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.)

from <em>The All-Nite Cafe</em> (Faber, 1993), © Philip Gross 1993, used by permission of the author


Philip Gross Children's Poems

Philip Gross Reading from his Poems for Children

1Trespassers Will

2The Twenty Sixers

3Peter Poulter

4Jack's Black Day

5Mrs Stoker



8Song of the Empty Dovecote

9At the All-Nite Café

10Dirge for Unwin




14History Lesson

15Daughters of the Sea

16Tales from the Dark Continent

17Small Dawn Song

18Between Streetlights

19Knucklebone Yard


21Plate Glass

22Witch Elder

23A Funny Turn

24Teatime, 1960

25 House of Air


27The Side Way Back

28White Ones

29Dreams of an Inland Lighthouse-Keeper

30Nanny Neverly

31Master Mobius Presents

32Fire Says

33Stone Says

34The Living Room

35Rain in the Rhondda

36Big Muddy Blues

37Room Inside

Books by Philip Gross Children's Poems