Men Are Hungry


O young women be careful
How you smile at men.
You may think it common courtesy,
Or a simple act of friendliness
To be openhearted and cheerful,
But you must be careful
Because men are hungry,
Though they will try and disguise it
In a thousand different ways,
Men are hungry.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Another Temporary Visitor


I knew when he walked into the coffee shop,
When this tall black man hesitated before sitting down,
Casting a wide, smiling inspection of the dozen or so diners,
So pleased to be in our company,
So joyful to be among the living,
I knew he was back from the grave,
Now seeing the everyday world through the eyes of a child,
Entranced by the sound of talking and laughing.

What was once so ordinary was now extraordinary.
He’d crossed the line between life and death,
Then crossed back again.

I wouldn’t be surprised if he were some kind of angel,
Taking physical form for a day to see and be seen,
To marvel at the magic of human existence.

How long did he have before returning?
And to where?
I wonder.
How long do I have?

He smiled at me as I walked by on my way out,
Recognizing, acknowledging another temporary visitor.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

This Place


If I am humble,
I can take all insults,
All personal affronts,
In stride.

But when I believe in the illusion of myself
As an all-knowing, superior being,
Every imagined disrespect ignites my rage,
A rage which will not be calmed
Until revenge has cleansed my troubled soul.

The angels of tolerance,
The demons of anger,
Always close,
Contending,
Here on this ancient planet,
This place of good and evil
Where we struggle still.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Heroes and Heroines


Cares and concerns are thrust unmercifully upon us
By life’s daily demands.
How many have a chance to supersede the drudgery
And rise above the unremarkable tasks of sustenance
To larger purpose?

Are those larger lives among us preordained,
Or merely products of chance?
Does God send heroes and heroines to dwell among us,
Or do we create them to suit our own particular prejudices?

We fill stadiums to pay homage,
Sharing moments of superhuman accomplishment and fame,
And then we are dismissed,
Exiled to the everyday world where we spend most of our lives,
Where dreams are smaller,
More easily attainable,
Closer to the heart.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Wandering Time


This time of loss,
This wandering in the desert,
This desolation.

My father never told me,
Never warned me,
Never prepared me.

Perhaps he thought this time of loss
Was a private, personal weakness.

I saw him,
Bent by the weight of it,
Barely knowing
Yet suffering,
Keeping busy,
Distracted,
Not realizing,
Not acknowledging this other rite of passage,
Coming so late in life,
This time of loss,
This wandering in the desert,
This desolation.

My father’s ghost is with me now
In this, my wandering time.
I cannot tell if he knows the way.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

You Are Not Hidden


I write these words to you who are cruel,
Who know you are cruel,
Who deny your cruelty.

These words are not for those who succumb to weakness,
Who struggle with weakness,
Who sincerely strive to overcome weakness and be kind.

We all have sinned.

These words are for you who are deliberate,
Who forged your cruelty through years of abuse,
No matter how you rationalize,
No matter how you repress,
No matter how conscious or unconscious you may be.

You are not hidden.
No matter how much control you have over us,
You are not hidden.
No matter how compliant we are forced to be,
You are not hidden.

You are condemned in our eyes,
And when you lose your power over us,
When you look in the mirror
And see the monster you have become,
When your punishment comes,
When you realize you have been punished all along,
When you realize each act of cruelty
Has destroyed a part of your soul,
When you have no soul left,
We will rejoice.

We who are kind will take no pleasure in your suffering,
We will not let the anger you placed in our hearts make us cruel,
But we will rejoice when we are free from your cruelty,
When your cruelty is stripped of all power,
When you must answer for each cruel act.
We will rejoice when justice is restored.

You are not hidden.
You pay for each act of cruelty
Whether you realize it or not,
For we know you have no real joy
Because you are not loved.
You are lower than the lowest of us
Who suffer and yet are loved.
You are lower than the lowest of us
Who have died because of your cruelty,
Because we are loved,
And this love is eternal.

You are not hidden.
The eyes of the world are upon you,
The eyes of history are upon you,
The eyes of God are upon you.

The spirit of change is upon the land,
It cannot be stopped.
Lies are temporary,
Injustice is temporary.
Truth is eternal,
Justice is eternal.

You are not hidden.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Men


Someday soon I will turn to you in anger
For no particular reason,
Because I am damaged
And often lose my tenuous hold
On the better side of my nature.

This is how I reward your loyalty,
Your perseverance,
Your love,
With the dispassionate whine
Of the stronger sex,
Still managing to keep the upper hand,
To rule my vainglorious kingdom
While my subjects weep.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Memory


I have to stop and think
To remember the date of my father’s birth,
And is this still Tuesday?
My head always in the clouds,
As they say.
So many of life’s little details
Are lost,
Lost to me.

Yet somehow I remember
The sick sarcastic look on the thin old man’s face
Thirty-two years ago
When I drove out of a parking lot
Across the sidewalk where he shuffled toward me.

I remember his tight-lipped scowl,
The scrape of his petulant, brittle voice
When forced to stop
To allow my car to pass,
When he so sharply said:
Thank you very much!


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Meek


The meek may indeed inherit the Earth,
But they will not explore it.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Max


Max is back.
Saw him early this foggy morning
Limping down thirty-second street.

Did you forget where I live
Old skin bone street fighter?
You were fat when you left last April.
This is some kind of free you’re fixed on.

I took him home,
Woke up the wife and kids.

Max is back!


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A Man From Another Country


A man from another country says,
“I don’t understand you!”
When I try to explain
How we do things here,
How we behave.

Everywhere we go
People stare.
He walks too slow,
He talks too loud,
He laughs at my earnest everyday endeavors
As if he were watching
Some riotous vaudeville show.
He is constantly amused.

I will teach him how to fit in,
How to talk to people
In ways they expect
And understand.
“You must learn how we act here,”
I explain.

“You are afraid of life!”
He yells at me,
Waving his arms wildly
As we stumble down a crowded sidewalk.
I move away
And pretend we are strangers.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Long March


You can march to the left,
You can march to the right,
You can march down the middle
And dream of your perfect world
Where everyone knows the truth.

You can march to the left,
You can march to the right,
You can march down the middle
But as long as you believe
You are right
And all the rest are wrong
You’ll be marching long,
You’ll be marching long.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Magnificent Illusion


Your hand touches mine,
An accident,
And your electricity surges into me.

You say something ordinary
And look into my eyes,
Explaining,
And I am entranced,
Barely listening.

You laugh and smile
And do a hundred different things
You do every day,
All day long,
Without thinking.

But when I am with you,
Everything you do is illuminated,
Inspiring,
Divine.

O the magnificent illusion of love.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A Madness


A madness some have described it,
Yes, it feels like madness.
I’ve never wanted anything in my life
The way I want her.

Yes, it feels like madness,
Not the absence of reason,
But the defiance of reason,
For reason is here before me,
A constant voice,
Warning me:
This is impossible.

It is reason that twists the knife,
Madness that pushes the blade in deeper.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Lucky


When I was young
I thought,
Someday I will be somebody.

But now I am nobody,
Nobody in particular.

I am one of the lucky ones.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Luck


It’s not always easy to tell
How the luck is going,
The way it works,
Not always easy to see.

Sometimes,
When the luck seems so bad,
It’s setting you up,
Getting you ready
Without your knowing
Until years later
You look back and see,
The luck was good,
Starting right on that first morn
When you had the luckiest luck of all,
You were born.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Love Is Hard


Love is hard.

Sadness is easy,
You can do it all by yourself.

Love is hard.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

How Deep Do You Go?


How deep do you go?
How far?
Where are you now?

You find a word in the dictionary
And in the definition,
Another puzzle,
Within each answer,
Another question.

How deep do you go?
How far?
Where are you now?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Lost And Found


I was upset,
I was angry,
I was afraid,
The sound of children playing was threatening,
The sunlight tired me,
The darkness worried me.

A man rang my doorbell,
A Jesus salesman,
Sent to my house by God
With the answers to my torments.

He read some Bible verses,
We got down on our knees and prayed,
I purchased a ninety-day, no obligation, trial subscription.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Loose Change


Look around the house of a wealthy person
And you will find loose change.
Thirty-seven cents under the sofa cushions.
No one who lives there really cares.

I remember the poet Charles Bukowski,
Talking about what it meant to be famous,
To have money
After living most of his life
In hunger for the extra dollar,
Then,
After all those hungry years,
Loose change in a drawer,
In his pocket,
Scattered across the kitchen counter
As if it didn’t mean anything at all.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Little Sheep


I am a little sheep
With headlights and a beep,
A horn and a job,
I am corn on the cob.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Listening


Just when I thought I was full of poetry,
Full of things to say,
Couldn’t write them down fast enough,
Just when I thought it was me, me, me,
You took the words away
And left me sitting here
With this fountain pen and white sheet of paper,
White, white, white,
With nothing,
Nothing left to say,
Unable to write a single word
Until,
Humbled,
Humiliated,
Asking for your help,
Listening once again.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Listen


If you want to hear the angels speak,
You must listen.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Like Emily


She has decided to be an artist,
A sculptress of words,
A poetess.

Her tribute "To the Hungry Children of Planet Earth,”
Read in somber tones to her reluctant friends,
Such a moving expression of television-inspired grief.

But what do they know of art?
They are lost in contemplation
Of the rise and fall of her breasts,
So invitingly ripe,
While they feign appreciation of her nobler qualities.

She knows they only half listen to her words
And her thoughts are drawn back to Emily Dickinson.
She prepares herself
For the many years of indifference
That will most certainly come.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

You Think You're The Only One


Do you feel so crazy inside sometimes
You’ve gotta keep it a secret
Because your friends and family are counting on you,
Expecting you to be a normal person,
To be this person you decided to be,
This person you feel comfortable being,
This person who is not so crazy inside sometimes?

So you keep it a secret
And never let it out in public,
Never let it out with people who know who you are,
But it’s right there behind your eyes,
Buzzing in your ears,
On the tip of your tongue.

You think you’re the only one.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Lights


Without love,
Some kind,
Any kind of crazy love,
The lights are out
All over town.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Lighten Up


Finding fault,
Our national pastime.

Blame,
Judgment,
Condemnation,
Punishment.

We are good,
They are bad.

Yes, intentional evil exists
And there are saints among us
And sure,
Your brother-in-law is a jerk,
But life is short,
Give him a break.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A Light Burning


My secret love comes home.
I see her from my window.
She parks her car and opens her trunk,
Unloading,
Bags of things
For her secret life.

I walk by and say hello.
She says hi and smiles,
A long smile,
Watching me slowly walk away.

My secret love leaves a light burning,
Late, late into the night.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

I Will Mourn, Sooner Or Later


When you die
I will mourn for you.

I may even mourn for you
Before you die,
Now and then.

But I’m more likely to judge,
Rather than mourn,
While you’re still alive,
Knowing once you are dead,
The mourning will come easier.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

This Cat


If I didn’t have this cat
I would be reading about the perilous state
Of geopolitical affairs,
Uninterrupted,
Pondering the decline of participatory democracies
Engineered by religious terrorists and dictators,
Too often aided and abetted by a brainwashed populace.

But because I do indeed have this cat,
I must put my reading down
And extract the rubber spider from beneath the couch.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

He Did Not Fall


As my earthly span decreases,
My past increases,
Filling my thoughts,
Haunting my days,
Replacing the illusion of eternity
With the certitude of temporality.

My life,
Fixed in time,
An immutable chronology,
Yet not without hope,
Some spectacular finale:

At age 103
He stepped out of the boat
And stood upon the water.
He did not fall.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved