my car now talks to me


Raising the lights like a stage curtain
Playing little movies
Serenading me with melodies
The welcome – farewell experience
They call it
“An emotionally resonant experience”
And that digital note of appreciation
“Thank you for driving a hybrid”
As if it was something…well
Unconnected with this thing on four wheels.
And those door handles
Illuminating when they sense my presence
The needles on the instruments
Snapping to attention as I open the door
There’s a welcoming theme
Part Hollywood soundtrack
Part plane swoosh
And that puddle lamp!
A welcome mat of light.
My car is a robot I think
With a personality not just in its body
But also in its behaviour.
“How can I help you?”
It asks now
As I prepare for take-off.
I really feel like telling it
To shut the fuck up
But I don’t want to hurt its feelings.


An entertainment by Tom O’Brien and Tom Power WARTS AN’ ALL is a combination of fact and fiction. But what is fact and what is fiction – that is the question. There are tall tales and fairtytales, wanders up hills and down dales, and a song or a poem when all else fails.

Is it a play? Possibly. Is it fiction? Probably. Is it fact? Indubitably. Well, some of it!

Warts_An_All_Cover_for_Kindle (1)




extract from Lucretius’ poem ON THE NATURE OF THINGS

And yet it is hard to believe that anything
in nature could stand revealed as solid matter.
The lightning of heaven goes through the walls of houses,
like shouts and speech; iron glows white in fire;
red-hot rocks are shattered by savage steam;
hard gold is softened and melted down by heat;
chilly brass, defeated by heat, turns liquid;
heat seeps through silver, so does piercing cold;
by custom raising the cup, we feel them both
as water is poured in, drop by drop, above.


My Writing Life

I published this one before but I think it is worth repeating.


We have come to the end of privacy

Our private lives have been winnowed away

To the realms of the shameful and secret.

Someone, somewhere, state, press or corporation

Is watching.

Everybody knows about the Facebook newsfeed

It’s like a sausage – everyone eats it

Though nobody knows how it is made.

We are being manipulated, surveyed, rendered

By intelligence that is artificial as well human

Driven by complex mathematical formulae

That are invisible and arcane

Where corporations feed on the private lives of their users

While governments play fast and loose.

If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear

Oh yeah?

Sex and shitting were once the only pastimes safe from the Internet

Well, not any more, baby!

As Max M found to his cost

Though defecation was a bit…

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 Don’t drive while you’re black
‘Cos you may get stopped on the way back
From wherever you have been
Doing bad things to country and queen

Never drive when you’re black
Looking for white people to attack
‘Cos that’s a crime too
Though it’s okay to drive when you’re blue

Driving while black
Means you could get shot in the back
For turning left or failing to stop
By some trigger-happy, non-black cop


Some other ‘crimes’ while being black;
Smoking while black
Learning while black
Walking while black
Shopping while black
Eating while black                                                                                                                            Sleeping while black…


In fact almost any damn thing while black




Runagate Runagate

Runs falls rises stumbles on from darkness into darkness
and the darkness thicketed with shapes of terror
and the hunters pursuing and the hounds pursuing
and the night cold and the night long and the river
to cross and the jack-muh-lanterns beckoning beckoning
and blackness ahead and when shall I reach that somewhere
morning and keep on going and never turn back and keep on going
Many thousands rise and go
many thousands crossing over
                                                           O mythic North
                                               O star-shaped yonder Bible city
Some go weeping and some rejoicing
some in coffins and some in carriages
some in silks and some in shackles
                 Rise and go or fare you well
No more auction block for me
no more driver’s lash for me
         If you see my Pompey, 30 yrs of age,
         new breeches, plain stockings, negro shoes;
         if you see my Anna, likely young mulatto
         branded E on the right cheek, R on the left,
         catch them if you can and notify subscriber.
         Catch them if you can, but it won’t be easy.
         They’ll dart underground when you try to catch them,
         plunge into quicksand, whirlpools, mazes,
         turn into scorpions when you try to catch them.
And before I’ll be a slave
I’ll be buried in my grave
         North star and bonanza gold
         I’m bound for the freedom, freedom-bound
         and oh Susyanna don’t you cry for me
Rises from their anguish and their power,
                                       Harriet Tubman,
                                       woman of earth, whipscarred,
                                       a summoining, a shining
                                       Mean to be free
          And this was the way of it, brethren brethren,
          way we journeyed from Can’t to Can.
          Moon so bright and no place to hide,
          the cry up and the patterollers riding,
          hound dogs belling in bladed air.
          And fear starts a-murbling, Never make it,
          we’ll never make it. Hush that now,
          and she’s turned upon us, levelled pistol
          glinting in the moonlight:
          Dead folks can’t jaybird-talk, she says;
          you keep on going now or die, she says.
Wanted     Harriet Tubman     alias The General
alias Moses     Stealer of Slaves
In league with Garrison     Alcott     Emerson
Garrett     Douglas     Thoreau     John Brown
Armed and known to be Dangerous
Wanted     Reward     Dead or Alive
          Tell me, Ezekiel, oh tell me do you see
          mailed Jehovah coming to deliver me?
Hoot-owl calling in the ghosted air,
five times calling to the hants in the air.
Shadow of a face in the scary leaves,
shadow of a voice in the talking leaves:
          Come ride-a my train
          Oh that train, ghost-story train
          through swamp and savanna movering movering,
          over trestles of dew, through caves of the wish,
          Midnight Special on a sabre track movering movering,
          first stop Mercy and the last Hallelujah.
          Come ride-a my train
                   Mean mean mean to be free.




GONZO MOMMA02-07-2015 22;12;47
Too weird to live, too rare to die
I guess that’s a creed
Old Hunter would swear by
Though he would have a drink first
Or maybe three
Then try to figure out where
The action might be
Before smoking some ‘stuff’
‘Cos he knew plain whiskey and gin
Would never be enough.
Then, perhaps like you, he would
Upheave everything and pack
Screaming all the while;
You can kiss my ass
I ain’t never coming back