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

Time As Yet


When you were three
I could tell you about this world,
What things were called,
What to do with a day.

I could read you a happy story
With pretty painted pictures
And watch you fall softly asleep,
Still innocent,
Still safe,
Time as yet but a gentle breeze.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Time Accelerates


Time accelerates
And we grow old,
Always intending to stop some day
And think it over.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Time


There was a day
When the balance between young and old
Shifted,
And what was strong
Began to weaken.

The day passed without notice
Until many years later
When I realized what happened.

Now,
All my ambitions,
All my aspirations,
Reduced to this single phrase:
“While there is still time.”


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Thought For Food


So many
In this
I could
And so forth
And so on
Until
No more.

Better to be
And see
Than so
Busy thinking
All those
We made
So clever
And blind.


~ 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

Trees Are People Too


Trees are people too,
Only too slow for us to witness
Their writhings.

To trees we seem confused,
Our kind a rootless blur
In transit.

We live in sovereign spaces,
Each only half aware
Of the sorrow
A sparrow
Can feel.


~ 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

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

The Rabbit


To look for the rabbit was why I came,
To find him again was my secret game.
I’d slowly edge near him, near as I could,
Near as he’d let me, as near as he should.

I had some strange dream of taming the wild.
It was my best dream, the dream of a child.


~ 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

This World


For every bird that dies,
There’s another bird that flies.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Transition


Now that some time has passed without you,
Knowing you will not come back into my life,
I’ve decided I’m finally ready to let go,
All those letters and emails,
The little gifts and trinkets,
Photographs I can no longer bear to see,
Everything,
Shredded,
Burned,
Deleted,
Given away,
All discarded.

All except this single smooth stone,
A stone I found at ocean’s edge
That warm summer day when we were new,
When the enchantment was real.

I’ll put this stone in a little wooden box,
Perhaps never to open,
Or perhaps one day I will remove the stone
And hold it in my hand once again,
Someday when I am strong.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A Little Nudge


The stench!
What an intolerable stench!

Awakened to the alarm of a foul, sulfurous odor,
I step outside.
The air is thick with decay,
Stinging the senses
As if I’d awakened in some extraterrestrial miasma,
Some netherworld.

People lining the street,
Looking to the sky for some kind of answer,
Grimacing to one another,
Holding their noses.

Talk on the radio,
On the television,
Speculations about accelerated decomposition
From climate change,
Solar radiation,
Polar shifting,
Oceanic reconstitution,
Tectonic deformation,
Apocalypse.

No one really knew anything.
Months later,
No one really knew much more
Except that the change was permanent.

We adjusted,
Redefining words such as:
Fragrant,
Sweet,
For there was no more sweet
As we had known it,
No more fragrant.

We changed our aesthetics,
Our taste buds,
Our culture,
Reprogramming old orientations.
Old ideas of pleasure and pain,
Changed now by our weary planet,
So weary of who we were,
Giving us a little nudge.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Clouds


No matter how hard I try to forget,
Some wounds are permanent,
Always threatening to cast a shadow
On some happy memory,
Like a stern parent,
A fundamentalist preacher
Who sees unchecked joy as a doorway to sin.

A cloud for every silver lining.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

This Wind


This wind is everywhere
Yet all I can see is movement.

I too am moved
By something unseen.

I wander through philosophy,
Buffeted by wind.


~ 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

This Old Woman


Standing in line at the market
She nearly drops her cane
Searching her purse for a coupon,
For her money,
Checking a wrinkled list.

She tilts perilously,
Forgetting to balance herself,
Nervous because she is the next to pay.

This old woman stands
Next to the magazines,
Glossy young women
Ripe for mating.
Everywhere this old woman goes
The young world surrounds,
Confounds,
Reminds her how long it has been
Since desire.

We turn our eyes away,
Pretending not to notice
As she questions the cashier needlessly,
Counts out nickels and pennies,
Drawing out this time of human contact.

She places the coins in the cashier’s hand,
Feels a radiant warmth from his skin.
It startles,
Her hand jerks
And three pennies fall to the counter,
Roll off the edge and are gone.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Coming Of Rain


It is the coming of rain I love,
When sky-filled clouds shade harsh noon
And cushion the noise of the city.
Slim eucalyptus trees sway in anticipation,
Imitating the sound of showers
With the soft applause of leaves.

I alone have stopped here
In this abandoned parking lot
To see the rain come.
I am praying for a deluge,
Enough to make us stop
And for a while be still.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Work And Freedom


Someone once said
The only real freedom
Is freedom from work.

I suppose that’s true for many,
Working only for money,
Interchangeable cogs
In the brutishly indifferent wheel of commerce.

Yet many do take some measure of pride
In a job well done,
Despite being relatively unrewarded
For years of obedience to the task at hand,
Then,
One day,
Anonymously dismissed,
Discarded,
Finally free from work,
Yet not feeling very free at all.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

This Knowledge


In this information age
I have the Library of Alexandria
At my fingertips,
And more.
Almost anything I want to know,
Instantly accessible,
Almost anything,
Except that which I long to know
Above all other knowledge:

The length of your spine beneath my fingers,
The feel of every silken vertebra,
The ripple of pleasure as it spreads
Through every sinew of your naked body,
The action and reaction of desire,
The union of our beings,
The electricity of ecstasy,
Your eyes filled with love,
My heart filled with light.

This knowledge I crave above all,
This knowledge of you.


~ Russ Allison Loar 
© All Rights Reserved

This Idea Of Free


I am so used to this idea of free
I forget how many in this world
Are shackled by ideas,
So many in this free country,
In my hometown,
Shackle themselves with ideas,
Rules for living,
Or no ideas at all,
Just behaviors,
Self-destructive behaviors
Masquerading as freedom.

So confusing,
This idea of free.


~ 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

Better


You know the saying,
To have loved and lost
Is better . . .

But oh how that word,
Better,
Sticks in the throat.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

We Suffer


At this level of incarnation
I suppose our suffering has purpose.
I have learned much from suffering,
Lessons I apparently could not have learned
Had my life been free from suffering,
Had my life been easy.
Lessons I apparently could not have learned
From joy.

Yet how can I condone suffering?
How can I countenance its merciless, random aim?
How can I find reason in the suffering of children?
In the suffering caused by villainy?
In the suffering caused by the collapse of civilization,
When whole countries suffer
From the corruption of a single man?

We are spurred to action and reform by suffering,
The best of us dreaming of a world
Where the last remnants of suffering are accidental
And soon extinguished.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

So Clearly Now


You think it’s over,
The past,
Over and done,
Those mistakes,
Weaknesses,
Errors in judgment,
Sins.

You think your treasured moments,
Your blessings,
Will erase painful memories,
In time,
But they find safe harbor in time,
Awaiting idle moments
To erupt and confront.

Someday when I’m old,
You think,
These haunts will at last subside.
But when old age comes
And all doors are closed,
Awakened from a fitful sleep,
You see so clearly now,
What could have been.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Recently Born


So new,
So young,
So ignorant of devious motives,
So free from self-imposed orthodoxies.

So new,
So young.

We race to fill our recently born
With our individual truths,
Our tribal truths,
Our instructions and conclusions,
As if we had no need of change.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

This Gift


Father,
Thank you for this gift of my suffering,
Suffering so slight,
Measured against the agonies of this world.

May I use it well
To enter the heart of humanity,
Embrace the sorrow words alone cannot describe,
Find within the shattering,
Suddenly,
Without announcement,
Grace.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Rules


To achieve an enlightened state of bliss,
How must I position my body?
Shall I sit cross-legged?
Or should I stand?
Should I close my eyes to temporal distractions?
Or should my eyes be open
So that I may learn to transcend all visual stimuli?
Should I join my hands in prayer,
Or perhaps raise a single hand
With fingers positioned to indicate some kind of divinity?

What is the best time of day, month or year
To engage in spiritual disengagement?
Should I face the rising sun
From the solitude of a verdant garden,
Or surrender my ego in a candlelit meditation hall?
Are there special words
Or spiritually empowered sounds I must make?
Must I focus on a specific kind of attainment
Or abandon all egocentric aspirations?

How long should I spend in meditation?
Or should I disregard such structures as time and space?
What should I do?
What should I not do?

Are there really rules about this kind of spiritual quest?
And what did the rule makers do before the rules were made?
When did they decide that everyday life was not enough,
And why?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved