Tip

In storm ridden skies
Jackdaws circle; symbolic
of discarded men

Jan Hedger

Weather, Seasons – a circle

Winter storms fell spent
trees; opening the canopy
for new growth in spring

Jan Hedger


Trapped in a circle
Have to get out
Build up the pressure
Force an eruption
Through the perimeter
Like a volcano
Causing disruption
Walk on the surface
Round the parameter
Of the circumference
Back to the crater
Through which I fall
To where I started
Inside the circle

Andrew Diamond
Goodmayes Writers



Truth is bound tightly
in the coils of the labyrinth
constricted by the genius
of the snake

we move in circles
home and back
swallows & salmon
circling the globe

Circular is the movement
of our generations
as our earth revolves
though human evolution seems
bound within the gravity of
the labyrinth

The labyrinth
is power
and the power of tradition
circling and returning
again and again

each conspiracy
becoming history
and lost to the mind of
the present

though circling
in clear sight
where the snake and it's kin
makes it's nest

Andrew H Smith
Stevenage Survivers


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