That Destiny


In you I imagine
And hypothesize
That which belongs to destiny.

Yes,
That destiny,
The one you said is inevitable,
Unalterable.

Yes,
That destiny,
The one I said is malleable,
Uncertain.

One must force the hand of destiny,
I said,
Looking into your infinite eyes,
Afraid to declare my love,
Afraid of what destiny might do.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Are You Ready To Believe?


Are you ready to believe?
Have you finally fallen,
Fallen so low,
Humbled and humiliated,
Defeated at last by your once insatiable ego,
Fallen so low
That now you are ready,
Ready to believe?

Do not despair,
For this world is chock full of gurus,
Wise ones who will set you straight
For a nominal fee,
If you are truly ready,
Ready to believe.

Surrender your small insignificant self
And join us here in this cavernous auditorium,
Our hands in the air,
Hallelujah!
It’s kindergarten all over again.
Ashes, ashes,
We all fall down.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Guardian


She walks among us,
Taking physical form for a moment,
Watching.

But when I am particularly low,
When my light is flickering,
She comes closer,
Smiles into my eyes,
Deep,
And I am renewed.

Only later do I realize,
I have seen her again.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Answer


Alone and grieving
I search the evening sky.
The full moon rises
With a big happy face.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Something To Remember


These small children would rather run than walk,
Rather jump than step,
They would rather wave their arms and scream
Than politely speak in turn.

So newly arrived,
Reborn without pain,
Recharged with euphoria,
They are mostly unencumbered by gravity.

Something to remember
As the distractions of responsibility
Accumulate.
Something to remember
As the weight of years
Multiplies.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Another Day At The Office


The black-winged fungus of death
Would like to have a word with you
And is holding on Line 2.

Take a message,
Say I,
For the splintering semen of rebirth
Is Miss Ledger’s hand on my thigh.

Encountering my limitless nonself
I give her nothing but love,
Baby.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Fathers And Daughters


O sweet child,
Father wants you to be happy
And will buy you many pretty things
And dust your life with confectioners’ sugar
And keep the world away
For at least another day.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Infinity


A gentle pulsing breeze blows
Through the evening,
Through the windbreak of elderly eucalyptus.
For a moment,
I hear only the sound the wind makes,
The way it must have sounded here before
Cars, planes and people.

I follow the breeze back to an ancient time,
Or is it a distant future,
After all the important things people do are done?
I wonder.

It is a place my soul longs to inhabit,
A place where I can stop and listen
To the uninterrupted stirrings of the wind,
To infinity.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Trash Day


I hear the truck lumbering down my street,
Creeping around the cul-de-sac,
Transmission torquing,
Short bursts of brakes screeching.

The side loader clamps and lifts
And shakes empty the black containers,
Metal clanging,
Hydraulics hissing,
The packer compacting trash in the hopper.

The diesel engine groans toward my house
And I run outside.

I invite the garbage man in for coffee and coffee cake
And we talk about his family:
Aging parents from Slovakia
Who still call themselves Czechoslovakians.
“It is from where we were born!”
A tattooed son who will not go to college,
A daughter still young enough to play with dolls
But pretty enough to cause him worry,
A wife who works at the hospital.
“No more night shifts!”

Driving the big truck
“Is a good job now.”
Sitting sky high in the cab.
No more lifting like the old days.

He goes to church each Sunday.
The stained-glass windows are midnight blue and apple red
And fill the air with color.

I offer to warm up his coffee
While my next-door neighbor looks out his window,
Wonders what in the hell is going on.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Another Day


Because my days are almost done
I walk this late afternoon by the hillsides,
The fog-chilled air pushing against my cheeks,
The spit of moisture falling on my forehead,
The first crickets beginning,
Singing the sun down behind the ancient mountains
Newly green with spring.

A beautiful young girl with translucent blue eyes passes by
With a small puppy straining against the leash.
She smiles without hesitation and says hello.

Ah the joy,
The joy of another day.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Lotto Life


I could already be
A millionaire.

Somebody’s gotta win.

Had a funny feelin’
My ticket was a winner
When the Pakistani clerk
Said “Good luck!” and with a jerk
Slapped the change into my palm,
The change
Into my palm,
Where I have yet to find
My luck line,
Where lines are so faint and fractured
Even gypsies cannot tell.

What the hell,
Somebody’s gotta win.

I could already be
A millionaire.

Feel it in my bones.

Gonna check my lucky numbers,
Check ‘em real careful.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Another Cold Day


The weather report,
Another cold day
In the city where you live,
Without me,
And it breaks my heart
I cannot be there
To hold you,
Keep you warm.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Poet And The Ink


Did you ever stop and smell
The stink of ink
From your fountain pen
And think:
When, oh when
Will I write again?

Or did you dwell
On the smell
And think:
What the hell,
I’ll have a drink.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Cacophony


. . . of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weakness of the flesh.

~ Ecclesiastes, Chapter XII, Verse 12



How fervent,
How intricately detailed our entreaties,
How reason-filled our requests,
How impassioned our pleas.

How many books have we made,
Filled with tiny words,
Preaching,
How many?

All these tiny words
Speaking on our behalf,
Speaking to instruct us,
Explaining,
Imploring.
From the beginning of the printed word,
The beginning of the spoken word,
How many?

Now, imagine you are God,
Imagine the cacophony,
Imagine your delight
In one single, solitary, silent prayer.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Awakened


Some mornings I wake early
And sit awhile with Sally
Who sits awhile with me
Keeping warm on my blanket
Against the chill.

Sally rotates an ear:
An over-excited dog straining a leash,
The rusty squeak of an old truck’s leaf springs,
A sharp word rising from a late-for-work neighbor,
Two starlings touching down in the patio,
Wary birdy bleatings.

Sally meow-chirps in emulation,
Her only impression.

Now lifting her chin,
Sally points her ears toward the back bedroom
Where my wife rises from sleep:
Turning on water,
Clattering the soap dish,
Tapping a toothbrush on the edge of the sink,
Opening a closet door.

Sally leaps from my lap
To greet her mistress,
Leaving me here,
Awakened.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Another


After all these years of earnest self-improvement,
After all the studying,
All the prayers,
The self-examination,
The questions,
The meditation,
The false euphoria,
The despair,
If I awaken one morning
As another,
If I am new,
If my sight has been restored,
If I again see the world
Through the innocent eyes of a happy child,
But the world I have made,
The life I have lived,
All my old obligations
Beckon still,
Then?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Animal Force


There is an animal force
That moves me toward you
But I resist,
For there is no heart in it.
It is all accident,
An accident of time,
Circumstance,
Genetics.

I admit all manner of impulse
For honesty’s sake,
And for the same reason
Withdraw consent.

Conditioning and confinement,
So much to blame
For our transgressions.
We look to all available drugs
To ease what cannot be so quickly cured.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

She Is Living Still


In an expensive restaurant,
Sitting at the shadowed bar,
The aging beauty sips a glass of wine,
Sways slightly to the prerecorded music,
And old recording of a young Tony Bennett,
“It had to be you . . .”

This is her favorite place,
Surrounded by her wealthy, aging friends,
Bathed in frivolity and alcohol-fueled laughter
About nothing in particular,
Just the pleasure of being momentarily amused.

She sees me watching her
And instinctively angles her bare left shoulder forward,
Her best feature at this delicate age,
The smooth, sun-freckled skin of her shoulders.
She rests her chin on the back of her right hand,
Pulling the wrinkled skin of her neck a little tighter,
Her worst feature, despite the surgery.

It is a practiced pose,
Coming so naturally now,
Reflexively engaged when the old passions stir,
When a younger man catches her attention.

O that sleek young girl who turned every head,
Who won the heart of more than one wealthy man,
Who considered all offers,
Negotiated the best deal available,
O that lost and lonely young girl,
Living still.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Headstones


We are tucked in safely below the turf
For our last long sleep.
From a distance,
No one would know we were there.

But in the old sections
The ancients rise above.
They are from another time,
From a different world,
Believers in the annunciation of mortality.

We lie beneath them.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Anguished Soul


Your anguished soul cries out
Because your dreams of fame and fortune
Are only dreams
And evaporate like dew at sunrise,
Just a little daylight
And the real world takes over.

But you persevere,
You work on those dreams
In all your spare moments
Until one day
You finally get a break
And the Company decides
Your Anguished Soul
Is the next big thing
And it happens:
T-shirts and coffee mugs,
The Anguished Soul Tour,
Television talk shows.

You become the voice for all those anguished souls
Who watch television late into the night
And dream of being you,
Not realizing
They already are.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Child


There is a child in me,
Surprised at what he sees,
This eternal child,
Always surprised,
Especially now,
Seeing the passage of time
Marked upon my face.

O time,
I still don’t understand,
Though I’ve changed from boy to man,
Though I will change from what I am,
The child,
Remains.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Designated Places


You and I were fallen angels when we met,
Fallen from illusions of a certain control over life,
Thrown together by the certain fate of happenstance,
Anonymous in our dark, confessional corners,
Free to be disarmingly honest.

We had little left to lose,
Certainly not vanity,
Not in our drowning gasps,
Not in the freefall of our despair.

Yet we were reprieved by our surrender
And familiarity welcomed us back,
Each to our designated places,
Rejoining the world,
No longer close.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Praying


Praying,
All this praying,
Filling empty time,
Becoming a substitute,
Becoming the center of your life.

When at last the promise appears
You turn away,
Too comfortable now
In the familiar sameness of prayer.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Questions


Why?
Why am I alive
When with every breath I take a child dies?

Am I just another ant in the ant farm?
Or am I a traveler on the road to divinity?

Am I a blade of grass reaching for the sun?
Or am I a ray of sunlight cast indiscriminately upon the world?

Perhaps I am just a man with time on his hands,
Time to think beyond bodily needs,
Time to ask questions,
Time to create questions out of madness,
Madness that comes when living itself is not enough.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Do Not Grieve


Do not grieve for me,
For I am standing at the edge of the sea,
With one foot still in this world,
The other in eternity.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Anatomy


Inside,
There is light and dark,
Without reason,
For reason follows intuition,
And intuition follows
Something I cannot name,
Something light,
Something dark,
A place in the heart
Which is not really the heart,
Which is not really a place.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Animal Again


O the noise,
The fire,
The mad multitudes,
Armed,
Dangerous.

This new society,
So sick of civilization,
Animal again.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

An Apple Or An Orange


I could not decide
Whether to buy an apple
Or an orange,
And the harder I tried
The more I realized
Just how bad I feel
About you
And me.

Just pick up one or the other,
I told myself,
Or both,
What does it matter?

I walked out of the store
With nothing.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Amen


When you begin a prayer
You open a door.

Keep the door open.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved