Philip Byron Oakes


Raising hair to perform exclamations
in witness to the wobble of the world.
Super duping innocents of dollars
doomed to dwindle into something
large. Putting a spin on trial. Outside
the scope tendered as process.

Taming thoughts of feeling for what
can’t be grasped, as integral to the
value of holding still to its promise.
Emotion to its whirly gig at the
paladium. Hierarchy to its brick and
mortar roots entangled in history, of
vertical ventures stacked until the air
gets too thin to sustain hopes of
breathing. Taking in the air of

consequence, in the basement of the
dream house on the hill of beans and
bones, feigning testament to
foundations for success. In masking
the vanity for all to share in pecking
order out of chaos through the scree
of more this than that in question.

Footnoting the Day

Brokered as prevalent though rare to the touch.
The crimson whimsy of a paper cut shy of leaving
one’s mark, as tribute to the liquidity that lost its
way. The residuum of fond memories made to
wait outside the realm of reason. Lapses of
insecurity taking wing beyond the need to
reconcile the fictions and the will to breathe.
Typos in stone. The list goes on its merry way.
The vulnerable succumb and the inoculated think
they know how it happened. Casting aspersions
on the water when it rains. Asleep at the steal of
a lifetime. Conjoining mish with mash in the
clutter stuffing the gourd of perpetual witness.
The odds mount the stairs like regular people
on their way to where we’ll never know.

Finding Itself

That much fleshes out over time. It couldn’t have been
but then it was, like a gorilla on the sidewalk of secret
suspicions. It’s getting to know u-turns as well as the
straightaway that takes a little learning out of context.
It’s an honor that threatens the calm. At a time best
kept safe to forget. As those in the know don’t so much
as you think. It isn’t easy saddling a rhinoceros with debt.
Perfuming the slaughterhouse blues with relevance and
innuendo alike. As to whether or not it’s true it keeps me
company, said the doorman. But not in this world, she
said, as if it were easy speaking for everyone. As if it
couldn’t have pleased mother more, the way the ghosts
levitated into talking points on a map of the mind that
steers the stars into constellations.

Superficially There

Slanting hunches to confirm buoyancy’s place,
in the hierarchy of services rendered the surface
of things as they are. Bobbing about catching eyes
half closed, to what whenever brings to bear upon
the scenery. The purview of a witness to the grab
at fancies all about what’s next, till they aren’t even
there but beyond. Suspicion of fitting neatly or
no way out of seeing what’s left when everything’s

Fitting foiled to fallible for better sense adrift on
currents buffered by the speed at which if not simply
dribbling off the chin of true confessions from the you
are as you are school of refusing to think of mother in
that way they came all Oregon through the cold
wet wonderment into the details of an illusion
around which monuments are built to
the moment’s measure of eternity.


The psycho babbling of brooks in the
story of silence told time and again.
The disparity flexes its muscles
whenever it’s asked. Undertaking
resurrections at a loss, just to prove it
possible. Leaping from the pages of
the tale told only to children in the
dark. On behalf of what’s been lost in
translation. Far be it from wherever it
leads. Keeping secrets where they
belong. Subtly displayed as the echo
of a dictum. Quietly taking hold of the
reins of a rumor. The glare of omission
twinkling in the eye as the sun sets in
its ways. In the promise of an end to
the confusion, as the band plays
innocent for anyone who’ll
listen till it hurts.

But For

Piloting a nutshell into consciousness of a vast
reservoir. Truncated to fit what’s left to linger
on the spine. In abeyance to dictates chosen
from a truce between sleep and walking, a
limp along and the narrative of a dream.
Stunting the growth of doubt as to the accuracy
of a shrinking sensation, as destinations loom in
the offing of a distance impossible to fully
traverse. As the moralists hum howdy doodies
to the risen sun. The dust bowling over dogma’s
bark at the bite of the boreal breeze. Culling,
weeding refuse from the ripened for immersion
in the rote. The scrabble of phenomena
provoking experience, searching under scars for
a finish line in the thaw. Encapsulating a gurgling
girth of the matrix. A color wheel’s take on the
slow brew of remonstrance, as if the little were
subsuming the large as its own. Nudging up
against the facsimiles in real time, keeping
peace a bubble in the round and round. In
evocation of an ambient inkling, to see as
so it goes to say of the nether but another
of what’s gone yet coming home.

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

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