She Waits


Waiting,
Waiting,
This old woman,
Waiting still,
Settled into waiting,
A warm blanket.

No longer impatient,
No longer young,
Waiting has become familiar,
Comfortable,
Manageable,
A perfect dream.

And the sky shall open
And anointed love shall fall
In soft, springtime showers.

O fervent prophecy,
Divine promise,
Annunciation.

She steps outside her small room,
Searches the sky for a sign.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

All I Ask


All I ask is a tall ship
And a star to steer her by,
Food and drink enough to last
My wayward wandering eye.

A mate or two to hoist the sails,
To swab the deck and sing
A rousing song of seven seas.
What quahogs we will bring!

O we will be a happy ship,
Connected to the net.
When whales are few and seas be calm
Our email we’ll beget.

We’ll chart our journey on a blog
For smartphones all to see,
And keep up with our favored shows
On satellite TV.

We’ll gather in the hot tub steam
When starry nights turn cool,
And when we take on lobster hue
We’ll dive into the pool.

O the call of the open sea,
The smell of briny foam,
O the lure of uncharted lands
That draw us far from home.

All I ask is a tall ship
And a star to steer her by,
Some island girls for pleasure,
And a global positioning system in case we get lost.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Constantly Constant


The cacophony of distraction,
Immersed in an ocean of noise,
Of disjointed action and reaction,
Omnipresent ephemera,
No clear space,
No pausing,
No stopping,
Everything everywhere all the time,
The senses oversaturated,
The brain bombarded,
We are
Constantly constant.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

On Moonlit Freeway


On moonlit freeway
I see the weariness in your eyes,
A few stray strands of hair
Around your face
Illuminated against the black
Inside your car.

It is late.

We who work overtime are driving home
In silent, anonymous autonomy.
Though I’ve seen you a thousand times before
In full fluorescent sun,
Numbed by office decor and decorum,
Tonight in my rearview mirror
I see the phosphorescence of your truer self,
Your innocence.

It is the innocence of the oppressed
Who, after overtime is through,
Have nothing disingenuous left.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Wearing Thin


Some folks say
They want to live
Forever,
But as for me,
This particular person
I am
Is wearing thin.
I can think of few things
Worse
Than an eternity
Chained to this one particular person
I am,
This soul attached,
Forever beset
By this particular concoction
Of insecurities and doubts,
Addictions, duplicities
And happenstance.
Gotta wipe the slate clean,
Someday.

Be somebody else for awhile.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

We Who Are Not Worthy


We who are not worthy
Do not ask for love.
We can live without it,
Prefer living without it,
Keep ourselves busy,
So busy,
Not the least little opening
Where love could leak in.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Old Friend


I saw a young man smiling yesterday.
He looked like you,
When you were young,
When you were happy,
When most of life’s deadlines were so far away,
When time itself was a mirage.

This young man ,
Filled with some kind of impermeable confidence
About the future,
His future,
A confidence you lost somewhere along the way,
So many doors closed,
Closed and locked.

I saw a young man smiling yesterday,
Reminding me of how long it’s been
Since I’ve seen you smile,
Now that the inevitable consequences of your life,
Multiply.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

We, The Creative


We of the large-brained variety
Are the creative animals.
Survival is not enough,
We must have reasons to survive,
Philosophies,
Theologies.

And just to prove
How creative we really are,
We pretend our imaginings
Are the work of God.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Growing Younger


After this one particular life,
After this body,
Ceases,
I will carry what wisdom I have
Into another life,
But next time,
Born old and wise,
I will grow younger,
Stronger,
Coupling energy with experience,
Knowing that each day brings me closer
To the moment of conception,
Until,
At last,
I return to bliss.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

We Start Out Mad


We don’t go mad,
We start out mad.

Screaming,
Crying,
Full of fear,
Irrational,
Superstitious,
Baby barbarians.

Then,
The anarchy of adolescence,
Gateway to adult temptation,
Free of consequential regard.

We don’t go mad,
We start out mad.

Some of us get better,
On and off,
Off and on.
Some of us get worse.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

We Come From The Sun


We come from the sun,
Shine from the sun
As individual rays of light.
We are the stuff and essence of the sun,
Cast and extended into individuality,
Single lives,
Still connected,
Fueled by the sun.

The barriers we place
Between ourselves and the sun
Dim our light,
Weaken the connection,
And we lose our way.

When we let go of the illusion
Of single, separate lives,
Apart from one another,
Apart from this planet,
When we let go,
Barriers fall away
And darkness is illuminated.

When our individuality ends,
When our physical selves fall away,
Our light will return to the sun,
But the light cast by each life
While dwelling in this place of time
Will remain.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

We Are The Water


Searching for the answers,
For so long,
Until I finally discovered
The expectation of an answer
Is the first delusion.

Answers are stones in the river.
We are the water.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Storytelling


When I tell someone the story of my life,
Even if only a chapter or two,
It has a certain logical symmetry,
A wise, knowing narrative,
A purposeful ordering of events,
So unlike the real life I have lived
Where in spite of my best intentions,
Things happen.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Way Out


If it is a real life you are living,
In the real world,
You are going to hit bottom once in a while.

The joy of life will vanish
And the future will look empty,
Without promise,
Nothing to look forward to.

Yes,
It happens to me.

Love is the way out.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Warm At Night


Death,
Curled up like a sleeping kitten,
Purrs,
Keeps you warm at night,
Nuzzles against your throat.

It’s so downright reassuring
We forget what it will do,
Someday.
We forget why we’re so goddamned lucky
To be alive,
Because death is sleeping like a kitten
While we suffer the inconveniences
Of utopia,
Always in pursuit of something more,
Something better,
Pretending
This life will go on and on
Forever,
Secretly grateful
It doesn’t.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Walking


Walking seems so futile sometimes,
One step at a time,
So little progress,
One small step
After
Another.

So many small steps
Taking so long,
The mind begins to wander,
The imagination is engaged
And all the things I said of late
Play back,
In and out of sequence.
I think of what I should have said
While I walk blindly by
Men,
Women,
Children,
Traffic and noise,
Traffic and noise.

I think and think
Of what I should have said,
What I will say next time,
And I worry
About what could go wrong,
What could go wrong.

I imagine some great success,
So successful,
Admired by millions.
I begin my speech
As the applause dies down,
The audience respectfully silent.

Yes,
I was just like you,
Afraid of the future,
Hoping against hope,
But I persevered,
I faced down failure,
I endured
And I was blessed
And now I pass my blessings on
To you.
Yes,
We are divine,
We are immortal,
We are . . .


So rudely interrupted
By the honking of a horn,
I awaken and realize
I have been walking a long time,
A long, long time.
All these small steps,
So tedious,
So repetitive,
Have at last taken me
Somewhere
Else.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Waking Up In The Dark


I could never get used to waking up in the dark,
To the cold, pitch-filled sky
Pressed flat against my windows,
To the wetness of water
Shot in hard, straight lines from the shower head,
To the distress of the world,
Just outside my door.

It was no easier for my two boys
Sagging under the weight of sleep,
Unable to speak,
Or my wife
Who would smile
And speak in gentle tones
Despite years of servitude to us all.

Together,
The chaotic particles of ourselves joined,
Forming a radiant wholeness of being.
Together,
We summoned the will
To face the new day
With something like hope.

After all these years I still wake up in the dark,
Remembering the sounds,
The stirrings,
Listening for the click of a light switch.
But now the other half of my bed is empty
And my boys are gone,
Changed into men,
Swallowed up by the world,
Just outside my door.

I have nowhere to go and could sleep until noon,
But each morning I wake up in the dark
And listen for them, still.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Waiting


Yes, I was like you,
Waiting to be perfect before I opened my eyes,
Praying,
Struggling with self-improvement,
Moving forward in spurts
Then falling behind,
A little euphoria now and then,
A little despair,
Yes,
I was like you,
Denying the moment,
Making plans,
Getting things done,
And even though I know better,
This busy world still overwhelms me,
Distracts and diffuses me.

I sit in the light, waiting for the sun.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Cats And Dogs


The old couple had a cat
And a dog,
Their constant companions for so many years.
Loyal,
Affectionate pets.

The aging dog still played fetch,
Still wrestled tug of war with a piece of rope,
Always eager to go on a walk,
Loved to ride in the car with his tongue hanging out in the breeze.

The aging cat still played with her catnip mouse,
Still leaped at the dog from hidden places,
Defiantly pulled her claws on the forbidden chair
Then skittered madly down the long hallway.

After the old man died
The dog lay listless in his bed
Making soft groaning noises,
Keeping an eye on the front door
Just in case the old man came back.
But deep inside the dog knew the old man was gone forever.

After the old man died
The cat began each new day as before,
Begged the old woman for food each morning,
Meowed at the door to be let out into the garden,
Chasing after lizards,
Chirping at little birds,
Back inside stretching out on a soft bedspread next to the window,
Soaking up the morning sun without thought of past or future,
Perfectly satisfied to be immersed in comfort,
Her eyelids half closed,
Keeping watch for the occasional lingering sparrow.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

My Failures


I have come to terms with the truth of my failures,
With the behaviors that perpetuate them,
With the absence of corrective self-discipline.

I now understand the cause and effect of my life,
The sources of my shortcomings,
The volition with which I empower them.

I have given long and careful thought,
Hours of solitary meditation,
Peeling back the layers of my self-deceptions.

I have stepped outside my own being,
Seeing myself as others may see me,
Bearing witness to this concoction of weakness and ignorance.

But mine is a willful ignorance,
Infused with the knowledge of that which I am ignoring,
All those signs and signals which I refuse to employ.

My failures, enlightened.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Mother And Her Son


The coyotes suddenly singing
Their nightly song
As the last of the helicopters
Flies overhead,
Giving up as darkness takes over,
Giving up the search,
The mother and her son
Swept away
After weeks of torrential rain,
Swept away by the river,
So fascinating to watch
All that water,
So tragic to slip and fall.

Did the boy fall first
And the mother follow after?
No one will ever know,
Certainly not me
As I walk home in the shadow of these mountains,
In the light of the half-lit moon,
Under the sparkling stars,
Thinking how wonderful and terrible life is,
How lucky I am to be walking home
Where I will soon be safe,
Soon be warm,
While the mother and her son,
Swallowed up by the storm.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Vinegar And Oil


I heard someone say,
The heart wants what the heart wants,
And it helped me understand
Why my heart hurts
Even though my mind is clear.

Love and logic
Are like vinegar and oil,
Separate,
Contradictory,
Each unwilling to yield.

I can live with contradiction,
But my broken heart?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Voice


I have immunized my intellect
Against the ancient superstitions
With science and culture,
Unintentionally masking a primeval wisdom,
A transcendent wisdom,
An island of eternity
Encompassed by an ocean of ignorance.

Yet something enduring speaks to me anew,
From the intricate vision of the old master artists,
In the refined musical vocabulary of classical composers,
Written into words by literary prophets,
Carried within the hearts and minds of all
Who pursue inspired occupations,
All who feel the gravity of the eternal
And give it voice,
A voice that speaks to us,
Still.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

My Disillusionment


Just as I am about to be overcome by bliss
For my fortunate life,
For the infinite joy that is possible
With each new day,
This world tempers my enthusiasm
With countless reminders of petty human frailty.

It comes as no surprise
There are monsters among us,
Their actions undeniably
Abhorrent,
But my disillusionment
Is fueled by the frail and tattered bond
Between honesty and convenience,
One,
So easily surrendered,
To the other.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

In Our Older Years


If we’re lucky,
Nothing much will happen today,
At least not to us,
Though we may mistake safety for boredom.

If we’re lucky,
No one will call us on the phone
Or send us mail today,
Though we may mistake solitude for loneliness.

If we’re lucky,
Early some morning one of us will awaken
And find the other has died peacefully while sleeping,
Though we may mistake inevitability for tragedy.

If we’re lucky,
The other will quietly follow.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

For Better Or For Worse


For better or for worse
I am sincere,
If not pedestrian,
In my verse.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

If We Will


Many of us would like to be saints,
Or at least look back on our lives and say:
I’ve been a good person.
Many of us can.

But so many more have been so twisted,
So battered by the rougher aspects of reality
That we were trained to be less than good
As a matter of self-defense,
Of survival.

Many of us with some small scrap of innocence left
Eventually summon the will, as we grow older,
The will to remake our lives,
To heal old wounds,
To understand and forgive,
To understand and change,
To pay it back.

But so many more are so deeply damaged,
The best we can hope for is to grow old enough
To wear out our sins,
So old and tired that all we can do
Is shuffle down the sidewalk
And smile at the passing stranger,
If we will.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Killer Asteroid


When we knew the asteroid was coming,
The killer asteroid,
We knew it would be the end of us,
All of us,
Even the inhabitants of the space station,
Although they would be the last to go.

What a vision they would behold,
The exploding Earth,
The smothering black clouds
Enveloping all.
The fragmented debris
Hurtling through space,
Sounding like hailstones inside the space station,
Sporadic,
Intensifying,
Exploding,
Then,
Nothing.
The last humans,
Gone.

I’ve always felt sorry for the dinosaurs,
Their terrible majesty vanquished,
Extinguished,
Survived by cockroaches.

Now,
As the killer asteroid accelerates,
Now,
As the end of the human experience draws near,
I wonder,
What manner of life will survive?
What will replace us?
It is said the meek shall inherit the Earth,
But cockroaches?
Still?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Verdicts


The verdicts of intellectuals,
So easily overturned.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Unmarked Path


What is this betrayal?
Born of honesty
Surrendered to the truth of passion,
Sustained by lies.

What is this fidelity?
Born of pretense
Upheld by the facade of happiness,
Sustained by lies.

All these expectations,
Yours and mine,
So hard to fulfill
In this inexact life.

If we are brutally honest
And unhappy,
If we deceive ourselves
Into joy,
If all of this is illusion and delusion,
Still, there is love in the world
And the unmarked path of the heart.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

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