Sam Smith is editor of The Journal (once 'of Contemporary Anglo-Scandinavian Poetry'), and publisher of Original Plus books.


He has been a psychiatric nurse, residential social worker, milkman, plumber, laboratory analyst, groundsman, sailor, computer operator, scaffolder, gardener, painter & decorator...working at anything, in fact, which paid the rent, enabled him to raise his three daughters and which didn’t get too much in the way of his writing.


Now in his 70s he is currently living in South Wales.











138 x 216mm


36 pages


£6.00 + P&P UK


ISBN 978-1-910834-72-5


PUB: 11th December 2017










‘Local colour’ is the catch-all expression used to describe eccentrics inhabiting any one area, be it country village or city quarter.


The characters herein are people, or types, Sam has known. He was tempted to say his ‘misfortune to have known,’ but then would he have been able to write of them?!





Sam Smith


Local Colour





Holding onto the open door’s edge

he points his toe into his boot. She yells,

Hang on!


Night’s sleeplessness is a lead weight

hanging between his ears. Cotton-mist

presses down every outside sound.


A red geranium beside the down-curved step

has one round leaf cupping last evening’s rain.


She comes busily from inside

full of new-mother-importance

(she, her own self, has given life)

and, with the glow of a lover renewed,

she grips onto his arm

and pecks his cheek.


Her relaxing smile watches his slow tread

up between the creosoted dark

half-doors of the calf sheds and

the stone walls of the old barn.


She waits.


At the cough-grunt of the tractor starting

she turns.





In the every compromise of getting old

despising herself she knows that this dish

just the right size for her appetite & recipes

is meaningless to another life, that this

handbrush that gets into that corner

will not have the same use for its next owner

and she knows too that already she is

an absence with these things around it


In this cosseted bitter loneliness

she sees herself as an outpost of past lives

(survival not now the driving force

a temporary constancy is the desired state)

She talks to her plants like pets — green

they will not betray her weakness for affection

She treats the breathing flesh of others

as appendages to her present needs

arithmetic problems requiring solutions

result being she is left alone



Ironic Shield


One ductless gland

wedged in the cricoid cartilage


no matter what the age

gone out of control


a thyroid storm can require

intravenous propranolol



Left exophthalmic

and a stranger to half his past


with in addition

impaired lexical selection


just one new sentence will

have him again pop-eyed dumfounded




With neither wealth nor connections

he is bent to his bootstraps and pulling, pulling


Ambition is a self-imposed, unfelt burden

he has no need of other creeds – pulling, pulling


Points of rest are few: he knows

the price of all pleasures – pulling, pulling


A solitary obstinacy obedient only

to the dictates of intuition – pulling, pulling


A fighter bunched over his fists,

body clenched around the effort,

his long face twisted sideways

and showing the strain – pulling, pulling






Lunar clock of her body turns the tide in her womb. No child. In foxlight doublechinned Christians drive stately home. On a rubbish heap in a dark and green graveyard glows a pale crosshatching of naked flower stalks. On thin wobbly legs one old man, made stupid by anxiety, drops his doorkey and, suspecting bittersaid names, he seeks in improbable and gloomy places. In neglected sheds spiders’ legs crackle as they run across corner webs. Earthworms too respond to changes in humidity, barometric pressure and the phases of the moon.




The Henbane Eater



wide-eyed on atropine

the reds and greens of solar winds


colour imposed on form

blow down the neural pathways

snow-sheen shining the light back up


and way beyond

the star-pricked sea

along the flat horizon

a wall of blue-iceberg cloud




Alternative Identities


a pub lull

nothing much happening


a held moment


he finds himself studying

the damp-circled table top


then the narrow declivity

in an old man’s nape


and of a sudden

coming close to panic


he wants to be sober


to have a head clear enough

to hold two thoughts together


tries to think

what that might be like


and watches a hand

belonging to his arm


reach out towards

an almost empty glass