People-in-cars are ugly.
The big ones sag baggy as toads.
The small ones sit up smugly
like prize porkers on their way to market.

People-in-cars ignore
the rest of us. We’re a boring old film
they’ve seen before
and can change with a flick of the gearstick.

People-in-cars are gross.
They have horns and are noisy and deaf.
At traffic lights they pick their noses
and sing with their stereos, flat.

Young people-in-cars demand
things with menaces: sweets and crisps
and double jumbo burgers and
an extra-thick milkshake. Then they’re sick.

Parent people-in-cars go stiff
and turn their backs and drive,
drive, drive as if
by going faster they might just escape.

They’re all monsters, half human, half car.
They go in herds and hate
each other. This has gone too far.
The time has come to say it straight:
there ought to be a law against them stamp them out
clamp down
exterminate exterminate …

(Other people in cars, that is.)

Copyright: from The All-Nite Cafe (Faber, 1993), © Philip Gross 1993, used by permission of the author

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Philip writes brilliantly imaginative poetry about places, people and subjects which at first seem ordinary but which he reveals to be ...

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