Philip Byron Oakes

Whoever Answers the Door

The gritty diplomacy of various shades of vertigo
choreographing a fall from favor, into a net of
simple understandings, as to how far the falling
can carry the show. A dollar store tangent to a
fortune found beneath the skin crawling to
mommy. Deep in the heart of shallow waters
rising to occasions, of the whirlwind scuttling
a moment of stillness. A rhapsodic fatigue
calling a night a day, and vice versa the world
goes round a bend, in a river of time drowning
all those on board. A gentle census of heads
lost settling the west for less. The count of
the noggins gone logging the forest for
something trees can’t give. Sooner or loiter.
To those whom. A stasis stretches like a
potato field, feeding the need of the
motionless to sink their tendrils into
squirming soil. Even as the silence bends to
the will of the people.


A calypso melody in the frozen food section,
thawing out in the belly of a tourist on the
couch. A codicil of apologies, chasing a
legacy through a penny arcade. An ante
of sugar putting starch in the collar, of the
otherwise naked, for a secularity of vespers,
in a roll call of loyalists to the scrum.
Breathing not a word, a bird, a plane. The
weight of ulterior personae. Magnanimously
queued, in a march of the non sequiturs,
manning the breaches with the optimism
of the ill informed, as to the depth of the
valleys. The assimilation of toads into
the fairy tale.


A postscript to a question taking midair for granted,
as something you can rely upon, through which to
Catamounts hissing in the dream next door.
A comeuppance of zinnias in the garden.
How the night watchman snores all day long.
Murmur’s grandiloquent echo, decoded in
sweatshops manning the ramparts
of informational decay.
Restless legs juggling knees in genuflection
at the keyhole.
Wherever books are sold.
The climb of night.
Reckless, abandoned as a child, unsafe
at any speed.
Toy soldiers herding lemmings to survival
Wakeful reminders, biting into a likelihood
of phantoms, reconnoitering pillow talk
in the hegemony of the indomitable


A salivary departure from drooling with a spit in the bucket,
kicked for a field goal in the sudden death of the messianic
in urban lore. The skinny on dipping in waters not your own.
A radical departure from the music of the chairs, in sitting on
the floor of a philosophy demeaning the absentminded with
reminders to breathe. The treasure of elasticity in rebounding
from a long stretch in the hoosegow, to spread the tablecloth
as if the feast would fall from the ceiling. The bearded guest
of a moment in the shadows would peer out for all that’s lost,
in looking past the imperial politics of the sun.

Albigensian Blues

Beyond the jurisdictional influence of martyrs to geriatric floundering through the finer arts of whimsy in the face of broken promises to behave. Making no mistake an anthem purged of relevance by the dulcet tones of a chanteuse, parking her car in the key of B flat as Kansas in the terminally pink sky of morning. Sugar dollops swallowed via adjectives caressing the flanks of objects beholding only to the verbs they wear. A taffeta draped rebellion of the involuntary unleashing a fashion show of hands, in favor of setting a litany of consecrations aside in reaching for the salt. In looking for the possibility of parsing the semiotics of naturally long arms of the law, extending into the casual wear fabric of social leanings towards the mirror. At an angle to be determined by a speed limit sign at a crossroads, bridging the outlanders’ phobias of the subterranean with the inner sanctum’s smell of must and withered dahlias of the trespasses sat upon like eggs.

Anomic Repose

A thirst for justice taken as a calling in the wild.
Collapsible realities run to ground to keep the
sky from falling down. Under the weight of
allegiance to the inner workings of the relaxed,
at lift off into the cruel splendor. A sideline in
the pixie dust, strewn to cover the footsteps
taken in approaching the time to depart. To
leave bereft held tight, loosely speaking of the
unattainable within grasp of a trophy on the
mantle, for right and wrong turned to the
relativity of the stars for advice. A keystone
absolved of the crumbling, to follow the
overture past the sensical taunting the
soloist with the future of humankind.

Philip Byron Oakes is a poet living in Austin, Texas. His work has appeared in numerous journals, including Otoliths, Venereal Kittens, BlazeVOX, Crossing Rivers Into Twilight, Moria and others. He is the author of Cactus Land (77 Rogue Letters), a volume of poetry.

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Blogger sciolist said...

Hi philip. "and-then" is a delight

1:00 AM  

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