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Wraith Relations and Other Poems

Philip Byron Oakes

Wraith Relations


Sinewy apparitions retiring into light

made to order breakfast to hold the 

fort. Scramble eggheads into a common 

sense of shame, lost with touch sleeping 

at the wheel being driven to say. A 

jargon of boundaries drawn in caricature 

of the need ascribed, fatted phantoms 

leaving flesh out on the limb. Swaying to 

the music slowly bargaining away the 

essence of autumnís surrender to the 

blasphemies of decay. The downside of 

the cycle ridden at the head of the 

parade, dragging a cortege along to play 

the caboose on the little choo-choo that 

could come full circle, around a 

consensus as to the importance of letting 

the whistle blow its steam to power the 

credulity of the engines of the night. 


Drive Inn


Pencil necking in the backseat of a kiss off

kilter. Lip synched to a melody lost unscrabbling

valentines, to find they mean only what they

can never say. As lips are read to sound 

surrender. Fencing off possibilities

within an embrace, tying a bow on the inner

circle, so the world might wither at the prospect

of being alone. Forgotten as fossil tumult 

drowned in the gene pool, leaving a slight 

twitch in the brow of Romeo as the serenade

filters through a hush of nothings, sealing 

alliances in the shadows of each their 





Migratory polyps embellishing schnozz

impaling a whiff larger than life. Legacy 

of lingering in the nostrils, hosting hints 

of something burning a toast to bridges, 

under which rivers are wrought from 

memory. Anodynes in a voice heard 

from childhood, to say the end is nearest 

the place most desired, without shape or 

form but with a sense of what it might 

smell like from no distance at all. Up 

close and impersonal as a science of 

roses trumping beauty in a clench, 

made to last a clause in the life

administered by a trust in the 

gardenís lean toward color. Red as 

the nose on the beast that ate the 

cure for what ails ya.


no x to spot


the here now has hidden away for later

as refuge from others of a mind tilted

to thinking the one, two, three of it adds

up inclines at a gradient of blind faith

in oneís legs to climb


in full for services rendered moot by time 

lost finding oneís seat a veritable throne 

from which to preside over obstacles 

understood as sojourns of peaks and 

valleys to a here from which you 

cannot run the show


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