Timenesia


If you could travel back in time,
You would forget how you got there.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Eternity


I can hear eternity
In the happy cries of playing children,
Hours left before the sun goes down.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Should I Not Rejoice?


So is despair
Just a chemical imbalance
After all?
The kind of despair
That strips the world of color
Long after its initial cause?
The kind of despair
That has no apparent cause at all?

O yes, I can sit in the sunshine
And give thanks for the beauty
Of a blue sky,
For what lives beneath,
For the thought.

I can wrestle with the inequities
And let them go,
Surrender to all that is good,
Embrace hope,
Trust in that which is eternal.

Yes,
I have known bliss,
But this world is filled with tragedy,
Tragedy beyond mere happenstance,
Tragedy produced by willful, human conniving,
And with it comes despair.

If I am so lucky to be spared
So much of this world’s misery,
Should I not rejoice?


~ 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

I Would Return


I will be dead
By the time this seedling
Grows into its full majesty,
By the time its limbs grow large enough,
Strong enough to bear the weight of a boy.

I would return someday,
Be that boy and climb this tree.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Gifts Of Christmas


1.

A gift,
For me?
Oh you shouldn’t have!

Is it really a selfless expression of your affection?
A gesture of love?
Or an obligation?

Is it genuine?

Does your gift reflect who you think I am?
Who you think I should be?
Perhaps it’s more about who you are,
Who you want me to think you are.

Is it an object of serious intention?
Designed to awaken?
To arouse?
To cause a reaction?
Or is it just for fun,
A playful reminder of the inner child?

Am I taking this too seriously?
Giving too much thought
To what is impersonal?
Is it merely generic?
A gift that says:
We are not close.

Did you wrap it yourself?
With your best paper?
Or was it the tail end of your least favorite roll,
Reserved for those who do not matter?

Have you actually touched this present,
Or did someone else purchase and wrap it for you?
Did it come by mail from a warehouse?


2.

Will those I love most
Disappoint me with thoughtlessness,
Or will I bask in the warmth of their intentions,
However artfully or clumsily conveyed?

Will my more slow-witted relatives
Prove true to my expectations?
Will the superior intelligence of others
Be clearly demonstrated
And make me feel stupid
For the lack of imagination my gifts reveal?

Will the ego of the gift-giver
Overshadow the generosity of the gift?
Or will the giver’s inferiority complex be manifest,
So sadly displayed by the soullessness of what is given?

Will the gift be of use, of value,
Or merely a cheap trifle soon discarded,
Donated to the local thrift shop?

Perhaps the most important gift of all will be absent,
The gift from the one I love most.

Or perhaps after all the wrapping is cleared away,
When the communal ceremony has ceased
And the gift-givers dispersed,
I will steal away to some private place
And press my lips to the gift I treasure above all,
Its meaning so fervently constructed,
Without form.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

On Christmas Day


Whose birth do we celebrate on this day?
The living embodiment of God?
The only one?

What about you?
What about me?

Even the tiniest blade of grass struggles toward the light.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Timeless


Looking back,
The necessity of suffering and sacrifice
Seems obvious.
Looking forward,
Inevitable.

But today,
You and I,
Enraptured,
Timeless.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Did You Try To Sing?


Did you try to sing?

Did you try to sing but the words caught
In the bottom of your throat
And someone sitting in the dark
Said “Next!”
Before you could summon
The clear, sweet song within.
Did you try to sing?

How old were you?

How old were you when the song was frightened
Back inside
Where no one would hear or criticize,
How old were you?

Do you still sing?

Do you still sing to yourself alone,
Bold and strong
When no one’s home,
Or is your singing gone?


~ 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

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