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

Give Me The Passing Stranger


Friends are delicate creatures
And require delicate care.
Give me the passing stranger,
My middle finger in the air.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Happiness Has Wings


Happiness has wings
Of dust
And light,
So fragile,
Just a thought
Can tear them from the sky.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Gentleness Has Gone


The gentleness has gone from our lives,
We are too busy for it now.
Our lives are loud, brash and bold
And our children grow up without parents,
Playing on cement.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Punishment


Can you imagine living a thousand years?
Every reflective thought
Awakening hundreds of painful memories,
An avalanche of regret.

I am nowhere near a hundred years old
Yet I struggle to resolve past indiscretions
With only limited success.
Try as I might, I cannot sanitize the truth of my past.
I cannot undo the injuries I’ve caused,
No matter how fervently I try to heal the wounds.

It’s not that my life has been without joy,
Without moral achievement,
Without love,
But a more mature honesty now calls me
To unrepress the intimate knowledge of my sins,
To face them honestly,
And,
At last,
Render the long-delayed verdict of my conflicted soul.

The punishment has already begun.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Just Happy, That’s All


Here they come,
A lady and her dog,
A diminutive dog,
Galloping to keep pace with his mistress,
His little legs a blur.

Here they come,
And I swear this little fluffy dog
Has a smile upon his face,
So happy to be out in the larger world
Beyond the backyard,
So full of energy,
While his mistress strides on determinately,
Talking on her small plastic phone,
Talking about a plan that fell through
And what she plans to do,
About it.

She doesn’t see me as I walk by.
She doesn’t see the fading orange of the dusky sky
Whose wind-whipped clouds paintbrush the horizon.
She doesn’t see the hillside shadows
Or feel the sudden chill coming on.
She doesn’t hear the evening chorus of chirping, chittering birds
Or even the sound of her own footsteps.

Her life is complex,
So many decisions that must be made.
She weighs them,
While her little dog trots jubilantly along,
Panting,
Smiling,
Just happy,
That’s all.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

In Winter


Darkness,
Too early now,
Crushing,
Unmistakably mean.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Filling


When at last the lover leaves intensive care,
All is a fragile balance on the edge of relapse.
One must re-learn the enjoyment of simple things:

The bitter spark from a cup of coffee,
The sweetness of sugar on the tip of the tongue,
The penetrating warmth of the sun
Shimmering through the crisp afternoon breeze,
The pleasure of another hour,
Another day,
Filling, filling, filling
That dark and dangerous place
Where love was.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Game


The game’s no longer fun
After the game is won.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Free Fall


You and I are not content,
We want what we do not have.

We are acquisitive by nature,
A long line of hunter-gatherers.

We want what we want.

You and I will never be happy
Until we get what we cannot have,
For desire is a free fall.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

For Schopenhauer


Show me your sun-drenched sprigs of winter,
The juniper bug as he howls,
The rise and fall of oatmeal
In the misty dawn of a burgeoning wahoo!

Show me these things,
My sweet, bare-faced darling,
And I shall inherit your property
With the gay abandon
Of love’s lost moth at eventide.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Fly


Here,
In this beautiful world,
A fly is trapped in my house.

Trapped.

It's buzzing madly against the window glass,
Certain there must be an opening,
Beckoned by the light of the outside world,
The outside world,
Just a fraction of an inch away,
An impenetrable fraction of an inch.

Here,
In this beautiful world,
Where all things are possible,
This Garden of Eden where life explodes,
Where love and hate contend,
Where joy, real joy is actually possible,
A fly is trapped in my window.

I get a clear plastic cup
Reserved for such rescues
And capture the exhausted creature,
Gently sliding a square of cardboard beneath
To prevent escape.

Here,
In this dangerous world,
Where evil survives and babies die,
A fly was trapped in my house
And I opened the door,
And I let it go.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

First Impressions


Each person I meet starts out as God,
Then they almost talk me out of it,
But I know God is in there somewhere.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Epidemic


Addicted,
So easily,
So quickly to myriad petty attractions
Beckoning from these now ubiquitous devices,
Clutched so feverishly in hand,
Transfusing.

We are entranced,
Enchained as any needle-injected addict,
Beyond choice.

What hidden addictions were ever so omnipresent
Before this age of technological obsession?
Are we uniquely infected?

Is this new epidemic an interruption,
Or a harbinger?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Sympathy


I cannot help but feel sorry
For this little bird
On a limb
In the rain,
Who cannot help but feel sorry
For this tired old man
In a house
Who can’t fly.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Final Question


Such a relief,
To get past that final question.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Will


How long is a moment?
To a baby?
To a star?

Our lives are a collection of moments,
Falling through time,
Falling even through death,
All the way into eternity.

This place is a moment,
Even the universe is a moment,
For all that is not permanent will pass,
And all that passes is momentary.

So tell me,
What is permanent?

Everywhere I look,
Everything I learn,
All that I know tells me
The most permanent thing of all,
Will.

Even after our expanding universe is pulled apart,
Stretched into a soupy, cosmic protoplasm,
Some sort of microbe will struggle to exist,
To persist,
Either in this dilapidated universe
Or in some other, younger place.

It’s what pushes a single blade of grass
Out of the ground
Toward the light of our dying star.
It’s what awakens us each morning
And sends us out into this particular world.
It’s the most eternal thing I know,
Will.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The White Deer


After years in the forest,
Walking through the woods,
One snowy morning
A white deer,
So rarely seen,
Never seen by me,
A ghost in the clearing,
Not haunting,
A messenger,
A vision of my innocence
Before I lost faith with this world,
When the future was infinite,
When all things were possible.

There,
In the forest,
A motionless visage in the snowy woods,
A white deer,
Its penetrating gaze piercing my soul,
A ghost sent to remind me,
Telling me,
It’s not too late,
Never too late for reclamation.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Reassembly


In the middle of being busy,
Did you ever stop,
Struck suddenly by the feeling of meaninglessness?

I stopped,
And for a moment of extinguished hope
Contemplated the futility of my life,
Considered the finality of death that ceases all striving.

Then I made myself another cup of coffee,
Added a spoonful of sweet cocoa powder,
And felt happy holding this warm drink in my hand,
Returning to the tasks at hand,
All the many reasons reassembling.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Falling Asleep


When thoughts blur into one another
And edges soften,
Places lose their place
And words all run with so
For understand if nothing when
You startle awake,
Surprised you were asleep,
And awake is so uncomfortable,
A confusing dream,
And asleep is just fine
At last
For now in soft clouds
Where nothing is individual:
Good-bye . . .


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Falling


I pause for a moment,
Breathe deeply,
And try to consider my infatuation for you
In the cold, clear-headed light of reason,
And at last
I begin to see you as just another person.
I watch you from a distance
And see that you are not unlike others
Who come and go within my gaze
Without stirring my emotions so.

Then you see me and say hello.

I come closer and take your hand,
Look into your eyes,
And all reason disappears.

No direction,
No gravity,
No time of day,
Falling, falling, falling.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Failure And Success


What seems so clearly to be failure
Will turn out to be only part of what happened.
What seems so clearly to be success
Will turn out to be only part of what happened.
The story of your life is so much more complex
Than the simple words:
Failure,
Success.

Leave this shorthand to the obituary writers
Who are compelled to sum up a life
In cold, calculating column inches.

Do not dwell on failure.
Do not dwell on success.
Live in the heart of each moment
And behold the terrible majesty of it all.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved