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

Closer


It’s hard to achieve tranquility
When I hear the sirens,
Closer,
Closer.

Who is in peril this time?
Why?

It’s hard to achieve a state of bliss
When this world is full of sirens,
Closer,
Closer.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Now, Lost


She had worked assiduously on her shopping list,
Trying to anticipate every need for the week ahead,
But as she entered the store and selected a shopping cart
She could not find her list,
Not in her pockets,
Not in her purse.

She tried to forge ahead without it
But she could not recall a single item.
Instinctively, she looked to her husband for help,
But her husband was not there.
Why had he not come with her?
Then she remembered,
He had died.
How long ago?

Wandering haplessly through the supermarket maze
She finally gave up and abandoned her shopping cart,
Returning to the parking lot which looked so different in the dark,
Now that the sun had set.
She would search her car for the shopping list,
Her car,
Parked somewhere among this vast landscape,
But the glare of headlights blinded her,
Erasing whatever fleeting sense of direction she had left.
Now,
Absolutely,
Lost.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

No Witness


When at last it dies within,
No one is bedside witnessing
The floating mist
Of hope extinguished.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

No Small Thing


I have tried being realistic,
Accepting the fact
You probably do not love me,
But I fail to see the benefit
Of discarding my beautiful dream.

Some other, more possible love
May appear,
But my only choice at present
Is unrequited love
Or no love at all.

When faced with this reality
And this illusion,
I must hold on to my illusion,
For to possess a beautiful dream
Is no small thing.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

No Longer Young


In moments of great pain
I think of you so young,
The first time our unclothed bodies touched,
Pressed and rubbed together
In the satin sea of my small bed,
A secret in my parents’ house.

It was the first time I felt
The length, the breadth, the depth,
The full measure of myself,
Alive, awake and rippling through every pore.

Look, look what time has done!
I awoke this morning,
No longer young.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Mysterious Ways


Thinking about the mysterious ways of the Lord
And all,
I came upon a squashed bug,
Some kind of beetle,
Swarmed by ants,
And realized
I was standing on the line of ants
That led from the dirt
To the hot cement sidewalk
Where I stood,
Doing the Lord’s bidding,
Somehow.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Weight Of Memory


As the years accumulate
Those of us who do not repress
Remember too much,
The personal tragedies,
The pain,
The simple act of being a fool
And defending one’s foolishness
With the arrogance of ignorance
And pride.

What is past
Is past,
But my heart remembers and suffers anew,
Even as details fade and outlines blur.
And in my low moments
The weight of memory
Is almost too much to bear.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Pedestrian


Being new to the big city
I sometimes stop and stare,
Uncertain of my direction,
Stop and stare,
Standing still in inconvenient places,
Inconvenient to the sardines swimming swiftly uptown.
Or is it downtown?

The red light turned off and the green light turned on
But the crowd had already pushed forward in anticipation
While I alone paused,
Creating an obstacle due to my confused consternation,
Blocking the preselected path of the old man,
The old man impatiently pushing an older man in a wheelchair.

“Watch where you’re going!” he shouted,
Having no horn to honk,
Selflessly guiding the disabled old man
Safely through congested city sidewalks,
So angry at a world so uncooperative,
A world that would allow someone like me to stand in his way.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Time Keeper


I am the one who turns back time
This chilly gray morning
While wife and children slumber
In the hibernation of Sunday.

I sneak like a tooth fairy
From room to room,
Setting back clocks,
Slipping another hour of sleep
Silently under their pillows,
Hastening the darkening of a season
Already too dark for my timeless soul.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Part Of Me


I love you,
She said.

But I know what she really loves.

She loves the part of me that loves her,
The part of me that becomes the whole of me
When I am with her.

Yes,
I do indeed love her love of the love I too love to love.
Yes.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

My Secret


Plain, ordinary people
Sometimes fall in love,
Something that feels like love,
However brief.

It feels like love when it happens
To plain, ordinary people like me,
Who are not what you might call,
Good looking.

I go through life’s errands
Mostly unnoticed,
And then it happens.
I fall in love with a face,
With the gentle curl of her hair,
The liquid flow of her neck,
The sculpture of her fingers,
With something I cannot describe.

She notices me noticing her,
So I pretend not to notice
While I imagine she sees through
My plain appearance
Into my unclaimed heart.

Introductions are made,
We speak.
She shows no sign of knowing
That it is my wandering spirit
That has lingered here
To absorb the sound of her voice,
The light in her eyes.

She is formal and polite,
Quick to withdraw.

My secret is safe.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

My Love Turns Off


My love turns off the radio
She doesn’t watch TV,
She will not listen to the news,
She doesn’t want to see
The awful things that people do,
Depraved humanity,
That’s why she’s smiling all day long,
She leaves the world to me.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

My Kitty Has A Dishrag


My kitty has a dishrag,
It’s pink and rough and wet,
She scrubs herself all over
When she comes home from the vet.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Safe Road


The safe road is a circular road,
‘Round and ‘round it goes,
Past testaments and monuments,
Repeating what everyone knows.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Unspoken


After all these years,
I’ve finally got it all worked out,
All the words I should have said
During all my most awkward moments,
When I was treated unfairly,
When I was misunderstood,
When I was intimidated,
When I did not know what to say.

Too late,
Alas,
Too late.

I replay my most troublesome memories,
Replacing my old self
With my new and improved self,
My more competent self
Who speaks wisely and forcefully,
Disarming my foes with precisely measured eloquence.

Too late,
Alas,
Too late.

I cannot rewrite history,
My history.

All my compromises,
All the unspoken words I should have said,
Haunting my most troublesome memories,
Remain.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

I Will Sing!


I could write about a flower,
How it embodies my soul,
The blooming,
The withering away,
Or perhaps a thermometer,
The inconstant mercury,
Any metaphorical device would do,
But not today.

Today I am flesh, blood,
A thousand thousand things.
Today
For some unnameable reason
I am happy.
No more speaking.
Today
I will sing!


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

I See Them


There was a rabbit
Loose in the grove.
She taught me how to enter
The silence of its fear
So it would know
My innocence.

There was an old clock
Whose tic and toc
Was heard by those
Who could only imagine me.
She taught me how to travel
Through the sound
Into their hearts.

In spring her orchard was full
Of birds and butterflies.
She pressed her warm fingers
Over my eyes and said:
See from where
All pretty things come.

Her old Siamese
Loved his pie-pan milk
Steaming on the back porch.
One winter he was gone.
I remembered how still he sat
With folded paws
And cloud-blue eyes.

Looking into heaven
He finally found his way,
She whispered,
Close your eyes
And see him.

I see them.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Journey


Behind this countenance
My will seems a thing apart from my soul,
Made of more stubborn stuff,
Ready to jeopardize all
To assuage the senses,
To satisfy reasonless emotion
While feigning ignorance of the soul’s wisdom,
Willfully blind.

Would I be stripped of this intransigence
And guided by that wiser part of me,
That eternal part of me,
Patient yet ready to correct the haphazard course
Of my impenetrable ego,
Ready and waiting to be called
When defeat and despair at last force surrender
Of resistance and rationalization.

O the wayward journey that is my life.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

My Fallen Friend


He came from a good family,
A loving family,
And when I knew him he was kind,
A kind and thoughtful young man.
He wanted to be an artist.

He died in prison,
Locked in a cage,
Too troubled for the outside world,
Too sensitive to survive imprisonment.

I imagine the joy of his mother,
Looking into the awakening eyes of her firstborn:
“A son, God has blessed me with a son!”

His parents had him cremated,
But months have gone by
And they cannot bring themselves to scatter his ashes.
They have not yet found the quiet place inside
Where they will learn how to say goodbye.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Morning Calculation


The difference between six
And nine
Equals the difference between rise
And shine.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

I Never Knew


I found my high school yearbook,
The one from my senior year,
Filled with photos of friends,
Some I would see again at periodic reunions,
Some I would never see again
Due to circumstance,
Due to death.

I looked through the pages,
Looking for girlfriends,
Looking for the popular girls,
The pretty girls,
The bold and the shy.

I read the inscriptions,
Silly and sincere,
And in a corner of the back, inside cover,
A simple French phrase,
A simple greeting, I assumed at the time,
Not bothering to translate.

I found the photo of the girl who wrote it,
A pretty young girl I barely knew,
A shy young girl
Who summoned her courage that last day of school
And wrote in flowing, immaculate script:
“Je t'aime.”


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Something Like Love


Young women in love
Tease, taunt and tempt.

Young men in lust
Pledge, promise and plead.

But after the prize is won,
After the prize is won,
Familiarity dulls and tarnishes
As the spring of youth passes,
As the winter of aging advances.

Then one day,
That silly young girl is gone.
That amorous young boy is gone.
And the middle-aged couple they’ve become
Silently mourn.

No more spark,
No more passion,
Just the valiant quest,
To keep something like love alive.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Music Everywhere!


I once imagined heaven was full of music,
Every part of it,
But here on Earth
Everywhere I go there is music playing,
All of our public places
Saturated with this saccharine sound
That feels more like hell
Than heaven.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Godspeed


In Jamestown,
The father of my father’s fathers,
Excised from country,
Bereft and starving.

(What an asshole!)


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Given Up


This portly, stubble-faced, middle-aged man
With uncombed random remnants of hair,
Hastily dressed in laundry hamper attire,
Wrinkled and stained,
In semiconscious disarray,
Blunders his way through supermarket aisles,
Searching,
Searching,
Finally finding the dessert section,
The gallon of strawberry shortcake ice cream
Which he cradles in hand
While making a mad dash for the quick-check lane,
Stumbling past summer’s bronzed young woman,
All curls and curves,
Home from college and ready for fun.
She is a stunning vision of youth and vitality,
But he does not notice,
Having given up the idea of romance so long ago.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Money Train


Every mornin’
Climb on board,
You climb on board
That money train.

You be rich
Or you be poor
But you climb on board
That money train.

Hear that whistle,
Hear it blow,
The train’s a' comin’,
You gotta go.

You be rich
Or you be poor
But you climb on board
And they shut the door.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

How To Write Poetry


O figure and reckon
Seeing they do write,
And how,
That is,
Out selected words
Ordering re-arrange in re:
Deforming tensed suffix
Ending original sin tax entendre?

uncap enjambers lifting geese as when simile even
meta-4 flying flight skyward soaring ethereal epiphany
yet safe nodding knowing wistful wink . . .

L'émotion artistique cesse où l'analyse et la pensée interviennent

get me to the

occasional

on timeward’s back contradicting the deliberately

unintentional.


Be clever by omission to hide what is not there
with literary frosting and pungent classical allusion such as
Perpetually Popular Persephone
(despite not even being an ex-planet).

By the way, a certain offhand familiarity with foreign locale,
making sophisticated world citizen manifesteringly manifest,
i.e. the halting walk of chilly winter pigeons just before dawn
along the Piazza Unità d'Italia in Trieste . . .

Now add an immigrant ancestor,
(A cobbler eating moldy cheese in steerage?)
(A cheesemaker eating moldy cobbler in steerage?)
Or two,
And always,
Always,
The scarcely hidden “Hell with you.”


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Momentary


When the light of your life grows dim,
When the love of your life is gone,
When the music stops
And you are back again to ordinary,
How exquisite the memory,
How painful the realization
That however lucky you may be,
All of this is momentary.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Men Are Hungry


O young women be careful
How you smile at men.
You may think it common courtesy,
Or a simple act of friendliness
To be openhearted and cheerful,
But you must be careful
Because men are hungry,
Though they will try and disguise it
In a thousand different ways,
Men are hungry.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Another Temporary Visitor


I knew when he walked into the coffee shop,
When this tall black man hesitated before sitting down,
Casting a wide, smiling inspection of the dozen or so diners,
So pleased to be in our company,
So joyful to be among the living,
I knew he was back from the grave,
Now seeing the everyday world through the eyes of a child,
Entranced by the sound of talking and laughing.

What was once so ordinary was now extraordinary.
He’d crossed the line between life and death,
Then crossed back again.

I wouldn’t be surprised if he were some kind of angel,
Taking physical form for a day to see and be seen,
To marvel at the magic of human existence.

How long did he have before returning?
And to where?
I wonder.
How long do I have?

He smiled at me as I walked by on my way out,
Recognizing, acknowledging another temporary visitor.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

This Place


If I am humble,
I can take all insults,
All personal affronts,
In stride.

But when I believe in the illusion of myself
As an all-knowing, superior being,
Every imagined disrespect ignites my rage,
A rage which will not be calmed
Until revenge has cleansed my troubled soul.

The angels of tolerance,
The demons of anger,
Always close,
Contending,
Here on this ancient planet,
This place of good and evil
Where we struggle still.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Heroes and Heroines


Cares and concerns are thrust unmercifully upon us
By life’s daily demands.
How many have a chance to supersede the drudgery
And rise above the unremarkable tasks of sustenance
To larger purpose?

Are those larger lives among us preordained,
Or merely products of chance?
Does God send heroes and heroines to dwell among us,
Or do we create them to suit our own particular prejudices?

We fill stadiums to pay homage,
Sharing moments of superhuman accomplishment and fame,
And then we are dismissed,
Exiled to the everyday world where we spend most of our lives,
Where dreams are smaller,
More easily attainable,
Closer to the heart.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Wandering Time


This time of loss,
This wandering in the desert,
This desolation.

My father never told me,
Never warned me,
Never prepared me.

Perhaps he thought this time of loss
Was a private, personal weakness.

I saw him,
Bent by the weight of it,
Barely knowing
Yet suffering,
Keeping busy,
Distracted,
Not realizing,
Not acknowledging this other rite of passage,
Coming so late in life,
This time of loss,
This wandering in the desert,
This desolation.

My father’s ghost is with me now
In this, my wandering time.
I cannot tell if he knows the way.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

You Are Not Hidden


I write these words to you who are cruel,
Who know you are cruel,
Who deny your cruelty.

These words are not for those who succumb to weakness,
Who struggle with weakness,
Who sincerely strive to overcome weakness and be kind.

We all have sinned.

These words are for you who are deliberate,
Who forged your cruelty through years of abuse,
No matter how you rationalize,
No matter how you repress,
No matter how conscious or unconscious you may be.

You are not hidden.
No matter how much control you have over us,
You are not hidden.
No matter how compliant we are forced to be,
You are not hidden.

You are condemned in our eyes,
And when you lose your power over us,
When you look in the mirror
And see the monster you have become,
When your punishment comes,
When you realize you have been punished all along,
When you realize each act of cruelty
Has destroyed a part of your soul,
When you have no soul left,
We will rejoice.

We who are kind will take no pleasure in your suffering,
We will not let the anger you placed in our hearts make us cruel,
But we will rejoice when we are free from your cruelty,
When your cruelty is stripped of all power,
When you must answer for each cruel act.
We will rejoice when justice is restored.

You are not hidden.
You pay for each act of cruelty
Whether you realize it or not,
For we know you have no real joy
Because you are not loved.
You are lower than the lowest of us
Who suffer and yet are loved.
You are lower than the lowest of us
Who have died because of your cruelty,
Because we are loved,
And this love is eternal.

You are not hidden.
The eyes of the world are upon you,
The eyes of history are upon you,
The eyes of God are upon you.

The spirit of change is upon the land,
It cannot be stopped.
Lies are temporary,
Injustice is temporary.
Truth is eternal,
Justice is eternal.

You are not hidden.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Men


Someday soon I will turn to you in anger
For no particular reason,
Because I am damaged
And often lose my tenuous hold
On the better side of my nature.

This is how I reward your loyalty,
Your perseverance,
Your love,
With the dispassionate whine
Of the stronger sex,
Still managing to keep the upper hand,
To rule my vainglorious kingdom
While my subjects weep.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Memory


I have to stop and think
To remember the date of my father’s birth,
And is this still Tuesday?
My head always in the clouds,
As they say.
So many of life’s little details
Are lost,
Lost to me.

Yet somehow I remember
The sick sarcastic look on the thin old man’s face
Thirty-two years ago
When I drove out of a parking lot
Across the sidewalk where he shuffled toward me.

I remember his tight-lipped scowl,
The scrape of his petulant, brittle voice
When forced to stop
To allow my car to pass,
When he so sharply said:
Thank you very much!


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Meek


The meek may indeed inherit the Earth,
But they will not explore it.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Max


Max is back.
Saw him early this foggy morning
Limping down thirty-second street.

Did you forget where I live
Old skin bone street fighter?
You were fat when you left last April.
This is some kind of free you’re fixed on.

I took him home,
Woke up the wife and kids.

Max is back!


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A Man From Another Country


A man from another country says,
“I don’t understand you!”
When I try to explain
How we do things here,
How we behave.

Everywhere we go
People stare.
He walks too slow,
He talks too loud,
He laughs at my earnest everyday endeavors
As if he were watching
Some riotous vaudeville show.
He is constantly amused.

I will teach him how to fit in,
How to talk to people
In ways they expect
And understand.
“You must learn how we act here,”
I explain.

“You are afraid of life!”
He yells at me,
Waving his arms wildly
As we stumble down a crowded sidewalk.
I move away
And pretend we are strangers.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Long March


You can march to the left,
You can march to the right,
You can march down the middle
And dream of your perfect world
Where everyone knows the truth.

You can march to the left,
You can march to the right,
You can march down the middle
But as long as you believe
You are right
And all the rest are wrong
You’ll be marching long,
You’ll be marching long.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Magnificent Illusion


Your hand touches mine,
An accident,
And your electricity surges into me.

You say something ordinary
And look into my eyes,
Explaining,
And I am entranced,
Barely listening.

You laugh and smile
And do a hundred different things
You do every day,
All day long,
Without thinking.

But when I am with you,
Everything you do is illuminated,
Inspiring,
Divine.

O the magnificent illusion of love.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A Madness


A madness some have described it,
Yes, it feels like madness.
I’ve never wanted anything in my life
The way I want her.

Yes, it feels like madness,
Not the absence of reason,
But the defiance of reason,
For reason is here before me,
A constant voice,
Warning me:
This is impossible.

It is reason that twists the knife,
Madness that pushes the blade in deeper.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Lucky


When I was young
I thought,
Someday I will be somebody.

But now I am nobody,
Nobody in particular.

I am one of the lucky ones.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Luck


It’s not always easy to tell
How the luck is going,
The way it works,
Not always easy to see.

Sometimes,
When the luck seems so bad,
It’s setting you up,
Getting you ready
Without your knowing
Until years later
You look back and see,
The luck was good,
Starting right on that first morn
When you had the luckiest luck of all,
You were born.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Love Is Hard


Love is hard.

Sadness is easy,
You can do it all by yourself.

Love is hard.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

How Deep Do You Go?


How deep do you go?
How far?
Where are you now?

You find a word in the dictionary
And in the definition,
Another puzzle,
Within each answer,
Another question.

How deep do you go?
How far?
Where are you now?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Lost And Found


I was upset,
I was angry,
I was afraid,
The sound of children playing was threatening,
The sunlight tired me,
The darkness worried me.

A man rang my doorbell,
A Jesus salesman,
Sent to my house by God
With the answers to my torments.

He read some Bible verses,
We got down on our knees and prayed,
I purchased a ninety-day, no obligation, trial subscription.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Loose Change


Look around the house of a wealthy person
And you will find loose change.
Thirty-seven cents under the sofa cushions.
No one who lives there really cares.

I remember the poet Charles Bukowski,
Talking about what it meant to be famous,
To have money
After living most of his life
In hunger for the extra dollar,
Then,
After all those hungry years,
Loose change in a drawer,
In his pocket,
Scattered across the kitchen counter
As if it didn’t mean anything at all.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Little Sheep


I am a little sheep
With headlights and a beep,
A horn and a job,
I am corn on the cob.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Listening


Just when I thought I was full of poetry,
Full of things to say,
Couldn’t write them down fast enough,
Just when I thought it was me, me, me,
You took the words away
And left me sitting here
With this fountain pen and white sheet of paper,
White, white, white,
With nothing,
Nothing left to say,
Unable to write a single word
Until,
Humbled,
Humiliated,
Asking for your help,
Listening once again.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Listen


If you want to hear the angels speak,
You must listen.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Like Emily


She has decided to be an artist,
A sculptress of words,
A poetess.

Her tribute "To the Hungry Children of Planet Earth,”
Read in somber tones to her reluctant friends,
Such a moving expression of television-inspired grief.

But what do they know of art?
They are lost in contemplation
Of the rise and fall of her breasts,
So invitingly ripe,
While they feign appreciation of her nobler qualities.

She knows they only half listen to her words
And her thoughts are drawn back to Emily Dickinson.
She prepares herself
For the many years of indifference
That will most certainly come.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

You Think You're The Only One


Do you feel so crazy inside sometimes
You’ve gotta keep it a secret
Because your friends and family are counting on you,
Expecting you to be a normal person,
To be this person you decided to be,
This person you feel comfortable being,
This person who is not so crazy inside sometimes?

So you keep it a secret
And never let it out in public,
Never let it out with people who know who you are,
But it’s right there behind your eyes,
Buzzing in your ears,
On the tip of your tongue.

You think you’re the only one.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Lights


Without love,
Some kind,
Any kind of crazy love,
The lights are out
All over town.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Lighten Up


Finding fault,
Our national pastime.

Blame,
Judgment,
Condemnation,
Punishment.

We are good,
They are bad.

Yes, intentional evil exists
And there are saints among us
And sure,
Your brother-in-law is a jerk,
But life is short,
Give him a break.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A Light Burning


My secret love comes home.
I see her from my window.
She parks her car and opens her trunk,
Unloading,
Bags of things
For her secret life.

I walk by and say hello.
She says hi and smiles,
A long smile,
Watching me slowly walk away.

My secret love leaves a light burning,
Late, late into the night.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

I Will Mourn, Sooner Or Later


When you die
I will mourn for you.

I may even mourn for you
Before you die,
Now and then.

But I’m more likely to judge,
Rather than mourn,
While you’re still alive,
Knowing once you are dead,
The mourning will come easier.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

This Cat


If I didn’t have this cat
I would be reading about the perilous state
Of geopolitical affairs,
Uninterrupted,
Pondering the decline of participatory democracies
Engineered by religious terrorists and dictators,
Too often aided and abetted by a brainwashed populace.

But because I do indeed have this cat,
I must put my reading down
And extract the rubber spider from beneath the couch.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

He Did Not Fall


As my earthly span decreases,
My past increases,
Filling my thoughts,
Haunting my days,
Replacing the illusion of eternity
With the certitude of temporality.

My life,
Fixed in time,
An immutable chronology,
Yet not without hope,
Some spectacular finale:

At age 103
He stepped out of the boat
And stood upon the water.
He did not fall.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Life Is Too Beautiful


Life is too beautiful
To be written down on paper,
Printed in books,
Read in small darkened rooms
By merciless scholars
Too eager to impose their will
On those who still believe
There is an answer.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Life After Death


You want to believe
But faith is not enough
For your rational, scholarly mind,
And so you spend your evenings
Searching through ancient texts
For the meaning of life,
Surrounded and infused
With the souls of the dead.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A Corner Of Light


Certain paintings are only beautiful from a distance,
The natural tendency to criticize,
To overanalyze the smallest detail,
Tempered by diffusion.

In this subway window I look beautiful
In the dark tunneling light,
A surprise after close-mirrored inspection
Revealed so many flaws this morning.

How I look to myself at any given moment,
Something on the outside,
Something on the inside,
Has no certainty.

With something like hope,
Something like courage,
Something like acceptance,
I find solace in this corner of light.


~ Russ Allison Loar & Christopher Andrew Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Letters


I love these little letters
That so freely flow
From my big black fountain pen,
O’er the waves they go.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Length Of A Day


With each thing that you add
One thing you must subtract.
You can't add an extra hour
And keep the world intact.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Legions


At 12:18 in the smoggy afternoon air
Eating lunch in my car parked
In an abandoned parking lot
I suddenly realize:

This is the rest of my life.

Maybe in a different parking lot
On another day
With another dirty windshield sky
I will again forget
I am no one in particular,
Again dream of great honors
Awarded me for great things
I could never really do,
Not even in a hundred years.

I am out of the running.

My children are growing up poor
Without me
While I give little that matters to the world,
Working into the night,
Earning money
Which is not and never will be mine.

I am legions.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Always


How will you grow old my princess?
How long will your youthful elegance endure?

I would have you impervious,
Fearlessly facing mirrors,
Accepting the inevitable,
Fueled by grace,
By joy,
Knowing in your heart of hearts
There is one who will always see
The beautiful young woman you are,
Will always be.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

All I Know About Love I Leave


All I know about love I leave
Outside the door to your room.
Inside, raw passion will do,
The electric feel of skin touching skin,
Wanting yet waiting,
Teasing,
Playing.

Like the blind our fingers have sight
As we move in love’s rhythms,
Tossed by the sea of night.

And all that mattered a few hours before
And all that waits outside your door
Matters no more.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Infested


A middle-age man is kneeling
On his front lawn,
Carefully leveraging out every weed.
Each invader must be delicately extracted
With roots intact.

Near the end of the day
When the light is too dim
He considers how much lawn is left,
Knowing by the time he reaches the end
He must start again.

His knees ache and his back is sore.
He falls asleep on the couch
With the television on
And in his dream
He sees an infinity of lawn,
Infested.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A Language


The mind says,
Listen to me, I will explain everything.

The heart says,
I understand, but my feelings are unchanged.

The mind says,
This is God and this is life,
All is explained.

The heart says,
I speak a language you do not understand,
A language without words.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Rooming House


Landlady,
I don’t hate you,
I just sort of dislike you,
Which in itself makes me feel at home.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A Safe Distance


At dinnertime,
His dinnertime,
This old black cat
Comes to the back porch,
Sits calmly,
And waits,
Knowing his supper will come.

But when I bring him food
He backs away,
Keeps a safe distance,
Though he must know me well by now.

Was he born wild,
Or abandoned young?
I don’t know.
But I too was once a homeless child
And so understand.

I have sheltered many strays
And know he will not be tamed,
Though after his meal
He often sits with folded paws,
Looking through the glass-paneled door,
Wistfully it seems,
Wistfully,
At the alien world of my indoor cats,
Watching them stretch out on the sofa
In the flickering firelight,
Watching me,
Wanting to be part of something,
Wanting to be near,
But never,
Never,
Without fear.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Glimpses


Even the tangible is rooted in imagination,
Which breaks down now and then,
Revealing the artifice of ideas,
However noble they may be.

Glimpses of the face behind the mask.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Arrow Of Time


Scientists are scratching their heads
Over the arrow of time,
Why things persistently move forward,
This journey from the womb,
Where along the way
We learn what the word “forward” means,
A word we made up
To describe this perception of progression.

“Why always forward?”
The aged scientist asks,
As the repression of his regression
Slowly reverses everything.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Kitty Up A Tree


Kitty up a tree,
Glad it isn’t me,
‘Cause if it were
I’d have no fur,
And speak English.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Just Wonderin'


I was sittin’ up late last night
Wonderin’ if I was Jesus
When a black cat walked slowly through the door.

I looked at him and asked,
"Am I?"

"If you was," he replied,
"You ain’t no more."


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Just A Joke


Though I laugh outside,
I die within.

Oh what sadness a joke can bring.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Indifference


O the unclipped nose hair,
The unchecked gluttony,
The wrinkled plaid Bermuda shorts,
The black socks and penny loafers.

O the pasty white skin,
The mounting corpulence,
The open-mouthed unconscious stare,
The arrogant indifference.

O what have you surrendered?
And why?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Not Yet


Nature created us,
We human beings
Who seek exclusion from nature’s consequences,
From the balance of success and failure
Required by nature,
From which we cannot escape,
Yet.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

I've Changed


Oh my darling,
I was so foolish,
Such a selfish, weak and unfeeling bastard.
Can you ever forgive me?

I’ll do anything to make it up to you.

I hope you can find it in your heart to understand.
I never meant to hurt you.

Oh my love,
I’ve made so many mistakes,
Won’t you give me another chance,
Now that I’m pretending to be apologetic, contrite and sincere?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

It Is You


O fond remembrance,
Goes here,
With wistful images of childhood,
The lingering sun of spring
Or perhaps a warm winter fire,
A blackberry bush,
A dog,
Your mother,
Brother,
Other.

Yes, you saw but did not know,
And,
Now you know and see
Through melancholy tint,
In veiled memory,
And all your days have come to this,
This enshrined vision of a time,
A day,
Or perhaps a moment,
Goes here,
Your illuminated moment.

O long unrealized realization,
Goes here,
The simple joy,
The profound regret,
Or perhaps both,
And yet,
Something remains,
Something mysterious,
Unspoken yet large,
The lump in the throat,
The wistful tear,
Goes here,
For it is you
Who has made this poem,
All these poems you hold near,
It is you.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

It Grows


The silent majesty of a tree
Is at every moment a miracle
Unveiled before the world.
Without proclamation,
Without advertisement,
Without faith or despair,
It grows.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

This Acorn


Of all my possessions,
This acorn,
Now tawny and hard,
A tree-fallen treasure
With its tiny triangle-thatched cap intact,
Its precise patina so perfectly patterned,
One of so many millions,
This acorn,
Of all my possessions,
Here in my hand.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Is This Pain?


High expectations from uninspired egomaniacs
Encourage my apathy,
My appetite.

I will eat my way to heaven
Until at last
I am bloated in paradise.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Interstice


Somewhere between euphoria and despair
My overweight cat,
Jumping up to my chair,
Claws anchored against gravity,
Up and then on my lap,
Pushing his head against my arm
To renew and strengthen fraternal bond,
Nudged aside to a padded armrest,
My overweight cat
Sits,
Composes himself,
Luxuriates in this place he has made
For both of us,
Somewhere between euphoria and despair.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Inhuman


A saint without selfishness,
A prophet without confusion,
God without flaw,
Inhuman.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Inevitability


How deep your search for the profound,
How detailed your analysis,
How proud you are of the synthesis of theories
Rolling off the tip of your tongue.
At last you have mastered the subject matter
And everywhere you look there is clarity and form.

But big black death is still an inevitability
And you will need more than clever ideas
To sustain your soul during those last indeterminate years.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

In The Wilderness


The plaintive cry of the jackalope
Echoes
Through my open motel window,
I cannot sleep.

Who?
Who will lube my aging motor home
Way out here where I wander
In this desolate land without movie rentals?

I wonder,
Not much.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

In The Waiting Room


It started with a pain in the stomach,
Digestive problems,
Then a sporadic cough,
Sudden headaches,
Fatigue,
Insomnia,
Anxiety attacks,
Depression,
And here she sits in the waiting room,
Waiting for the doctor to review her test results,
When she already knows,
She knows what’s really wrong,
Just as certainly as she knows
There is no pill she can take
For not being in love.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

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 emails,
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