Philip Byron Oakes

Sponge Skull

Soft headed as a consequence and ever thereafter
the buffalo roam. Squeezing the air out of hiding.
The thin profile the future holds as bait to breathe.
Ridiculous by increments where prospectors dig
deep, for air of entitlement to the fruits of being
absurd. Aching to displace a pleasure lodged in
promise. Filling empty’s seat at the table turned.
A homecoming to the fray knitting a constituency
of memories in which to fall. Capturing the moment
and its neighbors in the act. The old prohibitions
flexing their arthritis. The terrible told you so’s
stampeding cattle through the narrow apertures of
a blink gone awry in the mist. Nudging symmetry
into play. Voices brought to bare. Sure to answer
for the questions never posed to catch the light. To
have known without knowing you know, for all this
time and no one noticing. The right angles taken
for order, as they’ll never know it circling a sense
of loss in their bones. Or so the depositions read
to their children at night. The toeholds gaining
credence in a race of minds. Aligned with a star you
never saw coming. With the ease at which the topics
turn relative then moot as maybes in the crush of all
too much and more.

Per Sentience

What’s worn out of need to cover up what’s lost concealing,
as in round and round it goes. The interplay of causation and
out of the blue. Haunting daylight’s best places to hide. Too
keenly aware of the fragility to armored columns of insistence,
upon the right to lose yourself in the story. Dwindling into
character. Nary a never landing flush. Quitting on qualms in
the womb. Only to find someone breaking into song of
themselves. Circumventing the ritual gravity of remembrance,
with a bevy of interchangeable faces foisted upon a body
limping into place. Trolling the tiny hamlets of a credo, feeding
beastly hiccups on the couch in clouds of doctor’s queries.
Fearing what might at any moment, between projections and
the mud on one’s feet caked in witness, to the blue black of
the somber grouting musical phrases into the house worth
coming home to. To let it be known without knowing you
know what they mean by repeating themselves over and over
again. True to the effect, causing on and on till left with but
a reason all your own.

From all Strata

If not for what the little people bring to the tables turned.
In allegiance to memory the unspoken shares as imminence
without end. As eyes close to the might of the mirage.
Putting the fog right to work. Mystifying even the most
casual observers, as they squint at what’s out of view for
the second it takes, for doubt to creep into the minds of
those with barely time to spit it out, before it leaves them
gasping for air in the godawful and magical in one. Stacking
whimpers to the ceiling under the weight of consensus. In
the heady nexus of the next scamper over the brain stem.
Sure to awaken one frightening tendency after another until
they’re not so scary anymore, but ready to be delivered as
the fatted calves of the forever torn. Strange urges to swim.
If not for the shore, then somewhere nice, before the water
rises to the occasion, a perpetual will checking its warranty,
just before the bottom falls out of repute. A name in the
sand threading its way back to a face of utter amazement.
Teasing a wheeze out for a curtain call. The twist the turns
can’t live up to without straightening out a thing or two.
Staying ahead of the echo with the runaway mind of its

Generational Loo

Reciprocal contagions dancing a rash tango. Absolving the
actors, falls from character into one self at a time. Through
long and short of it, stretching into shades of gray at the
door. Someplace they can never catch up to. As the ball
gets fumbled down the field of dreams. Testimony smudged
before it ever hits the paper. Mantras of the inertia stitching
holes in how it ought to be. A cheat sheet for breathing.
Stroking the coast of a contingency plan to behave.
Conflating the weather with the heat of the struggle to
beware. The blind side of belief in an island, as far as one
can see. In code hiding behind the hubbub, as the colossus
strides the field like a fly in the ointment. Tapering down to
a size befitting a slow march of the tendencies. Epiphanies
dragging anchor through the ho hum. Putting the ills at ease
and queasy taking turns. Never disputing the deeply personal
divide between this, that and the other. Dropping hints too
hot to hold to their promise. In an intrinsic expanse shrinking
answers to the big questions. Festooned in winces the pain
can’t fully account for as the aberration making the itching
what it is.

It All Began…

Poverty of snitches and snot clotting lifelines
through the memoir, toasting the hazy by any
measure but one. A plodding finesse squeezing
jaybirds in with the ninnies, as history comes to
pass its cankers off as rhinestones. A portrait of
the plesiosaur as a fish, to keep the gawkers
looking past their porridge, for the tide’s turn
to drown an impulse that made the music
bubble up to the beat. Rhapsodic equivalence
homesteading the interstices, of a grand putsch
to prominence in the emptiest of rooms to
breathe. A pas de deux playing out on tiptoes
stubbed, stepping on and over corpses forming
a line from memory to the womb. To the tune
of inevitable footsteps putting a softshoe in the
door, with a boot to follow precedent, keeping
fate company on the lonely slog to realization.
Back to back to the origins of the itch, following
a trail of scars to the blooming in baby’s
noggin, of the I and no other stuffing the skin.
Coming true enough to work around when telling
the tale, of how the gallstones came to pass
muster as the jewels of the crown. The
stuff of which stories are made.

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.
previous page     contents     next page


Post a Comment

<< Home