Philip Byron Oakes


Lonely epitomes showing how it’s done in the mirror.
In reflection upon tenets to a template for a semblance
of charade. A certain kind of dead on your feet in the
door. Bringing secrets full circle to commonality in the
brisk. At vanishing points losing perspective in the wash.
A patience unbecoming the speed at which things
change. As disturbing details come to light of the silvery
moon. For a close inspection sure to follow the
pheromones home. To be better fed the choicer
portions of common coin, in the wishing well preserved
to nourish the eleventh hour, with a count to ten little
mendicants for every one of those who matter.
Marching like saints into a cocoon sure of a reckoning
as the clock ticks down the pike a bit. The surrealists
take a moment to breathe the country fried air into
rhinos on the rogue as the time passes all measure
of conceit. Over the gravel still pickings of a simple
thought, to rest upon as promised land in a garden
of vagaries keeping the answers short and
delectably crisp.

Up Close

Via sham proximity, arm’s length of years,
buffering a here that now runs from:
spattering consequence in character
reference for shadows; blotted plays of light
revealing an inner working of hints,
as to structure, ways into shape you might
think would never come, glancing at a bold
caprice to the wobble square one lives for.
Sealing sanctums with a kiss left to knock before
entering. Making a splash perform in waves of
laughter. Routes upon which directions
rely to keep quicksand in business. Longer
stretches the dog days share with the measly,
interminable facsimiles roughing ready up for
the real thing; a slight turn of the season, a tic in a
nestling of the armor to a tighter fit, to feel as if
skin long ago shed, as baggage of bolts out of
a blue rhapsodic tingling of age, iffy outings
well inside the greater sphere playing bubble for
the ride as slide into self. Sinking feet in debt to
having cut short a drowning, in how it could
have been if it weren’t for all the world. Flotsam
in hopes planted as roots holding edges in place
of submerging to the bottom of the mystery.
Well positioned to promote a delusion of
cantankerous proportion with just a smidgeon
of identity to spare.

Speed of Which

Smell testing inertia on the fly before
you walk phase of feeling for the door
to repose. In doses not to exceed house
limits on the use of limbs in the inequities
market. To leave a mark forgotten in fallout
from grace. A handle on the underground
reduced to golden moments on which
memory hinges, like a rusty gate on a
construction site of secrets. Dancesteps
for a dog whistle. A slow get to the middle
the melee serves as buffer against the drag
of tranquility on the wings. To complement
a comforting twist on the rhododendrons
salving a summer breeze as the paint
slowly dries on reality.

Time Telling

Time measured diminishing in proportion to
weight of moments stretched until they burst
upon a scene. Paraphrasing eternities in the
waiting room with a garnish of groans to the
bitter end. Gateway to the basement’s vantage
on a roll of hills over a dice of tomorrows.
Chumming waters to anoint a toe in the cold,
catching wind of the wave caught napping at
the crest of expectation. Letting the clock
revolve in an old circular paradigm, as heads
might spin a web to catch the hour as it was.
Subject to debility’s romp through crippling
circumstance. Feeding into the conscription
of a narrative parsing chasms in the texture
of words, consoling explorers of a breach
between what is and should be bridged. As
minutes wane under weight enough to
marshal a veneer into formation. A bone
orchard of harmless phrases tending sheep as
they graze on opinions of the all encompassing.
And yet for all the winsome noddings the
bobbing of the troubled seas persist, roiling
the long forgotten into myth, sustaining an
industry of totems through the eerie sobriety
of the autumn months. Through the depths
found lurking at the surface everyday.


Error to resolve through cushions of belief
in time, set aside for later than you think so
hard it hurts. Fragilistic by degree saddled
to cravings for a cushion corresponding to
the nick. Ample evidence to fill a blind
spot waiting godot out of mind. To catch
a break on late fees for services rendered
obsolete by advances in the art of
prevarication. A decent distance to assume
the duties of a hinterland down the
boulevard. Attesting to what was and will
be happening without anyone to notice. To
teeter on the brink of a peek in the mirror.
Not far from time’s chance to crawl through
an air of importance. A narrative of home
not here but elsewhere. Contiguous to a
fault by design, as the friction builds a
mansion on the lake. The erstwhile picket
for parity, as the lights fade into the glory
years. Come to grips with doctored
realities of even the simplest of stories,
destined to share the burden as privilege
bestowed when we speak of the devil.
Of having been there when there was no
second place to dig into, with either foot
leaving their presence felt to this very day
to call your own as proof of something
looming. As foreseen by a profit in looking
the other way for comfort in knowing the
blind lead the blind of necessity.

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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