Philip Byron Oakes

But for the Quiet

Anodynes in a voice heard from childhood,
telling of a place most desired without
shape or form but with a sense of what it
might smell like, from no distance at all.
A jargon of boundaries drawn in caricature
of fatted phantoms leaving flesh out on
the limb. Funding a mote in the eye
roaming headlines for news of what
surfaces only to breathe. In a language
skewed to the colorful, punctuating a
dearth in a desperately measured breath,
to still in the mind as it were a frozen relic,
stealthily pocketed in a parka worn to
meet the sun halfway. As lips are read
to sound surrender. Too much room to
grow lonely in a milky way of walking.
Leading most anyone to believe. In the
toehold to an ellipsis of endings that
never do or don’t, but by virtue of
of reaching a quizzical mass in being
able to say. From the corner office
of an eye for quality occupied by
suggestive shapes. Arduously
tailored to a handcrafted
tolling of bells.


Innocuous grumbling playing gravel
on a road toward thinking the pain
is worth its weight in cure. A smiley
face come to haunt the head the
horseman lost counting to four. Dry
as desert swoon at sights beholding
to the I of the story. In saffron
approaches to an explosion of color,
leaving a wont of gray to putty the
cracks. Threads woofing to join a
tapestry of falls that never hit the
ground. Receding afoul of assorted
bylaws of inertia, conceding sticking
points to the salve of years. In a
stumble to the fore as the skinny
legged do, to suit strides contrived
from sleepwalks through to
morning. Polling an audience of
echoes plotting revolt against the
message run amok. A mover of
people and persons too. At a
livable tangent to lyrics roaming
the hallways of a melody. A night
out on air catching breath by the
nape of the next. Longings slowly
rendered into fears shedding
tears like a clown.

Curbing Orbits

As incidental as gravitas in outer reaches,
pulling back from the edge to see the fringe
float off the clock. Ancient teased to relevance
in a stir of dust, revealing the potency of clouds
come time to hide the silverware. A fabric known
for clothing horses, with whole regions lost on
inches nudged from others. A glint storming the
eye only half opened to the possibilities, mounting
till they crash into something lost worth finding.
Requiems for beginners shortly sweet as quick to
the capture of the moment stood still to meet its
maker. Anchored in a mist bartered clean of bones,
squared with a runaway crawl of skin from the fight.
A crisis between lines paraphrasing the password,
to a song sung alerting authorities to the presence
of a miser’s grace in silence. An oompah’s rhythm
to a doldrum’s place in the sticky mesh of living,
amidst the whys and wherefores arranged to suit
prerogatives wandering off the trail into perpetuity.
The sun setting feet in concrete for racing thoughts
to catch in the act. Of being where we’ve never
been before.

Slogan Ears

Figurative mire gumming up gears of language
primed, as tearaway cadaver trousers for a run
through the fundamentals. An euphemistic coda
of kisses biting tongues. The commemorative
shards giving the broken its oomph in the morning.
Borrowing ears for a stretch in sing song. Questioning
the flicker as to the origin of the light, storming the
cracks in the story that keep the house from spinning
off into space. Jammed in crannies to ferment a brew
of retort, a shamble of atoms riding a wake on the
breath taken hostage breaking bread with the quiet.
Hinting at destinations sanitizing the wonderment of
being lost. To be heard over a growing appreciation
of the vastness, haunting the close quarters of the
message favoring the rich undertones over the
crowing into the void. In the emptiest of rooms
from which to hear the others thinking.
Tippytoeing round tantalus screaming mimis
at the ogres clustered on the fat lands,
peering in for guidance as to what to
say when the lawyers query the score. As the
illiterate go strictly by the book at the
end of the rainbow.

Philip Byron Oakes is a poet living in Austin, Texas. His work has appeared in Blackbox Manifold, gobbet, Clockwise Cat, 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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