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

~ For Barack Obama's first inauguration



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

Here To Stay


My children who've grown older
Have moved away.

Now the children they once were
Are here to stay.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Here, Now


Earth.
Heaven.
Hell.

Heaven and Hell.

Hell on Earth.
Heaven on Earth.

Heaven and Hell on Earth,

Here,
Now.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Bird Calls


These birds
Do not appreciate my impersonations,
The whistling,
The forced chirping through pursed lips.
They point their beaks at one another
And tilt their heads sarcastically
As I call:
Here birdy-birdy-birdy.

Incredulous,
They raise their eyes toward the treetops
And sigh,
Tiny puffs of air,
Ruffle a feather or two
And fly.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Enshrined


The light in her eyes when she sees her love
Illuminated beneath a streetlight,
Knowing their evening of romance has just begun,
Believing it has no end . . .

How quickly they come together,
So tightly embrace,
Looking deep into each other’s eyes,
A long kiss without caring who sees . . .

Their fingers entwine,
Their bodies stay close walking down the sidewalk
Into the enchanted night,
Arm in arm,
Heart in heart . . .

When I see them I think of you,
Of our eternal moments together,
Alive within me still,
Enshrined.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Here On Earth


Here on Earth,
God sees through our eyes.
Here on Earth,
God works with our hands.
Here on Earth,
We are the conscience of God.

Yet you ask,
Why does God not see?
Why does God not act?
Where is God’s mercy?

Look within your heart.
You will find the answers there.

Each of us is called.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Defiance


I did not volunteer for this duty,
Sentinel of pain,
And in my lowest moments I protest,
Knowing such protestations do no good,
Yet anger feels appropriate,
If only to maintain some kind of balance,
Some kind of defiance.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Professorial


He may actually believe in philosophy,
That a systematic philosophical argument can prove God exists,
That the mysteries of the heart are susceptible to reason,
That he will awaken from distress by way of intellectual inquiry.

So much to consider as he continues his search,
Wandering through the labyrinth of postulation
So late into the night,
Alone and wide awake,
Missing her.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Love Is A Vibration


His pocket is vibrating,
On and off all day long
With messages of love
From his eager new girlfriend,
Vibrating with urgency
On his cell phone.

But he is at work
And cannot stop.
Besides,
The words don’t matter.
The vibration is enough.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Heidi Ho


There is a little dog I know
Her name is Heidi Ho.
She lives where the red grapes grow,
Where the gypsy boys moan low
With their squishy gypsy missies.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Heaven And Hell


Sometimes this peaceful suburban landscape
Seems like heaven.

I am momentarily reprieved
And the people in my tiny town glow,
Translucent arcs of light
Moving about their daily tasks.

We stop and talk a while.

Hell returns.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Wishing


A fountain sparkling with pennies,
A wishing well
Catches your eye
And for a moment
You consider finding a penny
And making a wish,
An impulse you quickly dismiss.

All those shiny pennies
Magnified by the rippling water,
Shimmering.
An illusion for children,
You think.
Too old for such foolishness,
You think,
No longer remembering what wishing is for.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Heart Of The World


I give you my heart,
Which is the heart of the world.

It was yours before I gave it to you,
Yours when you were lost,
Yours when you loved,
Yours when you cried.

I give you my heart,
Which is the heart of the world.

It is yours without my giving,
Yours when you are strong,
Yours when you are weak,
Yours awakening in you.

I give you my heart,
Which is the heart of the world.

Look!
Within your hearing,
Within your sight,
Within and without,
Everywhere,
It is the heart of the world,
And I give it to you.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Angelic


I used to think angels were perfect,
Unstained,
Untouched by human frailty,
Until,
In a low moment
An angel comforted me,
The kind of comfort only an angel could bring,
An angel who knows what it is to be human,
Who knows what it is to fail.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Past, Present, Future


Lust is easy to explain.
Biological,
Sociological,
Innate urges powered by repression,
By obsession.
Animal.

Yes, you awaken the stalking beast within,
But something transcends,
Filling me with your past, present, future.

I look into your eyes and see all the ages of your life,
All the ages of our lives together.

You look into my eyes and smile,
And though we’ve just met,
The past, present and future of our lives, assemble.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Hate


If you are taught to hate,
If you embrace hate,
If you carry hate in your heart,
Then you will awaken each morning with hate,
Sleep each evening with hate,
Dream of hate.

Such a heavy burden,
This all-embracing anger,
This desire for violence,
This vengeance.

But when you dream of a perfect world,
When you imagine yourself in paradise,
Where is hate?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Hangin’ Onto The Ozone


My feet don’t seem to stick
No more to the floor,
They don’t.

Oh sure,
I can walk down the street,
But I’m hangin’ on for dear life.

Any minute now
That street come slippin’ out from under,
Me hangin’ onto the ozone
So I don’t fall
All the way
To the moon.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Safe


First comes passion,
Then all the talking,
The explaining,
The rationalizing,
The figuring things out
While passion is silently put
Into the small golden box
With the other keepsakes,
Safe.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

After I Died


I am walking on a long, outstretched path,
Somewhere I’ve never been
Yet familiar somehow,
Past verdant bushes and trees,
New life sprouting, flashing from every direction,
Bushels of multicolored leaves,
Rainbows of sudden spring flowers,
Glistening gold and green painted hillsides,
Walking without destination
Yet toward something, large.

A promise?
A transformation?

I am walking alone
In the cool crisp air of morning,
Or is it evening?
No sense of time.
A yellow sparrow flutters down
A few steps ahead,
Deliberately attracting my attention,
Then hopping along with me,
Keeping a safe distance,
Leading me from her nesting place
Until we’ve traveled far enough away,
Then she is gone.

I am walking without destination
But something significant is happening.
I am changing in some undefinable way,
Transforming into something long wished,
A childhood dream.

Then,
Suddenly,
Without thought,
I rise and take flight.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Battlefield


It is certainty that contends
On the battlefields of just cause,
Justifying employments of war’s less noble deeds,
Accepting war’s indiscriminate consequences,
The plight of millions,
This persistence of terror.

We fight our way through centuries,
Through millennia.
We are little changed.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Guru


When my cat sits on my lap,
Forcing stillness upon me,
I hear the distant barking of a neighborhood dog,
The sudden chirping of squabbling birds,
Footsteps down the hall,
The ticking of a clock,
The whoosh of a passing car,
A door softly opened
Then closed,
An airplane,
The scratching of this pen against this paper,
The smell of ink,
The movement of my toes,
The tempo of my breathing,
The sudden absence of sound,
The weight of silence.

When my cat sits on my lap
She reminds me I am living in a world
Of sense and sensation,
My furry little guru.


~ 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

Smothered


O my love you are constant
Yet incorporeal.
You have inhabited those I’ve loved
But their wills proved too strong,
Smothering you with petty practicalities.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Got No


I ain’t got no
Ain’t got no.
I ain’t got no
Ain’t got no.

No no no.
No no no.

Got no
Got no
No no no.

No no no,
Ain’t got no,
No got no,
Grammar.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

God's Little Figures


And it was said,
Let us make God in our image,
After our likeness,
And He shall have dominion over all the Earth,
And God we created he Him,
In our image,
From our spirit,
And we so exalted God
We came to believe He created we us,
In His image,
Individual and separate,
God’s little figures,
Made out of clay.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

God Dog


Once there was a small brown dog who loved God.
He loved God so much
He decided to change his name
To God,
God Dog,
The 1st.

Then,
He began to pee on the furniture
Without restraint.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

They Fall


One by one they fall,
While you,
So busy complaining,
Don’t notice them at all.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Go Gently


Go gently into that good night
For it is no darkened sleep
That comes in the passing there,
No closing of the day,
No dying of the light.

Go gently into that good night
For you have received the gift
And have no need to complain.

Life goes on
In ways we cannot imagine.
Life goes on
In ways we cannot explain.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved