The Song


This light breeze sings
A music only plants can hear,
Moving leaves and shadows in rhythms,
Then still,
Pianissimo,
Allowing the warm counterpoint of the sun
To swell,
Then rising again,
Stronger now,
Reinterpreting a theme.

While we are oh so busy worrying,
The song of the Earth plays on.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

My Word


Last night an angel came.
I will give you one word
And you must take this word into your heart
And live this word,
Eat and drink,
Inhale and exhale this word.
Absorb this word into your blood,
Into every particle of your being.
The angel bent low and whispered into my ear:
Is!
Then dissolved into air.

O preachers with all your discourse,
Your obedience,
Your years of theological parsing,
Construction and reconstruction,
Your lessons,
Now I must put them all aside.

I have my word to work on.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Nothing Special


No special time,
No special place.

Any time,
Any place.

When I was young
I believed in preparation,
Years of preparations.
But now,
After years of preparations,
I can,
At last,
Let preparations go.

Now,
With imagination exhausted,
I blunder my way into enlightenment,
Not walking into heaven,
But leaving heaven,
And hell.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Hugs


It was a friendly hug,
A hello hug,
A nice-to-see-you hug,
For her.

For me,
It was love,
It was touch,
It was lust.

O this vast desert,
O this oasis,
These few drops of water,
Keeping me alive.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

All The Way


She climbed a mountain,
Struggled and suffered her way to the summit.
Looking out over the vast landscape,
Looking up into the dome of the sky,
She said:
I am closer to God,
Not realizing God was with her,
All the way up,
Not realizing God would be with her,
All the way down.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Reincarnate


How many things we do
Without thought,
Things we’ve done so long,
For so many years,
Becoming habitually unconscious.

Actions and reactions
Assembled into support systems of self-identity,
Reinforcing who we think we are,
Who we think we aren’t.

Strip them all away and who is left?
A newborn?
Or just a very old human being,
Finally ready to begin again,
Somehow.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Welcome To New York


Easy to feel sorry for someone with no home,
Imagine shelterless days and nights
Picking through trash discarded food,
Penetrating heart-shivering cold,
Angry voices.

I have felt sorry,
Given money,
Prayed,
Expressed righteous outrage
At indifferent tolerance.

I entertain such thoughts and feelings,
Yet in a corner of a New York City subway station
The feet of a homeless man
Were mud-stained,
Calloused, cracked, bleeding, swollen yellow-purple,
Each toenail turning black.

He was curled up like a kitten,
Lost in shivering sleep,
The winter chill coming on.

Easy to feel sorry,
To give money,
To relieve conscience with care and concern.
But who will wash this man’s feet?
Who will put salve on this man’s wounds?
Who will reassemble his life?
Who can?

I left him there.
We all walked by and left him there,
His wounded feet exposed to everyone,
Looking like Christ’s feet must have looked,
Nailed to the cross.
Actual, physical evidence,
The painful journey of an abandoned soul.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

There Are Words


There are words that lead into words,
That pull you in like the sudden spike
Of a strong drug,
Words whose meanings unfold,
Revealing layer upon layer,
Myriad thoughts,
The petals of old roses,
Shark teeth.

But each revelation is incomplete,
Relies on the understanding
Of an additional equation
Always a few pages ahead.
It is gravity in reverse,
Where conclusion precedes supposition,
A house of mirrors for the mind.

There are words that lead away from words,
That do not command,
Less than certain,
They paint a cerulean sea
And tell how the pelican folds his wings in flight
Like a collapsed umbrella
And dives into a shoal of sardines,
Shimmering,
Silver,
To satisfy his hunger.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Peace And Quiet


I had almost reached some eternal state of bliss
When my reverie was rudely interrupted
By my birth.

I need not tell you of the emotional quagmire
That is life.

I have suffered less than many.

Yet just when things began to settle down
My reverie was rudely interrupted
By my death.

Perhaps now I can finally get some peace and quiet.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Special Delivery


When I want love too much,
I remind myself not to be so selfish,
That love should be delivered
By winged messenger
With balloons.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The World


The trouble,
The consternation comes
When I try to make sense of the world.

Now which world is it I struggle to behold?

All human,
All animal,
All biological,
All cultural,
All political,
All geographical,
All cosmological,
All these worlds and millions more,
All somehow coagulated in mind and imagination,
All one world?

From my first waking hours
To my restless, fitful sleep,
I travel through myriad worlds of self,
Past, present and future worlds,
Full of memory, supposition and hypothesis,
Full of knowledge and ignorance,
Full of fear and hope,
And always,
Always,
The ever-present now,
Calling me to awaken,
Commanding immediacy,
Constantly defining and redefining this mercurial existence.

How can I ever make sense of it all,
Ever slip under a microscope
Such a fanciful idea as a world?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Old Cat Sighed


The old cat sighed.
Suddenly realizing
Just how limited a cat’s life really is,
The old cat died.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Haunting


Some call it haunting,
These visits I make
To the places I lived,
Where my life was made,
To my childhood home:
The sidewalks still here
Where I rode my bike.
I hear the voice of my grandmother
Calling me in from play
For a sandwich and a glass of milk.
That long summer day
Walking with my grandfather
And all the things he said
About the life that was coming,
Things I scarcely understood,
Things that have guided me,
Lifted me when I fell
So I could begin again
To be like him,
A decent man.

I will not reawaken childhood sorrows.
I have buried them here
After years of torment,
And questions,
And finally,
Resolution.
Yet,
There is a light breeze of melancholy
Blowing through this place,
Blowing through all the places of my life
Where joy and sorrow,
Anger and ecstasy once lived.

Some call it haunting,
These visits I make
To the places where my life took shape,
On my own in tiny rooms,
In anonymous cities:
The rooming house and it’s red-haired landlady,
Mothering the young and single men there
With morality, discipline and compassion,
Teaching us how to respect
What was once a grand hotel
Where dignified gentlemen and ladies
Gracefully ascended
The carpeted stairs of the seaside resort.
And how many lonely nights
Did I sit on the sand at ocean’s edge
Learning how to listen?

Without chronology I travel,
My haunting is outside of time,
Drawn to the passions,
The silly exclamations,
So silly and profound this human animal,
This creature that can love:
Love that girl who gave me her life.
We exchanged lives,
Awakening,
Awakening,
In passion and in play,
Keeping the outside world away.

There are sad and angry rooms
Where I will not return,
For my haunting is to be free of regret,
Except for a kind of regret that sends me back,
Back in time to where happiness began,
Where happiness had the power to overwhelm,
To overwhelm life’s myriad frustrations.
O my soul has traveled in dark haunts enough,
Finally worn out its punishments,
Deserved and undeserved,
My penance,
Paid.

Now my soul travels in light,
In melancholy radiance:
I see my young family,
Laughter in their voices,
Youth and electricity in every movement,
And the future is infinite,
Full of imagination,
Full of hope,
And the growing of my life
Becomes the growing of my family
And I am no longer a single being,
I am larger.

Some call it haunting,
These visits I make
To where my beginnings began,
But this too will end
When I begin again.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

When?


When you start praying
When do you say:
Now I can put
All my praying away.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Father's Day


My father was too busy
Pulling weeds from his manicured lawn,
Each root carefully extracted intact,
To notice his house burning down.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Scholar


The learned, white-haired scholar
Sits atop a wooden library stepping stool,
Head bowed in deep concentration,
Reading from a book pulled from overstuffed shelves,
A backdrop of accumulated wisdom and folly
Surrounded by an island of ancient volumes strewn about the floor.

He is a serious man,
Dressed in formal attire,
Shoulders permanently stooped from decades of study,
Burnished in gold and mounted on black stone,
A bookend that keeps my unread volumes straight.

Although tempted by worlds both real and unreal,
By fictional dreams and nonfictional revelations,
By theologies and philosophies,
By research and supposition,
By fact and fancy,
By pretty pictures and childhood reveries,
I leave this dusty room,
For the day is new and the sun is warm
And everywhere little birds are singing in leaf-filled trees,
Beckoning,
Beckoning me to the more tangible world outside my door.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Hungry


Nature has made us hungry,
The necessary motivation for procreation,
Assuring perpetuity,
Even when reason resists.

By design or accident,
Or design of accident,
Over and over again,
We are born.

Modesty shames our unchecked explosions of lust,
So we attach the appropriate fig leaves
And walk out of the garden,
Into the world,
Imbued with socially appropriate decorum
Disguising our baser animal instincts.

Yet secretly,
Or not so secretly,
We cast the wandering eye,
Hungry.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

What It Is


This is,
What it is.

Now I know.

I said it was something else,
Way back then,
When I was ignorant
And thought I knew.

This is,
What it is.

Now I know.

And I've decided
It’s up to me
To tell you so.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A Home In My Heart


There is a home in my heart
For each person I love,
Whether they love me,
Or not.

They’re all I’ve got.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Testing


Testing,
Testing.
Testing one, two, three,
Testing.
Onetwo, Onetwo,
Check onetwo.
Can you hear me back there in the cheap seats?
Am I coming through?
Testing,
Testing.
One, two, three,
Testing.
Should I turn it up?
Can you hear me?
Should I turn it up?
Give me a little more juice here.
Testing testing onetwo onetwo.
Refuse to comply.
Testing onetwo,
Onetwo.
Louder?
You want it louder?
REFUSE TO COMPLY!
Testing onetwothreefour,
Testing.
Tear down the system.
TEAR DOWN THE SYSTEM!
Testing.
Checkin’ one two,
Check, check,
Onetwothreefour.
A little louder please.
Revolution.
Revolution now!
REVOLUTION NOW!
Testing,
Onetwo,
Threefour,
Testing,
Testing.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

In The Wind


Love is in the wind,
A rootless passion,
A bird in flight,
An annunciation.

Love comes,
Love goes,
That is our illusion,
For we are the wind
And our passions are birds in flight,
Touching down here and there,
While love,
Like air,
Is everywhere.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Stuff


Hunting,
Gathering,
Acquiring,
Perfectly natural instincts,
Especially considering the vagaries
Of our primordial environments.

But now,
Knee-deep in storage containers,
The mechanism runs wild.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Critique


I think I am,
Therefore,
I have to get up in the morning
And drive to work.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Winding Down


I am a wind-up clock,
A multitude of wind-up clocks,
All winding down.

In younger years
I sprang into life each new day,
Wound tight by youth and enthusiasm.

Now, I cannot wind my clocks as tightly as before,
And some have stopped and will not be restarted,
Worn out beyond repair.

Now, the momentum of time increases.
Hours and days and years are speeding up
As my clocks run slow, slow, slower.
It is an odd equation.

I am a wind-up clock,
A multitude of wind-up clocks,
All winding down
As I fall fast, fast, faster
Toward that place,
That inevitable, timeless place.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Embrace


Here,
In this embrace,
I remember hating you.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Love Is Not Philosophy


1. Love Is Easy

Unlike philosophy,
Love is easy,
Actual.
You wake up each morning
And joy fills your heart
Because someone you love will say,
“I love you,”
Before the day is through,
And you will hold each other close
In a moment of eternity.


2. Love Is Hard

Unlike philosophy,
Love is hard,
Actual.
You wake up each morning
And pain fills your heart
Because someone you love has said,
“I don’t love you,”
And all day long
You will feel wounded and empty,
Hoping it won’t last forever.


3. Love Is Mysterious

Unlike philosophy,
Love is mysterious,
Ethereal.
You wake up each morning
And both joy and pain fill your heart
Because you ache to say,
“I love you,”
If only you could find someone
Before the end of another lonely day
And see the dream awaken.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Filled With Light


When I was younger
It was just me alone,
Staring into the abyss,
Waiting,
Without knowing what I was waiting for,
Falling into the deepest part of night,
So dark.

I am kinder now
And wait until sunny birdsong morning
To enter the place of no place.
Old fears still come and go
But now I face them with a warm cup of coffee
In a pleasant room,
Filled with light.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

There Are Reasons


My young cat bit through the skin on my hand,
Playfully,
And now the weather’s turned cold.

Rain is on the way
And there are two circular puncture wounds
Where little bitty kitty bit me.

I’d better get up on the roof before the rain starts.

I have my reasons.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Very Busy


God sent an angel to speak to you
But you’ve been very busy lately,
Even on Sundays,
Hurrying off to church,
Reading and reciting,
Praising the Lord
And all that.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Clearing


Do I live too long?
I sometimes wonder
During these long, childless days,
Now that my work is done.

Bored with idle pleasures
I fill my hours with trivial chores,
Unnecessary obligations,
Trying to shift my attention
From this slow but steady disintegration.

O poor old self,
How I mourn for your loss,
How I long for your renewal,
Yet, it is a kind of relief to see you go,
All the rantings,
The mad pursuits,
Worn out at last.

The clearing.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

All This Absence


If she were angry with me,
That would be quite another thing,
But this friendly indifference,
Her cold, controlled smile,
Her appropriate words
Kept at the appropriate distance,
Her brief eye contact
Signifying nothing.

No anger,
No joy,
Not even a little curiosity.

If she were angry with me,
Then,
Something to hope for,
But all this absence . . .


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Morning


When I first woke up I thought it was going to rain,
Upside down,
Each raindrop a single, singing voice,
Assembling into a drenching choir,
A requiem of weather,
But then, I woke up a little more.

I thought I was a spy who must deliver documents,
Secret documents,
To my communist overlords
In order to maintain the lifestyle
To which I’d grown accustomed,
But then, I woke up a little more.

I thought my cats were whispering to each other,
Speaking English,
Complaining about their accommodations,
Casting furtive glances about the room
While pretending they couldn’t really speak,
But then, I woke up a little more.

I reprimanded my furniture,
Intimidated my toilet,
Put my walls on notice that containment was not an option,
But then, I woke up a little more.

All that I’ve ever done wrong spontaneously flew about my head
Like buzzing houseflies,
Each, in turn, flying close to my left ear,
Accusing me of human frailty,
Reminding me of missed opportunities,
But then, I drank a half cup of warm coffee.

One by one my demons evaporated
Like mist into steam into air on a hot summer morning,
And for another day,
Absolution,
Reprieved by the will to live
And a little caffeine.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved