Here To Stay


My children who've grown older
Have moved away.

Now the children they once were
Are here to stay.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Here, Now


Earth.
Heaven.
Hell.

Heaven and Hell.

Hell on Earth.
Heaven on Earth.

Heaven and Hell on Earth,

Here,
Now.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Bird Calls


These birds
Do not appreciate my impersonations,
The whistling,
The forced chirping through pursed lips.
They point their beaks at one another
And tilt their heads sarcastically
As I call:
Here birdy-birdy-birdy.

Incredulous,
They raise their eyes toward the treetops
And sigh,
Tiny puffs of air,
Ruffle a feather or two
And fly.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Enshrined


The light in her eyes when she sees her love
Illuminated beneath a streetlight,
Knowing their evening of romance has just begun,
Believing it has no end . . .

How quickly they come together,
So tightly embrace,
Looking deep into each other’s eyes,
A long kiss without caring who sees . . .

Their fingers entwine,
Their bodies stay close walking down the sidewalk
Into the enchanted night,
Arm in arm,
Heart in heart . . .

When I see them I think of you,
Of our eternal moments together,
Alive within me still,
Enshrined.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Here On Earth


Here on Earth,
God sees through our eyes.
Here on Earth,
God works with our hands.
Here on Earth,
We are the conscience of God.

Yet you ask,
Why does God not see?
Why does God not act?
Where is God’s mercy?

Look within your heart.
You will find the answers there.

Each of us is called.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Defiance


I did not volunteer for this duty,
Sentinel of pain,
And in my lowest moments I protest,
Knowing such protestations do no good,
Yet anger feels appropriate,
If only to maintain some kind of balance,
Some kind of defiance.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Professorial


He may actually believe in philosophy,
That a systematic philosophical argument can prove God exists,
That the mysteries of the heart are susceptible to reason,
That he will awaken from distress by way of intellectual inquiry.

So much to consider as he continues his search,
Wandering through the labyrinth of postulation
So late into the night,
Alone and wide awake,
Missing her.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Love Is A Vibration


His pocket is vibrating,
On and off all day long
With messages of love
From his eager new girlfriend,
Vibrating with urgency
On his cell phone.

But he is at work
And cannot stop.
Besides,
The words don’t matter.
The vibration is enough.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Heidi Ho


There is a little dog I know
Her name is Heidi Ho.
She lives where the red grapes grow,
Where the gypsy boys moan low
With their squishy gypsy missies.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Heaven And Hell


Sometimes this peaceful suburban landscape
Seems like heaven.

I am momentarily reprieved
And the people in my tiny town glow,
Translucent arcs of light
Moving about their daily tasks.

We stop and talk a while.

Hell returns.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Wishing


A fountain sparkling with pennies,
A wishing well
Catches your eye
And for a moment
You consider finding a penny
And making a wish,
An impulse you quickly dismiss.

All those shiny pennies
Magnified by the rippling water,
Shimmering.
An illusion for children,
You think.
Too old for such foolishness,
You think,
No longer remembering what wishing is for.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Heart Of The World


I give you my heart,
Which is the heart of the world.

It was yours before I gave it to you,
Yours when you were lost,
Yours when you loved,
Yours when you cried.

I give you my heart,
Which is the heart of the world.

It is yours without my giving,
Yours when you are strong,
Yours when you are weak,
Yours awakening in you.

I give you my heart,
Which is the heart of the world.

Look!
Within your hearing,
Within your sight,
Within and without,
Everywhere,
It is the heart of the world,
And I give it to you.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Angelic


I used to think angels were perfect,
Unstained,
Untouched by human frailty,
Until,
In a low moment
An angel comforted me,
The kind of comfort only an angel could bring,
An angel who knows what it is to be human,
Who knows what it is to fail.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Past, Present, Future


Lust is easy to explain.
Biological,
Sociological,
Innate urges powered by repression,
By obsession.
Animal.

Yes, you awaken the stalking beast within,
But something transcends,
Filling me with your past, present, future.

I look into your eyes and see all the ages of your life,
All the ages of our lives together.

You look into my eyes and smile,
And though we’ve just met,
The past, present and future of our lives, assemble.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Hate


If you are taught to hate,
If you embrace hate,
If you carry hate in your heart,
Then you will awaken each morning with hate,
Sleep each evening with hate,
Dream of hate.

Such a heavy burden,
This all-embracing anger,
This desire for violence,
This vengeance.

But when you dream of a perfect world,
When you imagine yourself in paradise,
Where is hate?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Hangin’ Onto The Ozone


My feet don’t seem to stick
No more to the floor,
They don’t.

Oh sure,
I can walk down the street,
But I’m hangin’ on for dear life.

Any minute now
That street come slippin’ out from under,
Me hangin’ onto the ozone
So I don’t fall
All the way
To the moon.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Safe


First comes passion,
Then all the talking,
The explaining,
The rationalizing,
The figuring things out
While passion is silently put
Into the small golden box
With the other keepsakes,
Safe.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

After I Died


I am walking on a long, outstretched path,
Somewhere I’ve never been
Yet familiar somehow,
Past verdant bushes and trees,
New life sprouting, flashing from every direction,
Bushels of multicolored leaves,
Rainbows of sudden spring flowers,
Glistening gold and green painted hillsides,
Walking without destination
Yet toward something, large.

A promise?
A transformation?

I am walking alone
In the cool crisp air of morning,
Or is it evening?
No sense of time.
A yellow sparrow flutters down
A few steps ahead,
Deliberately attracting my attention,
Then hopping along with me,
Keeping a safe distance,
Leading me from her nesting place
Until we’ve traveled far enough away,
Then she is gone.

I am walking without destination
But something significant is happening.
I am changing in some undefinable way,
Transforming into something long wished,
A childhood dream.

Then,
Suddenly,
Without thought,
I rise and take flight.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Battlefield


It is certainty that contends
On the battlefields of just cause,
Justifying employments of war’s less noble deeds,
Accepting war’s indiscriminate consequences,
The plight of millions,
This persistence of terror.

We fight our way through centuries,
Through millennia.
We are little changed.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Guru


When my cat sits on my lap,
Forcing stillness upon me,
I hear the distant barking of a neighborhood dog,
The sudden chirping of squabbling birds,
Footsteps down the hall,
The ticking of a clock,
The whoosh of a passing car,
A door softly opened
Then closed,
An airplane,
The scratching of this pen against this paper,
The smell of ink,
The movement of my toes,
The tempo of my breathing,
The sudden absence of sound,
The weight of silence.

When my cat sits on my lap
She reminds me I am living in a world
Of sense and sensation,
My furry little guru.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Hero


I do not want my son to be a hero,
Whose name will be read among the honored dead,
Who will be forever young in the picture that is hung
On his empty bedroom wall,
O dear God don’t let him fall
In battle and attack,
Please bring him safely back.

I do not want my son to be a hero.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Smothered


O my love you are constant
Yet incorporeal.
You have inhabited those I’ve loved
But their wills proved too strong,
Smothering you with petty practicalities.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Got No


I ain’t got no
Ain’t got no.
I ain’t got no
Ain’t got no.

No no no.
No no no.

Got no
Got no
No no no.

No no no,
Ain’t got no,
No got no,
Grammar.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

God's Little Figures


And it was said,
Let us make God in our image,
After our likeness,
And He shall have dominion over all the Earth,
And God we created he Him,
In our image,
From our spirit,
And we so exalted God
We came to believe He created we us,
In His image,
Individual and separate,
God’s little figures,
Made out of clay.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

God Dog


Once there was a small brown dog who loved God.
He loved God so much
He decided to change his name
To God,
God Dog,
The 1st.

Then,
He began to pee on the furniture
Without restraint.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

They Fall


One by one they fall,
While you,
So busy complaining,
Don’t notice them at all.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Go Gently


Go gently into that good night
For it is no darkened sleep
That comes in the passing there,
No closing of the day,
No dying of the light.

Go gently into that good night
For you have received the gift
And have no need to complain.

Life goes on
In ways we cannot imagine.
Life goes on
In ways we cannot explain.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Give Me The Passing Stranger


Friends are delicate creatures
And require delicate care.
Give me the passing stranger,
My middle finger in the air.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Happiness Has Wings


Happiness has wings
Of dust
And light,
So fragile,
Just a thought
Can tear them from the sky.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Gentleness Has Gone


The gentleness has gone from our lives,
We are too busy for it now.
Our lives are loud, brash and bold
And our children grow up without parents,
Playing on cement.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Punishment


Can you imagine living a thousand years?
Every reflective thought
Awakening hundreds of painful memories,
An avalanche of regret.

I am nowhere near a hundred years old
Yet I struggle to resolve past indiscretions
With only limited success.
Try as I might, I cannot sanitize the truth of my past.
I cannot undo the injuries I’ve caused,
No matter how fervently I try to heal the wounds.

It’s not that my life has been without joy,
Without moral achievement,
Without love,
But a more mature honesty now calls me
To unrepress the intimate knowledge of my sins,
To face them honestly,
And,
At last,
Render the long-delayed verdict of my conflicted soul.

The punishment has already begun.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Just Happy, That’s All


Here they come,
A lady and her dog,
A diminutive dog,
Galloping to keep pace with his mistress,
His little legs a blur.

Here they come,
And I swear this little fluffy dog
Has a smile upon his face,
So happy to be out in the larger world
Beyond the backyard,
So full of energy,
While his mistress strides on determinately,
Talking on her small plastic phone,
Talking about a plan that fell through
And what she plans to do,
About it.

She doesn’t see me as I walk by.
She doesn’t see the fading orange of the dusky sky
Whose wind-whipped clouds paintbrush the horizon.
She doesn’t see the hillside shadows
Or feel the sudden chill coming on.
She doesn’t hear the evening chorus of chirping, chittering birds
Or even the sound of her own footsteps.

Her life is complex,
So many decisions that must be made.
She weighs them,
While her little dog trots jubilantly along,
Panting,
Smiling,
Just happy,
That’s all.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

In Winter


Darkness,
Too early now,
Crushing,
Unmistakably mean.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Filling


When at last the lover leaves intensive care,
All is a fragile balance on the edge of relapse.
One must re-learn the enjoyment of simple things:

The bitter spark from a cup of coffee,
The sweetness of sugar on the tip of the tongue,
The penetrating warmth of the sun
Shimmering through the crisp afternoon breeze,
The pleasure of another hour,
Another day,
Filling, filling, filling
That dark and dangerous place
Where love was.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Game


The game’s no longer fun
After the game is won.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Free Fall


You and I are not content,
We want what we do not have.

We are acquisitive by nature,
A long line of hunter-gatherers.

We want what we want.

You and I will never be happy
Until we get what we cannot have,
For desire is a free fall.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

For Schopenhauer


Show me your sun-drenched sprigs of winter,
The juniper bug as he howls,
The rise and fall of oatmeal
In the misty dawn of a burgeoning wahoo!

Show me these things,
My sweet, bare-faced darling,
And I shall inherit your property
With the gay abandon
Of love’s lost moth at eventide.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Fly


Here,
In this beautiful world,
A fly is trapped in my house.

Trapped.

It's buzzing madly against the window glass,
Certain there must be an opening,
Beckoned by the light of the outside world,
The outside world,
Just a fraction of an inch away,
An impenetrable fraction of an inch.

Here,
In this beautiful world,
Where all things are possible,
This Garden of Eden where life explodes,
Where love and hate contend,
Where joy, real joy is actually possible,
A fly is trapped in my window.

I get a clear plastic cup
Reserved for such rescues
And capture the exhausted creature,
Gently sliding a square of cardboard beneath
To prevent escape.

Here,
In this dangerous world,
Where evil survives and babies die,
A fly was trapped in my house
And I opened the door,
And I let it go.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

First Impressions


Each person I meet starts out as God,
Then they almost talk me out of it,
But I know God is in there somewhere.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Epidemic


Addicted,
So easily,
So quickly to myriad petty attractions
Beckoning from these now ubiquitous devices,
Clutched so feverishly in hand,
Transfusing.

We are entranced,
Enchained as any needle-injected addict,
Beyond choice.

What hidden addictions were ever so omnipresent
Before this age of technological obsession?
Are we uniquely infected?

Is this new epidemic an interruption,
Or a harbinger?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Sympathy


I cannot help but feel sorry
For this little bird
On a limb
In the rain,
Who cannot help but feel sorry
For this tired old man
In a house
Who can’t fly.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Final Question


Such a relief,
To get past that final question.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Will


How long is a moment?
To a baby?
To a star?

Our lives are a collection of moments,
Falling through time,
Falling even through death,
All the way into eternity.

This place is a moment,
Even the universe is a moment,
For all that is not permanent will pass,
And all that passes is momentary.

So tell me,
What is permanent?

Everywhere I look,
Everything I learn,
All that I know tells me
The most permanent thing of all,
Will.

Even after our expanding universe is pulled apart,
Stretched into a soupy, cosmic protoplasm,
Some sort of microbe will struggle to exist,
To persist,
Either in this dilapidated universe
Or in some other, younger place.

It’s what pushes a single blade of grass
Out of the ground
Toward the light of our dying star.
It’s what awakens us each morning
And sends us out into this particular world.
It’s the most eternal thing I know,
Will.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The White Deer


After years in the forest,
Walking through the woods,
One snowy morning
A white deer,
So rarely seen,
Never seen by me,
A ghost in the clearing,
Not haunting,
A messenger,
A vision of my innocence
Before I lost faith with this world,
When the future was infinite,
When all things were possible.

There,
In the forest,
A motionless visage in the snowy woods,
A white deer,
Its penetrating gaze piercing my soul,
A ghost sent to remind me,
Telling me,
It’s not too late,
Never too late for reclamation.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Reassembly


In the middle of being busy,
Did you ever stop,
Struck suddenly by the feeling of meaninglessness?

I stopped,
And for a moment of extinguished hope
Contemplated the futility of my life,
Considered the finality of death that ceases all striving.

Then I made myself another cup of coffee,
Added a spoonful of sweet cocoa powder,
And felt happy holding this warm drink in my hand,
Returning to the tasks at hand,
All the many reasons reassembling.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Falling Asleep


When thoughts blur into one another
And edges soften,
Places lose their place
And words all run with so
For understand if nothing when
You startle awake,
Surprised you were asleep,
And awake is so uncomfortable,
A confusing dream,
And asleep is just fine
At last
For now in soft clouds
Where nothing is individual:
Good-bye . . .


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Falling


I pause for a moment,
Breathe deeply,
And try to consider my infatuation for you
In the cold, clear-headed light of reason,
And at last
I begin to see you as just another person.
I watch you from a distance
And see that you are not unlike others
Who come and go within my gaze
Without stirring my emotions so.

Then you see me and say hello.

I come closer and take your hand,
Look into your eyes,
And all reason disappears.

No direction,
No gravity,
No time of day,
Falling, falling, falling.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Failure And Success


What seems so clearly to be failure
Will turn out to be only part of what happened.
What seems so clearly to be success
Will turn out to be only part of what happened.
The story of your life is so much more complex
Than the simple words:
Failure,
Success.

Leave this shorthand to the obituary writers
Who are compelled to sum up a life
In cold, calculating column inches.

Do not dwell on failure.
Do not dwell on success.
Live in the heart of each moment
And behold the terrible majesty of it all.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Love Is Not Like


My love is not like anything,
For “like” lacks the arrow of truth
That strikes the heart,
Sending electric pain through every synapse,
Pain that is not the love.

My love is not like anything,
For “like” lacks the chemistry of truth
That spikes giddy euphoria in the brain,
Euphoria that is not the love.

My love is the cause of effect,
Love which is not like anything,
But itself.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Exposed


It’s not in the words,
All the words we say to each other.
It’s not in the obligations,
All the obligations we place on each other.
It’s not in the memories,
All the memories we keep of each other.

It’s not in the past,
Not in the future.
It’s here,
In this moment,
In this embrace,
Exposed.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

I Was Flying


I was flying,
Swift and sure
With the lift of a hand,
A miracle on demand.

But more than the addictive bliss
Of flight,
Or the intoxication
Of height,
I was most proud
Of my position above the crowd,
Most proud
And most alone.
I was the only one.

Out of loneliness I descended
And flew closely by,
Urging all to try.

But not one would leave the ground,
So sadly I ascended
And flew once more above them,
Unnoticed,
Without sound.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Exercise Day


There he goes,
This pasty glob of goo,
Jogging a little,
Now walking,
His shorts too tight,
His T-shirt too small,
His head bowed and dripping with sweat.

It’s early Saturday morning,
Exercise day,
And he trudges down the street
In this quiet, upper-middle-class burb
Listening to music
Through tiny earphones,
The same exact music
He listened to thirty years ago.

It’s exercise day
And by God he’s going to make it
All the way around the misshapen loop
That belts his neighborhood.
He restarts a slow jog,
His floppy white hat is damp
From his sweaty, hair-challenged head.

It’s exercise day
And he is determined to run
The rest of the way home
Where he will reward his valor
With a piece of cake
In a bowl of milk.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Giving Up


Easier to give up on love,
Forget about love,
Than to wake each morning
With an ache.

I’ll start tomorrow.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Everything I Say Is A Lie


We’re all pretty much the same
Except for those who are different,
But then most of us are different once in a while,
Which makes us all pretty much the same,
Except for those who are only sometimes the same
And mostly different,
Along with those who will be different most of the time
After years and years of being mostly the same.

Some of the others will be the same as they were
And continue to shift back and forth,
While still others among them
Will sometimes be different and the same simultaneously.

Some will think they’re different yet remain the same,
While others will think they’re the same,
Not realizing how different they truly are.

Many will hardly think about these things at all.

As for me,
I guess I’m pretty much like everybody else,
Trying in vain to be the same,
Yet not really that much different at all.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Enthusiasms


When we made love
You may not have anticipated
I would write it down
And send copies out into the world.

You may have thought
It was no one else’s business.

You are right,
Of course.

But I just can’t help myself,
Love’s enthusiasms being what they are.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Enough


I saw a boy riding his bicycle
Deep in some imagination
Without any bills or job or wife
Or children or war to worry about.

He did not know he was in heaven.
He did not need to know.
Being there was enough.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Long Meeting


Rehearsed expressions of passion
Go on
And on
While whispers scatter about
Like dead leaves blowing
Across a fallow field.

A man stands up and leaves the room,
Another stands and stays.

A woman too old for her curled wig
Follows her purse out of the room.

But most of us stay
And cough
And listen to the sound
Of a small airplane
Lifting someone high into night
Above the twinkling light
That looks so charming from afar.

Here we are.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Elders


How blurred our ancient lives
In the sure, fixed gaze of youth,
Our lives filled with suffering
And precaution.

Live now!
Shout the young,
And when they die
In some orgiastic frenzy of being,
We shake our heads and click our tongues
Knowingly,
As if we were never young,
As if we had never longed for flight.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

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

Criminals


How they laugh,
How they swagger,
How they talk as tough as death.

How they stare you down,
Until they are in custody,
Then how their lawyers expound
The tragedies of their rudderless lives,
What honest and honorable souls
They could have been
And with just one more chance,
Still could be.

I read the newspaper accounts,
Their unhappy childhoods,
And laugh.

They were always the rough ones
Who made childhood unhappy,
Who stained innocence with threat,
With violence,
These practitioners of unchecked power.

Were this another age,
They would conquer nations.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Still Too Young


I remember the shock,
Seeing the lifeless brown bird
So still on the ground,
The blank, clouded eye
That could not see,
The unmoving feathers,
The crooked wings
Never again to lift this silent sparrow
Up, up and up into the air.

So this is death,
I thought.
Falling, falling and falling
From the top of the tallest tree,
Still too young to realize
Death would someday come for me.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A Cricket In Paris


It is a sultry summer night
And the chirp of a cricket in my garage
Reminds me of Paris,
Where I’ve never been,
And despite my sedentary life,
How lucky I am
I was not born a cricket,
Although I suppose being a cricket in Paris
Is quite a different thing altogether.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Her Best Lesson


My fifth grade teacher was angry.
She thought I was hopeless,
Making the class erupt in laughter with some odd remark
Only a twelve-year-old boy could concoct
While she attempted to pass on some measure of insight
About the War of 1812.

It was but one of a long line of transgressions
I’d committed that school year,
Dedicated as I was to the disruption of order,
So militantly enforced at my small, private school.

Perhaps because she was newly transplanted from England
Where boarding school boys were more compliant,
Her distress at my behavior was so inflamed,
Inspired, even.
After the classroom laughter subsided,
After a measured silence,
With grave solemnity she declared:
Pearls before swine. Pearls before swine!

She was not the first teacher I’d driven to extremes,
But one of the most memorable,
Thanks to her vivid condemnation.

I can still see her, flinging strings of exquisite pearls into the mud
Where corpulent pigs, grunting and snorting,
Trample them beneath their hooves.

It was her best lesson,
Her only lesson I remember,
Something about saying what you really mean,
Something about honesty.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Slipping


Things slip away,
Things I meant to do.

There,
In an old shoebox.
There,
In a dusty, cobweb-covered corner of the garage.
There,
In a cupboard too high to reach without a stepping stool,
All the things I meant to do,
Layers of things,
Saved, for some purpose.

It’s not a single thing anymore
Or even a handful of things I’ve neglected.
It’s a metastasizing percentage of my life,
Overshadowing my days.

Now it’s the fight to stay awake,
Regardless of what I can or cannot do,
To stay awake and remember.
Remember,
The anticipation of joy.
Remember,
The adrenaline of hope.
Remember,
The comforting reassurance that the future is long
And without end.

Summer has passed
And I did not hear the coyotes singing down the sun,
Calling to one another with cries full of energy and expectation,
Raw with excitement for the hunt,
Echoing along the hillside trail where I once walked each evening,
Now among my neglected habits.

I must reclaim,
Something,
Reassemble some of the forgotten pieces,
Retrace my steps.
So I return to the trail
But the distance is longer now,
The incline, steeper,
The steps, multiplied.

I turn back.

It’s almost dark as I finally make my way home.
A bat whisks by my face,
Its blurry, angular shape visible for only a moment,
But the image imprints like the flash of lightning in a black sky.
The sharp chill of night air stings my cheeks
As I return to the safety of neighborhood sidewalks.
A cottontail bunny scurries across a manicured yard,
From bush to bush.
A man in the yellow light of his garage searches through a toolbox,
And in the distance,
The whirring, droning sound of freeway traffic,
Thousands upon thousands,
Rushing toward some kind of future I can no longer imagine.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Contestants


Just another species
We are
The manipulators,
The malcontents
We are
The controllers of an uncontrollable world,
A world that will rise up against us someday
And end all this tinkering,
Making room for the next
Contestants.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Consider


Although you swear God has intervened,
Protected you,
(Or was it angels?)
Stop your self-righteous certainty
For a moment.

Consider all the children
Who die each day,
Each year,
Since the beginning.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Art


It is a half-filled aquarium
With three basketballs floating inside,
On a pedestal,
Next to a young man in uniform,
A museum guard
Staring with scarcely disguised disdain
At the museumgoers
Who stare with scarcely disguised bemusement
At the exhibit.

Some laugh and shake their heads,
Cast a lingering glance at the guard as if to ask:
Is this a joke?

But most give indifferent deference
To the buoyant rubber orbs,
Assuming the exhibit must be fraught with meaning,
Seeing as how it’s on a pedestal,
In an art museum.

The young museum guard who never went to college
Directs his dispassionate gaze
From observers to the observed,
Certain he could make something,
Anything,
Better.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

This Great Gift


When the end of things finally came
We rejoiced.
The end of sadness,
Of hate,
Of despair.
But then rejoicing also came to an end,
For it was the end of all things,
The end of joy,
Of love,
Of hope.

When the end of all things was finally finished,
We were struck blind and deaf,
Mute,
Without the discriminating power,
Without time or temporality,
Blank.
Then we ceased to exist,
For it was the end of everything.

Now we are back,
Complaining again,
Believing in the possibility of utopia,
Working to put an end to all that is unjust,
This great gift of contention once again begun,
Still unfinished,
This great gift of life.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Enchanted Princess


She is glowing
And her light penetrates me,
Fills me with unexplainable joy.

She dances playfully around my soul
And I am awakened,
Enchanted.
All is love beyond love.

She has placed a diamond in my heart.

I do not understand the blind
Who cannot see her,
Who see only another pretty girl,
An object to possess,
To label and put into some convenient category.

It weighs on her fragile heart
That anyone should expect her to live
An ordinary life,
This enchanted princess,
Surrounded by so much that is ordinary,
This enchanted princess,
So ready for the magic to begin.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Sally Sleeps


Sally sleeps soundly upon my lap,
Dreaming the dreams of a kitty-cat,
Of stalking small birds with a stealthy creep
While I recall scenes from my fitful sleep.

Climbing a mountain so terribly tall,
Losing my footing in a plunging fall,
Falling through guilt, through confusion and strife,
Waking in a sweat, reclaiming my life.

Such is the nature of my human mind,
That I must engage in distress of this kind,
While Sally sleeps here upon my lap,
Dreaming the dreams of a kitty-cat.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

This Word


The dizziness came on so bad
I figured I’d better write something down
Before I fell down dead,
Something important,
The most important thing.

I took out my pen
And wrote this word:

Infinity.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

One Last Winding


One last winding
Before the clock runs down.
Not the end of time,
Just the end of this single, solitary clock,
No one left to wind it again.

One last winding,
Another day or two or three
Before the winder ceases to be,
Not the end of time,
Just the end of me.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

First Things


This caveman
Had a brain
Capable of rocket science,
But he could not make the leap
Without millenniums of prerequisites,
So this caveman spent his days
Perfecting a way to strike stones together
To make a cutting tool.

If he gets it right,
His descendants will walk on the moon.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Wounds Of The Heart


Yes, the wounds of the heart
Will heal,
In time,
But they leave scars,
Some so sensitive
That the slightest touch
Awakens memory.

The pain returns.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Things


Cars are lined up in back of the Goodwill store.
Can’t give it away fast enough.

We commemorate our lives with trinkets,
Making memory concrete,
Memory placed on a shelf,
Eventually ignored,
Finally discarded.

“I wonder,” ponders Mr. Emeritus,
“If my sons would find meaning in these things?”
Looking at a row of commemorative coffee mugs,
Each representing an achievement,
A significant moment
Anchored in time.

His thoughts return to when his mother died,
So many years alone in that big house
Filled with the ephemera of a long life,
A life rooted in poverty,
Making everything valuable,
Every thing potentially useful.

He remembers the agony of sorting through it all,
Deciding which memories to save,
Which memories to give away.

“An entire life is too much to preserve,” he reasons,
Surveying his possessions,
Calculating his lifespan.

“It’s enough to have lived,” Mr. Emeritus concludes,
Saving what he must,
Letting go of the rest.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Diamonds


Another gala celebration,
The glitterati presenting each other with awards,
Making grand speeches with feigned humility,
Basking in mutually assured admiration.

Where is your award
For facing an uncertain future
So bravely?
For rising each morning to endure another working day?
For living with the fear of expendability?

No celebration will be held for you today,
No award,
No acknowledgment
That you are one of the everyday workers of the world
Who make everyday life possible.

Let you and I set the celebrities aside and celebrate one another.
Let us bask in the light of fervent friendship
And award each other with loyalty and love,
For we are the everyday workers of the world
Who make everyday life possible.

Uncut diamonds
Are so easily overlooked
In a world too blinded by brilliance.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Connected


The reason
Why your busy ambitions
Amuse,
Is connected to
The reason
Why I sit outside this evening
In an old lawn chair,
Fanning away insects
And the gentle breeze of thought.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Confession


All the knowledge
I have so carefully gathered
For so many years,
All my opinions,
My experiences,
Achievements,
All that I am
Means so very little
Compared to the touch of your hand,
The sound of your voice,
Confessing love.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Conditional


Waiting,
Listening,
Praying for divine guidance,
As long as the holy message
Conforms
With certain theological predilections
And does not require
Too much humility.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Coming Home


Early one evening
After another long day,
I could not turn down the street where I live,
Where my life deposits itself,
Where I always do what must be done,
Work or play,
Every day.

I drove right past without hesitation,
Past the street,
Past the gray blanket of familiarity.

I took the long way around,
Pondering the pathways of my life,
Watching the sky turn dark,
The porch lights blinking on.

Having nowhere else to go,
I came home.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Still Human


Sometimes I can go nearly a week
Inflating my illusion of self-importance,
Transcendent benefactor to mankind that I am.

My uninterrupted enlightenment,
Liberated at last from the squalor of human ignorance.

Then one afternoon,
Walking down a busy city sidewalk,
My nose begins to tickle.

I am seized by a sneeze
And I’ve forgotten my handkerchief.

I quickly cover my nose with my hand
Which becomes coated with mucous
Dripping from my nostrils.

Wondering what to do next,
I feel another sneeze coming on.

Ah yes, still human.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Suburban Twilight


Suburban twilight,
Punctuated by porch lights
Welcoming weary workers home.

“Hello darling,”
She says,
“I missed you,”
Her bare shoulders
Framed by the thin straps,
Too loose,
Of her tiny, translucent dress.

This never happened to me.

A bunch of soccer ball boys,
Too young to go on a date,
Stand together in a jagged circle
On a grass-dirt field
While their parents lie to each other
About nothing in particular,
Waiting for the game to begin.

Back on the boulevard
Commuters swim upstream,
Fighting their way back
To the suburban spawning grounds
For a few hours of fun
Before it all shuts down in sleep,
And regret.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Finger Speaks

for William Michaelian

I don’t ask the question,
Are you happy?
It seems too intrusive,
Too personal for most of my friends.
It’s a question reserved for my lover,
Used sparingly.

But of course I can tell,
Even in the e-mails of distant friends.
Joy infuses their words,
Oozes out from even the briefest missives,
Such as this morning’s message from my old friend,
An entranced grandfather,
Too encumbered to reply with more than a short explanation,
No doubt typed with a single finger:
“Baby on lap!”


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Clearing


Yes,
I know,
These words are not enough
To describe the longings of the heart,
To diminish the entanglements of our lives
That too often strangle our finer emotions.

These words are not enough.

We need to find our way
To a clearing in the forest,
To walk into the light with arms outstretched,
To remember.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Civilization


The feast of a new day
Is laid out before me,
Yet all I can think about
Is my insatiable hunger
For more.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Clock Strikes Three


The sound of an old clock,
The rhythm of the pendulum,
The striking of a tiny hammer
Against a metal coil.
The lonely hours after midnight.

The memory of your touch,
Warm,
Gentle, yet firm,
Hungry.
You penetrate my soul.

The clock strikes three.
I am wide awake with longing
For your fingers on my skin.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Confessional


She comes when her heart is wounded,
When the balance between joy and sorrow is lost.
She is bereft,
Overwhelmed by tragedy,
An empty vessel I will fill with inspired words.

I throw her a lifeline,
Pulling her from the tempest,
Back to the land of the living
Where sadness can be borne.

I give her a candle,
Lit with the flickering flame of hope.

She is like so many who bring me their pain,
Seeking something they cannot name.

The fortunate find healing,
Recover a tenuous equilibrium,
Less vulnerable,
More guarded and reserved in expression,
Closing the window against the chill wind of doubt.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Façade


I am wary of posh restaurants,
The thin atmosphere of haute cuisine,
The nagging suspicion that behind
Those tiny plated portions
Are some very clever accountants.

I stand in front of the urinal
And notice the thin yellow puddle,
Left because of intoxication,
Poor eyesight or bad breeding.

Yes, I am standing on a layer
Of some epicurean’s urine,
Repulsed but unsure what I can do.
The soles of my shoes are wet
As I return to the dining room.

It is an evening full of romance
In the eyes of my stylish lover,
Entranced by the sophistication
Of this exquisite façade.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

This Muse


When it happens,
Whatever you call it,
Love,
Lust,
Infatuation,
Temporary insanity,
This muse pushes all others aside.
She is possessive,
Demanding my full attention,
Even when I’m exhausted and trying to sleep.
She is the muse of desire and will not rest.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Chosen


God has been good to you,
You say,
Helped you succeed,
Helped you prosper.

I wonder why
God pays so much attention
To you
And leaves the prayers of so many millions
Unanswered?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A Chance


O yeah you can laugh
At what you think is my naiveté,
All this wishing desiring hoping,
These few shreds of faith,
Faith in something vaguely reassuring.

O yeah I wanna be reassured all right
Cause death comes no matter what you think,
No matter what you plan or decide,
No matter what kind of deal you think you’ve made,
Death comes and rips you loose from this life
Without any consideration at all.

O yeah I’ve gotta believe there’s a chance
That I can rise above all the despair,
All this darkness always pushing,
Pushing against something so simple,
So simple as a sunny disposition.

O yeah I’ve seen ‘em,
People who take life’s knocks
And still smile as an unconscious reflex,
Something maybe about the way they were raised,
Something genetic,
Something maybe about luck.

Whatever it is I want a piece of that
And I don’t care how unsophisticated I look
Or how naïve you think I am.
I just don’t care
Because death comes no matter what you think
And I just gotta get rid of this fear
While I still have a chance.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Choice


There once was a man who built his own house,
Grew his own food,
Bred his own animals,
Then one day he happened upon a Sears catalog
And he was confronted by choice.

Thus, it all began.

Today I stand paralyzed in this everything store,
Staring at a wall of toothbrushes,
Barely knowing how to choose,
Frightened by the length of my shopping list.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Appreciation


Sure, modern life has its problems
And I can line up as many complaints as the next guy,
But on the other hand,
There is my indoor plumbing to consider.

I can’t help but appreciate the fact that every time I flush,
Somebody else takes care of the rest.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Child Abuse


O the constant recitation of sonnets,
The endless Mozart sonatas,
The cavernous museums,
Art, art, art.
Art of all shapes and forms to consume,
Digest,
Regurgitate.

The long lessons,
The querulous questions,
The awful answers,
The proud and ponderous books
Piled high before me,
An Everest of learning,
Of knowing,
Of transcending.

All the advantages
Were mine,
When all I really wanted to do
Was pull the tail of the old tabby
And make him screech.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Sunday


Sunday, oh yes it’s Sunday

Cool, a cool breeze

Fall, it feels like Fall

Riding on the edge

Of the wind

Of the light

Through my open window.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Building


When my great-grandfather was young,
Growing up in a small farming town,
He was needed.
His labor was needed.
Every able-bodied citizen was needed,
And by their labors, the towns grew into cities,
And the cities became a country.

Each morning they were called,
Called to a hundred,
A thousand different employments.

Each morning I am not called.
My labor is not needed.

I imagine my great-grandfather
Choosing an occupation,
Answering the call,
Fulfilling a need,
Building a life,
A city,
A country.

He would not understand this aimless life I lead.
He would not know me.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

I Remember You


This is for the old men,
The old women too,
Who die so old,
Nobody left who remembers
When they were young and strong.

Nobody left
To come to the chapel,
To bear witness
And say: This was my friend.

Nobody left
Except one or two
Who read the notice in the newspaper,
Who whisper to themselves,
I remember you.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Seasonal


The heat has passed.

Spring,
An old dream.

Summer,
Gone.

An afternoon breeze
Rattles the precarious leaves,
Shuffles the fallen,
Whispering:
Winter is coming,
Winter is coming.

Two sun-colored sulfur butterflies soar and dive,
Their movements mirrored in amorous acrobatics.
Or is it combat?

I’d like to think it’s passion,
Passion made urgent by the fading light.
These rice-paper-winged creatures,
In terpsichorean surrender to the fleeting moment,
One last ecstasy before everything changes.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Still, I Seek You


O my love you are a constant presence,
Yet incorporeal.
You have inhabited those I’ve loved,
Awakened me when love is new.

Alas, the petty practicalities of this world
Overwhelm and smother
And your instrument is muted.

I am human and often distracted,
But I have never expelled you from my heart.
Still, I seek you.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

This Fragile Light


This fragile light
Warms,
Sings,
Breathes into me,
Awakens this child,
So long asleep.

Can I stay in this fragile light?
Can I stay?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Courting


If he only knew
How hard she worked to be pretty for him,
Eagerly awaiting his arrival each morning,
Watching the parking lot through the office window,
Then walking down the hall for nothing in particular
So he would see her when he walked in,
See her long, ebony hair
Falling in graceful curls and waves over her shoulders
Across her finely sculpted collarbones,
See her all the way down
To her exquisitely proportioned pale pink toes.

It was meant to be.

She’d been on his busy, distracted mind
More and more lately,
When this morning she walked down the hall
Blurring past busy cubicles,
Fast enough to ripple her diaphanous plum and apricot dress
Just as he entered the office,
Struck by this sudden vision,
This annunciation.

Awakened by her focused, concentrated beauty
Washing over him like a wave,
He speaks,
And it all begins.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved