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

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

Would You?

With mortality on my aging mind
I lately wonder, dear one,
Which of us will be the first to go?

I wonder what should I do
If it’s you?

So much depends on the time and place
You leave the race
For the great beyond.

If I awake early some overcast morning
And stagger halfway to the kitchen
In desperate need of caffeine,
Then stop and return to our bedroom
For forgotten slippers,
Finding you breathless and cold,
Should I call 9-1-1 right away
In my sleepy state,
Or would it be wrong to have a cup of coffee,
Or two?
Would you object?
Would you?

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Where Has The Time Gone?

In a moment of sobriety
I realize I am much to old
For a relationship with this flirtatious young woman.

Much too old,
In fact,
To pursue romance with her mother.

Even a bit too old and infirm
To date her grandmother,
Surprisingly spry for her age.

Sick of sobriety
I retreat into my illusions
And late afternoon naps.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Our Neighborhood

She was somewhat attractive,
Somewhat bedraggled,
Clearly out of place in this million-dollar neighborhood.

The police agreed,
Called to investigate her wanderings,
On a Sunday,
Clearly not a professional
Considering all the neighborly activity:
Washing cars,
Weeding gardens,
Walking dogs.

She was somewhat attractive,
Somewhat bedraggled,
Hanging on to a hint of her twenties
But soiled and worn from years of drug abuse,
That hollow stare of the meth addict.

Her wrists cuffed tight behind her back,
Patted down,
Pushed into the back seat of the squad car,
One foot still free,
Stubbornly resisting.

The police found a meth pipe,
Some meth,
Credit cards with other people’s names,
A small knife.

She had three outstanding warrants,
One a no-bail felony warrant
For stabbing a John who got too rough
In the motel on the street next to the freeway
Where she hooked when the drugs and the money ran low.

She waited in the squad car
For the woman who saw her in a neighbor’s backyard,
The woman who could identify her,
This prowler,
So out of place in this pleasant neighborhood
On a sunny Sunday morning.

“She has no business being in this neighborhood,”
The officer told me,
Shaking his head with a smile,
Wondering what I too was wondering:
What was she thinking?

She sat quietly,
Familiar with what was ahead,
The pain and confusion from withdrawal kicking in hard
As the squad car pulled away.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Old Lobster

Old Lobster is jostling for space
In the crowded restaurant aquarium,
Stripped of weaponry by rubber bands
Clamping claws shut.

The aquarium is small.
The ocean was large.

The bait was enticing
And the trap was sprung,
Old Lobster lifted into the sky
Where lobster angels live,
Escorting lobster souls to lobster heaven,
Where decisions about lobster reincarnation are made.

But now Old Lobster is in this limbo,
Neither heaven nor hell,
This place where Old Lobster waits,
And waits,
For the fickle hand of fate,
To choose.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Just One

Married so long,
No longer two.
Just one.

Still room for differentiation,
For contradiction,
For physical distinction,
(Of course.)

But observations,
Products of two ingredients
In a single recipe.

The previously single being
Asserts on occasion,
Yet soon retreats from soliloquy,
Unused to being alone.

Yes, that fearsome word,
Ever threatening old lovers
Who will not live forever,
Who will lose the echo of the soul,
Married so long,
No longer two.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

In This Space

Between the body and the mind,
Between the physical and the spiritual,
Between action and thought,
There is this space
In which I construct
A poem.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

In Motion

Was it only yesterday?
This flower was a bud
In a small translucent glass vase
That once belonged to my grandmother,
A passionate gardener whose flowers were her children.

Was it only yesterday?
This flower was a bud.
This flower is a bloom.
It opened quickly yet I did not see it move,
Even though I must have passed by
A dozen times or more.

Seen or unseen,
All is in motion in this inconstant world,
All the little children,
In the blink of an eye,

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

I Can Wait

I could list my faults,
My sins,
But I’ve done it all before.
I’ve asked forgiveness
And forgiveness was given.

So I’ve resumed my condemnations
Of all those who have sinned against me,
Who have yet to ask my forgiveness.

I can wait.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Colored Lights And Carousels

Artists want more than appreciation.
They want attention,
Detailed inspection,
Uninterrupted concentration.

But alas, even the Great Works engender scant attention
When wedged between a thousand masterpieces
Haunting mausoleum halls and hallways,
Each of merit.

Museum enthusiasts hungry for culture sidle by,
Stopping now and then to impart meaningful explanations
To their novice companions.

Those august galleries,
Giving way to the surrender of representation,
To text lettered on canvas,
To cacophonies of splashed colors,
To the unmethodical arrangement of objects
Intended to amuse and confuse,
To the weight of absence.

This is art now:
Skin deep,
Colored lights and carousels.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved


Being poor,
Being rich,
Being anything gets in the way.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Because I Am An Old Man

Because I am an old man
I am expected to stifle my passion,
Dampen my lust.

But I am an animal,
Designed by nature to procreate,
And nature will not let me go.

Because I am an old man
I will confine all longings of the flesh
To the realm of my imagination
Where they may run relatively free
As long as they do no real harm,
For even my imagination
Is not without conscience.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

At Any Moment

If I told you I’d found paradise
And knew the way there
It would be partly true.

Yes, I’ve been there,
On occasion.
I get back there,
Once in a while.

But if I spent my days
Lecturing about paradise
As if it were the house in which I lived,
Then, that would be a lie.

I live in the real world
Which contains all possible sorrows
And joys,
At any moment,
In no particular order.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Fly

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


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.

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.

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