Philip Byron Oakes


Reprimand to man. Extolled as of a kind.
Kin to innocence of rhythm. One foot
falling, to the rear of the formation of
ice. Dancing past simple, to the never was
as if. The border’s been crossed, in
speaking of travel, to those who’d rather
sit and wait. Caress the infinite, for what
it’s worth, in killing time as a friend to
those who count. On being over it in
under record time, to breathe. To
please the odds in getting even,
pretending life is fair, to the free for the
taking what’s left. Held to be, in hands
culled from the pockets, of those who
stand to reason the anomalies away.


The ceiling dawns. The crust hardening
around the edges of scenery, soon to be
boasting of reality. The slow drip of light
into lives lost, in the sinking of the titanic
into here and now. A residual heat of
passion keeping warm the way it used to
be. Appeal your eyes and listen. Unfeel
the touch of velvet, if you can. The abc’s
of body language slurred in resurrection,
one cowardly appendage at a time to
celebrate. Ethereal shackles worn as
jewelry of the beautiful mind, lost
shopping for a thought. The cockerel
yodels. A brave new nothing. A
founder’s day to call your own.

Making Them Understand

A gray area laced with tourists
come to see rainbows fraternize
with the night. The bats burst
out from under the bridge, by
the millions made posing as
charity to the widows of the
telethon crying for more.
Putting the egg above all the
chickens ever counted upon,
to defend the fort in these times
of gloaming skies. Boastful
complaints of complicity in the
anarchy destined for a picnic,
in the park and ride your bicycle
to that special moment waiting
at the kissing end of the toad.

And Milk

Primal apathy fed cupcakes over the middle
of the plate cleaned as a whisker in a close
shave with the bus. An expiration dated letter
smuggled under breath retained for questioning
the rumpus in the room to breathe. A tussle in
the struggle to be heard crying help, in keys to
doors found unhinged as open minds on the
courtyards of easy calls. Polite interruptions
noticed stealing away into the presence. The
new here that’s there is where the caring ends
its threat to knowing why. The music falters
when the bugler intones the affirmative void,
relapsing into what’s lost in the scrabble. The
amended by being forgotten, at the moment
of truth that never comes to senses of the
lingering primacy of stillness cutting its
losses in the air of regret.

Manu Propria

One giggle shy of a hundred light comedies parallel parking the plexus to the curb. Stillborn to run from what they’re trying to say. As if every echo had a footstep to come home to. Between the spontaneous and the buried for the duration. Fantastical suggestions of missing wealth dissecting a mote in a stampede of iotas, as those with an eye for the little things catch drift. The unrelenting inroads made by deserts into bedtime stories, freezing the sweat of good soldiers at night. The tone of the sky on the days between the reasons, the tomorrows come to put the colors into a perspective you can see. Catching hold of semantic handles to what can’t be said to make them laugh as they once did at Gog.

Declaration of Intent

That’s why I live the big deluxe version kind of life with chandeliers and real water, not the kind you buy in stores, but the kind running for its life down the sides of mountains, into limpid pools of thoughtful reflection, not the kind of life you take a pair of tweezers to in hopes, of wringing confessions, all set to music by the time they wander off, into the ears of those keeping score in cages, doing the math in a paint by number fashion, to reflect the plethora of obligations entailed in saying yes, yes, this is the life for me, this slow process of being ossified in a practiced swagger towards the light switch, to better see the judgments rendered, in the play of patterns with handles to hold onto when remembering how it was, the little steps leading into the larger ones, the larger ones into strides apt to grow giant, when not watching one’s saunter plan its own day, the incontrovertible conclusions to follow, drawn from the undulant caress of pain, through an interminable winnowing down to who we are from which we grow so as to multiply then further divide, grow what amounts to a garden if it weren’t for the lack of flowers before the winter comes threatening even those living large enough to say it just ain’t so

Five Eyes

Everything’s tied up in it. Myopia
with a flair for transparencies,
blurred to complement a décor
befitting the room to breathe.
The effective cost of attrition,
determined on fingers pointing
out what’s sorely missing, in
allowing time its sloth. The dash
of vim smothered in ambience,
killing mister fancy pants with
every breath. The same nothing
people die for. The glare raging like
a maniac, until the curtains are
pulled from the shelf. The whisper
saddled for defamation. The usual,
in any of a number of guises,
donned to muddle the milking for
the betterment of the greater
show. The flight of a thought out
of kilter, a refraction to splay the
hopes of shadows filling roles,
conjoining the picture within the
intricate gilding of a frame of
minds made up and over.


Down to an earth of one’s choosing oneself
as gardener, assuaging the interim until spring
is here. A manor of sweet nothings gone to seed
of an awakening, to a spurious climate growing
out of its clothes. A season for all manners of
settling into patterns predicated upon the
weather coming true. The furrowing of a brow
posting notice of a wrinkle in the time to harvest,
a bumper crop close to the vested, in a yield to
the rites performed as theatre in the field.
Requital in effigy sprouting tendrils of a wish
worn as garland, for the heady mix of blossoms
crying foul for the winter. Connoting an amber
wave goodbye.

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