A Young Woman Waiting For A Bus


She sits alone at the bus stop,
This girl,
With nothing to do
But wait.

She sits alone
Then stands
And runs her left hand,
Her sculptured, articulate fingers,
Down her sunburned hair,
Taking its length
To let the undulating afternoon air
Cool the back of her warm, moist, down-covered neck.

She lets her hair go
Then strokes it again,
A soft sensation of pleasure
Ripples across her skin,
Pleasure from being the lithe, young animal she is.

She looks wistfully down the length of street
For something shaped like a bus
Among the heat-blurred vehicles
Coming toward her.
She is early and expects nothing for a while,
But still she scans the traffic,
Eager to be in motion.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Yippy


It is the time of baby birds and lizards,
Of pollination and persistent sun,
Of rebirth and renewal.

I can hear the tug of Spring
In the spirited barking of Yippy,
The dingy, bedraggled cocker spaniel next door,
Aroused now by every passing dog,
Every wandering cat,
Each exploring squirrel,
Each backyard human.

I remember last year
When Yippy was so full of Spring,
Barking throughout the night at every rustling leaf,
It seemed to Al,
Big Al, we called my neighbor,
A large man bedeviled by barking
As he revisited the ritual of the backyard barbecue.

“God damn that dog!”
I heard him flare across the fence,
Stopping short of formal complaint,
Not one to be outwardly unneighborly.

Perhaps it was all that barbecued red meat that felled Big Al,
Dropping dead at work one chilly day last winter.

Spring has returned
And though old Yippy is clearly a canine in decline,
His barking still carries loud and clear,
And somehow I sense Big Al is near,
Cursing this aged dog who still survives
While human beings drop like flies.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A Place In Your Heart


There is a place in your heart
No one has shared,
A garden filled with a solitary beauty
Only you can see.

You walk and walk,
Entranced,
Without words,
Searching,
Still hoping someone will come
Who will see what no one else has seen,
Who will know without knowing
That you are the one.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Pick A Flower


Pick a flower
Hold it in your hand
Study it closely
Do not expect anything.

Put the flower in a vase
Wait
Wait
Take it out of the vase
Look at how the petals fall.

Pick up all the petals
Put them in a small envelope
Place it in the back of a drawer.

Eighty years later
Some idle young girl
Will find the envelope
And pour the pieces,
Cracked and broken,
Into her hand.

She rubs both hands together
And turns the petals into dust.
She opens her hands
And blows the remnants over her garden,
A believer in certain unspoken things.

Her favorite rose bush has a bud,
Soon a pale pink flower.
She watches it unfold
Then cuts it from the plant
And puts it in a vase.

After the flower dies,
She takes it from the vase
And drops it into a wastebasket.

Then she remembers.
She retrieves her discarded flower,
The petals slip from her hand
Into a small envelope.

She writes “For You” in her finest hand
And puts it back into the same drawer
And wonders what color
The eyes of her first child will be.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Phone Call


You called me,
A matter of fact phone call,
A small practical matter
Which could not be misconstrued
As anything else,
Could it?

Because I was paralyzed with joy
To hear your voice
And wanted no damage to our friendship,
I could not say anything
Outside of the socially acceptable,
Even less than I might have said
If I did not love you.

After the last formality was exchanged,
The polite liturgy concluded,
I said good-bye
And waited,
But did not hear your voice.

Did you say good-bye simultaneously,
Your voice masked by mine?
Did you break the connection without saying good-bye?
I did not hear the connection break.

I stayed on the line,
Listening,
Wondering if you were listening too,
Afraid to speak,
Afraid to hang up,
So lonely in the growing dark of the evening,
Listening for the sound of breathing.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Phantasy


O these love poems that men have wrought,
What woman is so foolish to believe?
Such extravagant, embellished images of thought
Constructed to entice and deceive.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Petty Anarchy


They are spray-painting the trees.

They have turned their inattention
To the natural world
And will not stop
Until they have made it unnatural,
Marred and scarred
With their proclamations of petty anarchy.

They would make this a world
Where nothing is sacred,
Nothing holy,
Not even the infinite grace
Of the least single tree.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Searching For Sugar


This solitary ant walks across the desert
Of my bathroom floor,
Stopping,
Then starting,
Then stopping and starting,
Over and over,
Slight course corrections,
Searching for scent.

The sugar bowl is in another country,
In the land of kitchen,
In a high cupboard,
High above the floor
Where another solitary ant,
Finding a few grains of spilled sugar,
Sensing the source is near,
Needing neither hope nor faith,
Continues.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

People Are


People are
The most dangerous things I know,
Just wind them up
And watch them go.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Vaya Con Dios


I could kill you with this little finger,
He says,
Jutting the scabrous thing out into the shivering night,
Pointed menacingly toward the enemy
Only he can see,
While tourists scuttle by
Keeping a wary eye on this ragged man
Who has me cornered by his confessions,
And his need
To tell me how three tours of duty
Left him so - strung - out.

He is enlarged, distended,
Eager to tell anyone on this street
About his hotel room and how much it costs,
Only a few dollars a month left over for food
From disability checks that come in the mail,
How his first wife drove him crazy,
How he was crazy anyway because of the war,
How he killed a man he thought was the enemy
But it was long after he returned
And the man was just a man,
How he spent thirteen years in prison
And how I don’t want to be like this anymore,
And the hospital
Where he missed his last appointment with the psychiatrist,
How he wants to find his way back to something good inside,
But this guy grabbed him by the throat last night
And threw him against a wall,
How he gets so angry sometimes
He just explodes,
How the woman he lives with made him so angry
He punched his fist through a window
And he shows me the open cuts
On his dirt-encrusted hand and arm.

I am tempest-tossed
Between seeing him as my forsaken, younger brother
And my murderer,
My insane executioner who forgot why,
Why he was on the street in the first place,
To get a little money so he could buy something to eat.

I give him five dollars and he nearly weeps,
Puts his festering arm around me,
Hugs me tight as deeply disturbed tourists
Sidle by apprehensively.

Vaya con Dios man, Vaya con Dios!
He shouts as I walk briskly away,
Inspired,
Repulsed,
Ultimately torn.

Vaya con Dios to you too buddy.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Pearl


Having found a pearl of great value,
He declared:
“This is the only true pearl,”
And he worshipped it,
For it was his
And he was blinded by the sight of it.

He put it away in a safe place,
Kept it hidden,
And never returned to the great open sea
Where there are so many pearls of great value,
Still.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Paul


Early afternoon Paul
Walked out into the middle
Of a busy street.

Standing straight and tall Paul
Removed all of his clothing,
Flinging it about.

Sitting squarely down Paul
Announced to all who’d listen:
“I have seen the light!”

Free and clear Paul
Was reborn on that day,
In the middle of the street
In downtown L.A.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Passion Passes


It hurts to see hot lust
Behind steamy backseat windows
And feel the tug of pure, witless feeling.

Years of intellectual discipline
Have left me addicted to rational things,
Starved for the unspoken language of the young.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Parting


And where is home?
You wonder,
When home and family fall apart
And you’re starting over again,
Driving down darkened streets
That lead to this new place
You hesitate to call home,
Unpacking boxes,
Wondering what kind of logic
Will help you decide
Where old possessions should go.

You cradle a music box,
The first gift.
Too expensive,
Your mother said.
On its lid a portrait
Of two rosy-cheeked children
Sharing a single umbrella,
And you remember all the rainy days
You both walked and walked,
Just to be in motion together.

How young your hearts
In a world so dull and indifferent,
Changed for a while.
The world spreads out before you now
Like a desert,
This new world that seemed so right
In the fever of your white-hot rage,
That seems so blank,
Alone.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Truth Has Jagged Edges


The truth,
Oh yes, even the truth is mutable,
But tonight will be dark,
For the Earth does revolve around the sun
Despite centuries of disbelief.

Truth is hard.
Self-deception is easy,
Comfortable,
Convenient.

Self-deception is logical.

The truth has jagged edges.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Overwhelmed


Overwhelmed by love,
I have nothing left to say,
For when our bodies join,
Pretensions slip away.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Over My Dead Body


If you happen to stumble over my dead body
Someday,
Do not grieve,
Unless it’s mayhem,
And yet you may then
Envy
The way I have taken
My leave.

