After We Die


After we die
We should all have a day
To come back and say,
Now I know why,
Now I know why.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Prayers


How long do prayers persist?
How often must they be repeated?
What are minutes and hours,
What is the length of a day to a prayer,
Or to God?

Does God tally prayers,
Weighing some against others?
Or is such somber accounting left to angels and saints?
Are prayers judged by earnestness?
Do they ascend by urgency?

It is worry in me that encourages prayer,
Worry and love,
Love and fear,
Knowing that in this world
Science and happenstance will not be denied.

Even if God were no more than disinterested science,
Unyielding to desires both noble and base,
I would not have my heart grow so cold
As to abandon what is so easily accomplished.

You may not believe your prayers are heard,
But if they open your ears to the longings of your heart,
If they inspire reformation and action,
If they awaken the desire to be honest in all things,
If they cast light on the path ahead,
They are not wasted.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Angels Pray


The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

He said this.
He said so many things,
Some lost in translation,
Others so direct,
So immediate
We fail to understand.

We are lost in hypothesis,
Wandering through the desert of the theoretical,
Dying of thirst,
Finding no relief in the idea of water,
No comfort from the concept,
When all along
The cool, clean water is before us,
But we do not drink.
We refuse to replace the idea with the immediate.
We will not drink.

We imagine a place,
A heaven,
A hell,
A limbo,
Where all our speculations are resolved.
We imagine that the real world,
The eternal world,
The awakened life
Is in some other existence,
Some other plane of being.

The angels pray for us,
Pray that we will awaken,
That we will realize
The kingdom of heaven is at hand,
Heaven and hell and everything in-between,
Here,
Now.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Remembering


How old you want to be
May depend
On how much you want to remember.

Some enjoy the bliss of erasing unhappy memories
As the years
Go
By.

Not me.

Events and circumstances
Pester me,
Suddenly appearing from the fog of the past,
In the middle of the day
While sitting in a café eating a deviled egg sandwich
On rye.

Suddenly,
There it is,
The afternoon I slapped my elderly father across the face,
His glasses skidding across the kitchen floor.

Now,
Old failures and sins line up to be revisited,
Reminding me of how much more I could have achieved,
How much kinder I should have been.

Oh yes, too many unpleasant memories,
Too vivid,
Too detailed,
Telling me I’ve lived long enough,
Long enough to appreciate death and its cleansing power,
Ready now to be reborn,
Ready for the slate wiped clean.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Ants


Ants,
These busy, busy ants,
Called upon this hot summer day
To march from there to here to somewhere else,
Called upon by Mother Earth to live,
To be busy,
So busy this hot summer day.

They do not ask why.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Do You Remember?


for Plato


Before words,
Before explanations,
Before memory,
Before appearances,
Before reactions,
Before culture,
Before environment,
Before your body,
Before your parents,
Before all your generations,
Before all of us,
Before everything,
Remember?

Do you remember?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Temptation


O you sanctimonious souls,
I ask you:
At this very moment,
Do you hear the words of the angels?
Do you see the blinding white light?

The greatest temptation of all,
The temptation of knowing.
The hardest thing to surrender,
The sin of certainty.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Children, Still


So many wars of religion,
Large and small,
Between countries,
Between people,
Fought over words,
Ideas,
Symbols.

Our words,
Our ideas,
Our symbols,
All of it representative,
Pointing to that which has no form,
No individual vocabulary,
No contrived ideology,
No exclusive theology.

May we all find comfort and healing
In our decorated places of worship,
Our places of heaven
Where we all must cleanse our hearts,
Where we all are children, still.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Amen


When you begin a prayer
You open a door.

Keep the door open.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Every Damn Day


OK,
So there is no Santa Claus
And there’s no Santa Claus god,
Because even though my neighbor with the new Mercedes
Swears God personally wanted him to have that car,
There’s all these little children,
Stricken,
Suffering,
Dying in droves.

So,
God says,
“You’re on your own Earthlings!”
But still we pray for just a little advice,
A hot tip:
“Come on God, just a hint?”
And maybe you get a revelation.

Me,
I just get a headache,
And no matter how hard I try
It’s the same old me,
Every damn day,
Still trying to have a meaningful conversation
With God.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Angelic


I used to think angels were perfect,
Unstained,
Untouched by human frailty,
Until,
In a low moment
An angel comforted me,
The kind of comfort only an angel could bring,
An angel who knows what it is to be human,
Who knows what it is to fail.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Inside


Inside,
This is where heaven and hell reside,
Where propriety has scant power
To temper the onslaught of extremes,
Where rationality is fleeting,
And the soul, with its accumulations,
Is all.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Imaginary


If your paradise is an artifice of your own creation
Yet you believe you are in paradise,
Feel like you are in paradise,
Isn’t that just as good as imaginary love,
Imaginary love you believe is real,
That keeps you alive and dreaming,
Writing long love letters late at night,
Hoping, always hoping until the oxygen finally runs out?

Just because your heaven is a dream
Doesn’t mean you can’t live there.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

One By One


No,
Not even in my most hope-filled moments
Do I expect humanity to awaken,
Eyes wide,
And begin a new era,
Infused with wisdom,
Love
And light.

As always,
One by one.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

This Gift


Father,
Thank you for this gift of my suffering,
Suffering so slight,
Measured against the agonies of this world.

May I use it well
To enter the heart of humanity,
Embrace the sorrow words alone cannot describe,
Find within the shattering,
Suddenly,
Without announcement,
Grace.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Another


After all these years of earnest self-improvement,
After all the studying,
All the prayers,
The self-examination,
The questions,
The meditation,
The false euphoria,
The despair,
If I awaken one morning
As another,
If I am new,
If my sight has been restored,
If I again see the world
Through the innocent eyes of a happy child,
But the world I have made,
The life I have lived,
All my old obligations
Beckon still,
Then?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Boundaries Of Heaven


We draw the boundaries of heaven
Around the spaces of ourselves,
Marked off by threat
And bluster,
As if heaven were a place
Unwelcome.


~ 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

Translation


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


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Fanatic


We are the true believers.
We will do anything,
Anything,
For the cause.

How dedicated we are,
That we can so easily dismiss
The sanctity of a human life
To accomplish our quest.

We will show God our righteousness,
Our fearlessness,
No matter how many we have to kill.

No compromise.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A Matter Of Time


To you who suffer,
Please know that I think of you
And pray for you
Every day
And I don’t understand
What it is in this world
That chooses you
And spares me
And it may only be a matter of time
Until I am chosen
And you are spared.

A matter of time,
Yes,
I suppose that’s what it’s all about.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

This Word


The dizziness came on so bad
I figured I’d better write something down
Before I fell down dead,
Something important,
The most important thing.

I took out my pen
And wrote this word:

Infinity.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

In Prayer


In prayer
We become the manifestation of God,
The explanation of God,
The delineation of God,
For in prayer we bring the essence of God
Into our lives
Where it changes our purposes,
Our actions.

It is not God the Father,
The majestic, bearded image of divinity,
Who alone intercedes in our lives.
Too much tragedy in this world
To believe a merciful God would
Cover His eyes,
Shield His hearing.

We are the agents of God,
His flesh and bone,
Apostles of mercy.

In prayer,
When we are done with all our asking and apologizing,
After we finally stop talking,
When we finally begin to listen,
The instruction!


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Saying The Word


It’s easy not to believe,
To scoff at the personification of God,
The majestic bearded man
Who decides everything,
The prayer specific saints,
The miraculous interceding angels,
The signs and symbols.

But alone in the dark,
Surrounded by the suffering of this world
I find myself praying,
Saying the word.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

I Am


I am that which casts shadows.
I am a shadow.

I am a piano,
Unaware of the one who strikes my keys.

I am the letters on this page,
This thought,
This moment.

I am your disbelief.

I am the thickness of night,
Wrinkling the skin of old dogs,
Pricking the dreams of frightened children.

I am a voice,
Calling out to itself.

I am what answers.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Answer


Alone and grieving
I search the evening sky.
The full moon rises
With a big happy face.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

All This Eternity


Some pray for wisdom
And go mad.

Some pray for health
And are struck down.

Some pray for love
And are left alone.

Some pray for peace
And do not live to see it.

All this eternity
Will level things out someday.


~ 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

Sacred


What do you hold sacred?

Not in your places of worship,
Your churches,
Your temples,
Your mosques.

Not in your ceremonies,
Your practices,
Your prayers.

It is no real test
When you are harnessed with the obligations
Of pious behavior.

Show me what you hold sacred
In a crowded parking lot,
When the hunger is upon you
For a really good parking space.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

This Great Gift


When the end of things finally came
We rejoiced.
The end of sadness,
Of hate,
Of despair.
But then rejoicing also came to an end,
For it was the end of all things,
The end of joy,
Of love,
Of hope.

When the end of all things was finally finished,
We were struck blind and deaf,
Mute,
Without the discriminating power,
Without time or temporality,
Blank.
Then we ceased to exist,
For it was the end of everything.

Now we are back,
Complaining again,
Believing in the possibility of utopia,
Working to put an end to all that is unjust,
This great gift of contention once again begun,
Still unfinished,
This great gift of life.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved