A Second Cup?


If I awoke some morning and you were dead . . .

Pardon my indelicacy my darling,
I will begin again.

If I awakened early one morning,
Tiptoeing out of the bedroom
So as not to disturb,
Knowing how you like to sleep late,
Being retired and elderly,
Like me,
Having no need for early morning hours . . .

If I put on my slippers,
Padding quietly down the hall,
Into the kitchen to make a cup of coffee . . .

If I did these things and settled into my favorite chair,
Sipping the sugary sweet yet bitter hot coffee,
Easing into an awakening that only fully comes
After a second cup . . .

If I had finished my first cup
And still heard no stirring from bed or bath . . .

If I returned to our bedroom and found you undisturbed,
If I placed my hand on your shoulder and called your name,
If you did not respond to my vigorous shaking,
If you were without breath,
If you had slipped silently away sometime during the night . . .

If I contemplated all that now lay before me,
The myriad heartsick obligations . . .

Before it all began,
Before it was all set in motion,
Before engaging with the somber day’s duties,
Would I make a second cup of coffee?
Would you?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

What Else Can I Call It?


Once in a while
I catch a sideways glimpse of her
In awkward profile
And see her anew,
As one not in love might see her:
Plain,
Ordinary.
And for a moment I wonder,
Am I really in love with her,
This ordinary girl?

Then she turns to me and speaks,
Her eyes full of surprise and laughter,
She says my name
And the sound of myself upon her lips
Fills me with joy.

If this is not love,
What else can I call it?


~ 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

Weekend


Early Saturday morning
All things are possible.
Time suspends
Into the mad pursuit of pleasure.

Regret is vanquished
Until late Sunday afternoon
When pleasures left untended
Gain altitude and soar away,
Unreachable,
Leaving me,
A tiny speck on the darkened landscape,
As Monday draws near.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Lost


It was her favorite ring.
At least it seemed so after she lost it,
Taken off her finger and put in her shirt pocket
To keep it clean while pulling a few weeds
In her overgrown garden.

It was the ring he gave her,
A line of tiny diamonds in the oval opening
Of the brilliant gold setting,
Sparkling jewels erupting
From the entrance of a golden cave.

It was the ring he gave her
When they were entranced,
When she was so sure
The enchantment would last forever,
Now lost,
Unintentionally discarded among the detritus,
Unconsciously abandoned,
Belonging now to that place where lost things go.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Birthday Cards


In the supermarket,
Looking through the greeting cards
While I wait for my wife to finish shopping,
I am touched by the sincerity
Of the birthday card messages,
Filled with words of encouragement,
Words of compassion,
Words of love.

I rarely receive one of these heartfelt cards,
Perhaps because the people in my life are too intelligent
To rely on birthday card verse and sentiment,
Too wary of birthday card clich├ęs.

Or perhaps my advanced age has at last
Stripped away all illusions,
All my once larger-than-life personas,
Leaving me an ordinary man after all,
An ordinary old man who no longer warrants
Such extravagant birthday card praise,
If I ever did.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Tribunal


What are the first words I’ll say
After I die,
When I have awakened into the afterlife,
Still possessing this eternal self that I am?

All the details of my most recent incarnation
Sharpened somehow by my passing,
Stripped of repression.

What will I say
When all things undone,
All obligations unfulfilled,
All unrealized ambitions and dreams,
All my weaknesses,
All my sins,
Present themselves for explanation why,
Why they were willfully ignored,
Buried,
Considering the generous amount of years granted.

I see myself confronted,
Standing before some kind of tribunal,
All my memories fully restored.
I gasp for breath and say,
And say . . .


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Your First Major Sin


So, there it is,
Your first sin,
Your first major sin,
A profound distinction,
For to be born is to be full of sin,
Not biblical sin,
Just everyday garden-variety sin
Born of infantile ignorance,
A kind of sin we all are born with,
Sin that is easily corrected and forgiven,
Innocent sin without intentional malice,
Part of the transition from childhood
We all are called upon to make.

So there it is,
Your first major sin,
The kind that breeds shameful regret,
That sparks a sudden sadness,
Born of the realization
That this is the end of your stainless self,
Once so defiantly pure.

Now, you can no longer be so sanctimonious.
Now, you pray earnestly for your troubled soul.
Now, you join the human race.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Humility


Standing in front of the audience,
Bowing to thunderous applause,
Scattered cheers,
It’s hard to resist the idea of your greatness
After all those wilderness years,
Hard to remember that fame is momentary,
And random,
That legions of fashionable men and women
Become laughable in time,
That villains have been worshiped
And are worshiped still,
That so much of what was once revered
Becomes despised in time,
That only a few things remain eternally true,
One of those being humility.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved