Philip Byron Oakes

On a Scale

The icing on a medicinal pose, stilling life
for the capture of a quintessence distilled,
a cherished moment sustained by a
language gone up in smoke. A loophole in
the gravity collective moments muster for
revery. Static as gospel in the dark. Against
the whole grain of what’s been stomached,
true to a form rich in a charade of
nutrients stroking the will to glower at
the hours lost. The ulterior blessings. Borne
on the sweetened breath of a filtered news,
strained to a low hum, as down payment on
a music to be heard only when one’s alone.
Come to by way of getting to a point on the
ocean it’s time to swim in the voices as you
know them in your ear to so often say.

bona fides

The air conditioned to crackle with the tension manifest with destinies. A cold holiness to the presumption, before the ball has been tapped into play the trombone in a pinch. To see if it’s real. Tangible in a sense measured only by pain, being administered with a sense of making things right somehow, a sideshow metaphysics tidied between what’s said and done in a waltz of knee jerks. A presumed license to sit in on the chorus. In the desert of which way to turn, when crying out for a help that never comes but well after the fact, with a broom to sweep the pieces back into an order flavored vanilla. A smugness lacing the distance between two halves of the same person, when putting on the mask behind which verdicts are rendered both moot and volatile, to those grazing on the ramifications of what it means to be deemed delivered unto us all.

Now and When

But outside, where it’s sleeting caveats,
visceral conclusions of a quality are hard
to come by naturally. A ruse of the genes.
With mere harbingers saddled as chilled
facts, dead horses mounted as assumptions,
behind starting gates swung to the tenor of
swan songs in the air. To the dry blink of an
eye lost looking through a wormhole. An
infinity with change left over, to put back
into the illusion of a future. The if not now,
then surely when the clock makes record
time for the door. In the over and the over
and the above that makes them finally feel
as if they’re somehow full.

Declaration of Intent

That’s why I live the big deluxe version kind of life with chandeliers and real water, not the kind you buy in stores, but the kind running for its life down the sides of mountains, into limpid pools of thoughtful reflection, not the kind of life you take a pair of tweezers to in hopes, of wringing confessions, all set to music by the time they wander off, into the ears of those keeping score in cages, doing the math in a paint by number fashion, to reflect the plethora of obligations entailed in saying yes, yes, this is the life for me, this slow process of being ossified in a practiced swagger towards the light switch, to better see the judgments rendered, in the play of patterns with handles to hold onto when remembering how it was, the little steps leading into the larger ones, the larger ones into strides apt to grow giant, when not watching one’s saunter plan its own day, the incontrovertible conclusions to follow, drawn from the undulant caress of pain, through an interminable winnowing down to who we are from which we grow so as to multiply then further divide, grow what amounts to a garden if it weren’t for the lack of flowers before the winter comes threatening even those living large enough to say it just ain’t so

Philip Byron Oakes is a poet living in Austin, Texas. His work has appeared in numerous journals including Blackbox Manifold, Metazen, Moria, and gobbet. He is the author of two volumes of poetry, Cactus Land (77 Rogue Letters) 2009 and Sard (Otoliths) 2010.
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