Embrace


Here,
In this embrace,
I remember hating you.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

One Small Candle


When we decide to love,
To fall in love,
We luxuriate in our love,
Our precise, exquisite love,
Denied to so many.

We light one small candle
In a dark room,
Believing the whole wide world
Is ablaze.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Love Is Not Philosophy


1. Love Is Easy

Unlike philosophy,
Love is easy,
Actual.
You wake up each morning
And joy fills your heart
Because someone you love will say,
“I love you,”
Before the day is through,
And you will hold each other close
In a moment of eternity.


2. Love Is Hard

Unlike philosophy,
Love is hard,
Actual.
You wake up each morning
And pain fills your heart
Because someone you love has said,
“I don’t love you,”
And all day long
You will feel wounded and empty,
Hoping it won’t last forever.


3. Love Is Mysterious

Unlike philosophy,
Love is mysterious,
Ethereal.
You wake up each morning
And both joy and pain fill your heart
Because you ache to say,
“I love you,”
If only you could find someone
Before the end of another lonely day
And see the dream awaken.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Still, I Seek You


O my love you are a constant presence,
Yet incorporeal.
You have inhabited those I’ve loved,
Awakened me when love is new.

Alas, the petty practicalities of this world
Overwhelm and smother
And your instrument is muted.

I am human and often distracted,
But I have never expelled you from my heart.
Still, I seek you.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Timeless


Looking back,
The necessity of suffering and sacrifice
Seems obvious.
Looking forward,
Inevitable.

But today,
You and I,
Enraptured,
Timeless.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A Madness


A madness some have described it,
Yes, it feels like madness.
I’ve never wanted anything in my life
The way I want her.

Yes, it feels like madness,
Not the absence of reason,
But the defiance of reason,
For reason is here before me,
A constant voice,
Warning me:
This is impossible.

It is reason that twists the knife,
Madness that pushes the blade in deeper.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Overwhelmed


Overwhelmed by love,
I have nothing left to say,
For when our bodies join,
Pretensions slip away.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Passion Passes


It hurts to see such public passion
Between unashamed young lovers
And feel the tug of pure, witless feeling.

Years of intellectual discipline
Have left me addicted to rational things,
Starved for the unspoken language of the young.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Phantasy


O these love poems that men have wrought,
What woman is so foolish to believe?
Such extravagant, embellished images of thought
Constructed to entice and deceive.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Kiss


After the kiss goodnight the world was glowing.
How wonderful to wake each day,
He thought,
Knowing there is someone in the world who loves me,
Someone I can kiss.

He fell asleep on a cloud of bliss.

After the kiss goodnight the world was threatening.
I will never let that happen again,
She thought.
In the morning she would send him a message,
Something about friendship.

She fell asleep on a cloud of regret.

O the power of a single kiss,
What it starts,
What it stops.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

In The Wind


Love is in the wind,
A rootless passion,
A bird in flight,
An annunciation.

Love comes,
Love goes,
That is our illusion,
For we are the wind
And our passions are birds in flight,
Touching down here and there,
While love,
Like air,
Is everywhere.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Pick A Flower


Pick a flower
Hold it in your hand
Study it closely
Do not expect anything.

Put the flower in a vase
Wait
Wait
Take it out of the vase
Look at how the petals fall.

Pick up all the petals
Put them in a small envelope
Place it in the back of a drawer.

Eighty years later
Some idle young girl
Will find the envelope
And pour the pieces,
Cracked and broken,
Into her hand.

She rubs both hands together
And turns the petals into dust.
She opens her hands
And blows the remnants over her garden,
A believer in certain unspoken things.

Her favorite rose bush has a bud,
Soon a pale pink flower.
She watches it unfold
Then cuts it from the plant
And puts it in a vase.

After the flower dies,
She takes it from the vase
And drops it into a wastebasket.

Then she remembers.
She retrieves her discarded flower,
The petals slip from her hand
Into a small envelope.

She writes “For You” in her finest hand
And puts it back into the same drawer
And wonders what color
The eyes of her first child will be.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Casual Observer


“There is no joy,”
The older man says,
Revealing his casual observation
To his young younger female companion,
Sitting a little too close
In a restaurant booth,
Thinking I will not hear
My condemnation
As I sit nearby,
After a difficult day,
Having a little sustenance
With my wife.

Married thirty years
We have endured many joyless days,
Endured suffering,
Anger
And despair.

The young younger female companion,
Pulled even closer,
Looks into the depths of his wrinkles,
Measures the sag of his neck
And ponders the arrangement.
He smells like her father.

His haphazardly shaved face is rough
And scratches her cheek.
Her body stiffens.
She has visions of long hospital hallways,
A tube in his nose,
A stainless steel tray filled with medicine bottles.

“You can see it in the eyes,”
He says with wine-induced indiscretion,
“No joy,”
Sure that he has everything,
At last.

We leave the restaurant
And walk our nightly walk
Past houses filled with television.

We are predictable,
Becoming set in our ways,
So much quieter now.

We hold hands as we walk
Down dimly lit sidewalks among ancient trees
Who also have a certain understated passion for life,
Often unnoticed by the casual observer.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Here, In This Place


When the darkened room is suddenly filled with light,
When the unexpected wave rises and crashes upon you,
When you cannot find the precise metaphor to describe,
To express the overwhelming emotion
Bursting from your heart and spreading to every sinew,
Awakening,
Awakening,
Awakening your body to its purpose,
Awakening your mind to the joy of existence,
To the bliss of knowing,
Knowing you are desired,
Knowing you are loved,
Then,
It’s more than individual passion,
More than momentary infatuation,
It’s a place you have discovered,
A place in the mind,
In the heart,
In the universe,
A place where angels dwell,
Where inspiration is born,
A place permanently imprinted in memory
No matter how circumstances change,
Always and forever a place you’ve inhabited,
A place you know,
A place of joy and pain,
An eternal place,
Always there,
Waiting for your return.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Propriety


At last I understand
Why I am not supposed to love you.

The passage of time,
Distance,
Acceptance,
Have brought me to my senses,
Whatever that means.

Now everything can be explained,
Understood from a psychological perspective.

Reason and logic reassert their power
To expose and embarrass my foolish heart,
My childish dream,
The passion that rages still,
Now confined within this dark prison of propriety.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

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

What Men Want


When I see her
I hold myself a little tighter,
A little straighter,
Appearing more attractive,
Flexing all appropriate muscles,
Contracting all inappropriate flab,
Making myself desirable,
For she is my sweetheart heartthrob
Honeybunch sex machine
And I want her,
This girlish saint whore
Athletic fashion model intellectual.

I want her.
Now.

I am enraptured by her thin boyish
Sharp-shoulder-bladed frame,
Her overexposed unashamed voluptuous fantastic flesh,
Her long short medium-length hair,
So glossy black chestnut brown honey blonde pumpkin red
Curling straight.

I am lost in her mysterious bold naive uninhibited forbidden
Eyes of swimming pool blue chocolate bar brown
Charcoal briquette black London fog gray
Emerald chameleon green banana tree hazel.

She walks toward me away not moving,
This short long-legged tall small woman girl,
So delicate and strong.
She sees me and smiles
And I am hers,
All over town.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Published in the anthology Heart Of A Man, August 2019

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

Hate


If you are taught to hate,
If you embrace hate,
If you carry hate in your heart,
Then you will awaken each morning with hate,
Sleep each evening with hate,
Dream of hate.

Such a heavy burden,
This all-embracing anger,
This desire for violence,
For vengeance.

But when you dream of a perfect world,
When you imagine yourself in paradise,
Where is hate?


~ 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

Can We Still Be Friends?


Please don’t misunderstand
When I say I hate you
And call you a stupid jerk
Who never should have been born.

You should know me better than that!

Just because I will not speak to you
And block your texts and emails,
Just because I never want to see you again
Doesn’t mean we can’t still be friends.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

I Will Remember


If I am cremated,
Give a small portion of the ashes from my body
To each of those I love
So they may scatter them
Over the ocean.

If I am buried,
Give a small portion of the earth from my grave
To each of those I love
So they may scatter it
In a garden.

When I am no longer in this body,
Perhaps you should just give a copy of this poem
To each of those I love
So I may say one last time:

I will remember you.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Words And Meanings


I could say,
What a beautiful day,
And mean it,
And yet be imprisoned
Within the idea of it,
That beautiful day,
Out there,
Outside,
Somewhere.

I could say,
I love you,
And mean it,
Like a weapon
Or a shield,
This love,
Superior,
Disarming,
Untouchable.

Without the heart,
Words and meanings
Fall apart.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

This Knowledge


In this information age
I have the Library of Alexandria
At my fingertips,
And more.
Almost anything I want to know,
Instantly accessible,
Almost anything,
Except that which I long to know
Above all other knowledge:

The length of your spine beneath my fingers,
The feel of every silken vertebra,
The ripple of pleasure as it spreads
Through every sinew of your naked body,
The action and reaction of desire,
The union of our beings,
The electricity of ecstasy,
Your eyes filled with love,
My heart filled with light.

This knowledge I crave above all,
This knowledge of you.


~ Russ Allison Loar 
© All Rights Reserved

The Dance


I woke up this morning determined,
Absolutely determined to pursue love,
To sneak up on it,
To flatter,
To entice this love,
This beautiful girl,
This vessel of my desire.

I will buy flowers,
Write heartfelt words,
Compliment and then be silent with compassionate gaze,
Listening to the stirrings of her soul,
Nodding in moist-eyed agreement,
Exuding empathy and understanding from every pore,
Waiting, waiting,
Waiting for the door to open,
Waiting for the moment I can take her hand
And press it to my lips.

Of all life’s occupations and employments,
Of all life’s ambitions,
How intangible and delicate is the dance of love.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A Light Burning


My secret love comes home,
I see her from my window.
She parks her car and opens her trunk,
Unloading,
Bags of things
For her secret life.

I walk by and say hello.
She says hi and smiles,
A long smile,
Watching me slowly walk away.

My secret love leaves a light burning,
Late, late into the night.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

I've Changed


Oh my darling,
I was so foolish,
Such a selfish, weak and unfeeling bastard.
Can you ever forgive me?

I’ll do anything to make it up to you.

I hope you can find it in your heart to understand.
I never meant to hurt you.

Oh my love,
I’ve made so many mistakes,
Won’t you give me another chance,
Now that I’m pretending to be apologetic, contrite and sincere?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Another Cold Day


The weather report,
Another cold day
In the city where you live,
Without me,
And it breaks my heart
I cannot be there
To hold you,
Keep you warm.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

No Words


There are no words,
Nothing I say or write
Can contain the loss
Of your arms around me,
Your body pressed close to mine,
The touch of a dream made flesh
Against my skin.

There are no words,
Not even these,
That can contain the loss
Of who I thought you were,
Who you turned out to be.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

In The Waiting Room


It started with a pain in the stomach,
Digestive problems,
Then a sporadic cough,
Sudden headaches,
Fatigue,
Insomnia,
Anxiety attacks,
Depression,
And here she sits in the waiting room,
Waiting for the doctor to review her test results,
When she already knows,
She knows what’s really wrong,
Just as certainly as she knows
There is no pill she can take
For not being in love.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved



Transition


Now that some time has passed without you,
Knowing you will not come back into my life,
I’ve decided I’m finally ready to let go,
All those letters and emails,
The little gifts and trinkets,
Photographs I can no longer bear to see,
Everything,
Shredded,
Burned,
Deleted,
Given away,
All discarded.

All except this single smooth stone,
A stone I found at ocean’s edge
That warm summer day when we were new,
When the enchantment was real.

I’ll put this stone in a little wooden box,
Perhaps never to open,
Or perhaps one day I will remove the stone
And hold it in my hand once again,
Someday when I am strong.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Heart Of The World


I give you my heart,
Which is the heart of the world.

It was yours before I gave it to you,
Yours when you were lost,
Yours when you loved,
Yours when you cried.

I give you my heart,
Which is the heart of the world.

It is yours without my giving,
Yours when you are strong,
Yours when you are weak,
Yours awakening in you.

I give you my heart,
Which is the heart of the world.

Look!
Within your hearing,
Within your sight,
Within and without,
Everywhere,
It is the heart of the world,
And I give it to you.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Because You Love


So worried,
About money,
About accomplishment,
About failure.

So overwhelmed,
By work,
By family,
By modern life.

Sometimes,
Late at night,
Early in the morning,
In the middle of the day,
You wonder who you are,
Why your life turned out this way,
So uneventful.

Love,
Love is all you have left,
Mad unrestrained love,
For your family,
For movie stars,
For your friends,
For total strangers,
For babies,
For dogs and cats and birds
And all living things,
Every tree and flower,
For even the sky-darkening clouds
And the rain,
The individual drops of rain
That fall on your cheek
Like tears of forgiveness,
And you realize
You are forgiven,
All is forgiven
Because you love,
And that is enough.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Satisfied As I Am


Satisfied as I am
With the life I’ve lived,
Marriage and family,
Work and income,
Responsibilities and accomplishments,
Satisfied as I am,
Last night I dreamed.

I am a young artist
Living in a little house overlooking the ocean,
Lying awake in a moonlit room
Next to a dark-skinned girl who loves me,
Listening to the sound of the sea
While she moves her fingers across my shoulder blade,
Slows her breathing,
Then gently kisses my neck.


Satisfied as I am,
Last night I dreamed.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Yes


Yes,
You can fall in love,
Even though it is inappropriate,
Inconvenient,
Impossible to do anything about it.

Yes,
You can fall in love,
Carry it around all day long,
Day after day,
Year after year.

Yes,
You can fall in love,
Though you may despair
Nothing will come of it,
Something already has.

Yes.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Yet Living Still


I have awakened with joy,
Delivered from care and concern
By some undeserved grace.
It fades.

I have been torn from sleep by dread,
Weighed down with fearful expectation
By some unrelenting pessimism.
It fades.

Today,
A soft choir embraces me.

This joy arose slowly,
Crept softly,
Disguised as contentment,
Permeating my daily obligations with pangs of pleasure
Yet giving no bold announcement of the spontaneous euphoria
Now made flesh as I walk along this hillside path,
My chores accomplished and forgotten.

Though tomorrow is uncertain,
Today and tomorrow fall away,
For the blue-washed sky is brushed with colored clouds
And the leafy soil is strong-scented from this morning’s rain.

O this painted circumference,
O these careful colors and textures of thawed winter,
And here, this ancient tree,
Lightning-burned, split and scarred,
Yet living still.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved