Issue 14 • 2011



Four Poems


by Philip Byron Oakes








The better not things in life.  Statutorily described, in

deliberative body language spent keeping the rabid cat off the roof.

A serendipitous dementia found loitering in search.

Noted lassoing the essence of curricula leaving little doubts to chase down corrugated hallways soaking in the acoustics of youth.

Selective blindness despite a pledge to reenact the tolling of the bells heard sneaking up on strangers in the dark.

The letting loose of the tightly held to promises, made from damask and the smell of old mcdonald, emanating from the greater crisper like an epistle from all that’s left upright.





Fair Enough



A stony respite in the cataract, providing a pinhole through which to see black and white precursors of the future running randy through the tortured diction of the past.  The butter vats bubbling over with the whole sordid history of figurative gila monsters, crawling out from beneath pillows of deceit to be cited for valor in time for Christmas.  The boondogglers raising their goblets, to the twinkle in their eyes still smoldering with friction burns of the windfall paid to see the elephants audition for the circus.  A growing menagerie of conflicted interests, bundling strange bedfellows for a cozy winter.  Botanists uprooted, from the leafy loves of their lives, as if little else mattered but the tossing of the salad up into the air unfit to breathe a word of what really happened to the holiness of the grail.  The art of surfing repercussions, deep into the Amazon basin of eccentricities pooled to save a city the indignity of a trial.  A slipshod effort at concealing a verdict, culled from the antiquary, with tweezers serving as hands attached to loving arms holding the guest of honor for all he is worth in simply being there.





Like a Gyroscope



Fighting weight in inner space.

The king crab dance of the sugar pie hypotheses placating

the country hunger of schizophrenics at the smorgasbord,

the culinary prize winking from behind the sneezeguard in the

elocution of the August light.  Cryptic mosaics

storming the plain of day.


The lawyer files a motion for the queasy to join the ineluctable on the dance floor of equilibrium.


And in the mano a mano, an unaccounted for hand toasts the marshmallows of easy prey over a rambling discourse of presumed dissent, as to the timeworn hegemony of glass onions over the crying jags of astronauts at the unwieldy wheel of that which keeps on rolling.





Halfway There


Interminable diced into nanoseconds, run up a flagpole

cheapening eternity for those who wait.

That cinnamon flavored reluctance to jump.

From zilch to zero in a handbasket of the podiatrist’s

making.  With

the enchanted cabal of the anomalous taking shape below,

as a glee club, from the impregnable aura of altitude

halfway up the stairs.

And the toucan twirls the baton for only so long, as

the candle burns in the window without a house

to call a home.






Philip Byron Oakes is a poet living in Austin, Texas.  His work has appeared in numerous journals including Otoliths, Switchback, Cricket Online Review, Sawbuck, Crossing Rivers Into Twilight and Moria.  He is the author of Cactus Land (77 Rogue Letters), a volume of poetry.  He has work in E·ratio Issue 12.  Find him online at