Philip Byron Oakes

One Too Many

The superfluous cluster to see. Leaving little
for the imagination to squander, clearing the
air that isn’t there. Mirrored in a grunt a
groan left behind, to protect its interests in
quicksilver. What with that and the other
coming in to view the corpse. To accompany
the diva of the dawn into the twilight of her
career. As if the walls were standing in for
leverage in the struggle to breathe. Living in
chronological order. Fattening a folio of
disparate observations with summary
judgments, pushing the boundaries into
place. To catch a glimpse in the act. So
reluctantly obvious yet nonetheless elusive.
Obscured as the devotion takes its toll in
focus on little but, as everything else slips
away. Into the land of mimes that talk
your ear off. Leave you to wondering
just what else there is to finally

Winter Water Wonder

Dripping assets through holes in the story of which
way the waters flow. Adding up and out of need.
The great unwashed peeled back in layers, leading
to myths of treasure down below. Figured at odds
with even as the dormant stir. When the floods
come to a little understanding of the world.
Experience nestled between realizations pumping
the nether up to speed. Down to a simple
invocation, as the ink on the pages fades into a
background of blank stares. A sense of poignancy
in a monotone. Both tangibly and less so. Waiting
for the day to break into pieces. Divvy the
duplicities as if one by one they come to see.
Without noticing the shadows cast in leading
roles. Relegating the reckless to a regimen of hit
and miss. Winning ways back from the brink.
From the mountain the molehill made from little
more than dreams of glory. To breathe the many
into the one you’ll never know. Held in trust
yourself to swim your way to the top of the
morning in the biblical rain.

Pants and Antsy

Kumquat may. Kneaded or knot. Severance packaged
with a boot wedged between a nod and a story of the
great migration. Dillied and done with in know time.
A count of fingers as allies in the struggle to grasp at
straws. Buckle breaches in belief goading feet to
follow precedent up the stairs. An apologia in utero
for what can only if even then. Begin to capture what
keeps limbo in the dark. Riding a mumble into
prominence via a gurgle of words, setting the
deafened free to dream of whispered pleasures. The
freight of consequence taking routes through footsteps
blurred in reminiscence. Glutting the spaces between.
Reveries dulled by the experience, filtered through an
experience of what isn’t so as you could tell the
difference to a stranger. Setting the course for skewing
back to square. Keeping quietude sheltered in the
hubbub. An inevitable consequence by chance
encounter. Covering the discrepancies built to bridge
the difference, between the catatonic and what
emerges in the morning to wrestle the world back
down to earth. An effect without a cause to call its own.
After all is less than more than this is what life is in

In a Word

Stubborn quiescence frosting gall stuffing
mum till one day. Peep plunders the archives.
Reviving sense surrendered at the battle of the
branches and the trees. The easiest way to think
as fitting pattern to the prod. On par with
snippets stolen in motion stilled to cut a caper
to the core. Stumping the acclimated with a fresh
breeze, blowing the smithereens to where they
might do some good. Curbing the psychedelica
with a simple thought, to yodel the aria into a
fabric of benign revelation. Luring apocrypha
to assure the weakened by knowing none the
less. Eking out a fortune of time through the
years turning the pages, toward a climax in the
arms of a brooding nostalgia. A point salvaged
from the wreckage of possibility. A whimper to
a gurgle grousing. Sinking tendrils into tumult
of wait to make the presence pause for no one.
Shouldering the potential of facsimile when the
real thing comes biting through the veneer, into
a neck stuck out of bounds drawn zagging
through the promise of a place to rest
one’s tethered head.

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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