Closer


It’s hard to achieve tranquility
When I hear the sirens,
Closer,
Closer.

Who is in peril this time?
Why?

It’s hard to achieve a state of bliss
When this world is full of sirens,
Closer,
Closer.


~ 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

No Witness


When at last it dies within,
No one is bedside witnessing
The floating mist
Of hope extinguished.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

No Small Thing


I have tried being realistic,
Accepting the fact
You probably do not love me,
But I fail to see the benefit
Of discarding my beautiful dream.

Some other, more possible love
May appear,
But my only choice at present
Is unrequited love
Or no love at all.

When faced with this reality
And this illusion,
I must hold on to my illusion,
For to possess a beautiful dream
Is no small thing.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

No Longer Young


In moments of great pain
I think of you so young,
The first time our unclothed bodies touched,
Pressed and rubbed together
In the satin sea of my small bed,
A secret in my parents’ house.

It was the first time I felt
The length, the breadth, the depth,
The full measure of myself,
Alive, awake and rippling through every pore.

Look, look what time has done!
I awoke this morning,
No longer young.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Mysterious Ways


Thinking about the mysterious ways of the Lord
And all,
I came upon a squashed bug,
Some kind of beetle,
Swarmed by ants,
And realized
I was standing on the line of ants
That led from the dirt
To the hot cement sidewalk
Where I stood,
Doing the Lord’s bidding,
Somehow.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Weight Of Memory


As the years accumulate
Those of us who do not repress
Remember too much,
The personal tragedies,
The pain,
The simple act of being a fool
And defending one’s foolishness
With the arrogance of ignorance
And pride.

What is past
Is past,
But my heart remembers and suffers anew,
Even as details fade and outlines blur.
And in my low moments
The weight of memory
Is almost too much to bear.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Pedestrian


Being new to the big city
I sometimes stop and stare,
Uncertain of my direction,
Stop and stare,
Standing still in inconvenient places,
Inconvenient to the sardines swimming swiftly uptown.
Or is it downtown?

The red light turned off and the green light turned on
But the crowd had already pushed forward in anticipation
While I alone paused,
Creating an obstacle due to my confused consternation,
Blocking the preselected path of the old man,
The old man impatiently pushing an older man in a wheelchair.

“Watch where you’re going!” he shouted,
Having no horn to honk,
Selflessly guiding the disabled old man
Safely through congested city sidewalks,
So angry at a world so uncooperative,
A world that would allow someone like me to stand in his way.


~ 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

The Part Of Me


I love you,
She said.

But I know what she really loves.

She loves the part of me that loves her,
The part of me that becomes the whole of me
When I am with her.

Yes,
I do indeed love her love of the love I too love to love.
Yes.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

My Secret


Plain, ordinary people
Sometimes fall in love,
Something that feels like love,
However brief.

It feels like love when it happens
To plain, ordinary people like me,
Who are not what you might call,
Good looking.

I go through life’s errands
Mostly unnoticed,
And then it happens.
I fall in love with a face,
With the gentle curl of her hair,
The liquid flow of her neck,
The sculpture of her fingers,
With something I cannot describe.

She notices me noticing her,
So I pretend not to notice
While I imagine she sees through
My plain appearance
Into my unclaimed heart.

Introductions are made,
We speak.
She shows no sign of knowing
That it is my wandering spirit
That has lingered here
To absorb the sound of her voice,
The light in her eyes.

She is formal and polite,
Quick to withdraw.

My secret is safe.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

My Love Turns Off


My love turns off the radio
She doesn’t watch TV,
She will not listen to the news,
She doesn’t want to see
The awful things that people do,
Depraved humanity,
That’s why she’s smiling all day long,
She leaves the world to me.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

My Kitty Has A Dishrag


My kitty has a dishrag,
It’s pink and rough and wet,
She scrubs herself all over
When she comes home from the vet.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Safe Road


The safe road is a circular road,
‘Round and ‘round it goes,
Past testaments and monuments,
Repeating what everyone knows.


~ 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

I Will Sing!


I could write about a flower,
How it embodies my soul,
The blooming,
The withering away,
Or perhaps a thermometer,
The inconstant mercury,
Any metaphorical device would do,
But not today.

Today I am flesh, blood,
A thousand thousand things.
Today
For some unnameable reason
I am happy.
No more speaking.
Today
I will sing!


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

I See Them


There was a rabbit
Loose in the grove.
She taught me how to enter
The silence of its fear
So it would know
My innocence.

There was an old clock
Whose tic and toc
Was heard by those
Who could only imagine me.
She taught me how to travel
Through the sound
Into their hearts.

In spring her orchard was full
Of birds and butterflies.
She pressed her warm fingers
Over my eyes and said:
See from where
All pretty things come.

Her old Siamese
Loved his pie-pan milk
Steaming on the back porch.
One winter he was gone.
I remembered how still he sat
With folded paws
And cloud-blue eyes.

Looking into heaven
He finally found his way,
She whispered,
Close your eyes
And see him.

I see them.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Journey


Behind this countenance
My will seems a thing apart from my soul,
Made of more stubborn stuff,
Ready to jeopardize all
To assuage the senses,
To satisfy reasonless emotion
While feigning ignorance of the soul’s wisdom,
Willfully blind.

Would I be stripped of this intransigence
And guided by that wiser part of me,
That eternal part of me,
Patient yet ready to correct the haphazard course
Of my impenetrable ego,
Ready and waiting to be called
When defeat and despair at last force surrender
Of resistance and rationalization.

O the wayward journey that is my life.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

My Fallen Friend


He came from a good family,
A loving family,
And when I knew him he was kind,
A kind and thoughtful young man.
He wanted to be an artist.

He died in prison,
Locked in a cage,
Too troubled for the outside world,
Too sensitive to survive imprisonment.

I imagine the joy of his mother,
Looking into the awakening eyes of her firstborn:
“A son, God has blessed me with a son!”

His parents had him cremated,
But months have gone by
And they cannot bring themselves to scatter his ashes.
They have not yet found the quiet place inside
Where they will learn how to say goodbye.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Morning Calculation


The difference between six
And nine
Equals the difference between rise
And shine.


~ 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

Something Like Love


Young women in love
Tease, taunt and tempt.

Young men in lust
Pledge, promise and plead.

But after the prize is won,
After the prize is won,
Familiarity dulls and tarnishes
As the spring of youth passes,
As the winter of aging advances.

Then one day,
That silly young girl is gone.
That amorous young boy is gone.
And the middle-aged couple they’ve become
Silently mourn.

No more spark,
No more passion,
Just the valiant quest,
To keep something like love alive.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Music Everywhere!


I once imagined heaven was full of music,
Every part of it,
But here on Earth
Everywhere I go there is music playing,
All of our public places
Saturated with this saccharine sound
That feels more like hell
Than heaven.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Godspeed


In Jamestown,
The father of my father’s fathers,
Excised from country,
Bereft and starving.

(What an asshole!)


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Given Up


This portly, stubble-faced, middle-aged man
With uncombed random remnants of hair,
Hastily dressed in laundry hamper attire,
Wrinkled and stained,
In semiconscious disarray,
Blunders his way through supermarket aisles,
Searching,
Searching,
Finally finding the dessert section,
The gallon of strawberry shortcake ice cream
Which he cradles in hand
While making a mad dash for the quick-check lane,
Stumbling past summer’s bronzed young woman,
All curls and curves,
Home from college and ready for fun.
She is a stunning vision of youth and vitality,
But he does not notice,
Having given up the idea of romance so long ago.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Money Train


Every mornin’
Climb on board,
You climb on board
That money train.

You be rich
Or you be poor
But you climb on board
That money train.

Hear that whistle,
Hear it blow,
The train’s a' comin’,
You gotta go.

You be rich
Or you be poor
But you climb on board
And they shut the door.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

How To Write Poetry


O figure and reckon
Seeing they do write,
And how,
That is,
Out selected words
Ordering re-arrange in re:
Deforming tensed suffix
Ending original sin tax entendre?

uncap enjambers lifting geese as when simile even
meta-4 flying flight skyward soaring ethereal epiphany
yet safe nodding knowing wistful wink . . .

L'émotion artistique cesse où l'analyse et la pensée interviennent

get me to the

occasional

on timeward’s back contradicting the deliberately

unintentional.


Be clever by omission to hide what is not there
with literary frosting and pungent classical allusion such as
Perpetually Popular Persephone
(despite not even being an ex-planet).

By the way, a certain offhand familiarity with foreign locale,
making sophisticated world citizen manifesteringly manifest,
i.e. the halting walk of chilly winter pigeons just before dawn
along the Piazza Unità d'Italia in Trieste . . .

Now add an immigrant ancestor,
(A cobbler eating moldy cheese in steerage?)
(A cheesemaker eating moldy cobbler in steerage?)
Or two,
And always,
Always,
The scarcely hidden “Hell with you.”


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Momentary


When the light of your life grows dim,
When the love of your life is gone,
When the music stops
And you are back again to ordinary,
How exquisite the memory,
How painful the realization
That however lucky you may be,
All of this is momentary.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Men Are Hungry


O young women be careful
How you smile at men.
You may think it common courtesy,
Or a simple act of friendliness
To be openhearted and cheerful,
But you must be careful
Because men are hungry,
Though they will try and disguise it
In a thousand different ways,
Men are hungry.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Another Temporary Visitor


I knew when he walked into the coffee shop,
When this tall black man hesitated before sitting down,
Casting a wide, smiling inspection of the dozen or so diners,
So pleased to be in our company,
So joyful to be among the living,
I knew he was back from the grave,
Now seeing the everyday world through the eyes of a child,
Entranced by the sound of talking and laughing.

What was once so ordinary was now extraordinary.
He’d crossed the line between life and death,
Then crossed back again.

I wouldn’t be surprised if he were some kind of angel,
Taking physical form for a day to see and be seen,
To marvel at the magic of human existence.

How long did he have before returning?
And to where?
I wonder.
How long do I have?

He smiled at me as I walked by on my way out,
Recognizing, acknowledging another temporary visitor.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved