Philip Byron Oakes

Waiting for Word

A caesura of years giving cause to a mirror
of pause to reflect. The face of color mottling
to show we’re all here. Giving dim a chance
to glow accustomed to the shadow, to better
grow ears for the predator sonatas of the
seasons. Random posits in gravity’s way of
settling for dearth of flavor to coup de grace.
The fog to finding solace in arms drawn as
weapons in the struggle to hold on. For the
time being what it is so slippery sliding into
context. Broken to components on the rack
of brains seeking purpose, as a foil to why
we’re here to say we aren’t so much as can
be. Collateral in counterweight to the
teetering, from which the brink will someday
make its move. Between the hubris and the
tears. Feral in the cage of language. Chasing
goblins into the labyrinth of their own
hobnob. Put to wait and see sloshing over
opportunities to revise the unfathomable.
An orphanage of howls. Peripheral gateways
to tangents burrowing towards the center.
The prickly terrain of vast potential chasing
closure as a pretext. Stringing not together
but along the parallel’s way to evidence of
life in the dark. Gratuities of warmth
throughout the corridors of a fabric
holding meaning still, to better
savor the moment’s relentless

Crayon Maps

A sapphire sky on paper drizzling seasonal discontent,
into the real time to leave the veritable toys behind
and swim. Primal as hesitance to breathe under water’s
reign over a flood of feelings, for what becomes of the
island made a home. A dull order of the day brightening
prospects of getting lost. Visceral as the shades can
salvage from loose ends knotted, to mend a sense of
ballet on marshmallows toasting the spring in a step
over the line. Fudging the census with the two faced on
the double take. Making a splash behave in the retelling
till it hurts to surface. Incursive as necessary to peek
under a shroud erected as a big top, beneath which the
circus keeps its secrets at the ready to exploit the quiet
on the high wire making peace with the indifference of
the stars. Theater in the surround. Arranging bones to
find their shelf in life. The estate at the end of the
sentence. Putting the buried but burrowing to rest
as a comfort zone in the radiant collapse of reasons to
continue digging. Casually as goading a hand into the
making of do as done to please the people, in the long
story of who they say they are in the serendipity of
their Sunday best. Catching wind at its most vulnerable.
Inversely nursing the word parking the bus in reflection,
upon an indictment of pragmatism in the paralysis of
a whisper putting the magic word out for the night.


Pliable stances for just us fools,
making headlines from whispers
to the rear of the formation of
a chill.

Jelly leg croissant on the roll
feeding fears of faltering at
junctures of the like,
in the shadows made the
difference holding steady.

Wiggle’s room to hide faces
from folding under the weight,
of expressions aging an outlook
on a history yet to come.

A position grown approximate
exactly as foretold,
in the contrails of a wobble
scribbled into the smile of
the answer man.

Entropy under Glass

The furry edges of a prowl of predation elasticizing
opinion, moving to buttress a latitude spoken as if
to a stranger in a language left to chance. Beating
the clock to fictional pulp by the hour lost in no
time at all. A cut to the chase leaving scars to settle
up with the proprietor. Lick wounds at their own
game provoking the queasy to iron wills in pursuit
of an armored calm in the insufferability of the
malaise. The quickly for as long as it takes. A series
of nudges up to speed a kill requires of the living,
as if it doesn’t hurt to run the goblins to ground.
The wild lurking beneath a surface hinging on an
ethic of convenience encircling pillars of the
resolute, silted over objections separately crowning
the continuum with facile creases through which
dimensions emerge. Tick down beneath the flesh,
where the eons live cementing the foundation to
is. In being not a reason to assume the pace
stunting the strides made to behave for the parade.
Till they choke explaining what’s already gone as if
to dig it up in saying so and so, until it sticks like a
stigmata on the carpet grown red by choice of
donor bones mired in a future making peace
with a rhythm embezzled by dawn. Putting the
reputed at great risk of being but a turn the road
can’t stop for, all that’s lost through the cracks
in the veneer. The sand’s trickle upstream
from to to fro’s alibi at the far end of the
hurry against the grain to the presence
of now.

Philip Byron Oakes is a poet living in Austin, Texas. His third volume of poetry, ptyx and stone, (white sky ebooks) was released in 2013.
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