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The fog scatters the light and my thoughts.
Dissembling what I deigned to build.
Through the mists, a mass of mountain,
and what do I amass, a man?
Sometimes trickle, sometimes fountain,
Alas, and I without a dam.
Life tastes of old bread and long-opened chips.
A haggard breath hanging in the heat.
A swollen tongue lolling and sticking to the roof of your mouth
getting in the way of lazy words that seek to dash the doldrums.
Sometimes the gaze of life is piercing and sometimes (now)
it is donut holes iced over and left out overnight
and then left out overnight again.
The muted voice of an underwater murmurer muttering
into cotton-filled ears something half-hearted and uninteresting.
Life is umami for dessert after a gluttonous feast
and never have I so craved the bright citrus peal
of an orange.
Travis Kroeker Jun 2020
The Gloaming

The flames licked my feet,
I smiled.
The tickle was fleeting, the burn for awhile;
the memory lasts longest,
still here to this day,
long after the scars have faded away.
In the gloaming thereafter
I’ve traveled alone,
avoiding the fire and ash that it's sown.
Though I once played with flames,
though once I was hurt,
still the nip of the night bears no pretense of comfort.
Travis Kroeker May 2020
It must have been Tuesday
When you looked over and
Saw me picking my scabs;
Saw sinewy soured skin
Drip simply off callused flesh,
Like the meat from
Over-cooked, worn out, and depressed bone,
Like the petals from a posy slowly dying
With the day;
Saw my fingers playing cat-and-mouse
With my nerve endings,
Wanting the hurt to cease
But not being brave enough to
End that painful part of my life and learn peace;
Saw pus ooze forth and bubble
Grotesquely
Like stale and pesky arguments in June
That we swatted at like so many mosquitoes
But for some reason kept hitting ourselves;
Saw me erratically ravaging the memory our last date together,
What would become our LAST date together;
Saw me give one last pinch and then
Wince with a sense of finality;
Saw me bite down the pain and
Accept that the battle was over and
I could be bitter no more;
Saw the rust-blood weave down my leg
Dipping and darting,
Pursued by poltergeist memories marring
It’s every move;
Saw the drips burst like wine-colored sunsets
Over drunken lovers that overstayed their welcome
In the bonds of passion,
Saw the crimson creep slowly, seeping outward
Through my sock like the red sea crashing back down upon
A man who couldn’t let go;
Saw tears well up and drown eyes
So as to blind them from the realizations
Cringing down my leg;
Saw me catch your stare,
And drop it just quickly enough
To be left stupid, stammering, staring embarrassingly
At my toes;
Saw me get up to go
And followed me outside
Where the world quieted
And you questioned my soul;
It must have been Tuesday
When you asked me why I would ever
Reopen old wounds,
But its two decades too late when I reply:
“How better to create scars to remember you by?”
Travis Kroeker Mar 2020
One noon I took, I took a nap,
or did a nap take me?

Yes, I was took, could not be shook,
from slumber shaken free.

I had a dream, a dream I had
the dream was having me.

And in the me the dream did have
I could not struggle free.

When I woke up, (I think I did,
'less the waking did up me)

I found that I was tired still,
from nap I could not flee.

Oh what to do, sleep gnashed and chewed,
no hope it would cough me?

Just one withdrawal, from nap’s foul maw:
Find the nearest coffee.
Travis Kroeker Mar 2020
I am a prisoner in my own mind
and you've swallowed the key
Travis Kroeker Mar 2020
At night I lie with my head pressed against a pillow and my ear folded under listening to myself. I am fetaled. Not the loose sitting-position adult fetal. The legs tucked up into my chest arms wrapped around them fetus fetal. I listen to myself. To the blood flowing through my arterioles, rushing up to oxygenate my brain and fuel my Night Thoughts. Ba-thump goes my heart like that of my mother’s when she and I were one- my worries none. Ba-thump. I listen to myself and replay the day’s theatrics. But I am smarter, and funnier, and less awkward of a person. My jokes have the right timing and are well received and I am benevolent towards all and I am admired. Or... my mistakes are amplified. Everyone thinks poorly of me and I can’t believe you said that you ******* idiot. I talk to myself in a way that would be unacceptable if I were speaking to anyone else. For a time. At least until I am quelled by the heartbeat my mother gave me and I gain solace with my ear pressed against the pillow listening to it. Sometimes I listen to my life, count the beats like stars in the sky and wonder at that cosmic origin that created Mother Earth that created my mother that created me listening to my own heartbeat and likening it to the stars in the sky using the synapses that outnumber the stars themselves. I have a lot of time to think while I listen to myself. At night I am a psychonaut exploring the constellations of my own mind. I’ve named them Fear and Love and Hope. Ba-thump, ba-thump.
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