Philip Byron Oakes

Sounds of the Game
The lachrymose fringes be damned as the Duesenberg sashays in automotive arrogance. The tears of a Hollywood Red Sea cresting in testament to groundswells, jiggling corn gods loose from the maize. The brotherhood of twelfth men doing what twelfth men do. As the children flock to failures at conformity. Two steps over the line drawn in the manner of Ingres. A story best squandered on drink and french fries. A classic poised, in which the music finds its opening to prattle, upon the inconsequential as highwaymen thumb rides on merry-go-rounds, as the crow flies deep into the compassionate fertility of the forest aching with wooden gestures, by which the trees communicate their selfless pride to naturalists still learning how to dance in the barley.

Tabula Rasa
Readymade from nothing’s cousin, overdressed in finery ill disposed
to outfitting the naked with the deniably apropos. What not to wear
without seeming worn by. An overreaching coat of arms,
embracing black holes in the text of a crossfingered promise, to be where
nearly is to dearly is to close enough. Downwind of a proofreader’s revision, suiting a history to mend an enigma of the everyday. A quest
for nothing as found to be what
would have been, by never having gone there. By
simply putting something in its place.

Begging Choice
A gold star from the void in a proceeding
down Maple Street with caution.
Supplicants writing off wear and tear, on
knees abraded, asking only for what’s
theirs to kneel upon. The azimuth of
the matter making the world go round.
The little to the even less, but plenty
more to follow. The half-secret life
of the occasionally invisible, taking
center stage with a shadow that can’t
be trusted to hold its ground. To preen
the warts. Gobble up the ineffable. A
dispensation cuddled in a black hole
defining faith in words easily breathed.
To say without saying so he said.
Triptychs in the bond between two

A pecking order of omphalic images cascading with the liberty of cartoons, to mock the colors of which they are composed. A change of faces, all fighting for the same head to adorn with the gifts of the chipper. The insulation of custom, on the camaraderies of otherwise abraded shoulders, growing brittle and flaking like psoriasis in a snowstorm of baring it all. The Rubicon of a trickle of blood, sustained by donations crossing palms extended in homage to the rain. A coming clean from Kansas in a Conestoga of neurotic armor, fending off the touch of panhandlers with flyswatters whisking the jungle air, into a frenzy of home away from home on the range of feelings for the depth of the water in worldly fishbowls.

Philip Byron Oakes’ work has appeared in numerous journals, including Otoliths, Switchback, Cricket Online Review, Sawbuck, Moria and Taiga. He recently published his first volume of poetry, Cactus Land (77 Rogue Letters).


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