Not My Son


I thought I saw my son
Staring out the window of a bus,
Bathed in grimy yellow light,
Vacant,
Hopeless.
He looked so much like my son
But this could not be,
Not my son.

I thought I saw my son
Standing outside a supermarket,
Holding a ragged piece of cardboard,
Homeless
Scrawled in large black letters
As if nothing else were needed
To explain his relationship to humanity.
Tired out and expecting little,
He looked so much like my son
But this could not be,
Not my son.

I thought I saw my son
Angling down a crowded city sidewalk
When he should have been in school,
Too skinny,
Clothes too small and worn,
Asking me for spare change.
Tears filled his eyes
When I gave him a twenty dollar bill.
He looked so much like my son
But this could not be,
Not my son,
Not my son.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

In The Eyes Of A Beautiful Stranger


In the eyes of a beautiful stranger
There is a kind of paradise,
A release
From a life full of things
Too familiar,
Worn out from overuse,
Exhausted by constancy.

In the eyes of a beautiful stranger
There is another life,
Different,
Fresh,
Unknown.

Ah, to awaken one morning
And not know
What the new day will bring.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

In The Early Morning Dark


In the early morning dark
After the last of my automatic lawn sprinklers
Sinks back beneath the lush lawn turf,
The last valve closing with a pipe-rattling thunk,
Still a few small slugs remain
Nestled in the recess of the sprinkler heads,
Plump with moisture,
While the slap of a newspaper falling on a driveway,
Again, slap, again, slap, again, slap,
Comes closer.

He drives on the wrong side of the street,
Emergency lights flashing,
And delivers the blueprints for Thursday,
This day of Thurs in which we all believe,
Which must always follow Wednesday,
Which must always presage Friday,
Always, slap, always, slap, always, slap.

He drives swiftly, almost recklessly
Beneath the burnt umber street lights,
Confident no children will be outside playing.
We are a predictable people
And need our sleep.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

In Spring


Something awakens in me
After the long winter slumber of my soul,
This new season
Sending waves of electricity
Through all the paths and bypaths
Of sense and sensation.

I am older now
But I will not give up Spring
As so many eventually do,
Who somehow walk undistracted
Up and down streets aflame with it,
Bathed in the glowing light of it,
Old men who hunker down and straighten their ties
And shade their eyes against the glare of it.

I will not give up Spring,
This new season,
This rapture,
Everywhere,
Life resurrecting,
Everywhere,
The soil giving birth,
Everywhere,
The cacophony of birds,
Everywhere,
Sun-inspired love and lust,
Everywhere,
Gravity unbound.

I will drink until the well is dry.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

In Prayer


In prayer
We become the manifestation of God,
The explanation of God,
The delineation of God,
For in prayer we bring the essence of God
Into our lives
Where it changes our purposes,
Our actions.

It is not God the Father,
The majestic, bearded image of divinity,
Who alone intercedes in our lives.
Too much tragedy in this world
To believe a merciful God would
Cover His eyes,
Shield His hearing.

We are the agents of God,
His flesh and bone,
Apostles of mercy.

In prayer,
When we are done with all our asking and apologizing,
After we finally stop talking,
When we finally begin to listen,
The instruction!


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Phantom Pain


I never quite understood
The stories of amputees,
How they still felt the presence
Of a missing limb.

I never quite understood,
Until I lost you.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Plans Fall Through


Torn between the soft slumber of safety
And the disturbing danger of desire
I calculate my remaining days and wonder,
Is there meaning here?

There are many who would answer for me,
Who would describe and prescribe,
Who would cleanse my confusion
With a plan.

Plans fall through.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

When Do You Say?


When you start praying
When do you say:
Now I can put
All my praying away?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Imagine


If you are not living the life you imagined,
Imagine the life you are living.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Can We Still Be Friends?


Please don’t misunderstand
When I say I hate you
And call you a stupid jerk
Who never should have been born.

You should know me better than that!

Just because I will not speak to you
And block your texts and e-mails,
Just because I never want to see you again
Doesn’t mean we can’t still be friends.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

If I Could Choose


Yeah,
Heaven may be swell,
For a while,
But what do you do with all you’ve experienced,
All you’ve learned?
Do you just sit around with family and friends,
Drinking wine at sunset,
Forever?

If I could choose my soul’s progression,
My soul’s destiny,
I would take all that I know,
All that I am
And be the seed of a new world.

Imagine being the initiating spirit,
The infusing spirit of a new existence,
For better or for worse,
The spirit that inspires,
The spirit that destroys,
Or something in-between,
Something complex,
Something that grows beyond its beginnings,
Something that evolves,
Kind of like planet Earth,
Which makes me wonder
Just what kind of erratic genius gave birth to this world?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Imaginary


If your paradise is an illusion,
Yet you believe you are in paradise,
Feel like you are in paradise,
Who is to say this is not real?

If your love is imaginary,
Yet it keeps you alive and dreaming,
Writing long love letters late at night,
Hoping, always hoping,
Until the oxygen finally runs out,
Who is to say this is not real?

Even if your heaven is a dream,
You can still live there.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

In My Dark Hours


In my dark hours,
Deserted,
Miserable,
Without hope of redemption,
In a world grown cold and colorless,
In the depth of my most personal failures,
I hear a soft voice,
Speaking calm words
With tenderness and tenacity,
Slipping through the black curtain
Of my defeat,
Pulling me back to life
From the perilous ledge
Of despair.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Allergic


If I could choose how death will come
I’d like it to come as a sneeze,
One really big, sudden sneeze.

It would begin with an itching sensation,
Something advancing,
Growing,
Multiplying,
A tsunami,
Then,
One massive, uncontrollable sneeze
Seizing my entire body and soul.

The lights go out.

“What happened?”
Some would ask my wife,
My witness.

“He had an allergic reaction,”
She would explain,
“To life.”


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Illumination


Early this morning,
Just a glimpse of golden light
On the peak of a nearby mountain,
Then it was gone,
Still beautiful,
But no longer illuminated.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Two Simple Words


When despair falls from lowly grace,
From mood to physical pain,
From pain to relentless torture,
From torture to final escape,
How grave the absence of hope,
The lost path to something like joy,
Something like acceptance,
The inability to say two simple words,
To say,
I will.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Aged Ones


We are the aged ones,
The last ones living off inheritances,
Consuming,
Consuming,
Nothing much left for the next generation,
Crumbling infrastructures,
Decaying,
Decaying.

We mutely observe the passing of an age,
Greedily outliving all expectations.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A Little Space


A little space
Is all I need
To sit and rest
And plant a seed,
To someday root
To someday grow
So when I’m old
I’ll someday know.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

If Only I Could


If only I could give you the joy in my heart,
If all I had to do was place my hand on your shoulder,
Look into your eyes and smile.

If I could give you the joy in my heart
By doing these things,
Then I would come to you now,
Interrupt everything,
Announce to the world:
You, are loved!
Saying it over and over again
Until you finally believed it,
Until you finally believe it,
Until you are filled with love,
Cleansed,
Healed,
Ready to begin again.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

If I Were A Little Badger


If I were a little badger
I tell you what I’d do
I’d help all the other badgers
Escape from the L.A. Zoo.

We’d go downtown for coffee
And chat the night away
Around the sidewalk tables
At the badger espresso cafe.

We’d have existential rages
And geopolitical despair
Then we’d sneak back to our cages
And pull out all our hair.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

If


If life were a metaphor
Then the incandescent epiphany
Could rise,
Bloom,
An evening cactus flower,
Jesus alone in the desert
Wrestling with demons.

I awaken,
Late for work.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Idolatry


They crowd around the dirty window
Where the faintest image of Jesus has appeared,
Standing for hours,
Praying,
Hoping to be blessed,
To be sanctified.

All around the world
The faithful are making pilgrimages,
Pressing their lips to sacred artifacts,
Expecting miraculous transformation,
As if God were in one place
And not another.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

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

We Suffer


At this level of incarnation
I suppose our suffering has purpose.
I have learned much from suffering,
Lessons I apparently could not have learned
Had my life been free from suffering,
Had my life been easy.
Lessons I apparently could not have learned
From joy.

Yet how can I condone suffering?
How can I countenance its merciless, random aim?
How can I find reason in the suffering of children?
In the suffering caused by villainy?
In the suffering caused by the collapse of civilization,
When whole countries suffer
From the corruption of a single man?

We are spurred to action and reform by suffering,
The best of us dreaming of a world
Where the last remnants of suffering are accidental
And soon extinguished.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

So Clearly Now


You think it’s over,
The past,
Over and done,
Those mistakes,
Weaknesses,
Errors in judgment,
Sins.

You think your treasured moments,
Your blessings,
Will erase painful memories,
In time,
But they find safe harbor in time,
Awaiting idle moments
To erupt and confront.

Someday when I’m old,
You think,
These haunts will at last subside.
But when old age comes
And all doors are closed,
Awakened from a fitful sleep,
You see so clearly now,
What could have been.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

In Return


Oh how you scoff at religion,
At those who embrace a merciful God,
Who have faith in the promise of heaven.

You list the sins of the righteous,
The historic holy wars,
The blindness of orthodox doctrine,
The wolves in priests’ clothing,
The sainted certainty that employs violence,
That justifies violence,
Violence against body, mind and spirit.

Your debate weighs on the sins of the religious,
As if the evil that humans do
Is an inevitable consequence of faith.

I have an aged friend,
Raised in a small town,
Believing gratitude to God is the way to give thanks,
Thanks for the blessing of another day of life.
If I convinced her of your reasoning,
If I could take all her antiquated beliefs away,
All the naïve notions of religion going back generations,
What would I give her in return?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Recently Born


So new,
So young,
So ignorant of devious motives,
So free from self-imposed orthodoxies.

So new,
So young.

We race to fill our recently born
With our individual truths,
Our tribal truths,
Our instructions and conclusions,
As if we had no need of change.


~ 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