The Separation


To the very young
Toys are not toys,
Not representations.
They are real.

It takes years for us to separate
The idea
From the actual.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Belief


Those who believe in God,
Abandon God.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

You Think You’re The Only One


Do you feel so crazy inside sometimes
You’ve gotta keep it a secret
Because your friends and family are counting on you,
Expecting you to be a normal person,
To be this person they think you are,
This person you decided to be
Who is not so crazy sometimes?

So you keep it a secret
And never let it out,
But it’s right there behind your eyes,
Buzzing in your ears,
On the tip of your tongue.

You think you’re the only one.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

You Have The Gift


You have the gift
And the challenge,
The challenge to know you have the gift,
The challenge to accept the gift,
To live it.

While we are so busy complaining,
Blessings fall upon us like rain.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Best Seller


He was the anointed one,
And the literati decided,
Agreed,
Conformed and confirmed the book
Was his finest work yet,
Prognosticated as:
“The best book you will read this year,”
Though it was only January,
Though it was generally agreed “the best” was an anachronism.

After all,
Did they really believe the future could be so blanketed,
So predictable,
So immutable?

The book vendors ordered dutifully,
Feverishly,
Inspired by so many reverential author interviews,
So certain this was indeed the next big thing.

Who am I,
Who are we to turn away from such pronouncements?
Such hysteria?

So I,
So we dutifully purchased the book in droves,
Eager to possess the sacred knowledge,
The newly christened insight,
The talisman,
Ready to verify the conclusions of the cognoscenti,
Ready to approach the godhead and be blessed,
Though by page 83 most of us stopped reading,
Already full of enough dispirited angst
To last a lifetime,
Our purchases already having confirmed the acclaim,
The acclaim of the marketplace
Bestowed on all such highly strung best sellers,
So infrequently read to conclusion,
So soon forgotten.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

You Are With Me In The Dark


You are with me in the dark,
Though we’re many miles apart
I can see you with my heart,
You are with me in the dark.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

You Are Not Hidden


I write these words to you who are cruel,
Who know you are cruel,
Who deny your cruelty.

These words are not for those who succumb to weakness,
Who struggle with weakness,
Who sincerely strive to overcome weakness and be kind.

We all have sinned.

These words are for you who are deliberate,
Who forged your cruelty through years of abuse,
No matter how you rationalize,
No matter how you repress,
No matter how conscious or unconscious you may be.

You are not hidden.
No matter how much control you have over us,
You are not hidden.
No matter how compliant we are forced to be,
You are not hidden.

You are condemned in our eyes,
And when you lose your power over us,
When you look in the mirror
And see the monster you have become,
When your punishment comes,
When you realize you have been punished all along,
When you realize each act of cruelty
Has destroyed a part of your soul,
When you have no soul left,
We will rejoice.

We who are kind will take no pleasure in your suffering,
We will not let the anger you placed in our hearts make us cruel,
But we will rejoice when we are free from your cruelty,
When your cruelty is stripped of all power,
When you must answer for each cruel act.
We will rejoice when justice is restored.

You are not hidden.
You pay for each act of cruelty
Whether you realize it or not,
For we know you have no real joy
Because you are not loved.
You are lower than the lowest of us
Who suffer and yet are loved.
You are lower than the lowest of us
Who have died because of your cruelty,
Because we are loved,
And this love is eternal.

You are not hidden.
The eyes of the world are upon you,
The eyes of history are upon you,
The eyes of God are upon you.

The spirit of change is upon the land,
It cannot be stopped.
Lies are temporary,
Injustice is temporary.
Truth is eternal,
Justice is eternal.

You are not hidden.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A World Gone Mad


If you woke up one morning
And found the entire world gone mad,
How amazed and alarmed you would be.
But what if the world goes mad slowly,
One day at a time,
One small step after another,
Year after year,
Decade after decade,
Would you notice?
Or would it be like trying to watch a tree grow,
Too slow to consciously observe,
But one morning you awaken and realize,
The tree is tall,
Immense,
And its roots are deep.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Erosion


Our amorous embrace of technology,
So insatiable and promiscuous,
So quick to abandon the newly outdated,
Quicker than a snake sheds its skin.
Like an addict injected with a new drug
We are hooked on the rush.

Why, then, this obstinance of belief,
This reverence for ancient prescriptions,
This persistent resistance
To the evolution of the soul?

We shield our carefully crafted personas from scrutiny,
From introspection.
We create entire lives from timeworn templates,
Assembling friends and families
Who believe in these concoctions of fact and fiction,
These cultural clich├ęs we inhabit,
These large immovable stones we become,
Stuck in the river,
Eroding.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Blackjack


Poor old Blackjack,
Battered with one eye swollen shut,
He comes to my back door and cries for food
But he hurts too much to eat.

He cries to bring me out,
To hear the sympathetic sound of my voice,
To feel the rush of warm air from the open door
Against the stiff chill of early morning.

He comes close to the open door
But will not go in.
Some distant memory of being a kitten,
A house cat,
Pulls him to this place of food,
This place of sanctuary from the larger world,
The more dangerous world
He is now too wild to escape.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Yet Living Still


I have awakened with joy,
Delivered from care and concern
By some undeserved grace.
It fades.

I have been torn from sleep by dread,
Weighed down with fearful expectation
By some unrelenting pessimism.
It fades.

Today,
A soft choir embraces me.

This joy arose slowly,
Crept softly,
Disguised as contentment,
Permeating my daily obligations with pangs of pleasure
Yet giving no bold announcement of the spontaneous euphoria
Now made flesh as I walk along this hillside path,
My chores accomplished and forgotten.

Though tomorrow is uncertain,
Today and tomorrow fall away,
For the blue-washed sky is brushed with colored clouds
And the leafy soil is strong-scented from this morning’s rain.

O this painted circumference,
O these careful colors and textures of thawed winter,
And here, this ancient tree,
Lightning-burned, split and scarred,
Yet living still.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Are You?


Are you singing my love?
For I hear your voice in soft melody.
Are you laughing my love?
For I see your glistening smile.
Are you quiet my love?
For a stillness has shaded my thoughts.
Are you crying my love?
For a sorrow is growing within.
Are you praying my love?
For my prayers envision a heaven
Where never would two halves of a single soul
Be kept apart.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Yes


Yes,
You can fall in love,
Even though it is inappropriate,
Inconvenient,
Impossible to do anything about it.

Yes,
You can fall in love,
Carry it around all day long,
Day after day,
Year after year.

Yes,
You can fall in love,
Though you may despair
Nothing will come of it,
Something already has.

Yes.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Few Things As Hard


When my little boy turned cold
And hard,
I knew the world had him
By the throat,
That it would take a long
Long time
For him to shake it loose,
If he ever could,
If he ever can.

There are few things as hard
As becoming a man.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Working World


A little bird flew down
From her nest
Into the old car.

Joseph terribly sad sleeping
In the midday sun,
While the work of the world
Went on all around.

Even the little bird,
Pecking sandwich crumbs
From the dashboard of the open convertible,
Doing little bird work.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Work Of No Work


How this busy world conspires
Against the simple act
Of sitting quietly in a chair
With pen and paper in hand,
Writing down a thought or two,
Or not writing at all,
Doing the work of no work
All poets must do.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Words Will Get Through


By the time my son
Is ready to talk,
Eager to talk,
Full of understanding,
Eyes wide open,
Stripped of all adolescence,
Measured and wise,
Experienced in the ways of the heart,
A seasoned husband and parent,
I’ll be dead,
And his son will be giving him hell,
And at the bottom of some low moment
He will at last speak to me
And he will know what I knew.

He will try to tell his son,
Try to explain the bond between all fathers and sons,
The great chain of being that binds men to one another,
And somehow,
The words will get through.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Wooden Angel


In my low moments
Her quiescent gaze from atop my bookshelf
Keeps me from falling
Too low.
Her golden wings
Pointed toward heaven,
The palms of her tiny hands
Pressed flat together in perfect alignment of fingers,
In supplication,
Her faint illumination
In the shadowed light of a flickering candle
Helps me find some measure of grace.

Just a painted wooden angel,
Frozen in her flowing robes,
Her back straight and head barely bowed,
Balanced on tireless knees
In her cloud-born symmetry of hope
And mercy.
Her eyes are open,
Open to this man-made world
Which offers so little hope for the innocent
Yet squanders so much mercy on scoundrels.

O angel, how can I ask my selfish blessings
In this world where children suffer and die,
Hour upon hour?
Where are their angels?
What have they done to forsake thee
That they should die so young?
O angels, are you all made of wood?
Is it really up to us after all?

Behold!
The work of angels,
So frequently misunderstood.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Wolf, Wolf


Wolf, wolf,
Burning bright,
First wolf I see tonight,
Wish I may,
Wish I might,
Old black joe.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Easier To Love A Memory


Easier to love a memory
Than a man,
So when I’m gone
Forgive my human failings
And love what you can.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Without


Without thinking,
I write these words.

A lie.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Without Words


I am afraid to tell you,
Afraid to say it out loud,
Afraid to write it down,
For you may not feel the same way
And my words may place a barrier between us.

Right now,
We are friends,
And whether our friendship is a beginning,
An ending,
Or something else,
I am afraid I would lose your friendship
By telling you,
By saying it out loud,
By writing it down.

When I see you today
I will smile,
I will look deep into your eyes,
I will do my best to let you know,
Without words.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Wish


It was a cheaply made fountain,
A plastic babbling brook,
An affordable garden accessory,
A motor-driven rivulet
Spilling small streams
From one lily pad to another
To the small pond at the bottom
Where the water swirled.

A little girl following her mother,
Her busy, busy mother,
Into the garden section of the large discount store,
Stopped at the fountain,
Surrounded by this sudden jungle
Of flowers and plants and flowers,
So unlike all the everyday places
Of her unadorned life.

This little lost princess breathed deep,
Inhaling the fragrant floral air,
Then opened her miniature handbag,
Found a tarnished penny
And tossed it earnestly into the fountain.

Always the same, secret wish.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Wind


So windy,
The smog blown away from the mountains,
The dead leaves and dry twigs,
All torn away from the trees.

Such a good idea
To have a fierce wind
Now and then,
Strip away all that is not essential.

Or perhaps
A really big flood.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Visitors


A faint twinkle in the black sky,
A spacecraft,
Posing as Venus,
Then,
Closer,
Scanning my house,
Late,
Late one night,
Early,
Early one morning,
Hours after midnight,
Hours before dawn,
Awakening me,
The gentle throbbing of breeze-blown electromagnetism,
Rumbling subwoofers of elemental particles in my pillow.

We are here.
We are here.
The sudden realization.
Then,
Gone.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Breakdown


I was a fish,
Suddenly aware of water,
Frightened of being wet.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Why One And Not The Other?


Easier to understand when we were animals,
Savages,
Without the grace of modern civilization,
Without protection,
Easier to understand the random hand of fate,
Pulling one down,
Pushing another up.
But now,
When so many millions are safe,
When so many millions are not,
I have yet to discover,
Why one and not the other?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Today Is Her Birthday


Today is her birthday,
And each year as I grow old,
On this day I will measure
Her mark upon my soul.


~ 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

If I Knew


If I knew
This free-flowing bubble of time
In which I live
Was eternal,
A time machine that only advances
While all around me gently falls away,
If I knew
I was this ethereal being
Who would survive the ages,
Bear witness
To the unfolding destiny of the universe,
If I knew all this and more,
I would still want pancakes for breakfast.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Some Small Happy Thought


We must find joy
In this world of sorrows
Where the wounds grow deeper,
More permanent,
Every day.

We must find some small happy thought,
Each day,
Some small happy thought,
And smile.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Why Men Lie


Because she wore a spring dress
With a long open back,
Revealing the graceful arch of her spine,
The soft cut of her shoulder blades
Beneath the supple silken blanket
Of her burnished bronze skin,
Because she wanted to be admired
And so she smiled,
Because youth has not left her,
Because youth has left him
And the pleasures of aging
Have yet to reveal themselves,
Because at every turn old age is advancing
And he is not ready,
Because he does not want to die:

This is why men lie.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Whole


When you touch me,
Although we are not yet lovers,
When you touch me,
Though we have not known each other long,
When you touch me,
Although you have not said “love,”
When you touch me,
When you take my hand,
Something fits.

Something that was alone,
Wandering,
Is home,
Whole.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved