Philip Byron Oakes

Five Eyes

Everything’s tied up in it. Myopia
with a flair for transparencies,
blurred to complement a décor
befitting the room to breathe.
The effective cost of attrition,
determined on fingers pointing
out what’s sorely missing, in
allowing time its sloth. The dash
of vim smothered in ambience,
killing mister fancy pants with
every breath. The same nothing
people die for. The glare raging like
a maniac, until the curtains are
pulled from the shelf. The whisper
saddled for defamation. The usual,
in any of a number of guises,
donned to muddle the milking for
the betterment of the greater
show. The flight of a thought out
of kilter, a refraction to splay the
hopes of shadows filling roles,
conjoining the picture within the
intricate gilding of a frame of
minds made up and over.


Colors between colors
without a name. Flexing muscles weaned
swelling belly’s brawn, wielding weight to
argue worth. Form fiddling around an old
melody. What aches with familiarity. Darning
thread’s meander to evade capture in the fabric.
A silence anchoring an amorphous text, of those
living words that leave the bewildered wondering.
Red inklings deducted from afterthoughts. Inured
to the extraneous ripples giving fabric texture, the
desperate gestures gelded as decorative for
purposes of guiding eyes to that safe place,
beholding only to the varying potency ascribed
to memories thereof. The wounds sustained
perceiving the lushness, in hopes of growing
buoyant when the ground gives way its due
in time.


Not a wedge word to suffice as ice by means of
saying, the alternate empties hold cub scout true.
Mired subtly inviting whilst marketing the feeling it’s
the ground that moves, but little else construed as
shoes, running only for the lives of their tenants,
paying a sucker’s rent of lesions for ever having
thought the best of what the worst can be. No
cinnamon red carpet meandering through the
literal vacancies, to the nexus where everyone
is in thinking the tree is barking up the
wrong dog in the window. With no
magic words to set it free.

Putting Heads Together

Filial from a plump cushion raising questions
to the level of comforts, culled from pains
taken as allies in the struggle to feel aloof.
One at a time until they’re coming from all
sides, to brew two heads to be poured into
one hat, and worn like a crown for which
there is no king. A reckless protocol saddling
transcendence in the cold. The communal
unconscious losing balance, as reference to
the context taking buried as the norm. A palsy
of hallelujahs in a brisk hurrah, auditioning for
acclamation in a curtained scurry of thoughts,
saving the moment from the wasteland behind
the smile. Dust the pixies flee for fear of fizzling
in the fuss of cobwebs still partitioning the sun.
The semblance of a roof for when the rain falls,
both uphill and down to where it matters how
many and how few you are.

Evening the Tone

An interminable gist baring fruit as fraud
on lips picking trees clean of complicity.
Form to follow caesura. A context mincing
the dialectic, to questions playing possum
in the aisles. The undergirding chastened
by the passage of desires to wriggle,
through the worst of it unscathed by the
wailing for which the walls hold little hope.
Of a chorus unified by ears only for the
music, the shuffle of perspectives,
replenishing the topsoil, in anticipation
of a bumper crop of hands held to
promises. Strictures subtly inculcated in
the manufactory of gestures, made plain
to those who’ll never know all the
shadow assumes as dominion at the
offing of the light.

Philip Byron Oakes is a poet living in Austin, U.S.A. His work has appeared in Blackbox Manifold, gobbet, Moria, and Blue & Yellow Dog among other journals. He is the author of two volumes of poetry, Cactus Land (77 Rogue Letters) 2009 and Sard (Otoliths) 2010.
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