Maybe it’s my wilting ears but damn doesn’t Tom Waits sound smoother, and sweeter, these days — like a fine Irish Whiskey.

Haven’t tasted one in decades, but we’ll always have alcoholism.

Somebody took the argh out. I mean I don’t know my remastering from my Dolby button, but clearly somebody said OK this master is shit. Not pointing any fingers but who forgot to flange that sucker?

Suddenly this muttering cackling old soul is getting his point across.

They put a sheen on. I mean they polished everything till it shone clearly — the swing, the stories, the nasty…

The old tree who leaned over the stream

The old old tree was tired.

For many many years he stood tall by the stream.

Casting its shade over the rippling water.

Dropping its leaves in the fall to watch them spin and gambol down the stream like new kids going back to school in the fall.

But one day the wind blew long and hard against the tree. He had never noticed it before. After some time he had the admit that the wind was stronger, so he bowed to the wind.

Later, the ground beneath began to soften in…

Ruby and I are unlikely buddies. I was a dog person growing up. I put up with my wife’s cats because she puts up with me. We’ve had several cats together. We get along. But they have always been Sandy’s cats. And she has always been Theirs. Until Ruby. That cute little grey ball of fur walked into our lives and proceeded to play hide and seek with us. For years. She still does it. Every time I get up she has to walk around the house and duly check all venues of escape are clear. She’s a cat of…

This is my break

my legs hurt

my mind is squash

hard on the outside

but inside mush

no time for a long poem

extended insight

complex commentary

My break…

Patrick O’Leary’s new novel “51” is coming from Tachyon.

Gene is to my right fiddling around with his cane.

Ursula — or “Ullyses Kingfisher” as I like to call her, is smoking a pipe. (We’ve never met.)

Ms Butler is sitting way down at the end.

I realize that they are dead and this is a dream.

But I seize the moment.

I can now ask them the one question I’ve wondered about for years.


He raises an unruly eyebrow at me, his handlebar droops, unimpressed.

“When you were alive who did you think was the best writer in the world?”

Gene full-faces me and raises the other…

Greg, Patrick & Mike

The Band that could have been the greatest in the world. In another time.

I know: It sounds like that Beatle’s movie, “Yesterday.”

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda.

This is how I remember it.

When we started playing together all the bands were crap. They sounded like Grandpa’s Beer Hall. They dressed like waiters at an Ice Cream Parlor. They had names like “Sarsaparilla” and ‘The Copper tone Four.” And they all featured tubas.

We were from Detroit. We hated tubas. And the best music on the radio was Motown. Those were our idols. But they never played it south of Ohio…

“US government lists fictional nation Wakanda as trade partner”

BBC News, 12/19/19

Mr. President, last item for the day.

Hurry up, I got a T time.

It’s about Wakanda.


Not a person.

Wait. I know this. Prime Minister somebody of somewhere.

Now, see. This is what we’re afraid of.

Relax. I got through the shithole thing. I told you we would. Shithole trumps Missile alert. Porn Star Trumps shithole, When will you guys learn to trust me?

Sir, this could be important. I need you to focus.

I need a Diet Coke and a chocolate donut.

Wakanda, Sir.


Sure there have been days

when the words were rote

tossed off like a smile to a stranger

Possibly some days

the sentiment was less than unqualified

(Distraction and habit can

deplete words however sweetly intended)

But I can safely say the words

have never been a lie or a weapon

nor have they been repeated in proximity

to another human with whom I shared

the same lane

So no betrayal No prevarication No

Sarcasm (that truly spoiling excretion)

Which leaves I suppose

the dangerous realm of sincerity

the banishment of cool irony

the helpful but redundant “You Are Here”

A short novel by Patrick O’Leary

So aliens look like tomatoes.

They land in the Super Bowl

at half time

terrifying the crowd.

They are gunned down by security forces.

They try again.

They land near the pyramids.

The Egyptian Air Force bombs them.

They try again.

They land on the moon. Nobody notices.

They try again.

They land in Iowa near the primary.

One democratic candidate meets them and they explode covering him with red juice.

This sinks his campaign for reasons ineffable.

Finally one of them lands on top of

Mt. Rushmore

and asks for a translator: specifically

a schoolteacher from Detroit, Michigan.


Three strangers meet before Christmas — a short story that appeared in the collection “Other Voices, Other Doors.”

I pass this on from a friend of mine who told me about it last night.

You’ll have to guess which is my friend. I shall remain nameless.

They called me long distance, and, not having heard from them in a great many years, I accepted the charges. I love hearing from old friends, especially this time of year.

A woman had just finished her shopping and her station wagon was full of presents when she realized she was running on empty…

Patrick O'Leary

New novel “51” coming spring 2022 from Tachyon. SF novelist, poet, songwriter, photographer, retired achiever.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store