Issue 18: Philip Byron Oakes
(Tom Raworth Memorial)
Testing waters frozen over under the radar. Come to drink of
it. Under the veneer of permission to breathe. A clause in the
prosecution of the hours. Prodding a shiver to unfold. As it's
written though rarely read to suit an ear for nuance. A parade
of particulates shoveled into proof of life as we know it.
Navigating the formalities, pocking the airscape with rigid
postures feigning bricks in the wall of quietude. Preserving
the element of surprise in a bubble designed to float ashore.
Catch the midnight train napping on the tracks. A balm easing
pilgrims into their skins for the journey. Keeping to a schedule
of submerge then surface then breathe, repeat. Tear by drop in
the bucket adding up to make a wave sure to inundate us all.
In big block letters spelling out an alphabet of reasons to
close your eyes and see. Feeding the scope's mastery of
distance over a field of bones broken to the routine. A story
looming in a mumble, shared to convey the sense of a respite's
shoulders bearing the weight of the forgotten, coaxing the
silhouettes out of character and into play. Slowing the
destination to a crawl. A wink sinking to the quick of the
equation balancing here on the now you know. Cleared for
lift off kilter. To recall a pattern thought lost to the blur.
Catching one's breath in the act of pushing the next into
traffic. Shaving into the marrow of moments arrayed like
pearls on a necklace. Laying groundwork at the feet taking
steps extended only beyond their means to confer.
Philip Byron Oakes is the author of three collections of poetry, the latest of which being ptyx and stone (white sky ebooks) 2013. A fourth has begun making the rounds.