Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Philip Byron Oakes

Harkening the Day Away

As in a palindrome without recourse to retraction.
Rutted road to fame in silhouette. Ample fish in
the see. The Hapsburgers grilled with fries casting
grease at squeaky wheels, rolling past the meaning
less to evoke the more the merrier they fall. Sedated
scrum of elders in pose with a past that lost the race.
A conundrum squeezed to a limpid clarity of doffed
hats in the ring of fire, smoke signals sent as valentines
to the nether side of the coin’s realm. A fringe benefit
of being stuck in the middle, of the conveniently
amorphous shaping up as trouble. Putting test to
the gravity of sinking feelings. A retort to the calm
mustered in layers of amnesia, topping off the
ulterior in getting under the radar looking for
the end to rhyme.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Philip Byron Oakes

Cry Quiz

Yeoman mourners sensually referred to in the seeming
absence, questioning the lock on comprehension without
losing sense of the pain being pushed aside. The fire ice
counts on to melt into the arms of the enemy. Reading a
road map on a sidewalk skirting responsibility for the traffic
ahead of the curve.  Exploiting the captions to daylight for
what they never say. Putting a peep on a leash to appease
the silence, through a shift work of sands concealing the
rose of the moment. The best foot forwarding messages,
ambling through the woods under glass the light shines
upon but never through. An earthy twist to the voice
thrown from the tallest building to sound as if it’s
coming home.


                                               A peek out from behind a reason for being. 
                                               In answer to a question not asked but in 
                                               body language sweetened with remorse, that 
                                               the quiet poses as a possibility of life stalking 
                                               lesions to their bloom. The indeterminate 
                                               fortitude of remnants shining through a 
                                               taffeta of reasons why. The sweet liqueur 
                                               of acquiescence to orphaned noises settles 
                                               at odd tangents to the roiling in the cul de 
                                               sac. With curling toes in a retrospective, 
                                               intended to capture yet another snowman 
                                               in the wild of reasons the summer never 
                                               seems to end. The harsh muddle of the 
                                               mind folding laundry in shapes to fit the 
                                               verdict not yet rendered fat. The tit for 
                                               tat taking the tot to task for what’s 
                                               filling the box in his noggin. 

Philip Byron Oakes is a poet living in Austin, Texas. His work has appeared in numerous journals including Scythe, Country Music, Moria, Hamilton Stone Review, et al. He is the author of two volumes of poetry, Cactus Land (77 Rogue Letters) 2009 and Sard (Otoliths) 2010. Homepage: Philip Byron Oakes

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Da Capo

Below are some previously published poems from the Rufous Salon archive. These brilliant poems share a theme, in one way or another, namely the elements.

Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

The Yellow Hills

Let’s meet in the yellow hills
near the sea.  Let’s picnic in
the yellow hills.  We could
look up to the sky and make
small talk.  We could tell each
other our hopes and dreams.

Stretched out on a blanket
under the warm sun.   We
could pretend we’re dead
or like some immovable
force.  Under a leafy tree
in the yellow hills we’ll rest.
In these hills black ants eat
the crumbs we leave behind.
Their tiny shadows could only
be observed under a microscope.

In the yellow hills we leave
our troubles behind.  Not far
from shore we feel the breeze
that comes from the sea.   We rest
here where the leafy tree’s shadow
seems to swallow us whole.
The yellow hills protect us from
the dark times of the world.

Philip Byron Oakes

                                    Sure Wood

A forest stumped for an answer
as to where to sit. From whom
to seek shelter, in houses gutted
by old flames, coming back to
haunt the furnace for the hearth.
Culling the herds of the listless
for the brightest of those eyes
lost in sleep. To separate the
wood from the wooden, when
asked to loosen a grip, on a
hand in the making it what it
is. Confounding the unmitigated
with alloys of discretion, in
fending off the queries from
those who might do some good.
Anchor the garden to the ground.
Meet the qualifications in the alley.
An one for all intents serving
as a purpose, for what might
have been, as well as for what
narrowly is. As good a reason
as any to plant a tree.

Joe Massingham


Terns climb and wheel incessantly
mewing a lament for lost chicks,
painting patterns on the cliff face
that artistic periwinkles
can study from their seashore studios
and copy in the sculptured shelters
in which they enclose themselves.
Each night the wind wields
nature’s scouring pad
and scrubs the cliff face clean
so that in the morning the terns
must undertake their task again.

Gerry Boyd

murmurs from a perfect afternoon

i. drifting into that hermetic seal

the picket fence stands proudly unwashed
in the three trunk hemlock afternoon:

it is all held together by wispy cables
and the dreamy embroidery of soapy eyelets-
those painted threads of yellow, green, and rust
that are all inside a glassed-washed afternoon:
the clearing fog of then and now and when.

a tempting little drip will propel the suspect elders
to wander into the white promise of the warping slats.

ii. the trifurcation is an amusement that briefly matters

she dances in the chartreuse lemon spring,
is the green summer of our frothing joy-

she flutters again in orange leaves,
that, saintly, burst and burn in autumn:

ironic words of appreciation always seem to fail
in a way that is pervasive and, oddly, geometric
on the tear-stained Appian Way of patio pavers:

there are many things that cease to matter
in the Euclidian formulae of wind-swept leaves.

yet, we try, and try again, to simply find the point.

iii. back to the idle rust of dropping cones

each shadowy dot of near and distant leaves
is bartered by the tricky once-washed slats,
traded for a moment that waves good-bye, well met:
saplings proudly foil the coniferous quivering-

the compost can, always, existentially blue,

a calming retreat from the obscenity of now
that is telegraphed by this obstinate relic-

boasting of a clarity almost reached
if, indeed, it was reachable at all.

the rest just freezes,
impotent in the set of choices and meanings-

what is the course beyond the fence?

through the unwashed slats there is only:

the soothing green of the distance mown,
the windy rhythm of dappled seed,
the promise of pale berries, lush and sown.

Isaac Levitan

Friday, 19 August 2011

Andreas Andersson

Poem from a hotel room on the way back from fishing at my brother's

Two nights ago the stars were violent dancers,
godlike, crushing whole worlds underfoot.
An insect with horn-rimmed glasses
I sat on the blunt edge of the sword
that cut the perfect pieces of cloth -
dark and unremembered as the void -
from which creation was pieced, a patchwork.
This morning I sit on a bed, minutes
after the day woke me up with its mist-
colored breath light on my face,
thinking of the fish I didn't catch
and the words that slipped through
the widening meshes of my mind.
I had to put my pen down, shut my notebook,
and go back outside. Midnight.
The stars were violent dancers.
Not a cloud in sight, blue skies.
Ten straight days of heat
and the endless turning
of the world that sits
on top of my shoulders.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Jesse S. Mitchell

Pitchfork and the Wicked Twirl

“Surrealism is the magical surprise of finding a lion in the wardrobe when you were sure of finding shirts”- Frida Kahlo

Most of this life is prophylaxis,
Most of this life is percentage points,
Most of this life is prophecy
And most of this life is future tense
And most of this life is over…
Gone forever ever ever…
Most of this life is nighttime
Most of life is thousands of stars
Most of this is “get behind me Satans”
Most of this life is mayhem
But I cannot stand movement
And over
Much of this life is whirling iron
Much of this life is spin, spin, spin
Much of this life is molten rock
And animated film, reel to reel,
And over 
Most of this life is staying alive
Most of this life is disease.
Most of this life is picking the right words to hear,
Most of this life is arcade knives
And ugly spires at night
And drip dry sheets
And most of this life is water
Cutting open the ribcage shore
Most of this life is skeleton bones/keys
Most of this life is bleeding out
And most of this is static radio
And television shows, cigarette burns
And much of this life is growing thin.
And over 

“No one has his feet on the earth among all this bunch of coo coo sons of bitches of the surrealists”
-Frida Kahlo

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Rhoda Penmarq

this is my first affair

the indigo sunset slowly seeped away
the lion stared at the disappearing bush
the cowboy tuned his guitar around the campfire
the snake slithered through the dust

the flounder avoided the hull of the boat
the yak waited patiently in the shadows
the janissary gave a lusty full-throsted yell
joey made a face as he ate his yogurt

the porcupine rested by the side of the road
the aardvark watched him from behind a large rock
the rhubarb grew wild
the undertaker broke off a stalk

he had never eaten wild rhubarb before
his grandmother's exhortation to be careful what he ate surfaced in his brain
the orangutan repressed a chuckle
but quickly scampered away when the undertaker's baleful gaze fell upon him

the bug crawled up the vine
victory was in the air
the gravy train pulled into the station
the jaguar watched from behind the dumpster

the bobcat gave the jaguar a wide berth
and headed down the highway
an apple fell from a tree
at zero hour

the walrus went back to sleep
after eating the eggplant

piano legs hickman stroked the ball to right with crisp authority
and big ed delahanty came lumbering home