All This Absence


If she were angry with me,
That would be quite another thing,
But this friendly indifference,
Her cold, controlled smile,
Her appropriate words
Kept at the appropriate distance,
Her brief eye contact
Signifying nothing.

No anger,
No joy,
Not even a little curiosity.

If she were angry with me,
Then,
Something to hope for,
But all this absence . . .


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Why Men Lie


Because she wore a spring dress
With a long open back,
Revealing the graceful arch of her spine,
The soft cut of her shoulder blades
Beneath the supple silken blanket
Of her burnished bronze skin,
Because she wanted to be admired
And so she smiled,
Because youth has not left her,
Because youth has left him
And the pleasures of aging
Have yet to reveal themselves,
Because at every turn old age is advancing
And he is not ready,
Because he does not want to die:

This is why men lie.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The First Time


Here,
This is the spot,
Beneath this ancient oak,
A perfect climbing tree
With low, outstretched limbs,
Welcoming.

Here,
Beneath this ancient oak
Is where you spread out your blanket
On the cool shaded grass.

A swaying patch of filtered sunlight illuminated us,
Lying so close together on the blanket’s gentle cushion,
Your name sewn in fancy script across the top
By some Chinese factory worker
Who will never know how lovely you lay
Beneath your beautiful name,
A name so beautiful to me
In the fading light of that passing summer afternoon,
When you first wanted me.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

This Fire


However much I love you,
You do not
Hang upon the cheek of night
Like a rich jewel in an Ethiop’s ear.

You do,
However,
Glow in the illumination of the street light
Where you wait for me,
Not yet noticing my approach,
Eager to burn
In this fire we have ignited.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Stone Age


How long has it been?
Not long since the days of the cave.
Seems like only yesterday
We were bringing down bison,
That old gang of mine.

All this was savanna,
And,
Over there,
Near that big boulder,
The barbecue pit.

Ah, the feasting,
The fermented berries,
The grunting.

I took a girl
And our bodies worked well together
Making many children.
We lived a while.

On my last day
My oldest son told me
He would bring me back,
And that I would bring him back,
In turn,
For we are all fathers and mothers,
Sisters and brothers,
Since the beginning of everything,
When every stone could sing.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A Small Price


My sweetheart is angry with me.

I was relentless,
Her debating skills weaker than mine,
Mine,
Driven by a kind of egocentric obsessiveness.
I surrounded her with a great wall of logic,
Stone by stone,
Until at last she could take no more.

“Enough,” she said,
Unwilling to surrender.
“Enough,” she said,
Closing the door of her heart against me,
Withdrawing that sweet vulnerability
Which she had so delicately, tentatively, entrusted,
For which I shall soon recant all my assertions,
Agreeing that planet Earth is indeed flat,
If need be.

A small price to pay for love.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Real Love Is Not Clever


Real love is not clever.

Real love is clumsy,
Awkward,
Unsynchronized,
Inappropriate,
Embarrassing,
Stumbling,
Falling,
Grasping,
Letting go,
Giving up,
Miserable,
Necessary.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Wishing


A fountain sparkling with pennies,
A wishing well
Catches your eye
And for a moment
You consider finding a penny
And making a wish,
An impulse you quickly dismiss.

All those shiny pennies
Magnified by the rippling water,
Shimmering.
An illusion for children,
You think.
Too old for such foolishness,
You think,
No longer remembering what wishing is for.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Ocean


Some of us stand at the edge of the shore,
At a safe distance,
While others come closer,
Getting their feet wet,
Racing away from any sudden surge.
Some wade in deeper,
Yet still careful to avoid strong currents.

I am reckless.
I go in deep,
Enveloped and submerged,
Helplessly swept out to sea.


~ 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

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