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

Gifts Of Christmas


1.

A gift,
For me?
Oh you shouldn’t have!

Is it really a selfless expression of your affection?
A gesture of love?
Or an obligation?

Is it genuine?

Does your gift reflect who you think I am?
Who you think I should be?
Perhaps it’s more about who you are,
Who you want me to think you are.

Is it an object of serious intention?
Designed to awaken?
To arouse?
To cause a reaction?
Or is it just for fun,
A playful reminder of the inner child?

Am I taking this too seriously?
Giving too much thought
To what is impersonal?
Is it merely generic?
A gift that says:
We are not close.

Did you wrap it yourself?
With your best paper?
Or was it the tail end of your least favorite roll,
Reserved for those who do not matter?

Have you actually touched this present,
Or did someone else purchase and wrap it for you?
Did it come by mail from a warehouse?


2.

Will those I love most
Disappoint me with thoughtlessness,
Or will I bask in the warmth of their intentions,
However artfully or clumsily conveyed?

Will my more slow-witted relatives
Prove true to my expectations?
Will the superior intelligence of others
Be clearly demonstrated
And make me feel stupid
For the lack of imagination my gifts reveal?

Will the ego of the gift-giver
Overshadow the generosity of the gift?
Or will the giver’s inferiority complex be manifest,
So sadly displayed by the soullessness of what is given?

Will the gift be of use, of value,
Or merely a cheap trifle soon discarded,
Donated to the local thrift shop?

Perhaps the most important gift of all will be absent,
The gift from the one I love most.

Or perhaps after all the wrapping is cleared away,
When the communal ceremony has ceased
And the gift-givers dispersed,
I will steal away to some private place
And press my lips to the gift I treasure above all,
It’s meaning so fervently constructed,
Without form.



~ 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

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

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