Stepping On A Rat


It was a day full of lizards,
Then,
Early that evening,
I stepped on a rat.

The day’s warmth foreshadowed summer,
Bringing out multitudes of sunbathing lizards,
One doing push-ups as I walked by,
Signaling his claim to a particular brick atop the garden wall.

I stepped cautiously around the basking reptiles,
Intentionally scaring some from the center of the sidewalk
To warn them of the peril from passing pedestrians.

As evening came on I forgot about the lizards,
Now surely in retreat as temperatures fell.
I walked more confidently,
Free from concern for lounging lizards underfoot
When I saw a sudden shadow,
A brief glimpse of a furry young rat,
Startled by my footsteps,
Dashing errantly toward me as I put my foot down,
Ever so gently,
Feeling it underfoot.

My reaction time was acute as I quickly withdrew my step,
A day of stepping lightly around lizards
Having trained and prepared me.
The rat scurried off with no apparent harm,
Knowing now what so many lizards had learned
Just a few hours before.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Sun Will Return


The sliver of this crescent moon
In this darkening evening sky
Promises the sun will return,
But will I?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Birdsong


Even the finest words
Fall away
In early morning birdsong.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

When The Dream Dies


When the dream dies,
Extinguished by reality,
Then,
Cherish the dream.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

When The Demons Take Over


What do you do
When the demons take over?
Do you rant and rave,
Do you become a slave?

How clearly wrong
It all seems the next day
With your appetite sated,
Your lust abated.

What new resolutions
Do you promise to keep
As you pull yourself out
From the dark and the deep?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

When She Says, I Love You


When she says,
I love you,
I awaken to the world.

I see the exquisite tracery of trees against the hills at sunset,
The rich hues of hills against the mountains,
The full measure of mountains against the sky,
The amber soaring sky against heaven.

I hear voices speak inside myself,
The voices of all who pass by,
All so kindhearted and friendly now.
I understand the language of dogs and birds,
Of babbling babies pushed along in strollers.
They smile and greet me,
Saying: Yes, yes!
It is wonderful to be loved!

I feel the edge of evening coming on now,
So cold against my cheeks.
Oh God,
The rapture!


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Quiet Moments


These quiet moments
When alone I become my truer self,
My unguarded self,
Finger in nose,
Unrestrained flatulence,
Indelicate scratching,
Cursing trivial inconveniences
With profane language I would never use
In the presence of family or friends.

These quiet moments,
Beset by erratic, uncaged thoughts,
Past-life recriminations,
Indulgent, forbidden impulses.

This hidden core,
This embryo untouched by civility,
Unbound,
Disdainful of all my life’s accumulated lessons,
Disconnected from the cloak of identity I have made.
This dark beast will not die.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

When My Children Are In Bed


When my children are in bed
And story time is through,
Sitting in my easy chair
A certain sadness comes.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

When I Pray


When I pray,
First,
I turn off all my electronic devices,
And,
Put my list of things to do aside,
Then,
Close my eyes and ask.

After a while,
I stop asking
And listen.

It takes time.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Something Eternal


I can easily see the second hand move
But no matter how long I stare
The minute hand seems stationary,
The hour hand frozen.

In the mirror
I am the same as yesterday,
Yet the photograph is surprising.
I have aged.

Yes, I see wind-blown clouds changing shapes,
Time-lapsed flowers unfolding,
Water that comes to a boil,
Still,
There is something eternal inside,
Surprised at the passing of time.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

When?


Where did you go?
What did you do?
How many voices are talking to you?

When do you stop?
When do you say:
Now I must put all these voices away.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

What Place Is This?


A troubled sleep,
Two hours till dawn I stumble
Down dark hallway fumble
With dead bolt,
Finger keyhole like braille,
Unlock and open
The back door.

Out in moonlit yard
Away from torment of tangled dreams
I breathe in sharp chill
Of night,
In,
Out.

The solace I seek is broken
By waterfall roar
Of cars and trucks and cars
On not distant freeway,
This small place encircled,
Entwined
With people in pursuit.

What place is this
Place of no rest,
No stopping,
What place is this?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

What Might Have Been


What might have been,
What might have been,
Such a silly game,
As if you could take the impossible
And give it a possible name.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

What Men Want


When I see her
I hold myself a little tighter,
A little straighter,
Appearing more attractive,
Flexing all appropriate muscles,
Contracting all inappropriate flab,
Making myself desirable,
For she is my sweetheart heartthrob
Honeybunch sex machine
And I want her,
This girlish saint whore
Athletic fashion model intellectual.

I want her.
Now.

I am enraptured by her thin boyish
Sharp-shoulder-bladed frame,
Her overexposed unashamed voluptuous fantastic flesh,
Her long short medium-length hair,
So glossy black chestnut brown honey blonde pumpkin red
Curling straight.

I am lost in her mysterious bold naive uninhibited forbidden
Eyes of swimming pool blue chocolate bar brown
Charcoal briquette black London fog gray
Emerald chameleon green banana tree hazel.

She walks toward me away not moving,
This short long-legged tall small woman girl,
So delicate and strong.
She sees me and smiles
And I am hers,
All over town.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

What Love Is Like


I am lying in a yellow field,
An endless summer day
With nothing to do,
Cradled by the gentle tugging of this earth.

I am alone,
Home is near,
A hawk soars and falls,
Someone I love
Calls.

I am running through golden stalks of wheat
As fast as I can,
My feet leave the ground,
I rise and catch the wind,
I am flying.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Counting Down Of Hours


I could write about the season,
The allusions of Spring,
And extinguish every trace
Of the human race.
But who would I be writing to?
Only a precious few
Have the time
To ponder
The metaphysics of the view.
The rest are possessed,
Scant time to smell flowers,
So much left to do,
The counting down of hours.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

My Angels


My life so lucky,
My angels working overtime,
Looking out for me,
Nudging happenstance in my favor,
Protecting me,
Especially from my own rash inclinations.

My angels scratching their heavenly heads,
Weighing the proper balance
Between consequence and mercy,
Leaving me with a few scars
For instruction,
As a warning,
Yet too heavily invested to let me die,
Yet.

They are patient,
So patient with me,
Still somewhat confident
I may yet make something worthwhile
Of this particular incarnation.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Returning


So long since I walked
This solitary hillside path,
Once a familiar, habitual activity.

Trees are larger now,
Gnarled limbs twisting toward one another,
Closer together.
Open spaces now filled with underbrush,
Overgrown,
Congested.
Light more shaded now,
Dimmed,
Indistinct.

Walking feels harder,
The distance longer,
The inclination to turn back stronger.

So long since I walked this path,
Now grown strange,
No longer a familiar part of me,
The part by which I measured
The passing of each day.

Something has slipped silently away.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Busy Bird


This busy bird,
Leaping in flight
From one altitude to another,
Chirping tiny messages
Full of purpose,
Or are they exuberations of delight?

I wish I knew
If this busy bird
Feels something like joy
This warm spring morning.

Flying from treetop to treetop,
Free-falling,
Playing with gravity,
Lighter than air.

Perhaps it’s all business,
All matter of fact
To one born with wings.

Perhaps it’s all joy.

I wish I knew.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

What Is Bliss?


How wide must I open my eyes?
Must I examine every aging pore?
How beautiful we look in shadows
Where imperfections yield to imagination.

What is bliss?
Not necessarily ignorance,
Just a little moonlit intoxication.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

What I Should Have Done


I’ve said it all,
Upside down, inside out and backwards,
And all I’ve done is put all these words
Between us,
All these words
In the way,
When all I really wanted to do was hold you,
But I thought I had to explain,
Everything,
When all I should have done
And all I want to do,
Is stop all this explaining
And hold you.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

What Comes Next


Sometimes
It seems like
Everything’s going wrong,
Then,
Everything gets worse
And you realize
Just how good you had it
Before everything got worse,
Then,
You get sick
And you realize
Just how lucky you were
When you were not sick,
Even though
Things were not going that well,
Then,
You die
And you think,
Oh great,
Here I am,
Dead.
You never made it to retirement,
Everything you ever worked for,
Gone,
And you’re stuck
In some kind of undefinable limbo,
Then,
You hear a voice that says:
You’re not stuck at all,
Come with me.
The next thing you know
You’re in some kind of eternal infinite agony
That must be hell
And you realize
Just how lucky you were
Before everything got worse,
And you don’t even want to think about
What comes next.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

#Alone


No sound,
No voice,
No laughter,
No eye contact,
No tears,
No facial expressions,
No body language,
No appearance,
No touch,
No skin on skin,
No embrace,
No kiss.

It’s the new friendship,
Texting and posting,
Liking and sharing,
Friending,
Friending,
All day long,
#Alone.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

What Else Can I Call It?


Once in a while
I catch a sideways glimpse of her
In awkward profile
And see her anew,
As one not in love might see her:
Plain,
Ordinary.
And for a moment I wonder,
Am I really in love with her,
This ordinary girl?

Then she turns to me and speaks,
Her eyes full of surprise and laughter,
She says my name
And the sound of myself upon her lips
Fills me with joy.

If this is not love,
What else can I call it?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Weekend


Early Saturday morning
All things are possible.
Time suspends
Into the mad pursuit of pleasure.

Regret is vanquished
Until late Sunday afternoon
When pleasures left untended
Gain altitude and soar away,
Unreachable,
Leaving me,
A tiny speck on the darkened landscape,
As Monday draws near.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Lost


It was her favorite ring.
At least it seemed so after she lost it,
Taken off her finger and put in her shirt pocket
To keep it clean while pulling a few weeds
In her overgrown garden.

It was the ring he gave her,
A line of tiny diamonds in the oval opening
Of the brilliant gold setting,
Sparkling jewels erupting
From the entrance of a golden cave.

It was the ring he gave her
When they were entranced,
When she was so sure
The enchantment would last forever,
Now lost,
Unintentionally discarded among the detritus,
Unconsciously abandoned,
Belonging now to that place where lost things go.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Humility


Standing in front of the audience,
Bowing to thunderous applause,
Scattered cheers,
It’s hard to resist the idea of your greatness
After all those wilderness years,
Hard to remember that fame is momentary,
And random,
That legions of fashionable men and women
Become laughable in time,
That villains have been worshiped
And are worshiped still,
That so much of what was once revered
Becomes despised in time,
That only a few things remain eternally true,
One of those being humility.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Not Me


I would never do anything like that,
You think,
Reading about the murderous explosion of rage
From the “quiet man” who lived next door
To his victim.

You stop reading,
Set the newspaper aside and search your soul,
Looking for something in the recesses,
Something that might unleash some inner demon,
Demons,
Some hair trigger waiting to be pulled.

Not me,
You conclude,
I could never do anything like that.

You hear heavy footsteps.
The guard comes,
Unlocks the door,
Escorts you to the courtroom.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Happy Pills


I stopped taking the happy pills.
All that happiness was making me superficial,
Too full of contentment to empathize
With the suffering of friends,
Of the world.

I needed them desperately once,
When I’d fallen too far,
Lost in the darkening forest,
No way out
Until the happy pills lit a small candle.

The flickering flame grew brighter
And the darkness fell away,
The fear slowly evaporating
Like dew on daisies in the warming sun
Of an early summer morning.

We are all wounded by this world.

Normal is an idea in wet cement.

My thoughts dare not contain too much truth now.
I dare not feel all that I know
Lest I relapse,
Compelled to ingest the happy pills once again,
Returned to the gated community of unearned serenity.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The New Version


Not long after you’d pretty much figured it out,
Pretty much,
Sort of,
You were prompted to download the new version,
No doubt enhanced for improved functionality and security,
Better,
No doubt,
Better than what you already had,
Now referred to as the old version,
Practically obsolete,
So you comply,
And each time you do,
Each new version takes another little slice of user autonomy,
Another little nugget of user control,
Away.

Enriched personal data collection,
Upgraded monetization cloud,
The steady trespass of technology
Past all those surrendered boundaries,
Now removed,
Disabled,
Discontinued,
Deleted,
In return for improved functionality
And security.

The new version.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

She Waits


Waiting,
Waiting,
This old woman,
Waiting still,
Settled into waiting,
A warm blanket.

No longer impatient,
No longer young,
Waiting has become familiar,
Comfortable,
Manageable,
A perfect dream.

And the sky shall open
And anointed love shall fall
In soft, springtime showers.

O fervent prophecy,
Divine promise,
Annunciation.

She steps outside her small room,
Searches the sky for a sign.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved