Hugs


It was a friendly hug,
A hello hug,
A nice-to-see-you hug,
For her.

For me,
It was love,
It was touch,
It was lust.

O this vast desert,
O this oasis,
These few drops of water,
Keeping me alive.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

All The Way


She climbed a mountain,
Struggled and suffered her way to the summit.
Looking out over the vast landscape,
Looking up into the dome of the sky,
She said:
I am closer to God,
Not realizing God was with her,
All the way up,
Not realizing God would be with her,
All the way down.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Reincarnate


How many things we do
Without thought,
Things we’ve done so long,
For so many years,
Becoming habitually unconscious.

Actions and reactions
Assembled into support systems of self-identity,
Reinforcing who we think we are,
Who we think we aren’t.

Strip them all away and who is left?
A newborn?
Or just a very old human being,
Finally ready to begin again,
Somehow.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Welcome To New York


Easy to feel sorry for someone with no home,
Imagine shelterless days and nights
Picking through trash discarded food,
Penetrating heart-shivering cold,
Angry voices.

I have felt sorry,
Given money,
Prayed,
Expressed righteous outrage
At indifferent tolerance.

I entertain such thoughts and feelings,
Yet in a corner of a New York City subway station
The feet of a homeless man
Were mud-stained,
Calloused, cracked, bleeding, swollen yellow-purple,
Each toenail turning black.

He was curled up like a kitten,
Lost in shivering sleep,
The winter chill coming on.

Easy to feel sorry,
To give money,
To relieve conscience with care and concern.
But who will wash this man’s feet?
Who will put salve on this man’s wounds?
Who will reassemble his life?
Who can?

I left him there.
We all walked by and left him there,
His wounded feet exposed to everyone,
Looking like Christ’s feet must have looked,
Nailed to the cross.
Actual, physical evidence,
The painful journey of an abandoned soul.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

There Are Words


There are words that lead into words,
That pull you in like the sudden spike
Of a strong drug,
Words whose meanings unfold,
Revealing layer upon layer,
Myriad thoughts,
The petals of old roses,
Shark teeth.

But each revelation is incomplete,
Relies on the understanding
Of an additional equation
Always a few pages ahead.
It is gravity in reverse,
Where conclusion precedes supposition,
A house of mirrors for the mind.

There are words that lead away from words,
That do not command,
Less than certain,
They paint a cerulean sea
And tell how the pelican folds his wings in flight
Like a collapsed umbrella
And dives into a shoal of sardines,
Shimmering,
Silver,
To satisfy his hunger.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Peace And Quiet


I had almost reached some eternal state of bliss
When my reverie was rudely interrupted
By my birth.

I need not tell you of the emotional quagmire
That is life.

I have suffered less than many.

Yet just when things began to settle down
My reverie was rudely interrupted
By my death.

Perhaps now I can finally get some peace and quiet.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Special Delivery


When I want love too much,
I remind myself not to be so selfish,
That love should be delivered
By winged messenger
With balloons.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The World


The trouble,
The consternation comes
When I try to make sense of the world.

Now which world is it I struggle to behold?

All human,
All animal,
All biological,
All cultural,
All political,
All geographical,
All cosmological,
All these worlds and millions more,
All somehow coagulated in mind and imagination,
All one world?

From my first waking hours
To my restless, fitful sleep,
I travel through myriad worlds of self,
Past, present and future worlds,
Full of memory, supposition and hypothesis,
Full of knowledge and ignorance,
Full of fear and hope,
And always,
Always,
The ever-present now,
Calling me to awaken,
Commanding immediacy,
Constantly defining and redefining this mercurial existence.

How can I ever make sense of it all,
Ever slip under a microscope
Such a fanciful idea as a world?


~ 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 Old Cat Sighed


The old cat sighed.
Suddenly realizing
Just how limited a cat’s life really is,
The old cat died.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved