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 Word Made Fresh

BLAHBLAHWriters have a different sort of children, mine are born with many, too many arms. Later I inspect them closely, one at a time, cutting away the limbs with digits not pointing in any particular direction, and the ones not holding up anything important.


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



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


seussBIGSpring came like  a peck at the trees, of all the glue that comes from your knees, and a crop report from driving fleas, into the outer powdered donut for the blow up.

Personification walks in and says she’s never felt quite real.

She can tell the future, but she can’t tell it much. Time won’t listen. Throw grenades at the clowns who chug tequila. Put your mug into his hand so he can really feel you.

Watermelon fruit nuts, I still don’t have to peel you. Comb your spigot and spit it at the ant can’t shine.

Absolution in tin cans, free boarding toxic constants, consultants to your kidneys, living in somebody else now.

Crab fray, a shellfish knockdown at absolutely no cost to you and for no reason whatsoever.

Puzzled, they mixed up your face. Your eyes point out from different angles in your head, making it impossible to discern anything. Bad split screen out of focus 3-D, and you forgot the glasses.

Chinese washtub soundtrack, a fuzzy theater transforms your lungs into someone else’s point of view. Strangulation in the ribcage on the screen. All they could do is watch.

© Robert Emmett McWhorter

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

Souveniers of the Second Coming

treeoflifeYou are smoking bidis so that anyone who happens to glance your way and see the blue smoke dribbling out from your mouth will know you are ‘unique’.

They will ask you to come and sit with them and tell them your stories of late night 7-11 adventures, drinking malt liquor and pelting the empty bottles at cop cars.

Smoking an endless procession of the hand-wrapped-and-tied in case any one important drives by, anyone but the usual rotation of life’s extras that inhabit this corner of this dimension of this dance diagram in this reflection on the surface.

bidiYou are dreaming of the bright-eyed piper stalking the beach wearing only a teddy, the breasts stuffed tight with his merchandise.

He is looking for you.

Sand stuck to the red polyester curves and his pink-neon sun-burnt legs, cancerous resins peel away from his flesh to stone the sand creatures.

He is arranging dandelions on your lawn into I-Ching hexagrams. He is sending you messages in the letters and numbers on the license plates of the cars that line your street.

You listen to his voice late at night on the jazz station, under the music he is muttering knowledge into your head. “You know how God got rich? Real estate, man, look at all the property dedicated to his name. Church hierarchy is the worlds longest running pyramid scheme, even more so than the Egyptians.”

tribeIn the late afternoon you find yourself awake and sober again, having to restart your buzz. You light up your first smoke, breathe in with a sigh, and out with a yawn, gazing at the string holding the brown leaf of paper together, studying the intricacies of the tiny knot, your pink thread mandala.

You are simply killing time, waiting for the day when you will meet the second coming in the subway tunnel, playing guitar for spare change. He will explain, in order to make as big an impact as last time, he will need a steady rotation on MTV.

You will bum a bidi from him and wait for your love to come and steal you away. He the man in the red teddy with the green smokey aura, he is the woman for you.

Don’t be fooled by the bristle of his beard.