Unexplainable


It is our nature
To try and explain the unexplainable,
To give it form,
To make it tangible
So that it may be examined,
Analyzed,
Reduced to a concept,
No longer unexplainable,
No longer God.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Age Of The Pure Self


Anarchy,
Not just for the dispossessed anymore,
It's catching on like wildfire,
A fad,
A new sport for the upper crust,
For those separated from the great mass
By privilege,
Power,
Perception.

This perception of superiority,
Now this is the motive force,
Not just for the well-to-do anymore,
No,
Even the lowest inhabitants of the social order
Feel superior these days.

Now,
In our cities and our streets,
In our homes and office buildings,
In all manner of public and private places,
Now,
No one is safe from this self-righteous anarchy.

This is war.

To each their own pure self,
The pure self that needs no law,
That bends to no man, woman or child,
That considers not its own frailties,
Sees no larger world beyond itself,
Enforces its iron rule without mercy,
No matter how trivial or mundane its kingdom may be.

Nor more humility,
No backing up,
No admission of error,
Of guilt,
Of responsibility.
All actions and motives of the pure self are beyond question.

We encounter one another
In our day-to-day lives
And exchange the menacing glance.
All is understood.
Ours is the age of the pure self.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

What Are People For?


He was born full of wonder,
Full of beginnings,
A believer in eternity,
Infinity,
A fearless explorer of existence,
Sure that every discovery would bring joy,
The joy of knowing life’s secrets.

Then one day he learned our sun would die,
One of many billions of suns
Whose passing would be barely noticed by the universe,
A universe destined to be pulled apart,
Into some kind of cosmic stew.

He wondered what will become of us,
Of all we’ve learned,
Of who we’ve become,
And for the first time he questioned:
Just what are people for?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Uncertainty


I do not go to church
But there is no denying the power of place,
A focal point,
A refuge.

I do not wear a cross
But the man on his knees before the image of Crucifixion
Has opened a door,
Willing to change.

I do not read the Bible
But within those pages are awakenings,
A path to realization for some,
Everyday eternity.

How do we tell one another what is necessary,
What is essential?
We are all explorers
Without words for the undiscovered.

Life is too big for complete revelation,
The course of our incarnations too short.
We must embrace uncertainty
As surely as we embrace faith.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Unemployment


The clock strikes one,
My lunch is done,
I lost my job,
I load my gun.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Poet I Am


I cannot explain the world,
A world too large to understand,
I can only tell the tale
Of this individual man.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Translation


Words are but tame translation
Of the unspoken world
Where meaning gives way
And being is all.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

All I Can Say


Infatuation is easy,
The words pour from my pen.

But lonely desperate love,
Love you can’t live without,
Yet love denied,
That kind of love is hard to write down.

That’s all I can say.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Tracing


All tragedies now exist.

Yet,
Somehow,
Cool shadowed light
Filters through this wooded ravine
Weaving leaf-twig patterns
Across your bare sinewy back.

I trace them with my fingertips
To their inevitable destination.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Touch


Will you be glad you did not touch her?
Such a foolish impulse.
Risk,
Betrayal,
Hunger,
Intimacy.

Yes, intimacy,
The intimacy of a stranger.
Seductive,
Passionate,
Electric,
Animal.

Will you be glad you did not touch her?
Such a responsible decision.
Practical,
Unentangled,
Loyal,
Inevitable.

Yes, inevitable,
The inevitable consequences.
Pretense,
Disruption,
Denial,
Guilt.

And so, after anxious introspection,
Weighing the rational against the emotional,
Without decision,
You take her hand.
You touch her cheek
And search her eyes for the answer.

The answer does not come.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Too Much Work


Too much work
Strips everyday life
Of love
And serendipitous happenstance,
Oh yeah.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Homecoming


When it all falls apart
And you have nowhere left to go,
Where do you go?

You go home,
To that little house on the corner,
In that little town,
That little room with that little bed,
Still there,
As if your parents knew
You would not make it on your own,
Out there.

They kept your room ready
For your homecoming,
Coming home to where it’s all too small
For this forsaken soul you are,
A child once more.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

To My Wife


So pretty when she turns sad,
Her eyes glisten like small, black stones
Washed and worn by the sea.

Her lean, fine-boned features,
Softening slowly,
Losing their distinction
Under the strain of marriage,
The demands of little children.

Hello,
She says,
Looking for the person I used to be,
Looking just long enough to see
A similar sadness in my eyes.

We go no further,
But smile in silent, solemn agreement.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

This Teacher


The mad rush for the classroom door
When the recess bell rang.
“Stop!” shouted our teacher,
Her large frame blocking the open door.
“Women and children first!” she commanded,
Stepping aside,
Allowing her puzzled students to file quietly out the door.
“Women and children first!”

After recess our new teacher told us about the Titanic,
The iceberg,
The wounded ship slowly sinking into the sea,
The sure knowledge of impending death,
Certain death coming for them all,
Yet even then,
The dignity of life preserved.
“Women and children first!”

If these imperiled souls could face mortality
With such nobility of spirit,
Then how small a thing for us
To file quietly out of the classroom,
Allowing the girls to exit first.

Those courageous men put wives and children into the lifeboats,
She told us in quivering voice,
Knowing there were not enough for all,
Knowing they would never again see their loved ones.
The mighty ship groaned and shifted
In the icy cold waters of the North Atlantic.
The ship’s musicians assembled in reverence to their art,
Playing “Nearer, My God to Thee,”
Accompanied by the cries of frightened children,
The exclamations of tearful women,
The panic rising as the ship lurched lower.

“Women and children first!”
Called out to the fleeing passengers
Over and over again.
“Women and children first!”
As the last of the lifeboats were filled.

Silence.

“Now,” our teacher said to her shocked and stunned students,
“Now, we will practice.”

“Women and children first!” she declared, guiding us quietly to the door.
“Women and children first!” her words now etched into our souls.
“Women and children first!” she repeated like a prayer,
A holy incantation,
A eulogy.
“Women and children first!”

Our hearts were scalded and beating fast
As we moved quietly toward the lifeboats,
Hoping there was still some room,
Suddenly aware of the weight of life and death,
All of us awakened by this magnificent woman,
This teacher.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

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