The Last Day


Pretend this is the last day of your life.
Really believe it.
Then, walk around in your life.
Examine this life you have made.

Look closely at the rooms where you live,
The pictures on the walls,
The empty spaces.
Look in drawers at random, scattered objects.
Listen to what each object tells you.
See the images each possession makes in your mind.

Speak with each member of your family,
Each friend,
Knowing these will be the last words you say to them,
The last words you will hear them say,
The last time you hear their voices,
See their faces.

Take note of the finality of each action
As you travel through minutes,
Every task you will never repeat
As you travel through hours,
The end of everything as the day hurries by.

See all you will never see again
Before the sun sinks below the horizon
And darkness fills every corner.
Hear all you will never hear again
Before the moon travels across the sky
And consciousness recedes as you slip into sleep.

Breathe in the delicious air that fills you with life
As the sound of your breathing slows,
Then stops.

~ ~ ~

Awaken tomorrow,
Surprised to be alive,
Filled with joy as you move through sunlit rooms,
Hearing the outside world awaken and begin again
In hopeful imperfection.

Think of all the friends and family you love,
Who are still here,
With you,
Who is still here,
With them.

Yes, you are still alive,
In your life,
In this world.

Now, embrace the grandeur of the greatest gift of all,
Another day.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Each And Every One


Life wears on us all,
Wears us down,
Wears us out,
Makes it hard to sleep,
Hard to get up in the morning
And do it all over again.

Long after it has worn out its welcome
The familiar calls us back,
Demands our attention
To the same old things,
All those things we thought we wanted,
An immortal monotony of routine,
The daily routine we've made.

Bored and burdened we are,
Full of complaints
In this garden of prosperity,
Just beginning to understand
That prosperity is never enough,
That each and every one of us,
No matter how high
Or low,
Each and every one of us
Must struggle against the slumber of the soul.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Exceptional


Whatever your ambitions,
The Guardians will say,
You Must!

Their years of experience,
Their successes,
Their failures,
All coalesce into certainty
About what Must be done.

Our libraries are full of certainty,
Centuries of prescriptive certainty,
Countless pages full of advice and warnings
You Must accept,

As if there were only a single path to each destination,
As if anyone could confine free will,
As if life were not,
At its very core,
Exceptional.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Drowning


Drowning in love.
Worse yet,
Dry land.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Dream-Killer


Take this dream,
Go ahead,
Take it and break it.
That’s what you’re good at
Mister Real World.
You take little dreams
Before they have a chance to grow
And scare them back into dark places
With your swagger and bluster.
You flail them with reason
And bludgeon them with precedent.

Scorn,
Derision,
Intimidation,
Unleashed!
Until at last the little dream,
Stilled and silent,
Dies.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Future Past


Our past was once the future,
Many years away from the melancholy glaze of reverence,
Many years away from the hallowed ground of institutionalization,
Feared by some,
Despised by others,
A threat to sacred rituals,
The demonized specter of change.

Those comfortable now in sameness,
Defenders of static conformity,
They might be hailed as visionaries
Were they catapulted back into antiquity
With beliefs and convictions intact,
Or perhaps burned at the stake.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A Door Opens, A Door Closes


A door that was open,
Closes,
It fades into the wall,
Becomes the wall,
And you realize
You will never be
On the other side
Of that wall,
The other side
Where everything is different,
In the land of What Could Have Been.

Or maybe you walked through that door,
And then it closed,
Faded into the wall,
Became the wall,
And now you realize
You can never get back
To the other side
Of that wall,
The other side
Where everything was really okay after all,
Back in the land of Leave Well Enough Alone.

A door opens,
A door closes.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Compromised


The people I am
Contend.

The adult disciplines the child,
The child disdains the adult,
One too wild and unrestrained,
The other too boring and slow.

The lover resents the married man
So predictably encased in rote and routine behaviors.
The married man rejects the lover
So impulsively surrendering reason to emotion.

So many people I’ve been,
All contesting for dominance,
Not one even slightly satisfied with the mandatory compromise
That is this single human being.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Every Damn Day


OK,
So there is no Santa Claus
And there’s no Santa Claus god,
Because even though my neighbor with the new Mercedes
Swears God personally wanted him to have that car,
There’s all these little children,
Stricken,
Suffering,
Dying in droves.

So,
God says,
“You’re on your own Earthlings!”
But still we pray for just a little advice,
A hot tip:
“Come on God, just a hint?”
And maybe you get a revelation.

Me,
I just get a headache,
And no matter how hard I try
It’s the same old me,
Every damn day,
Still trying to have a meaningful conversation
With God.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

What Next?


Amphibians,
No so long ago.

What next?

More than what we make,
What we own.
Something undiscovered
About what we are,
What we might be,
Without device.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Do You Remember?


~ for Plato

Before words,
Before explanations,
Before memory,
Before appearances,
Before reactions,
Before culture,
Before environment,
Before your body,
Before your parents,
Before all your generations,
Before all of us,
Before everything,
Remember?

Do you remember?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Do Not Know


Look backward,
Look forward,
Then,
Know,
Then,
Do not know.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Discarded Lovers


We are discarded lovers,
Wandering the streets,
Our heads hung down,
Too discouraged to look anyone in the eye.

We try to keep busy,
Always something to do,
Another task to complete,
To cover up the absence.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Dictionary


A word
Silently waits.

Pages are turning,
Closer.

Blazing white light,
Sweet warm breath,
Blinking blue eyes.

Finger!


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Deus Ex Machina


They’ve read all the big fat important books
And they want you to know,
You ain’t nobody
Until you know what they know.

Here on planet Earth
They think there are rules about these things,
And they want you to know,
You ain’t nobody
Until you follow the rules.

I say to hell with the whole damn bunch of ‘em.
Let ‘em stew in their own pot.
After all,
We ain’t talkin’ about somethin’
You could fit inside a test tube
Anyhow.

And just who was it exactly who appointed them
To tell me what to think?

You can give ‘em all Pulitzer prizes
‘Til you’re blue in the face
But that don’t mean nothin’ to me.

I don’t have to spend my entire life in the library
To know they just made it all up.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Definitions


We believe in definitions
Of definitions
Ad nauseum,
Alas.

We must have words,
But we layer our meanings
Like a hero sandwich,
Too big to get into the brain.

We forget the essential fact,
While labeling the labels
With the contrived clichés
Of the moment.

We have all become
So incredibly clever
We no longer know
How to tie our shoes.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Decisions


All the hours of anticipation,
The preparations,
Imagining his face,
His eyes,
So close.

You will wear your special perfume,
The dress that reveals the curve of your breasts.
You will touch his cheek with the palm of your hand
And say,
And say,
And say?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

All This Eternity


Some pray for wisdom
And go mad.

Some pray for health
And are struck down.

Some pray for love
And are left alone.

Some pray for peace
And do not live to see it.

All this eternity
Will level things out someday.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Deathbed View


No device,
No contriving,
No high-minded shuffling
And reshuffling of language
Into passages only the literati can decipher.

No wile,
No wordplay,
No conceptual crossword puzzles
Demonstrating my keen intelligence
And desire to be admired.

Awakened by mortality,
I have a deathbed view,
And those most ordinary of subjects
Such as love,
People,
The day at hand,
Are the only subjects that matter,
Really matter.

Life itself, that is.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Angels Pray


The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

He said this.
He said so many things,
Some lost in translation,
Others so direct,
So immediate
We fail to understand.

We are lost in hypothesis,
Wandering through the desert of the theoretical,
Dying of thirst,
Finding no relief in the idea of water,
No comfort from the concept,
When all along
The cool, clean water is before us,
But we do not drink.
We refuse to replace the idea with the immediate.
We will not drink.

We imagine a place,
A heaven,
A hell,
A limbo,
Where all our speculations are resolved.
We imagine that the real world,
The eternal world,
The awakened life
Is in some other existence,
Some other plane of being.

The angels pray for us,
Pray that we will awaken,
That we will realize
The kingdom of heaven is at hand,
Heaven and hell and everything in-between,
Here,
Now.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Remembering


How old you want to be
May depend
On how much you want to remember.

Some enjoy the bliss of erasing unhappy memories
As the years
Go
By.

Not me.

Events and circumstances
Pester me,
Suddenly appearing from the fog of the past,
In the middle of the day
While sitting in a café eating a deviled egg sandwich
On rye.

Suddenly,
There it is,
The afternoon I slapped my elderly father across the face,
His glasses skidding across the kitchen floor.

Now,
Old failures and sins line up to be revisited,
Reminding me of how much more I could have achieved,
How much kinder I should have been.

Oh yes, too many unpleasant memories,
Too vivid,
Too detailed,
Telling me I’ve lived long enough,
Long enough to appreciate death and its cleansing power,
Ready now to be reborn,
Ready for the slate wiped clean.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Remember Me


Years from now,
When I can no longer find your address,
When your hair is gray,
Remember me.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Love Songs


You’re way too sophisticated for love songs
And roll your eyes at all the familiar phrases,
The clichéd expressions of romantic euphoria,
The saccharin melodies of longing and desolation.

It’s been a long time since you fell in love,
If ever,
The kind of falling that has no end,
No reason,
No control.

You think yourself too mature for such adolescence,
Such fairy tales.

But if you’ve loved a princess
And lost a princess,
Only the inarticulate language of a love song
Can speak to your broken heart,
And every word rings true.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Ants


Ants,
These busy, busy ants,
Called upon this hot summer day
To march from there to here to somewhere else,
Called upon by Mother Earth to live,
To be busy,
So busy this hot summer day.

They do not ask why.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Dear Children


Dear children,
We encourage you to try
What we never tried,
But we must caution you
About what we have done.

That is,
We would warn you about trying
What we tried in vain.

You see,
Dear children,
We want you to succeed where we failed,
But we also want you to avoid our mistakes
And be safe,
Though as the years wander by
We must confess some regret
About being a little too safe.

We want you to be successful,
But do remember what seems like success
May turn out to be failure in disguise.

So,
Go boldly ahead,
We advise,
But do be careful.
You will regret never having taken a chance,
But if you risk everything
You may be throwing your lives away.

In other words,
This is the real world
And there is absolutely nothing
Your parents can do
About it.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Killer Angels


I can see it now,
Heaven on Earth,
Finally,
Humankind evolved,
Enlightened beings,
Killer angels
Executing sinners,
Just like we do now.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Haunted


Something moves
Within these walls,
Something,
Here,
Now,
With me,
In this room.

I fear this sorrow,
This dark, thick melancholy,
Singing ragged and out of tune,
Stuck,
Obsessed,
Familiar.

Something moves
Within,
Something,
Here,
Now,
A face in the mirror
That knows me,
That is not mine.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Dead


How often has it been said
Of the dead,
They would not have the dearly undeparted
Suffer undue grief.

They would have us renewed with joy,
After an appropriate mourning,
Reaffirming the gift of our daily existence
With fond reminiscences.

Will the dead never let us go?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Dark Age


Can I do anything with a word when the world is sparking through wires and cables and atmosphere crackling on screens drawing current from electrochemical Homo sapiens?

Can I do anything with a word when the chemicals come so easy and hit so hard and run so fast and shoot so high and last so long?

Can I do anything with a word when art is for intellectuals and commoners are jettisoned to their easy pulp?

Can I find a word that will cut through meanness and shame power lust and inspire the meek and disable the unjust and pull the disguise off everyday life?

What can I do when I am tortured by the mind and bleeding from the heart and enslaved by the logical and brainwashed by the desirable and distracted by discourse and people are dying in droves and killing is a political option and this is the real world and Jesus has already come and gone and the kind-hearted are cheated and the vicious are prosperous and I am honest by accident and duplicitous by nature and into the night I lie awake searching for a word.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Cure


I am used to distress
I will not take the cure
Of the even-tempered life
Lobotomized and pure.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Knowing Changes Everything


Sure,
Falling in love is easy,
It happens
And happens.
But at some point,
You’ve got to make your own way,
Make your own way in this world.
At some point,
You’ve got to demand a little respect,
Demand a little respect from this world.
At some point,
You don’t give in,
Don’t give in.

At some point,
You are the boss,
The boss of yourself,
And the very idea of falling head over heels
In love,
Becomes ludicrous.
The very idea of surrendering your soul
To love,
Becomes ridiculous.

You know better now,
And knowing changes everything.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved