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

Eight Days Until Christmas


This cloud-crossed moon is nearly full,
But the streets in my village are suspiciously dark.
Apparently there are forgotten corners of this world
Even a full moon cannot illuminate.

Urgent blasts of warning from a speeding freight train
Slam into the sides of ancient stone buildings,
Making sharp retort like the firing of guns at an execution.

Eight days until Christmas and people here are uneasy,
Hair-trigger tempers,
Honking car horns,
Making odd gestures and grimaces,
Racing to complete the tasks of the season.
Possessed.
A frenzied motorist makes a desperate O-turn in the town square,
Nearly hitting a distracted pedestrian staring at her smartphone.

An elderly man carrying no packages smiles as he shuffles past me,
A fixed smile like a grimace
Showing signs of pain and disenchantment,
Trying to put a little paint on a weathered fence.
I smile in return,
Also trying to reconnect with something,
Something.

I stop near an empty intersection in a quiet part of town,
Looking up at the blur of yellow light from a second-floor office
Where someone is working late.
I would climb the steps and walk to the end of a narrow hallway,
Knock on the wood-paneled office door with the brass nameplate,
Take her into my arms and kiss her lips,
Her neck,
And feel an explosion of pure, pointless joy.

Yes, I would do all this were it a year ago.

I don’t know where she lives now,
Now that her life has changed,
Having thought it best to end all communication,
Now that she’s married to such a sensitive young man.

Eight days until Christmas
And I am alone,
Wandering shadowed streets,
Assaulted by the persistence of the ordinary,
In need of a soup kitchen for the soul.


~ 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

We Dream


Two handsome horses
Pacing inside their pen.
A painted pony,
A muddy mare.

I see them running in full gallop
Through grassy fields.
Without a saddle, I hold tight
To the painted pony’s mane.


They whinny and snort as I walk by
As if they know what I am thinking,
Hoping I would fling open the gate
And let them go.

But where would we go?
This is the edge of a busy city,
Full of cement neighborhoods,
Hundreds of miles from grazing land.

The skin on their backs ripple and twitch
As the evening chill sets in.

Resigned to captivity,
We dream of being free.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

I Would Go Back


A child full of questions,
Asking, asking, asking,
Curious about all she sees in the world,
Her world,
Where all is visible,
So much I no longer see,
Not with her kind of clarity,
A clarity unburdened by worry,
Free from concern about the years ahead,
Free from decades of details that batter the emotions,
That crowd the mind with unpredictable consequences of fear,
Of joy,
Of monotony.
All the years gone by,
Still demanding attention somehow.

I would go back,
Old man that I am,
And begin again.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Each Day


Each day I add to the prayer
That began with my life.

I will not say amen.


~ 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

Old Men


What a trick nature plays
When our bodies age
And we are older,
Uglier old men,
And the lust is still strong,
The desire to procreate,
To possess
Something beautiful,
To consume and be consumed.

This is no longer a proper emotion
For old men,
So we pretend not to hunger so,
We feign indifference.

But when Spring’s young woman walks by,
All sinew and curve and bounce,
All smile,
All laughter,
Our old heads turn.
Something inside,
Still young.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Old Lady And The Crow


The old lady wakes up hard
And stiff
And alone
And wonders what Monday means.

The crow caws harshly,
High in the sycamore
And only knows the world is filled with light
Again.

He glides down to her backyard,
Walking measured, deliberate paces
To the patio
Where the cat food dish beckons,
Looking for what the night visitors,
Charming raccoons,
Circumspect possums,
Skittish skunks,
Prowling cats,
May have left behind,
Not much,
Or none.

He is a resourceful optimist
And will trick the old lady
Out of a peanut or two
She leaves for the eager young blue jays
By sitting where they usually sit,
On the fence post
Beneath the overhanging branch,
Acting nonchalant.

She only pretends to be tricked,
Always filling her pocket with extra peanuts,
Knowing the crowing
And the crow
Will come.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Oh Yeah Sure


Oh yeah sure,
Easy for you to say
It was just a joke,
Now that my head is unattached
To my body.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Of Certain Disposition


It comes unannounced,
Slips in quietly
And slowly yet surely takes hold,
Takes over,
Takes control.

Oh it may seem but a trifle
At first,
Something easily disposed of,
Until one actually tries
To stop it.

Then it digs in,
Makes demands
And will not let go,
And all is madness,
And knowing does no good.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

In My Mind


Perhaps it’s all in my mind.

So much of this life is idea:
Our cities and houses,
The clock,
The kind of work we do,
Money,
How we choose friends and enemies,
What brings us joy,
What brings us sorrow.

Even love,
Yes, even love is an idea,
Contained in the heart,
Contained in the mind,
Wherever such a preposterous notion as the mind resides.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

O Poets


O poets,
While you are busy being so clever,
So imaginative in your reconstruction of language,
So worthy of literary praise,
An aging woman returns home late from work
And finds no joy in the things she owns,
The things that own her,
The husband who does not really love her.

O poets,
While you are busy being so clever,
A young man rises early and fights traffic
To be on time at a job that means nothing to him,
Working all day long without meaning.

O poets,
While you are busy being so clever,
Thousands upon thousands suffer quietly,
Quietly suffocating and not knowing why.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

O Darling


O darling,
I revere your diaphanous soul,
Your transcendent spirit,
Your light.

I want to be alone with you
And suck every last drop of sexuality
From your throbbing, pulsating body
Until we are both cleansed by desire.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Now I Know


When it was raining,
Raining hard and the wind was blowing,
Blowing fast and cold,
I thought the rest of my life would be
Rainy, windy and cold.

Today it is clear, calm and warm,
And now I know
The rest of my life will be bathed in sunshine.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Novel And The Banana


He won the Nobel Prize for this novel,
This portrait of a picaresque hero,
This inexhaustible flow of invention,
This paperback book I begin to read.
Oh yes,
It has the unmistakable gloss
Of the master craftsman,
But my banana sits so invitingly on my armrest,
So firm and waxy yellow,
Not yet tinged with brown,
A blush of green near the stem.
I put the award-winning, death-defying novel down
And seize the banana.
I split open the side
For the skin is still too tough
To open by pulling on the stem,
And inside the fruit is perfect,
Almost white,
So well-protected by its thick skin,
All the way from Ecuador
Where the whole of someone’s life
Is all about bananas,
Knowing so many will end up brown
And uneaten.

I bite off a chunk.
It is firm,
Not too ripe,
Yet it still dissolves without much chewing.
I set the banana down,
Making sure the skin covers the fruit
So it will not make sticky contact
With the arm of my chair.

I look over at the novel.
I am older now
And have read so many important novels
That I no longer expect great revelations.
The fictional dream of this great work beckons,
But this banana is so beautiful somehow,
So perfect
That I must take it in hand once again
And savor every bite.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Not One


In this large world,
Everything,
All at once,
All possible eventualities,
Over and over again,
Yet,
None of us can walk on water,
Not one.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

All The King's Horses


Where are those children
Who wanted to play?
Where are their toys,
Have they put them away?

Where is my son,
Has he grown up and gone?
My little daughter,
A child of her own?

All the king’s horses
And all the king’s men
Cannot put childhood
Together again.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Not Hats


The teacups of time are filling,
Spilling,
While we mad hatters make haste,
Not hats.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Nowhere At Last


Now that I’ve arrived at my destination,
Now I realize where I’ve been headed
All these years.
Now I see where this seemingly unintelligible road was leading.
Now I know where the journey ends.

All these years,
I was on my way to nowhere.

Now the only question left,
Now that I’m here,
Now what?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

An Angel's Plight


I cannot tell you the nature of my birth.
My countenance is but a mirror,
Reflecting your imagination,
Without human substance.

To say I am born of God
Is less than Adam’s rib,
Without lineage.

In my mind there is only being.

There was no infancy,
No cradling,
No mother’s soft cooing.

I am filled with envy
And my desire is insatiable,
The desire for love,
Love that must be earned by good works,
By intercession.

So I listen and I am called
And I answer as best I can,
Only able to influence,
Not change,
The course of any human event.

I hunger for that connection,
That bond with a grieving heart,
A heart so wounded that at last I am called,
Yet so often abandoned after healing has begun,
After joy has returned,
After the Earthly distractions come flooding back,
Severing the connection,
Casting me out once again,
Lonely winged messenger that I am.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Dance


I woke up this morning determined,
Absolutely determined to pursue love,
To sneak up on it,
To flatter,
To entice this love,
This beautiful girl,
This vessel of my desire.

I will buy flowers,
Write heartfelt words,
Compliment and then be silent with compassionate gaze,
Listening to the stirrings of her soul,
Nodding in moist-eyed agreement,
Exuding empathy and understanding from every pore,
Waiting, waiting,
Waiting for the door to open,
Waiting for the moment I can take her hand
And press it to my lips.

Of all life’s occupations and employments,
Of all life’s ambitions,
How intangible and delicate is the dance of love.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

I Remember


I remember that place,
Where Peter never loses the enchantment of youth,
Where Goldilocks is taught to respect the privacy of bears,
Where little pigs learn the value of foresight and diligence,
Where Dorothy realizes there’s no place like home.

I remember that place,
Where I was innocent,
Where I was safe,
Where the world was full of wonder,
Where life had no end.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

No Words


There are no words,
Nothing I say or write
Can contain the loss
Of your arms around me,
Your body pressed close to mine,
The touch of a dream made flesh
Against my skin.

There are no words,
Not even these,
That can contain the loss
Of who I thought you were,
Who you turned out to be.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved