So Much Denial


So much denial,
The requirements of everyday life
Being what they are,
Even the requirements of pleasure,
So hastily arranged,
Full of denial,
Of longing
For something essential,
Something.

A small whispering voice,
Reminding,
Asking,
When?

Soon,
You say.
After all the little things are done.
Soon.

And years go by like minutes,
And your life is full of reasons why,
And why not,
Full of explanations,
The occasional stab of memory,
Something faintly remembered,
Something.

Then,
Just a dull ache.
Then,
Nothing.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

So Many Lives


So many lives
Populating this planet,
Falling in love,
Making families,
Fighting wars,
Building cities,
Posing for photographs.

So many lives,
Full of fear and bravado,
All fall away
Without exception.

We have seen them pass
Yet here we are,
Striving still,
As if there is anywhere in this world
To anchor.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

So Busy


My love is talking on the phone,
So busy,
Too busy to hear love’s examination of the heart,
So much to do.

Of course you love me,
Quote unquote,
Make love,
Quote unquote.

So much to do,
So busy,
Who am I?
Who are you?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Snake


Snake on a parking lot curb,
Looking for water in the fourth drought year,
Stares blank-eyed at rows of stove-hot steel automobiles,
Shoots his rubber tongue out and in a few quivers
Then inch-glides his black and tan, rug-patterned self
Over the curb,
His tongue sniffing like a dog nose.

He slides into the gutter and angles toward me.

I’m safe in my car
But I can hear my dead grandmother scream
As he slips underneath my front bumper.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Agony Of Ecstasy


The older I get the more I wonder
Why I’ve been spared from so much,
So much of the suffering of this world.
Why, why, why?

O the agony of this incessant good fortune,
This ecstasy,
Will it never cease?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A Small Ring Of Different Colors


A small ring of different colors
On two tiny toy flashlights
Is turned,
Red, yellow, green, blue,
Two tiny beams of light
On the bedroom ceiling
After story time is through.

My dead grandfather’s bed
Is big enough for four,
Through we are only three,
My little boys and me.

A father,
I guess,
Is what I am,
But at bedtime I am more like a lamb,
Skipping through painted storybooks
At the edge of sleep
With my little sheep.

Then I switch off the light,
Turn on the dark
And the magic flashlights appear.
Red, yellow, green, blue,
The colored beams dance and duel.

Two luminescent bodies of light
In the enchanted garden of night.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A Small Price


My sweetheart is angry with me.

I was relentless,
Her debating skills weaker than mine,
Mine,
Driven by a kind of egocentric obsessiveness.
I surrounded her with a great wall of logic,
Stone by stone,
Until at last she could take no more.

“Enough,” she said,
Unwilling to surrender.
“Enough,” she said,
Closing the door of her heart against me,
Withdrawing that sweet vulnerability
Which she had so delicately, tentatively, entrusted,
For which I shall soon recant all my assertions,
Agreeing that planet Earth is indeed flat,
If need be.

A small price to pay for love.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Child Abuse


O the constant recitation of sonnets,
The endless Mozart sonatas,
The cavernous museums,
Art, art, art.
Art of all shapes and forms to consume,
Digest,
Regurgitate.

The long lessons,
The querulous questions,
The awful answers,
The proud and ponderous books
Piled high before me,
An Everest of learning,
Of knowing,
Of transcending.

All the advantages
Were mine,
When all I really wanted to do
Was pull the tail of the old tabby
And make him screech.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

When You're In Love


When you’re in love,
Surrounded and infused by love,
When it’s all so new and electrifying,
Commanding your thoughts,
Changing your habits,
Making you forget to do all those things
You were doing just to keep busy,
Inspiring you to buy little gifts,
Write confessional messages,
Work so much harder on your appearance,
Memorize romantic quotations,
Speak personally to angels,
Forget to breathe,
Fall asleep dreaming,
And each morning the first thing you think of
Is your loved one’s name.

When you’re in love,
No one can explain it away.
No one can tell you it’s only infatuation,
For whatever name anyone may call it,
It’s a reason to live.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Poet And The Ink


Did you ever stop and smell
The stink of ink
From your fountain pen
And think:
When, oh when
Will I write again?

Or did you dwell
On the smell
And think:
What the hell,
I’ll have a drink.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Sun Will Return


The sliver of this crescent moon
In this darkening evening sky
Promises the sun will return,
But will I?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Quiet Moments


These quiet moments
When alone I become my truer self,
My unguarded self,
Finger in nose,
Unrestrained flatulence,
Indelicate scratching,
Cursing trivial inconveniences
With profane language I would never use
In the presence of family or friends.

These quiet moments,
Beset by erratic, uncaged thoughts,
Past-life recriminations,
Indulgent, forbidden impulses.

This hidden core,
This embryo untouched by civility,
Unbound,
Disdainful of all my life’s accumulated lessons,
Disconnected from the cloak of identity I have made.
This dark beast will not die.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A Vehicle


It sang on your lips,
It moved your fingers across the keys,
And those who listened knew
Something extraordinary was going on.

The maker of this music
Was not entirely you.
But then,
Intoxicated by adulation,
You forgot it was so.

It was no longer singing in your voice,
No longer moving your hands,
And those who listened
So admiringly before,
Listened no more.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A Small Depression


The coffee ripples into a small wave in the plastic cup
As I make a left turn onto a sun-melted asphalt road
And my right front tire dips into a small depression,
Causing the wave of coffee to crest and break,
Splashing through the tunnel-shaped opening in the plastic lid,
Falling through space from the arch of my cup-embracing fingers,
Splashing my left pant leg, five inches above the knee.

Three spots of coffee
And I curse,
Feeling the futility of yet another Monday morning
As I drive past an old lady shuffling down the sidewalk,
Moving the aluminum-tubed superstructure of her walker
One step ahead, followed by two or three half-footsteps.

Soon,
Very soon,
I will need another cup of coffee.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Sight For Sore Eyes


How insignificant we are
Among the minions of space
And time.
Yes, yes,
It’s the profound realization of our age
Among those not generally given
To profound realizations.
I hear it all the time,
Spoken with reverential awe
By some initiate
For whom a certain curtain
Has only recently
Lifted.

But what if we are the only things on two legs
That cerebrate so
In the neighborhood of this particular infinity?
The only coffee shop in sight
On that long and lonely interstellar highway?
Well, that would be something,
Wouldn’t it?
We just might be a real sight for sore eyes
After all,
The whole damn bunch of us.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Words And Meanings


I could say,
What a beautiful day,
And mean it,
And yet be imprisoned
Within the idea of it,
That beautiful day,
Out there,
Outside,
Somewhere.

I could say,
I love you,
And mean it,
Like a weapon
Or a shield,
This love,
Superior,
Disarming,
Untouchable.

Without the heart,
Words and meanings
Fall apart.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Day's End


Something stirs as the day recedes,
As the hillsides turn black,
The tracery of trees so delicate against the fading orange sky,
The prisms of purple-blue unfolding toward the evening star
Now bright as a streetlight.

Something reassuring about little chirping birds
Fluttering to their secret places in the woods,
Called to shelter by the darkening horizon,
By the sudden chill on the edge of the air,
By the hoot, hoot, hoot of a twilight owl.

Neighborhood dogs bark at hungry raccoons
Leaving their storm drain tunnels
For an evening of leftover pet food and trash can tidbits.

The distant discord of a passing freight train calls
Like a factory whistle signaling an end to the working day.

Something heartening in the exodus home,
Labor’s machinery turned off awhile.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Where Is Your Quiet Place?


Where is your quiet place?
Where you get away from the busy world,
Where no one interrupts your train of thought,
Where you get off the train.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

There Are Reasons


My young cat bit through the skin on my hand,
Playfully,
And now the weather’s turned cold.

Rain is on the way
And there are two circular puncture wounds
Where little bitty kitty bit me.

I’d better get up on the roof before the rain starts.

I have my reasons.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A Small Dog In France


There is a time for every whatever,
For even ignorance shall have revenge
And the stupid shall be lucky,
Confirming their faith in false gods
While criminals go unpunished
Yet still repent and so be saved.

Much of what we know shall be wrong
Though we will prosper from our illusions
And die happy,
Blissfully free from insight and revelation.

We shall be overcharged for groceries
Again and again
And our overcharges will go undetected
While lazy, good-for-nothing brothers-in-law
Live to their nineties,
Free from disability and disease,
Complaining.

Foolish teenagers shall be hypnotized
With dull employments,
Falling in love with the eternal charm of mediocrity,
Getting married and procreating astronauts.

A small dog in France will speak by accident.
Drinking from a backyard swimming pool
On a sultry summer night,
He will turn quickly to see a skinny orange cat
Slink across the fence top.
His mouth full of unswallowed water,
He will bark: “Bonjour!”
But no one will hear him except the cat,
Who,
Knowing the small fuzzy canine cannot reach him,
Will not care.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Five Bees


Five bees drowning in a swimming pool,
Caught by a reflection,
A sparkling promise of pollen,
Waterlogged.

Once they touch down the mirage disappears
And they are caught,
Their sodden wings can no longer fly.

Seeing tiny ripples in the water from their struggles
I take my net and lift them out
Onto concrete warmed by the morning sun.

Two are not moving,
But the other three have begun grooming,
Abdomen and thorax,
With every available leg,
Diligently scraping off water.

One is still so exhausted
He cannot keep his balance and tumbles over
From the disproportionate weight of water
Still clinging to one side of his body.

With a leaf stem I help restore his balance
So his meticulous grooming can continue,
So the sun can dry his cellophane wings.

The strongest of the three revs up his wings in a blur
Moving in short bursts across the cement,
His legs still giving support,
Testing.
Then he lifts into the air,
Restored.

Perhaps the other two were in the water longer,
For it takes more grooming and warming
Until they too are free from the terrible gravity of the ground.

It’s hard to fathom the personality of a garden bee,
Why the last two lingered a while.
Perhaps they are older,
More shaken by the sight of their two dead comrades
Lying on their backs,
Legs angled toward heaven,
Without purpose.

Why?
They might wonder,
If they were anything at all like you and me.
Why did God spare only three?

Do they know what we know?
That when it comes to saving lives,
Some will stay,
Some will go.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

My House


It was barely sprinkling
After several hours of light rain
Early Sunday morning
When I heard the coughing,
The retching,
And looked out my breakfast nook window
To see a young man with his car door open,
Vomiting on the street in front of my house.

My house.

How lucky I am
That I can say the words:
My house,
While aimless young men
Wander through this city,
Regurgitating at will.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Sheeps


The hills are alive
With the sound of sheep,
They sleep all day long
But at night they creep,
Into the houses
Of young girls and boys
And put on their clothes
And play with their toys.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Life Went On


It was Sunday,
And many millions
Living in the most powerful nation on Earth
Spent most of the day
Watching the big football game on television,
Cheering,
Moaning,
Screaming at the electronic moving pictures of football players
Running back and forth and sideways,
Trying desperately,
Valiantly to get hold of the football
And take it to one end,
Or another,
Of the green plastic space
Some still call a field.

The next day,
Life went on,
Much as it had before.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Promise


Just when time was finally slowing,
When the world had no more use for me
And old friends with all their chattering
Slipped silently into the ether,
Just when I thought constant change was ceasing,
I was startled by the furious beating of wings,
A burst of birds racing close overhead,
A blur of gray,
Then,
Gone.

Were they chased by the coming clouds?
Or were they pulling the clouds over the path I’d taken,
Like a blanket pulled over the recently deceased?
I was willing to accept this grave omen
When the clouds suddenly thinned and evaporated,
The sunny, powder-blue sky restored,
Along with the promise of yet another spring.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

We Call It Civilization


How curious,
Every little bird awakening each morning,
Imbued with an unquestionable sense of purpose,
With no confusion as to the required tasks of the day,
Proceeding with evolutionary confidence
And caution,
Innate senses and skills propelling action and reaction.

In this tumultuous human world
Where millions are stripped of their homes,
Their countries,
Of the most unremarkable aspects of everyday life,
Of survival,
Little birds make their orderly way
Through their tiny lives,
While we make refugees of our mothers and fathers,
Sisters and brothers,
Daughters and sons,
And we call it,
Civilization.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A New World


I am different today,
Changed by the passage of something other than time,
Something that resides in the mind,
Something that pushes forward,
Pushes back,
Something that transcends,
Something that forgets.

I would be washed clean someday,
Not by mental infirmity,
But by one life flowing into the next,
What some call heaven,
What some anticipate as a grand reunion,
All those lost loved ones,
Found again.

I have no special knowledge of the afterlife
Or whether the fervent hopes of the heart
Have any effect on the journey of the soul.
If my prayers would be granted,
I would become a child again,
In a new life,
In a new world where I could live awhile.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Consequences


You have not said,
I love you,
And I fear you never will.

I have not said,
I love you,
And I fear I never will.

But my greatest fear
Is that we love each other
And are too afraid of consequences to speak.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Words Will Get Through


By the time my son
Is ready to talk,
Eager to talk,
Full of understanding,
Eyes wide open,
Stripped of all adolescence,
Measured and wise,
Experienced in the ways of the heart,
A seasoned husband and parent,
I’ll be dead,
And his son will be giving him hell,
And at the bottom of some low moment
He will at last speak to me
And he will know what I knew.

He will try to tell his son,
Try to explain the bond between all fathers and sons,
The great chain of being that binds men to one another,
And somehow,
The words will get through.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

City Poet


He has no forest to wander through,
No birches,
No woodpile,
No wistful solitary evening
Watching the woods fill up with snow,
No submersion into all that is nature,
All it inspires.

Just the steady roar of traffic,
The sudden screech of tires
Punctuated by exclamations of angry horn honking.

The selfish squalor of urban decay
Does not inspire.
All his inspiration comes from within,
Pricked by conscience
And the occasional sin.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Two Resolutions


When this life has worn you weary
And each day is a struggle
To find meaning,
Resolve to be honest,
About everything,
All day long.

Resolve to be kind,
With everyone,
All day long.

Then,
Meaning will return.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved