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

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

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

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

Life After Death


You want to believe
But faith is not enough
For your rational, scholarly mind,
And so you spend your evenings
Searching through ancient texts
For the meaning of life,
Surrounded and infused
With the souls of the dead.


~ 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

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

A Work In Progress

 
They are building a temple,
One stone at a time,
Stone by stone,
A monument to God,
To be the tallest human-made structure
On Earth,
Heavenly bound,
Without plans for completion,
The great work to be continued
By succeeding generations.

Until further notice,
Uninhabitable.



~ 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

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

A Chance


O yeah you can laugh
At what you think is my naiveté,
All this wishing desiring hoping,
These few shreds of faith,
Faith in something vaguely reassuring.

O yeah I wanna be reassured all right
Cause death comes no matter what you think,
No matter what you plan or decide,
No matter what kind of deal you think you’ve made,
Death comes and rips you loose from this life
Without any consideration at all.

O yeah I’ve gotta believe there’s a chance
That I can rise above all the despair,
All this darkness always pushing,
Pushing against something so simple,
So simple as a sunny disposition.

O yeah I’ve seen ‘em,
People who take life’s knocks
And still smile as an unconscious reflex,
Something maybe about the way they were raised,
Something genetic,
Something maybe about luck.

Whatever it is I want a piece of that
And I don’t care how unsophisticated I look
Or how naïve you think I am.
I just don’t care
Because death comes no matter what you think
And I just gotta get rid of this fear
While I still have a chance.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Angels Can Only Do So Much


Angels can only do so much,
Depending on their age, experience and motivation,
Intercession not being as easy as one might suppose.

Consider political upheavals.
Consider natural disasters.
Angels can only do so much.

And there is considerable reluctance among the winged
To capriciously alter the course of human events,
Knowing how motivational calamity can be,
What with all the problem-solving it requires,
Knowing how the evolution of the human race
Is enhanced by a few obstacles now and then.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Inhuman


A saint without selfishness,
A prophet without confusion,
God without flaw,
Inhuman.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

This Fragile Light


This fragile light
Warms,
Sings,
Breathes into me,
Awakens this child,
So long asleep.

Can I stay in this fragile light?
Can I stay?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Nothing Special


No special time,
No special place.

Any time,
Any place.

When I was young
I believed in preparation,
Years of preparations.
But now,
After years of preparations,
I can,
At last,
Let preparations go.

Now,
With imagination exhausted,
I blunder my way into enlightenment,
Not walking into heaven,
But leaving heaven,
And hell.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

All The Way


She climbed a mountain,
Struggled and suffered her way to the summit.
Looking out over the vast landscape,
Looking up into the dome of the sky,
She said:
I am closer to God,
Not realizing God was with her,
All the way up,
Not realizing God would be with her,
All the way down.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Reincarnate


How many things we do
Without thought,
Things we’ve done so long,
For so many years,
Becoming habitually unconscious.

Actions and reactions
Assembled into support systems of self-identity,
Reinforcing who we think we are,
Who we think we aren’t.

Strip them all away and who is left?
A newborn?
Or just a very old human being,
Finally ready to begin again,
Somehow.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

This Morning


Why only this morning
I saw a robin
Poking the grassy earth
Around the wide trunk
Of an ancient oak.

She soon had a fat grub
Wriggling in her beak
And rose into the air
Far above the trees
Faster than my breath.

Why only this morning
I saw a young boy
Walking with his mother
Down a sunlit street
Singing without words.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

In My Mind


Perhaps it’s all in my mind.

So much of this life is idea:
Our cities and houses,
The clock,
The kind of work we do,
Money,
How we choose friends and enemies,
What we do for fun,
What brings us joy,
What brings us sorrow.

Even love,
Yes, even love is an idea,
Contained in the heart,
Contained in the mind,
Wherever such a preposterous notion as the mind resides.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Here, Now


Earth.
Heaven.
Hell.

Heaven and Hell.

Hell on Earth.
Heaven on Earth.

Heaven and Hell on Earth.

Here,
Now.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Heaven Is A Difficult Place


It’s not at all what I expected.

Heaven is a difficult place,
So full of strife and tragedy,
At times I forget where I am,
Here in this place of extremes,
Of contrast,
Where kindness is born of cruelty,
Where love is born of fear,
Where enlightenment is born of ignorance,
Where all possibilities exist,
Darkness and light being what they are.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Lights


Without love,
Some kind,
Any kind of crazy love,
The lights are out
All over town.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A Koan


Those who believe in God,
Abandon God.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Connected


The reason
Why your busy ambitions
Amuse,
Is connected to
The reason
Why I sit outside this evening
In an old lawn chair,
Fanning away insects
And the gentle breeze of thought.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Chosen


God has been good to you,
You say,
Helped you succeed,
Helped you prosper.

I wonder why
God pays so much attention
To you
And leaves the prayers of so many millions
Unanswered?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

I Go With Them


In the early light she asks me
For protection from the world.
She prays for her family,
For her innocence,
For her tortured soul.
She moves closer to me.

She calls me father
But holds no clear image of what I am.
She wants to be a saint,
An artist,
A wealthy woman.

Her little boy shouts
Mommy, it’s today!
And they are gone,
Plunging into a freshly painted world of play.
I go with them.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Something


Weary singer of unsung songs
Moving in deep, undulating waves
Of subconscious longing for flight,
I plunge upwards into soar and glide,
Infused with the grace of birds,
Like the happy release of death
When very old.

So worn
And wishing for the play of wind
On flight feathers,
I let go and fall
Into something
Beyond these words.


~ 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



Something Still Here


Have you ever watched an old movie
And suddenly realized,
All those people
Are dead?

Yet something inside says:
How can this be?

There they are,
Right in front of you,
Living,
Breathing,
Immortal,
Yet perished.
All.

And here we are,
Striving,
As if there is anything in this world
We can anchor ourselves to,
As if we could stop the rising tide of time
That will envelop us all.

Yet something still seems permanent,
Despite all the loved ones come and gone,
Something still here.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Gift


The aged Chinese woman walks past our house

Every afternoon,
When the weather is warm.

Her turquoise capri pants and garishly flowered blouse,
Her floppy lime-green hat,
A collision of color,
Thrift shop couture,
Worn,
But serviceable.

I always say hello and smile
And she smiles in return
But never speaks.

Once I called out “Lovely day.”
She smiled.
I suspect she does not speak English.
No matter.
A heartfelt smile
With a slight tip of the head exchanged.
We embrace the gift.



~ 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