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653 · Jan 2020
Forest from the Trees
Travis Kroeker Jan 2020
There’s truth now behind, that great irony:
You can’t see the forest from its multitudinous trees.
Well, at least be aware that
the spirit is there in entirety.
It encompasses space that
time will erase
unless its wisdom we heed.
But the spirit remains for a moment.
A ghost put to shame, and
we are to blame, for owning it which cannot be tamed.
Time is meaningless, but the
world isn’t gleaning this, not
understanding this fleeting kiss,
our touch is infectious, reckless
there is no way to reset this.
Denature our Mother that
we so unjustly smother
for this appetite we can never sate.
As Love turns to Hate,
Our Kiss turns to ****,
til we ignore what we can’t flee,
can’t see the Forest from the Trees.
546 · Mar 2020
Travis Kroeker Mar 2020
I am a prisoner in my own mind
and you've swallowed the key
409 · Dec 2019
Travis Kroeker Dec 2019
Like the licking of an old dog that insists you take her
for a walk
the insistent swell
laps your legs.

Off port, headlamps
slip by in an unending current
supplying the illusion of your
inevitable progress forward,

and little certainty you had ever been moored at all.
338 · May 5
not everything is beautiful

                                  (but you are)
you're reading this as if I have a subject in mind but this poem is about YOU.
307 · May 5
Tidal Forces
the sea it slowly breathes.
my lungs quickly ebb & flow.
from far Moon has her say,
and in my ear your soft “Hello”.
307 · Jan 2020
In Too Deep
Travis Kroeker Jan 2020
At first there dribbled little
not a lottle.
But then I had to go and get a bottle.
Then I got a bucket,
and after that a tub,
all I wanted was a sip
but instead I got a flood.
247 · Jan 2020
Travis Kroeker Jan 2020
New Year’s Eve
and the clatter of suitcase handles
defying the quiet car
concerning the woman in the seat beside me
silently screaming
into her teeth.
Pop! Pop! The train is under attack
the assault we fled from our point of origin follows us as
chaos kids chuck
firecrackers on the rails,
new worries, same as old and
further furrowing the silent screamer.
The air is must, jacketed bodies still heaving
from the sprint to catch the train
now sweating in repose and slipping off their winter shells and
no one is comfortable
so you know we must be traveling.
Someone cracks a window to combat the stale air,
sliced bread eaten plain & crumbs crumble the floor
furrowing brows yet further.
We’re all going somewhere
as our minds trace where we’re coming from
collectively and silently screaming
and most of us now sporting
furrowed brows
as the train pulls us inevitably forward
towards the future.
243 · Mar 2020
At Night
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.
229 · Jan 2020
Travis Kroeker Jan 2020
Brief whiff
and insanity
I drift
and calamity
197 · Dec 2019
Autumn Mist
Travis Kroeker Dec 2019
Walking through unknown autumn mist
thickened with deep silence
and a rain of gold and auburn leaves.
Dewey dreams suffuse woolen socks while
figures in the distance beckon me
and succumb to foggy demise before I can arrive.
Have I truly lost myself?
My humanity, my grace?
And if I am truly lost then can I find me in this place?

Or have I truly found myself?
My passion, hope, and jest?
And if I am truly found then should I lay my head and rest?

Or should I yet push forward
into the ever-shifting mists,
forget whether to be lost or found and simply just exist.
179 · Dec 2019
On and On
Travis Kroeker Dec 2019
Lying in repose, limbs akimbo
mirroring the reach of a vast mauve
starfish above me,
half-hidden in the shallows of the night.
Ungripping and unmoving.
Still as time.

