Horse-Faucet Remains

Horse Faucet RemainsThe sweaty fog of delusion hung over the ancient bones and fossil caves. Six erections and a batch of wristwatch clams stuck sweetly in Horse-faucet’s coat pocket., he stapled the ransom note to his forehead and strode into the bar.

He spoke liquid words that stirred the dust of a dozen sleeping drunkards. Dentist was nowhere to be seen. He was in fact on hiatus, trekking the egg yolks of dilapidated villas and the recycled law enforcement strategies which had battered many a poor man.

The sun fell swiftly like two large omelets skiing naked in a carbonated water bag. Horse-Faucet knew the meaning of the word facilitate, but often confused erotic with exotic. He spent too much time in pet shops and smelled of sleep… bad sleep.

Just as the last train was turning its oars toward the ocean, Horse-Faucet found himself face to freckle with the impeccable shot of Dentist’s long arm. Time stood still, the air was so stiff you could get rug-burn just thinking of pork. Paper-cuts flew left and right, when the steam cleared and frogs settled in for the winter. Dentist lay dampened and Horse-faucet was gone, never to be thought of again.

(recently recovered in an anarcheological dig within my closet, the notebook it was extracted from has been carbonation dated circa 1991)

Apologia Absurdum

Perpetual Motion Machine w/ Solar Lamp Attachment and Self-Writing Novel.

Perpetual Motion Machine w/ Solar Lamp Attachment and Self-Writing Novel.

There is a method to my madness. I write what I do to try to show a part of the world I truly believe in, a part of human existence that doesn’t often get a spotlight, and some will say doesn’t exist.

I grew up with the word ‘CAN’T‘. You can’t do this, can’t do that, that can’t happen, people can’t fly.

“BULLSHIT!” I say, and I am glad I never listened. Sure I have run into some brick walls being defiant and proving to myself I can’t walk through walls, but I never let the ‘CAN’T‘s keep from trying or doing anything.

I believe this world, this reality, is a lot more magical than we usually give it credit for. This is why I write the weird things I do. To show possibilities, to show that there are miracles in this world.

I have done impossible things. I have seen things that shouldn’t exist. I believe in miracles and magic, and I think if everyone else believed it as well, we could move forward as a species.

So, look at my works as silly little tales about Spanish speaking cats who moonlight as copy-editors, ridicule me for the stories about talking furniture. But I am trying to show something real, I am trying to convey a truth that I cannot easily put into words.

This world is magic! If you believe it.

Sometimes the impossible is a lot more attainable than the highly improbable.

Only fifty years or so ago, it was improbable that we would ever find life on another planet, but it was impossible for man to walk on the moon.

Was…

We still haven’t found life elsewhere, but we have all seen Neil’s footprint in the regolith.

©M²XIV/REM

Back to One

5512587253_768845ce89_oI often use the New Year, New Years Day, as a common theme in my work. More so in songs, it’s a pretty standard symbol of change and rebirth and starting over fresh. But in reality, it’s just another day.

I think we set ourselves up for disappointment. Many use the New Year as a catalyst for change. New years resolutions are the perfect example, many make them, few follow through.

Instead of standing as symbol for change, New Year can take on an ominous feeling that we are stuck, no change is possible, might as well not try.

But this, I think in part at least, comes from applying too much power, or too much weight, to the date. Nothing is really different about today, compared to yesterday, other than the arbitrary number we have assigned to it.

Changing the calendar won’t change our lives. I think it sets many up for disappointment and an acceptance of their lot. We can change, it is possible, but it takes more than a cosmic odometer rolling over.

If I want to quit smoking once and for all I will make a plan, talk to a doctor, put some steps in place, change the way I approach some situations and thoughts.

Change is not easy, it is possible, but let’s look at it realistically. Let’s look at what steps need to be taken, let’s put a plan in place to affect some real, actual change. Let’s not leave it up to the calendar, and expect the world to be as fresh as January’s brand new page, which is, after all, just a number jotted on paper.

©M²XIV/REM

Catching Starlight

Flowers Arguing They sat for moment, gazing at one another. Her head bobbing slightly, rhythmically; a smile dancing on her face. He was happy just to watch her, to look upon her and take it all in; her shyness and when it melts, such as now, when she was honest and earnest.

He was happy just to sit with her, to see the way she looked at him.

The dark woods around them, almost silent but still alive. A million little crickets went about their nocturnal day, chattering and clicking and chirping, this was their rush hour. Quieter bugs made up the chorus, a few billion back-up singers.

Above, in the treetops a few lines of bird dialogue would break through the night occasionally; the rustling of leaves when the wind danced through them, the low long creaks from the wood, young trees stretching their branches toward the sky, the older trees crumbling, leaning over, falling back to the Earth.

And in the center of it all, her. He watched her head bob, she was singing a song to herself now, barely audible– partly her demeanor and partly not knowing the words. He noted her contradictory nature, she was quiet and shy, but she was outspoken about it and unashamed.

The wind blew her lazy hair in random tangents, adding their steps to this dance. Behind her and above, the canopy of stars, all of creation framed in sky– absolutely everything else that existed in this Universe on display and in its rightful place behind her, the center of his world. He noticed a new twinkle in her eye, like she had captured a falling star.

© Robert Emmett McWhorter

God’s Writing Group

EscribanoGod’s writing group met on Sundays. He planned his whole week around it.

One day he was in the coffee-shop early, muttering, scribbling a few words with his quill, and then invariably scratching them out.

Randy and Mandy came in, and were standing in line to order coffee. Randy noticed God first, he gave a little tug at Mandy’s elbow, and gestured for her to look. They both stood silently, watching God fret and fume with the page in front of him. They both smiled a little to see him so agitated.

“Does he have fun?” Mandy whispered at Randy, “I mean, he does know a hobby is supposed to be an enjoyable activity doesn’t he?”

Randy shook his head, shrugged, “I admire his dedication, and sometimes envy his intensity, but I don’t even take my job as seriously as he takes writing.”

Mandy chuckled. They both ordered their drinks and joined God at the table.

“How’s the story coming, God?” Randy asked, smiling a little too wide to be mistaken as sincere. “Looks like you’re still having a little trouble there.”

God grumbled and waved an obligatory greeting, consumed by the words before him.

“It’s a rough spot, you’ll get through it,” Mandy tried to placate him. “It will make a good book, I think you have a winner. You were very excited about it, and that first week of writing was incredible, almost miraculous.”

“Yeah…” God let the word out as a long sigh. He put his quill into the barrel, rubbed a fist at his tired eyes. He looked at his friends finally, and attempted a smile.

“Some of those characters you’ve introduced…” Randy didn’t finish his thought. He let the fragmented idea linger, let the silence convey what he hesitated to say.

“They’ve taken on lives of their own,” God said, “I can’t get them to behave, and to stay within the story I have planned.”

Mandy hit God on the shoulder, softly, “You see? God knows what I mean! Sometimes the characters do surprise us! No matter how much you outline, when you get into the writing you can be surprised by who your characters really turn out to be, and the places they’ll go when they should be moving the plot forward!”

Randy clicked his tongue, rolled his eyes. “This again. You are the writer, you made the characters, anything they do is a product of your imagination, and to believe otherwise, to talk about them like they are sentient beings, it is delusional, and possibly hints at a serious mental imbalance.”

“So you are never surprised by any of your characters, or any of your stories?” Mandy kept her gaze on Randy, awaiting his reply, but also removing her laptop from its case and opening it on the table.

“No, I have been surprised,” Randy replied, still smiling wide. “But I recognize that the surprises are a product of my own mind, I don’t pretend that my characters are acting on their own.”

“You are so literal,” Mandy moved styrofoam cups and a glass of water away from her computer. The screen lit up and a phrase of warm piano let her know the laptop was now awake. “You are one to talk about God taking things too seriously.”

God was still immersed in his work, writing three words, and then crossing out four. But at mention of his name he looked up, and glanced between Randy and Mandy.

“I know it comes from me,” Mandy continued, “It’s just a bit of fun, really. The ideas come from our subconscious, we are not actively making these choices, so it seems like the characters are doing it. Plus, it sounds vain if I say ‘Look what I thought up!’ rather than ‘Look what my characters did!’” Mandy laughed as she finished her last thought, and involuntarily kicked at a table leg, jerking the surface and knocking over a glass of water.

She threw the few available napkins on the puddle spilling out, and got up quickly to find something better to clean up the mess.

God looked at Randy for a few tense moments before he spoke, “I really don’t control what my characters do anymore. I let them go. I think you read the garden scene where I gave them all freewill.”

Randy regarded his friend, curious and somber, his wry smile was now replaced a relief map of worry lines on his forehead and a slight squinting of his eyes. “You do know that’s not true, don’t you? There is no ‘Free will.’ You do know that is only a plot device, don’t you? You do know you are doing all of this, it’s from your mind. You are the writer of this story.”

God said nothing, but stared back at Randy. There was something new in his eyes, but Randy couldn’t place it. It unnerved him, but he couldn’t say why, or what it was.

God glanced at the overturned glass still laying on the table and the slow pool of water on the table and soaking into the napkins.

“Maybe you’re right, Randy,“ he finally replied, quiet and calm and steady. He took up his quill once more and hunched over the page, returning to his work, “Maybe you are right. Here comes the flood.”

© Robert Emmett McWhorter

Serendipity

guruA few days ago I added a new piece called ‘A Writer Calls in Sick.’ It was a spontaneous collaboration between myself and a writer friend P.T. Wyant. If you haven’t read it, go read it now– it’s a quick, funny little piece.

The response to it has been a little overwhelming. I came online the following day to find it had been liked and even shared all over the place, and I was getting comments from folks I had never met thanking us for the laugh.

We were talking about how we should collaborate again, a few people commented as such. I’ve let my mind wander as it does looking for possible paths to follow toward this end, we could make a whole series of ‘Writer & Editor’ pieces, a web series or a book or both, who knows. I’m open to any options, but I am having a hard time grasping how to even try to repeat this effort. The whole thing was born so spontaneous, there was no intention stated of working together or trying to write something or work on a bit. It grew out of such a tiny spark and came to life so fast, and completely unexpected.

Over the last few months I have been typing nearly non-stop, back to writing after a few dry years. I have been writing new stuff and transcribing some old scribblings from the notebooks.

I have files I keep, like a junk drawer for thoughts and ideas, I was going through it recently, and I don’t even recall writing this little line. Where it came from or why I thought it was important, but there it was, this off little half-thought:

DEAREDITOR

It struck me as an odd little thought, so I posted it on facebook, just to see what sort of reaction it might get.

A few minutes later I saw P.T. had replied, in character as the Editor, responding to the post. We traded lines back and forth for twenty or thirty minutes, I was laughing and she has commenting she was laughing the whole time too.

And then there it was, as simple as that. A piece was born. I messaged her and asked if she would mind me making it a bit and posting it. She asked if I had intended this when I posted the blurb. No, I answered honestly. I had no motive to post the little random half-thought other than to see if it made anyone chuckle.

So, how does one repeat that? How do you recreate an activity that seemed to happen on its own. This is one of those intangible sides of art. You can learn and study and read and practice and develop and repeat. But there are just some things you can’t prepare for or train for or practice, things you never expect, things you may struggle to explain.

It has been a while, but it is not the first such experience I’ve ever had. Strange things happen, miracles occur, and I strongly believe there are some songs out there floating in the ether, some stories just waiting to be plucked from the air and told. Sometimes the stories get tired of waiting and manipulate events to bring about their creation. Why not?

As I’ve said, I’ve seen things of this sort before. Not common, and I don’t think it is something you can ever get used to. Sitting here thinking about it now still gives me a little chill down my spine and tickles the hair on my head ever so slightly against my brain.

It reminds me what I love about being a writer, an artist. Yes, you get to build your own Universe and play god with your characters and recall the stories exactly as you would like them told. But sometimes you got to see something like this, even better when you find yourself participating in it. It is a form of magic, really– the story literally appeared out of thin air. I truly believe it’s a tiny miracle, a wink from elsewhere, reminding me to wonder at the wonder; and proof that occasionally the Universe keeps something up its sleeve.

©Robert Emmett McWhorter

(invisibility)

REACHOUT

The Invisible Girl

Robert Emmett ‘Invisible Girl’ demo 2009

I must admit I could not see you
At first you took me by surprise
I wasn’t look as silently as you snuck in
A shadow hiding behind a shy smile

I can’t believe I didn’t see you
Each word was pointing at a star
It didn’t matter as much as the order
After the facts all fall down
and pointing us right back where we are

And I saw you
And I’ll see you
And I see you now

It’s Funny to think, how everything is like paper and ink
Or dots on the screen when they’re close enough to be seen
it’s just red blue and green
and miles and miles of emptiness in between

You wouldn’t let anybody see you
You don’t accept add requests from bands
I pinged your packets and said
I just came back to get my jacket
the puppets fell right out of your hand.

© Robert Emmett McWhorter
published by Hermetic
Medical Records (ASCAP)

Bugs

BakerI’ve always hated bugs. I also used to think the words ‘Erotic’ and ‘Exotic’ meant the same thing. Imagine my unimaginable repulsion as I was walking past a pet shop advertising ‘Exotic Fish’.

Try to conjure the look on the store clerks face just before calling the police. Luckily I was abducted by aliens just moments before I would have been dragged from the large aquarium by a dozen frothing cops.

The aliens were very pleasant. They told me they were from a planet where there were no words for ‘erotic’ or ‘exotic’ and they were envious of my ignorance, saying, “You don’t know how good you have it” with that peculiar alien sigh we all love so much.

It’s a shame that we had to annihilate the lot of them, but they were godless heathen barbarians after all.

I returned home to live with my family in their luxurious mobile home– to set the record straight, it was not a mobile home in the sense of a house on wheels designed to rust around the rotting white trash in a trailer park, but rather a number of rooms hung from wires at different lengths, spinning and bobbing over a giant baby crib.

We were soon evicted and bused into a bathroom that was shared by an entire floor in the scummiest motel this side of the river Euphrates, it was the best day of my life.

Besides winning the lottery in thirty three of the continental United States and being inexplicably cured of my spleen cancer, I was also elected to the seat of ‘Token Incurable Maniac Faculty Member’ at Harvard. And, all sixty-seven counts against me in the pending federal subversive aggravated jaywalking case were mysteriously dropped.

I was unfazed by our squalid living conditions. A family of six, all in one room with absolutely no privacy, often being mistaken for a toilet by the stone-blind transient patrons of this motel. We were happy and in love and addicted to fifty-eight different chemicals at last count.

Ah yes, the good old days. I can still hear the early morning screams that seemed to come from nowhere, the indescribable and unidentifiable smell that would fill the air several times a day.

I am better able to describe the whole situation now, when I was interviewed on Letterman I was overdosing on pesto-bismal and could barely contain my composure to answer any of his questions.

DAVE: So, I hear you hate bugs.

Me: Yes… Well, no… What the hell is this some sort of interrogation?

DAVE: Hey! Hey! Settle down there, kid! Hey, don’t touch. Biff! Get
this freak off me!

Me: You pigeon-toed manipulator of human morals! You defiled my cat and destroyed all my household appliances! I am going to slice your body and sell it by the pound to cannibals.

DAVE: We’re going to take a commercial break, and when we come back O.J. Simpsons will be here!

When Letterman’s army took over Europe in 2023 I was, of course, banned form the continent. Spoiling my chance at the gold medal in the liver destruction competition in the next Spring Break Olympics which were held in Marrakesh that year.

I was distraught.

But, I had acquired enough camel cash finally to get a real, live camel.

camel

‘Been to the Desert on a Camel with Dead Batteries’

At least I thought it was real. Not until I was submerged in the nothing depths of the Mojave Desert and the stupid animal just seized up and fell over, did I learn that it ran on eight ‘D’ sized batteries. And no store for a hundred miles at least, in any direction. As they say ‘If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitten.’

Nothing, no water, no life. Just the sand, a plastic battery operated dead camel, and I. Doomed to the greasy baking gristle that would become of my crisping skin, a hell of desert heat. Probably destined to die of heat stroke, again.

© Robert Emmett McWhorter

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)

 

B.

A Storm of Conscience Awakening

Fingers Combing for Fleas

The Thrill of Time

Runs Down your Spine

Like History is a Disease

Pick of the Litter Recycling

A Monkey turns into… ME!

And I’m just Scared that

I won’t be Afraid of the Things

That I should really Fear

I Feel like Praying

Pick a Religion

Choose your Confusion

Poke out your Vision

Love Made me Blind

Blind Made me Fall

Fall on my Face

In Love over You

© Robert Emmett McWhorter/ 

published by Hermetic Medical Records (ASCAP)

all rights reserved

The Universe Contains A ‘Why’

blackholeOut here on the silent fringes of reality, where I lurk in the passage between night and morning, those few slippery moments when time doesn’t exist. Here, I can reflect.

I find myself often stumbling over the same old question, ‘why?’

And ‘why’ is such a useless question, why only matters to Scientists and Philosophers. Why has no use in the real world. why does the sun shine? It doesn’t matter; the sun shines, and will continue to do so whether I understand it or not; will continue to do so despite my constant asking of why.

Why are we here? It doesn’t matter, we are here.

I often wonder if this one word is what separates humans from animals. This ability to ask a meaningless question. I doubt that my cat questions the purpose of her existence.

Wrapped in the toils of daily survival; work, sleep, eat; hunt, provide, recharge; there is no time for such Metaphysical wonderings, no extra energies for such trivial pursuits.

But here, in the quiet night, in the reflective meditations that float just above the surface of dreaming, the question arises, staring us in the face, like a gleaming, grinning intruder unexpectantly appearing out of the darkness.

So therefore, it must have a purpose. Simply by the fact that it is there, that it exists. The universe contains a why. Why?

Maybe our entire existence is a question. Maybe we are here to ask that question, maybe we are that question. The question.

I light a cigarette and let my thoughts flow out and mingle with the rising smoke. Watch out the window as the first few slices of sunlight begin to break through the cover of black. I wonder about my past, my memories, my paths so far, and their possible meanings.

Doing my best to leave the silence undisrupted, a few ripples of sound disturb the moment and dissipate away. In the quiet wake, once more I wonder. smooth black reflection. Why?

I don’t pretend to have any answers, after all, I am merely a question.

©Robert Emmett McWhorter