Philip Byron Oakes

Handbooking It

Elastic philosophies inducing micro-nostalgia
for the fleeting fuss, commemorative at the
molecular level of grunts and hisses for the
opportunity to estrange the moments silence
relies upon for sustenance. Duty free
wordsworth edgewise strewn over a muttering
mixing malice, with mocha espresso delivering
the godawful equivalence for lack of butter
making the bread the center of detention in the
faith. The illustrious smidgeon mooting
behemoths making faces stretch limits,
conveying accommodations of the mess made
looking to form a recalcitrance fit to live in till
the mood passes muster in the hidey-ho of
dosey-do and more. Much much the mewlier
for ducking the edge from the center of feeling
safe cracked in combinations, filtered through
the abacus and drink and smoke till the air’s
clear of complicity in the inability to breathe.
Putting the onus on us wee little creatures
puffed beyond recognition, before it’s over
the trauma and off to work it off as penance
for ever having thought it possible that heads
might rear children of their own.


Pliable stances for just us fools,
making headlines from whispers
to the rear of the formation of
a chill.

Jelly leg croissant on the roll
feeding fears of faltering at
junctures of the like,
in the shadows made the
difference holding steady.

Wiggle’s room to hide faces
from folding under the weight,
of expressions aging an outlook
on a history yet to come.

A position grown approximate
exactly as foretold,
in the contrails of a wobble
scribbled into the smile of
the answer man.


A puddle of propaganda getting feet wet for the slog,
through reasons to kill time belonging to others.
Reckless the more merrier brings to bare foible’s fetish
for the norm. A slant given latitude to square the
gumption with the gall, the hesitance with a lasting gasp
holding breath to a promise of phantoms put right to the
test. Of what when answered sounds full to the brimming.
Sure to confuse the best left out the worse it gets for those
and them that’s not. Opening the muddied water’s way to
flavor communion with an edge icing over the rainbow.
Boundaries drawn to resemble not a whit but where it
hurts most the least afforded the chances bound to occur.
Depriving the conundrum of an audience afloat on the
sureties of this is that and none other than what’s needed
to fill coffers with hope of renderings come due. By
nebulous storm of detail lost upon a crucial stretch of
nonsense. An opacity given the illusion of clarity in a
sheen, reflecting back upon that something drawn into
complicity via a promise falling flat upon the ear for
the duration.

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.


The lethal blow is struck in first copper then bronze,
iron before steel cuts swaths through strangers, to
the taste of a cutting edge on the competition.
Assiduously sculpting scenarios, no matter how
meager the standards by which victory is measured.
Bringing it all to a head invariably severed, for having
ventured out on a limb of thought too precarious to
shelter the huddled. Forming a circle from sides taken
off square of a number dodging zero like a dancer on
the sly. Nothingness wedged into all too much. The
this to that and the other creeping into a background
of melody on which a teetering world depends.
Keeping time for the squeeze into tidy frames of mind.
An enlightening as to the scope conceding breadth, to
make a point take its place. Serve its notice of
presumptions left to linger in the cold. Any manner of
means the ancients might only have dreamt of as
opening the spigots of a flow, fodder for the crops to
cull their nutrients through the autumnal swagger of
a brooding god. Opening whole caricatures to
surgically incising the grid, redundantly ultimate
probes for a heart beating the odds, charting its arc
to the quest for fewer recriminations in bleeding
one’s neighbor for the verity.

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

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.

The Odds on Yang

ABC for yourself. Even factotums with two broken arms
stand to gain an epistle or two for their efforts. Wilting into
character. Untenable postures bronzed for safekeeping.
Featuring the erstwhile as the great whale sleeps. On
behalf of hopes half bitten off at the knees. Tangible as a
proverb in the mind of a maniac. Reupholstering sentiments
to infer a theatre in the surround. A simple trick learned in the
army of a greater love. Bowing to shadow of self. A purr of
time fencing off a lull in the mirror. As the clock strikes and
leaves a bruise. Chasing repercussions to their loss of origins
in the fog. The terrible tenderness loosed weaving velvet into
the recollections. Parsed out in tokens of affection for the
distance twixt here and there, then and again, presuming
without resuming from the spot last wandered off the
fringe of the slippery trail. Leaving loop de to loop in the
tortuous tradition of vicious circles, barrelling their way
to the finish line under the vaunted auspices of the
freckled moon.

Owning the Past

A race backwards to be first, to never letting it be said,
but in a voice circling the wagons for discourse. A fortune
of immanence building the new now. Purportedly long
waiting its chance to squeeze a life full of holes, like a story
tattling on its own protagonist. Something people don't talk
about, in tongues holding the high ground to a standard
beyond words. A cosmic equivalence taking one's ear for
a walk to the store. To presume the future of color tv in
black and white terms of endearment. Hugging the dust
out of totems perched behind a phalanx of words.
Conflated with deeds conveying latitude in search, for
that special one in a million come to rest in the ear to
the wall. Who you are in a voice meant to hold its own. In
the gleaming bulb at the middle of every well told story.
The irresistible in an immovable memory of the speed to
takes to build momentum. Inescapable as a monotony
answering back to the days before the advent of any
knowledge to spare. Plaguing those quick on their feet
to recite whatever comes to mind, hat in hand in hand
over one's heart in the struggle to perceive what's gone
before it ever arrives. Surely to only further exploit
a regimen of subtle inquiries into parameters of the big
question itself.

In C Minor

Caustic enthusiasts etching the basics into a face one
can't leave behind. Smacking dab in the middle. Pointed
fingers taking the plunge. Where time and space part
ways in the weather. Shepherding poses into sequence.
Transient eras of operable room by which the game is
won or lost in the trenches of an inch. The mere weight
of knowing. Malleable as moiety splintered. Figuratively
failing a change of mind, surfacing at a threshold pain
keeps pushing aside. The struggle to avoid toppling the
totems of a simple life. A stupor not a choice to gaze
upon a time once thought impenetrably your own. To
breathe a little deeper into the piggy bank of love and
loss. Compounding consequence of purveying a sense
of calm. A crowded lapse, fundamentally full of tangents,
snaking under the rock holding space to its promise of
resolve. Migratory quivers, chill's thrill to offer rhythm
its reprieve, from circadian cruelties making the world
go round. Fostering an aegis of remembrance,
compounding a wilt into compliance with the static
qualities of quo. Heads spun to wool for eyes on the
weight of worlds aplenty. Straining the silt for golden
years. Homestretching the truth to comfort levels fit
for perching, above the heart of the matter beating
wildly on the gates of subliminally open doors.
Sending a shiver into play center field as the music
takes its place in line leading all the way back to the
chirruping in a tree on the edge of the savannah
in question after question gone to sleep.

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