It does not toss
        But I do
It does not turn
        But I do
It does not think
        But I do

The ceiling fan is off but I am on.
177 · May 2020
Old Wounds
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
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?”
169 · Mar 2020
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.
166 · Feb 2020
Natural Embrace
Travis Kroeker Feb 2020
Atop a rock, aloft.
The valley spread below.
A pat of sun melts down my chin
and smears amongst my toes.
The wind brushes my lips,
a kiss of pine and grass,
My soul, it hungered, I was fed
from nature never fast.
162 · Jun 2020
The Gloaming
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.
159 · Dec 2019
Travis Kroeker Dec 2019
We sat hand in hand on blissful beach.
Toes wriggling genially in warm sand.
I watched as you commanded the waves
to crash backwards into setting sun,
dousing day into night.
You smiled sweetly as ebbing tide
sped you away into the arms of the pale moon.
I cried that night.
Until I had created an ocean of my own to control.
150 · Jan 2020
Garden Gathering
Travis Kroeker Jan 2020
As armed ants advance
Beautifully beyond blasted borders,
Crazed caterpillars create
Demoralizing defenses
Engineered effectively.
Fiery fights form
Gracefully. Gleaming gear
Hints hardily
In ill-prepared insect incisors.
Jowls juice. Just
Keep killing. Keep killing.
Lordly lust leaps, leading
Maniacal maggots mercilessly.
Not nearly neat nature now. Nasty new-horror negates
Original order. Overlords order;
Paternal pressure pokes
Quills quintessential,
Reaching re-riled responders. Rest rowdily royal
Slaves. Soon shrill sounds shout silently. Sun-break signals
Too-terrifying travesty
Under umbrella’d
Vulcanism. Voracious vulgarities
Wrap war wistfully whilst
Xeroxed Xanadus
Yearn yearlong. Yawing
Zephyrus’ zeppelin: zephyrs zoom zilched zealots.
133 · Dec 2019
Original Lover
Travis Kroeker Dec 2019
I run my fingers slowly
over the lips of another;
just to see.
But those lips
don’t brush as tenderly
against my tips
as yours did,
my original lover.
123 · Dec 2019
Cloud Gazer
Travis Kroeker Dec 2019
Heavy lids cinch sockets shut
allowing only in(ternal)sight.
Awash in slumber
I witness dreams
those interdimensional thoughts,
that stuff of other worlds.
My consciousness has entered their land
and they drift toward it, permeating it placidly
like nubile nimbus innervating the sky.
I am enraptured by their ever-changing narrative.
Wispy cirrus with its fleeting skeleton story,
cumbersome cumulus, pregnant with meaning,
eager to spill forth and shower me with its mysteries.
I gaze at the heavens and I am their architect.
I mold the ever-shifting shapes they show me
into some semblance of significance
as they dissolve before my eyes
and new forms take their place.
Though I will remember none,
their impression leaves
and I awake with more questions than answers.
123 · Dec 2019
Travis Kroeker Dec 2019
Though even scars fade,
though even stars burn out,
though sunlight soon gives way to shade,
as facts are drowned in doubt.

Though death hounds every life,
and all beginnings find their end,
though what once was young must meet the scythe,
it soon will grow again.

For nothing will stay stopped
since all has been begun,
all false summits seem the top,
yet there is no final rung.
109 · Jan 2020
Surprised by Feet
Travis Kroeker Jan 2020
Surprised by my feet, I am.
Err… why?
Were they not always there? Well yes
and so I was aware, I suppose
of their existence, as it were,
here nor there, to and fro
Perhaps their connectedness, to me
was startling in my lapse, you see
of norm mentality, or
they are not as they appear, not mine!
Not of my own design, but
I wear them all the same,
why yes! of course!
The piercing truth aparts the clouds, so now
I bathe in its luminescent source, aloud
I divulge as if quite to myself, for sure
the secret I have come to learn:
Beware those who bear you faithfully
for time will come, you wake and see
though you have been carried far
Surprised by feet, you are.
106 · Feb 2020
Night Tear-ers
Travis Kroeker Feb 2020
What am I to do with you my dears?
My mind said to my thoughts.
The ink is thick, the bustle gone
and now you want to romp.
The sun has packed his rays
and all the world its stimuli,
and in the deadened void that’s left
you want to multiply.
Though I tucked you into bed
it seems that I was tucked with thee.
Alas, besieged, I cannot flee,
my day is done, not me.
101 · Feb 2020
Travis Kroeker Feb 2020
Some nights I am a leaky faucet,
my journal catches drips.
Those nights I sleep, the faucet fixed,
my journal dry,
it rips.
99 · Feb 16
Shampoo wends from my hair
riding rivulets down my face
and stinging my eyes.
The humid air is awash with
the smell of
which I do not like.
But then again,
it’s not my shampoo.
When I moved back in with my parents and my
younger brother (aged 30)
I found the shower we once shared awash in
His wife (forever 24) was one of those women who had
a bottle for everything.
Dry hair, frizzy hair, oily hair, big hair.
No hair.
A corpse doesn’t need conditioner and
After she took her life
she left her shampoo and now two years later
after moving back in with my parents
I wonder whether my brother ever moved on.
Does he shower with her ghost?
I do, when I use her shampoo
and it runs down my face and stings my eyes and smells like coconut.
Instead of talking to him I slowly attempt
to use up her memory,
so that he and I are no longer awash in it
whenever we shower
and we can move forward.
But then,
as the shampoo runs thin
and my eyes are rinsed clean
I wonder:
If he followed her into the dark,
how long would I keep his bottles
as daily I tried to clean myself
while simultaneously
awash in their ghosts?
96 · Dec 2019
Travis Kroeker Dec 2019
My tears
           slid down your breast
    into your heart.
61 · Jan 29
The Daily Rind
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.
57 · Feb 2020
Two Eyes
Travis Kroeker Feb 2020
Two eyes
    amber sighs
ensconcing empty black

In the blackness
    nothing lies
just myself reflected back

In those limpid
    maple pools
afloats an orb of nearly naught

I pull the thread to
    find the spool
and end up holding knots

Amongst the knots
    a shadow roams
and suffocates the light

Two honey domes
    without a comb
and endless naked night
39 · Jan 29
Acquiescence III
I resist (you or anyone)
sitting next to me on the train.
Passengers come and go,
yet you remain.
The time-lapse highlights
our unchanging positions.
Then it is your stop
and now suddenly I feel very

They say Love casts long shadows but
that reduces Love to a material thing and
though it has undeniable presence
(right here, you said, tapping on my chest)
I can no more taste it than the
spectre of a long eaten apple picked clean through
and leaving for me
as if by my own gluttonous design the
sanguine verisimilitude of
33 · Aug 22
At the beach or the park it is appropriate to lie on the ground.
To sit still and do nothing but absorb the cries of gulls or the hum of an airplane or other distant sounds and smells and sensations.
But you can absorb those things standing up, and here on the ground
there is a world you can only explore if you put your eye up next to it.
At the beach it is not uncommon, when aimlessly watching people, to espy someone
(a child more often than not)
running their fingers through the sand,
transfixed in the singular feel of it and-if they are looking-
its infinite aesthetic.
Each grain is a world anew and you would not know it unless you
put your face right up to the ground and looked.
At the park it's much the same.
Two-inch fields of grass give away to dirt plateaus,
and it turns out there are a thousand little scarabs-
black & green & red jewels scurrying in the understory.
Twigs as big as logs lie haphazardly, and there a leaf is
wilting, wilting, wilting
for weeks or forever.
I knew a woman once who did not wait for the beach or the park.
In her observation of the ground she was infinitely delighted.
There was always something new or unexpected just waiting to be found if only the
right mind was there to appreciate it.
Tesoras she called them.
She would hold up a piece of dead grass as if it were a seashell pointing out a fold or dip that created a shadow just… so.
Now sometimes when the viscera of my mind have trouble digesting a certain memory
I lie on the floor and stare at the veneer of dust,
a tangle of hair,
or the husk of a stink bug and in my mind I see a leaf
wilting, wilting, wilting.
31 · Jan 29
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.

— The End —