Thumbs


There will never be a shortage of self-anointed critics,
Self-appointed judges of all manner of things,
Of people and events,
Large and small,
Those who educate,
Those who obfuscate,
Those with knowledge,
Those without,
Those who somehow believe it is their mission,
Their responsibility,
Their calling to point a thumb up or down.

We are blanketed with critics whose only qualification is ego,
Whose pronouncements are so soon forgotten
After scholars and historians assemble research and knowledge,
Honest intellectual inquiry,
To illuminate the past.

Do our media-created, ill-informed, knee-jerk commentators
Believe they are changing hearts and minds,
Guiding the course of a nation,
By unveiling the certain, unquestionable truth?

We are cooperative.

These pontificators give voice to our a priori conclusions,
Assuring us that even the most complex issues of our time
Can be measured by the masquerade of mass hysteria,
By the illusion of popular opinion,
That all we really need do is vote,
One way or another,
Thumbs up or thumbs down.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

God Dog


Once there was a small brown dog who loved God.
He loved God so much
He decided to change his name
To God,
God Dog,
The 1st.

Then,
He began to pee on the furniture
Without restraint.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Another Day At The Office


The black-winged fungus of death
Would like to have a word with you
And is holding on Line 2.

Take a message,
Say I,
For the splintering semen of rebirth
Is Miss Ledger’s hand on my thigh.

Encountering my limitless nonself
I give her nothing but love,
Baby.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

My House


It was barely sprinkling
After several hours of light rain
Early Sunday morning
When I heard the coughing,
The retching,
And looked out my breakfast nook window
To see a young man with his car door open,
Vomiting on the street in front of my house.

My house.

How lucky I am
That I can say the words:
My house,
While aimless young men
Wander through this city,
Regurgitating at will.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Call It Poetry


Go ahead,
Call it poetry,
I suppose you’ve got to call it something,
But I’m just talking,
Talking to you,
Telling you as sincerely as I can
What is in my heart
And in my mind,
Trying to strip these words and thoughts
Of pretense,
As best I can,
Not concerned about literary theory,
Just concerned about this life,
This life we are actually living,
Day by day.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Stir


If you use the wrong words,
In the wrong place,
At the wrong time,
You could go to jail.

And that first day in stir
When they ask,
Whaddya in fer?
You give ‘em a low, mean stare
And say:
Vocabulary.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Agony Of Ecstasy


The older I get the more I wonder
Why I’ve been spared from so much,
So much of the suffering of this world.
Why, why, why?

O the agony of this incessant good fortune,
This ecstasy,
Will it never cease?


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

What Comes Next


Sometimes
It seems like
Everything’s going wrong,
Then,
Everything gets worse
And you realize
Just how good you had it
Before everything got worse,
Then,
You get sick
And you realize
Just how lucky you were
When you were not sick,
Even though
Things were not going that well,
Then,
You die
And you think,
Oh great,
Here I am,
Dead.
You never made it to retirement,
Everything you ever worked for,
Gone,
And you’re stuck
In some kind of undefinable limbo,
Then,
You hear a voice that says:
You’re not stuck at all,
Come with me.
The next thing you know
You’re in some kind of eternal infinite agony
That must be hell
And you realize
Just how lucky you were
Before everything got worse,
And you don’t even want to think about
What comes next.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A Game


It takes a lot of luck,
And money,
To discover
That life is just a game.

It seems much more serious
When you’re unlucky
And broke.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Looking Forward


“When hell freezes over!”
My dearly beloved intoned,
Responding to my request for a hot buttered cinnamon roll.

Not an unpleasant thought,
Not at all.
Free of matrimonial bonds
In the realm of human weakness,
Bundled up against the sudden change in climate,
Sipping hot chocolate
While the scent of warm cinnamon
Drifts lazily into my nostrils
From the buffet of frosted pastries.

O yes, when hell freezes over,
Now there’s something to look forward to.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Best Seller


He was the anointed one,
And the literati decided,
Agreed,
Conformed and confirmed the book
Was his finest work yet,
Prognosticated as:
“The best book you will read this year,”
Though it was only January,
Though it was generally agreed “the best” was an anachronism.

After all,
Did they really believe the future could be so blanketed,
So predictable,
So immutable?

The book vendors ordered dutifully,
Feverishly,
Inspired by so many reverential author interviews,
So certain this was indeed the next big thing.

Who am I,
Who are we to turn away from such pronouncements?
Such hysteria?

So I,
So we dutifully purchased the book in droves,
Eager to possess the sacred knowledge,
The newly christened insight,
The talisman,
Ready to verify the conclusions of the cognoscenti,
Ready to approach the godhead and be blessed,
Though by page 83 most of us stopped reading,
Already full of enough dispirited angst
To last a lifetime,
Our purchases already having confirmed the acclaim,
The acclaim of the marketplace
Bestowed on all such highly strung best sellers,
So infrequently read to conclusion,
So soon forgotten.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Erosion


Our amorous embrace of technology,
So insatiable and promiscuous,
So quick to abandon the newly outdated,
Quicker than a snake sheds its skin.
Like an addict injected with a new drug
We are hooked on the rush.

Why, then, this obstinance of belief,
This reverence for ancient prescriptions,
This persistent resistance
To the evolution of the soul?

We shield our carefully crafted personas from scrutiny,
From introspection.
We create entire lives from timeworn templates,
Assembling friends and families
Who believe in these concoctions of fact and fiction,
These cultural clichés we inhabit,
These large immovable stones we become,
Stuck in the river,
Eroding.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Definitions


We believe in definitions
Of definitions
Ad nauseum,
Alas.

We must have words,
But we layer our meanings
Like a hero sandwich,
Too big to get into the brain.

We forget the essential fact,
While labeling the labels
With the contrived clichés
Of the moment.

We have all become
So incredibly clever
We no longer know
How to tie our shoes.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Tiny


Just when they thought they had it nailed,
The smallest, irreducible thing,
The building block of all that matters,
They discovered it has parts.

Then they discovered the parts have parts,
Have parts,
And so on,
And so forth.

So I guess we’ve still got infinity,
Inside and out,
Micro and macro,
Beyond and within.

We are bound in a nutshell
Of infinite space.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Choice


There once was a man who built his own house,
Grew his own food,
Bred his own animals,
Then one day he happened upon a Sears catalog
And he was confronted by choice.

Thus, it all began.

Today I stand paralyzed in this everything store,
Staring at a wall of toothbrushes,
Barely knowing how to choose,
Frightened by the length of my shopping list.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Exercise Day


There he goes,
This pasty glob of goo,
Jogging a little,
Now walking,
His shorts too tight,
His T-shirt too small,
His head bowed and dripping with sweat.

It’s early Saturday morning,
Exercise day,
And he trudges down the street
In this quiet, upper-middle-class burb
Listening to music
Through tiny earphones,
The same exact music
He listened to thirty years ago.

It’s exercise day
And by God he’s going to make it
All the way around the misshapen loop
That belts his neighborhood.
He restarts a slow jog,
His floppy white hat is damp
From his sweaty, hair-challenged head.

It’s exercise day
And he is determined to run
The rest of the way home
Where he will reward his valor
With a piece of cake
In a bowl of milk.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Life Went On


It was Sunday,
And many millions
Living in the most powerful nation on Earth
Spent most of the day
Watching the big football game on television,
Cheering,
Moaning,
Screaming
At the electronic moving pictures of football players
Running back and forth and sideways,
Trying desperately,
Valiantly to get hold of the football
And take it to one end,
Or another,
Of the green plastic space
Some still call a field.

The next day,
Life went on,
Much as it had before.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Without


Without thinking,
I write these words.

A lie.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A Cricket In Paris


It is a sultry summer night
And the chirp of a cricket in my garage
Reminds me of Paris,
Where I’ve never been,
And despite my sedentary life,
How lucky I am
I was not born a cricket,
Although I suppose being a cricket in Paris
Is quite a different thing altogether.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

If I Knew


If I knew
This free-flowing bubble of time
In which I live
Was eternal,
A time machine that only advances
While all around me gently falls away . . .

If I knew
I was this ethereal being
Who would survive the ages,
Bear witness
To the unfolding destiny of the universe . . .

If I knew all this and more,
I would still want pancakes for breakfast.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Someday


Someday, they’ll look back at us and laugh:

Those glasses!
The hairstyles!
That clothing!

But most of all,
They will be amazed at what we believed.


~ 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