A Regret Of Ghosts

Too much time in my head,
A terrible place for any writer to be,
Doubly so on a night spent alone.
Try as I might to remain in the moment,
My mind wanders.
It’s what I’ve trained it to do.
Stretching out branches into the future and past.
To replay moments I wish I could try a different way.
To look at events that may never come to pass.
To invent conversations between people who may never meet.
To worry on things that may never go wrong.
All these souls, a regret of ghosts surrounding my bed.
Some have gone, some are now, and some will never be.
They chant an algorithmic anti-lullaby.
But should I manage to sneak off to sleep,
Disembodied smiles swipe masks from my bedside,
And chase me into stranger dreams.
Where they dance, and they sing about everything–
Except for what is real.


roadsongI took my car today
and drove out for many miles
to where the road opens up
and the traffic disappears,
past seven islands of
fast food salvation,
past the edge of
radio reception,
where I found a song
from when I was younger.
As the darkness fell,
I sang it again…

There are roads branching off,
creeping over the horizon,
tracing paths into the unknown
where distant memories are held,
markers on the land where
I’ve left parts of my life behind,
let go of certain aspects,
abandoned ideas here
to be forgotten and fade away.
And I haven’t seen this
road since I was seventeen,
so sing it again…

Miles pass like the years,
each one faster than the last,
counting out the intersecting highways
like the rings of a tree.
Gravel kicks up memories below me,
the further I can get from where I was,
the closer I become to me,
so sing it again…

©Robert Emmett McWhorter 

The Overpass

overpassgirlAnchored to this parking lot,
Where crisp snow piles on window ledges
Like kaleidoscopes of sunlight,
Or a spectrum for your head.
You’ll look out from your bedroom,
as I stumble with the keys.
Will you walk me to the overpass
when I’m crumbling to my knees?

Staring down the frozen river,
You’ll elevate the spectacle.
And I’m not going to argue,
It’s like they’ve always said,
When it rains, you see red,
When it snows, you’ll see where you have been.

Pull through and see,
That these seas aren’t quite as black
As the mud inside your head,
And you’ll never walk again.

Snoring and ignorant,
You refuse to meet me,
Our words are whispered into lampshades,
Growing dustier and yellow.

Go home and scream.
There’s no one here you can tell it to,
And what do you do?
But hope the rocking chairs
Don’t turn to reminisce.

Rolling and rolling,
Out of controlling.

You spin,
You begin in your spin,
To begin to retrace,
The face you’re replacing,
Pasting new memories within.

And once it would have worked,
And yes, I guess our stars,
Still happen to align.

And I know, and I know, and I know
And I hate to remember how that song went,
The one they say we sung,
But I can’t recall it any longer,
And you never knew the words.

But we tried to sing along.
And I’ll try to recognize
Your handwriting,
Against all the works of history,
And masterpieces forged.

Dreaming of the frigid water,
You’ll celebrate the evacuation.
And I swear I won’t get sick again.
It’s not like they never said,
When it goes, it goes your way,
Until you blink and it goes away,
And it’s the only thing you’ve known.

Angled into this unmarked spot,
At dawn the snow begins to melt
Transmission from our yellow star
The buzz informs you who you are,
As it creeps in through the window,
and I crumble to my knees.
Will you walk me to the overpass
Where we can drown this old disease?



the breeze

blue caveScratch out all my lines
until I am invisible
in certain degrees.
A breeze worse than winter.

Smash my coma
with a hammer.
Splinter on my spine.
Kick out the TV.
Stand up,
the real me.

Time takes its own sweet time.
You know how it can,
if you’ve seen it.
Stuck on your own
sweet time goes on without you.

© Robert Emmett McWhorter


The less it takes to make you happy, the happier you’ll be.REGRAPE

A Dozen Roses

roseA dozen pair of couplets on the ‘Rose and Violet’ theme’.  №13 makes a ‘Baker’s Dozen’, and №14 is for good luck.

Roses are red,
violets are blue,
If I quote much further,
The author will sue.

Roses are Gray,
Violets are Gray.
The Doctor Just Told Me,
I’m Colorblind today.

Roses are Read,
Violets are Blew,
Be Careful of Homonyms,
Whatever You Do.

Roses are bled,
Violets are Rue,
If you drink too much,
This will happen to you.

Roses are Risen,
and Violets are vile.
It don’t make much sense,
But It sure makes Me Smile.

Roses may stink,
And Violets do smell,
But when you’re congested,
You can’t even tell.

Roses are Rose-Colored,
Violets are Violet.
A Stale Rhyme is Stale,
However You Style It.

Roses are paisley,
Violets are plaid.
I have a Concussion,
But I don’t feel so bad.

The Roses are painted,
The Rude Violet said,
If you cross the Red Queen,
It’s ‘Off with your Head!’

Roses are Particles,
Violet’s a Wave.
Whether We watch decides
How They’ll behave.

Rosebud’s a sled,
Violet Slips on a Slope.
We Search for a Meaning,
And Hold out for Hope.

Roses are Neon,
Violet’s Fluorescent,
The Globe is a Gas Ball,
And quite Incandescent.

Roses are Infrared,
Ultraviolets are Blue.
There’s only a Narrow Band
Of Light We can View.

Rosebuds are Blue
Vileness is Fat
Santa’s a Dog Fetus
Kicking a Cat

Emmanuel & Zina

tractorIt was such a long time ago
We were only children playing
A game of hide and seek

We would take turns
One of us immersing into illusion and disguise
While the other waited
Then came to discover

We built a little garden
A playground for our game

I came into it and hid
Amongst the landscapes and the livestock
Amongst the elusive passage of time
And many bright and shiny things

I hid so well that I forgot about the game
I mistook my mask for flesh
And began to imagine this all as real

It is only now that I remember
Why I have been hiding for so long
And i wonder if you are close yet
To finding me
Or are you even still looking?

© Robert Emmett McWhorter (circa 2003)



Alaska’s moon is a headlight from heaven tonight. All the stars arranged perfectly, distributed evenly across the sky. One of those nights, chill winter creeping up your spine for the first time. Diluting summer memories, a moment alive; you can touch someone and feel like you’re really holding on, you talk and it sounds like something is being said.

Our plastic masks removed, we can escape these awkward shells and drift endlessly over the icy ocean waves. Our secret names revealed, we talk without tongues in words unstrained by mental filters. This is where we should be forever.

But so much time is wasted, alone under this moon, the door to all our dreams.  I am unable to make the astral step myself.

Nothing feels real but the memories, and the knowledge of another day wasted.

I stare at the moon, hoping you’re watching it too. I try to reach you, casting homing thoughts into the cold air. I’m hoping you’ll meet me halfway, your empty gaze colliding with mine, somewhere between us, underneath the moon.

© Robert Emmett McWhorter

Fliegenden Fels verpasst eng Kopf von todmüde

boxi dreamed of her again
at the end of a strip mall,

they held an open mic
african rhythm section and dancers
behind each of the performers

the chill night air tinged with an echo of pounding drums,
pounding feet,
and the reveling crowd around.
dancing and yelling and laughter
but someone is throwing rocks into the air.

i asked to borrow twenty dollars,
she said i can give you six
she turned away and i rummaged thru her bag
until i found a ten folded up like an origami swan

someone on the edge of the crowd
is throwing increasingly larger rocks
into the air, over the people
circling the perimeter a few more join in the game
tossing large clumps of land and boulders
dangerously close to our heads

the scene begins to spin out of control
a fear like ice cracks from the middle of the crowd
outward toward the maniacal grins on the edge,
taunting, glaring with shining eyes

my ride arrives as i am counting the sixteen dollars
i suppose i shouldnt to ask him to borrow me a twenty

About the Author

am a
drive on
pbs without
any guests to
go to and no one
behind me at the phones

guy who
cant give a
hot dog away
in times square at
rush hour on the day
after the last day of lent.

ga joob

methreemy parents apparently met before i was born. many odd occurrences ensued.

at the age of two i was, for some reason, given a crayon. within two weeks i had learned the alphabet.

in two more weeks i was eager to tackle my first novel. unfortunately i was very poor, and could not afford paper until 1995, some twenty three years later.

in those years i was restricted to drawing and writing on my clothes, around electrical sockets, and upon sugar packets. i held on to that first crayon until i was fifteen, and finally able to beat up little kids for chalk.

i built my first guitar, a one string self electrocuting menacing placenta of ill thought technology that never had a chance of being near tune, out of a stradivarius i borrowed from a museum and bits of old smoke alarms.

more will be revealed as it becomes apparent…

© Robert Emmett McWhorter