For if you happen to stumble over my dead body
Someday,
Know I preferred death that way,
Like the swatting of a fly,
In the blink of an eye.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

At One


The longer I live
The more I realize
How much I don’t know,
How much I thought I knew
And just how wrong I was,
How arrogant I was,
How certain I was
About what I didn’t know.

The longer I live
The less I say.

I’ve learned to leave out,
Delete,
Expunge
So much that leaves my brain
Before it gets to my mouth.

I’m saying so much less every day
That by the time I’m an old man
I’ll just sit quietly,
Nodding and smiling,
Finally at one with my inner idiot.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Out In The World


Out in the world,
At last.
How does it fit?
How does it taste?
You fully-fledged member of the race.

What will you do?
And why?
Will it matter?
Will you die?
Will you live?
What will you give?
What have you lost?
How much will all of this cost?
And how will you pay
Without giving too much away?

Out in the world,
At last.
So many questions.
Must you answer them all?
Perhaps one at a time?
Before you walk
Must you crawl?

Oh never mind,
Just plunge ahead.
Take a chance.
Do the dance.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Ourselves


We live in an age of distraction,
Mesmerized by a thousand different devices,
But the problem
(Yes, there is a problem)
Lies not within our technology,
Dear Brutus,
But within ourselves.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Only Money


Money matters
So little,
You have discovered
At last,
Now that you are older
And have enough to get by,
Forgetting how many die
From want of a few things
Only money can buy.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

One Small Candle


When we decide to love,
To fall in love,
We luxuriate in our love,
Our precise, exquisite love,
Denied to so many.

We light one small candle
In a dark room,
Believing the whole wide world
Is ablaze.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Fog


So thick tonight,
It muffles the sound of this city,
Makes this place feel small,
Reduced to a single note
That calls like a meditation bell,
Calls me to let it all go,
To forgive,
Even myself.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

One Single Thing


So many distractions,
Never again
One single thing,
“Rrringggtone!”
“Hello?”


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

One Little Tragedy


All it takes is one little tragedy
To bleach the color from this world,
To make you hate life
And its cruel surprises,
To make life’s pursuits and pleasures,
Hollow.

When we were small
We believed the world
Would take care of us,
Keep us from harm.
We were the lucky ones,
To harbor such illusions.

It’s not safe here.
It never was.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

One By One


No,
Not even in my most hope-filled moments
Do I expect humanity to awaken,
Eyes wide,
And begin a new era,
Infused with wisdom,
Love
And light.

As always,
One by one.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

On Us All


Happiness takes care of itself
While the sorrows of this world
Weigh on us all,
Whether we acknowledge them
Or not,
The sorrows of this world
Weigh on us all.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Mood


Anger blowing through town this afternoon,
A spiteful disdain stinging the eyes,
Sharpening the speech,
Tightening the lips.

I try to avoid contact,
Wondering what happened to this morning’s joyful sunshine
Filling me with such unpronounceable hope.

Dusk is coming,
The air growing still and empty.
I long for the evening’s swift descent
Into resignation and amnesia.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Wherever You Are, Wherever You Are Going


The night my grandfather died
A great gray owl
Called, called, called,
From atop an ancient tree
Across a sunburned field
Outside my open window,
Called, called, called,
As I lay awake in the warm breeze
Of that solitary summer evening.

Is that you grandfather?
One last lesson?

Wherever you are,
Wherever you are going,
Your lessons continue,
For the world about me resonates
With the kind and noble qualities
Of your being.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Older Ones


Remember when you were young
And how ridiculous the older ones looked?
Stoop-shouldered and wobbly,
Hobbling down the street,
Their atrocious clothing,
So little self-awareness,
Sputtering.

Now it’s your turn
And no matter how young you were,
How fashionable,
You too have fallen asleep,
Stopped trying,
And the young now look at you and wonder
If you ever look in the mirror,
And if you do
Why can’t you see
What a joke you’ve become,
Now that you’ve given up,
Now that you’re numb.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Intellectual


Yes,
I too admire the intellectual,
On the inside track,
In the know,
Quick,
Quick to dismiss the banalities
Of everyday life,
Dismissive,
Yes,
That’s the word,
So dismissive of the ordinary,
So extraordinary,
So well-read,
Full of facts and figures,
Allusions,
So many allusions
Sending me scurrying to my encyclopedia.

Yes,
I too admire the intellectual,
From afar.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved