Poetry: Car Sick by Tamara von Werthern


Car Sick


Been feeling a bit sea sick here in the back.

Our driver is taking the corners too tight

He’s driving too fast, and I can see the cliff

Falling away to the right, the sheer rock face to the left


I am clutching the seat in front and I can see

He’s laughing. Spittle flying against the window

His mouth distorted in mirth, hair falling into his eyes

He must be drunk. He must not care if we’ll all die


‘It’s fine’, he announces, ‘we’ll get there in time

If I keep my foot down now’. Our heads thwack

Against the head rests, as he accelerates further.

‘Just look out of the window and stay alert, look


At the horizon’, he blurts, ‘there’s light at the end of

This alpine tunnel’ – what tunnel? You’re driving straight

At the wall! We shout, but he’s not listening, must have the

Earplugs in, swaying to some music only he can hear


I feel the harsh taste of bile in my mouth. The way

Everything moves away from me, the world is spinning

I need to get out – I need to get out of this car – now!

But it’s too late, my stomach revolts, clenches and then


Releases painfully a stream of half-digested things

Against the back rest of the seat in front. It’s in my hair

It’s on the floor, dribbles off my chin and I hear his roar

As though this mess was my fault, my fault alone.


Tamara von Werthern is an award-winning playwright based in Hackney.

You can read more about the success of her dystopian short film, I Don’t Want To Set The World On Firehere.

Her play The White Bike, and climate change book Letters to the Earth, featuring her contribution, are available at Pages of Hackney bookshop on Lower Clapton Road, which is currently closed but still selling book tokens.