The Owl


Too hot to sleep,
No one to hear my explanations,
I escape my civilized confines
Into the humid, cricket-encrusted night.

Neighbors are locked away
Within the sleepy suburban houses I pass silently by,
Enveloped by darkness.

I find the wooded trail
That snakes along fenced backyards
In the shadows of moonlit hills.

All at once he appears,
An apparition.
Atop a fence post,
A great-horned owl.

We have met before,
During other nights of solitary somnambulance.
I stop to greet him like an old friend,
To wish him luck on the evening’s hunt,
Not without sympathy for the errant mouse.

Our bond of solitude is my illusion,
For I am wandering through this cloud-shaded night
Like a dream,
Lost in thought,
In abstract contemplation,

This owl widens his eyes as I speak,
Measures my size, distance and movement,
My intentions,
Then lifts soundlessly into the air and away,
Gliding through the darkness like a prayer,
Nearly invisible,
Then,
Gone,
Almost a full working day left until dawn.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Here I Sit


Here I sit at this keyboard,
Poised to type my moral condemnations
Into this computer,
A computer assembled by slave labor in China,
But first I need a bit more inspiration
And so I drink another cup of coffee,
Grown by generations of impoverished Colombians.

I pause and ponder the fate of all the world’s weary workers
Whose assembled sufferings make my life so comfortable,
As if a few empathetic thoughts and words
Could release me from responsibility.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Old Things


Civilization is a stubborn child,
Learning by accident
What was not inherited,
What was forgotten as generations passed.

Culture rises and falls
And that which is new,
No matter how low,
Inevitably supersedes the old,
No matter how noble.

Now we are technological
And our children barely know what to do
With paper and pen,
With a book,
These old things,
Falling, falling away.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

I Think Of You


When I grow weary of you,
Thinking of you,
Longing for you,
Resigned to exhaustion and defeat,
I think of you.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

This Flower


I give you this flower,
Individual,
Containing all flowers,
Containing all my love,
Which cannot be contained.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Hardest Part


The beautiful place in my heart
I never knew,
Filled with the light of you,
The blinding joy . . .

The hardest part,
When the light turned off.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Girlish


Her thoughts are girlish once more,
Though her age is beyond much hope.
Still, the life of her mind is strong.
It sings a dainty song
Not even the mute approach of death can still.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

I Saw Her Yesterday


It’s been over long enough now,
Long enough to go through an entire day
Without the ache of memory,
The stab of loss,
Long enough.

I saw her yesterday.

I could not approach her,
Not even a passing smile,
Just a quick retreat,
Acting against every impulse of my soul,
Starting over again.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

My Cat


O the quiet life of my cat,
The empty bliss of this is that.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

I Remove The Stone


In these later years I sometimes despair
When thought returns to unburdened times,
When moist-eyed remembrance,
Sorted from care,
Makes longing for such pleasant fiction
A stone in the heart.

Shamed by my childish discontent,
My sophisticated selfishness,
I hear my breathing,
I see this world,
I remove the stone.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

On This Planet


I am no scholar,
I have no great learning to pass on.
My job is small,
My contribution
To the advance of civilization,
Slight.
Yet I sit each morning
Sipping hot coffee with newspaper in hand
And pass stern judgment on my country,
Contemplating its sure, swift decline.

I shall soon be transported
Like a moth in a velvet cocoon
Across the freeways
To my place of employment
Where such insignificant labors
Nevertheless earn me food, shelter
And many possessions,
Such as the big-screen television
I will watch long into the night
While the less remarkable planets
Whirl by noiselessly in the dark.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Years Go By


When you are ten
A year is monumental,
Sometimes devastating,
Certainly life-altering,
Consciousness-shifting,
One-tenth of your severed-umbilical existence.

But oh how we discard the years
As we grow older,
A wasted year here,
A lost year there.

Some of us lose whole decades,
Smothered by bad luck,
Ill health,
Misguided ambitions,
Weakness,
Until in old age we look back
At the children we once were,
That long summer day
When we were truly happy
And wished for nothing.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

I Imagine


I imagine she is reading these words.
I imagine she loves me still.
I imagine she really did love me,
And so I forgive all mistakes,
For I too made so many.
I imagine she wants to be forgiven.

I imagine she has forgiven me.
I imagine she remembers the best part of me,
The best part of us.
I imagine she is learning to let small things
And hard feelings
Go.

I imagine I really did love her.
I imagine I love her still.

I imagined her then,
I imagine her now.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

I Heard A Bird


I heard a bird
On the lawn
At dawn,
Though I was asleep
A peep or two
Broke through
My slumbrous state,
So I
Did not hesitate
To imagine myself this bird
And without a word
Or a whistle,
As light as a thistle,
Took flight
And with wondrous gaze
Looked on the Earth below
Through cloud-misted haze
And thought,
How right,
How right!


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Old Places


I go back to our old places,
Searching for you,
So young and silly,
Before the weight of the world dampened your laughter,
Before entanglements,
When consequences held little power over spontaneity.

So much of our lives were about beginnings,
About an imaginary future.

Well, here we are in that future,
So abstract then,
So fixed in place now,
This accumulation of time
Where remembrance overwhelms imagination.

Here we are,
You and I,
Still together,
Yet I go back to our old places,
Searching for you,
Searching for me.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

I Do Not Dream Of You


I do not dream of you,
For by the time I finally fall asleep
I am exhausted,
Weary of longing for you
Every waking moment.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Recipe


The two aging kittens grow rougher in their play,
Snap snagging thin sharp claws
On upholstered chairs,
Whizzing calamitous,
Up, down and at all impossible angles
Across the room’s vast terrain.
They launch, skid, tumble and they fly,
Throwing arms and eyes wide,
Fluttering papers,
Toppling stuff,
Skittering across the floor.

My two boys grow more contentious in their play,
Each accusing each of unfair and stupid things.
They shout and mock and pick away
What’s left of childhood’s blossoms,
Scattering them foolishly in aimless paths.

I watch cats and boys with equal awe and confusion,
Wondering what magic recipe stirs us all about,
A mix of chaos and serendipity,
Bolting us headlong into the future
From this too brief interlude of,
Dare I call it,
Bliss?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Measure And Weigh


We are a people
Who measure and weigh,
Measure and weigh,
While the moment itself
Slips away.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

I Am Dead Now


On the evening of the day before I died
I knew I was doing everything for the last time.

Not too much melancholy,
Not too much regret,
Not too much anticipation,
Just getting ready for a trip.

Consider these words,
Weigh them well,
Ask yourself how I knew.

Someday, you’ll know too.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

I Am


I am that which casts shadows.
I am a shadow.

I am a piano,
Unaware of the one who strikes my keys.

I am the letters on this page,
This thought,
This moment.

I am your disbelief.

I am the thickness of night,
Wrinkling the skin of old dogs,
Pricking the dreams of frightened children.

I am a voice,
Calling out to itself.

I am what answers.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Human Beings


Oh such comfort we draw
From the old religions,
The old words,
So divinely inspired.
We forget they were written down
By human beings,
So divinely inspired,
Doing their best to reveal
The mind of God,
The will of God,
The judgments of God,
Written down by human beings
Who are not and never will be,
Perfect.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

How Soon We Let Go


How soon we let go of love
For more practical pursuits.

A discarded hobby,
Love leans against a corner
Of a dark closet,
Gathering dust.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

How Lovely Is Thy Mexican


How lovely is thy Mexican
Who keeps your garden green,
Who plants the flowers in the spring
Yet who is seldom seen.

Your friends and neighbors never fail
To praise your bounteous bower,
With butterfly and robin’s wing,
You pay five bucks an hour.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Riding


How alive this young girl
As she tenses lithe legs
Against her strong black stallion,
Shining with the sweat of speed.

Through the windy twigs of distant trees
I watch her pull against the reins
Stiff-backed,
Long hair streaming into the wind.

Now riding faster,
This chestnut-haired girl leans in close.

Pulsing together in full gallop,
They are ecstasy.


~ 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

House Of Cards


Our cherished way of life,
So recently contrived,
Defended with such vigor,
With such zeal,
Inspired by insecurity,
Knowing it is belief,
And only belief,
That keeps this house of cards
From collapse.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

I Can’t Explain Passion


I can’t explain passion,
And if I could,
I wouldn’t.

I can’t explain passion,
And if I would,
I shouldn’t.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

How Hard It Is


How hard it is
To repair the damage
Of an unlucky childhood,
To break the mold,
To reinvent the life
When all the anger
Still echoes.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Shadowed Man


The shadowed man hides in dark places,
Hidden from scrutiny by most,
But not from me.

I often walk through this village late at night
And I see him,
See where he sleeps,
A narrow patch of grass between two brick buildings,
Hidden by overgrown bushes.

I see his dark profile as I walk down a nearby alley.
He is not young, but I cannot tell his age,
Even on this moonlit night.
He moves in determinate ways,
Like one with years of practice in living without a home.

Of all the dark corners in this village
He has chosen well.
Close enough to shuttered restaurants and discarded food,
Barely visible only to the rare midnight wanderer.

There is something deep and dark about this man,
Something like a force field that surrounds him,
Charged with misery and anger.
He is lost in a smothering fog of regret.

I keep my distance,
Pretending not to notice
As he moves purposefully in the dark,
Doing something with his few possessions.

He frightens me and I wonder if he carries a knife,
Wonder if he kidnaps little children on their way to school,
If he has been in prison,
If he’s a wanted man.

I hear the clack of punctured metal,
The opening of a can.
He steps out from the shadows,
Into the moonlight,
Into an empty parking lot
Where a gray and black tabby races to greet him,
Tail high with affection and appreciation
For this guardian angel who brings dinner each night,
This shadowed man who has ventured out,
Into the light.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

This Inauguration Day



The fact is the sweetest dream that labor knows.
~ Robert Frost



Today we have changed,
Moved ahead
In the midst of chaos and contention.

From the nebula where heavenly bodies are born,
Another light,
Formed from the turbulence of our universe,
Accreted from ignorance and wisdom,
Failure and success,
Made whole by compromise,
Revealed by honesty,
Another light
Ascends.

All the inspiring words
And clamoring crowds,
All the dire prognostications
And disillusioned multitudes
Cannot change the fact of our nation’s hope made flesh,
The fact of this inauguration day
That can not, will not, be wished away.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Home


So many kinds of love,
And lust,
And love,
But when I first touched your hand,
I knew I was home.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Hero


I do not want my son to be a hero,
Whose name will be read among the honored dead,
Who will be forever young in the picture that is hung
On his empty bedroom wall,
O dear God don’t let him fall
In battle and attack,
Please bring him safely back.

I do not want my son to be a hero.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved