Freedom From Want

Freedom from want means
Freedom from thinking about what you want
After all,
You’ve already got what you wanted,
So now,
You can spend your time being so incredibly bored,
Trying to think of something else you want.

You will go shopping.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Something To Remember

These small children would rather run than walk,
Rather jump than step,
They would rather wave their arms and scream
Than politely speak in turn.

So newly arrived,
Reborn without pain,
Recharged with euphoria,
They are mostly unencumbered by gravity.

Something to remember
As the distractions of responsibility
Something to remember
As the weight of years

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Something To Do


Reshuffled yet oh so persistent memory,
Steeped in recrimination,
Sanitized with nostalgia,
Somehow suggesting the past is not finished
But full of things left to be done,
If only in that place where memory resides,
As if I cannot ascend to the now of this moment
Until I have fit all the pieces of the past together,
As if this life were a puzzle,
Jigsawed by God,
Just to give us something to do.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved


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

Some Small Happy Thought

We must find joy
In this world of sorrows
Where the wounds grow deeper,
More permanent,
Every day.

We must find some small happy thought,
Each day,
Some small happy thought,
And smile.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The Clearing

Do I live too long?
I sometimes wonder
During these long, childless days,
Now that my work is done.

Bored with idle pleasures
I fill my hours with trivial chores,
Unnecessary obligations,
Trying to shift my attention
From this slow but steady disintegration.

O poor old self,
How I mourn for your loss,
How I long for your renewal,
Yet, it is a kind of relief to see you go,
All the rantings,
The mad pursuits,
Worn out at last.

The clearing.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A Small Depression

The coffee ripples into a small wave in the plastic cup
As I make a left turn onto a sun-melted asphalt road
And my right front tire dips into a small depression,
Causing the wave of coffee to crest and break,
Splashing through the tunnel-shaped opening in the plastic lid,
Falling through space from the arch of my cup-embracing fingers,
Splashing my left pant leg, five inches above the knee.

Three spots of coffee
And I curse,
Feeling the futility of yet another Monday morning
As I drive past an old lady shuffling down the sidewalk,
Moving the aluminum-tubed superstructure of her walker
One step ahead, followed by two or three half-footsteps.

Very soon,
I will need another cup of coffee.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved


When the moment comes,
When you are alone with time,
Time enough to step outside of time,
When you see things and people from a distance,
From outside the whirlpool,
Earth from the moon,
The universe,
All within the space of thought,
When you walk down a darkened, tree-lined street
And each home is illuminated by electronic screens
Echoing entertainment for world-weary workers,
Defining entertainment,
Then contemplation comes,
Ideas dissolving into feelings without words,
Feelings hard to share
With your busy, distracted friends,
Feelings hard to reveal
To your disinterested, self-absorbed family.

This is a good place you’ve found,
A clear place,

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved


They say a leopard
Can't change its spots,
But a snake can shed its skin,
And so if you begin
To bring your old life to an end
You may have to shed a friend,
Or two.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved


Take everything you know,
Write it down on a blank sheet of paper,
Then fold the paper and put it in an envelope.

Say out loud:
Here is all I know, all I have learned,
As you light the envelope on fire,
Watching it burn to ashes.

Now walk freely into the world and see everything,
No longer masked by certainty.

~ 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.

Meaning will return.

~ 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

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

The Saints

The saints so often say
We must give up wanting,
Surrender desire,
Disregard comfort,
Give everything to the poor
And live a life of service
To others.

They are like so many in this world
Who choose a path,
Who fulfill a destiny,
Then declare it is the only path,
The only destiny.

Even saints suffer from certainty.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved


Sad enough
When you try to fly
And fall.

Sadder still
When you do not try
At all.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Rush Hour

O this endless sea,
This endless migration
Of caffeine-injected commuters
Across vast concrete,
Squinting against the glare
Of this newly risen sun
In this unremarkable miracle
Of another new day.

I am captive here.

We are flung through finite space
As fast as fate allows
A sea of red
And this procession gravely slows.

All are slowed:
The pursuit of success,
The descent into failure,
The approach of destiny.

All are slowed,
Then slowly stopped,
And then we crawl,
Harnessed to the yoke
Of some terrible master.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved


How alive this young girl
As she tenses lithe legs
Against her strong black stallion,
Shining with the sweat of speed.

Through the windy twigs of distant trees
I watch her pull against the reins
Long hair streaming into the wind.

Now riding faster,
This chestnut-haired girl leans in close.

Pulsing together in full gallop,
They are ecstasy.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved


You do not have to want
What the world wants,
Or be what the world wants you to be.

You can be happy without a fortune,
Content without fame.


You do not have to seek
What the world seeks,
Or give up what the world gives up.

You can be the first of a kind
And the last,
And never mind.


~ 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

The Upper Crust

His finely manicured fingernails,
So clean.
He never earned money with those hands,
This denizen of the upper crust,
So certain that poverty is the fault of the impoverished,
A moral judgment upon those unworthy of wealth,
While he takes credit for the accident of his birth.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved


If you ever get
Everything you want
You will be a slave
To prosperity.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

A Ponderous Chain

She walks with some difficulty,
A slight limp,
A bit of a hobble,
Sagging and stooping,
Suffering the burden of her enormity,
Yet still able to push the shopping cart
Packed full of unnecessary food.

Link by link
She has forged a ponderous chain.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

People Are

People are
The most dangerous things I know.
Just wind them up
And watch them go.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved


Early afternoon Paul
Walked out into the middle
Of a busy street.

Standing straight and tall Paul
Removed all of his clothing,
Flinging it about.

Sitting squarely down Paul
Announced to all who’d listen:
“I have seen the light!”

Free and clear Paul
Was reborn on that day,
In the middle of the street
In downtown L.A.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

The New Version

Not long after you’d pretty much figured it out,
Pretty much,
Sort of,
You were prompted to download the new version,
No doubt enhanced for improved functionality and security,
No doubt,
Better than what you already had,
Now referred to as the old version,
Practically obsolete,
So you comply,
And each time you do,
Each new version takes another little slice of user autonomy,
Another little nugget of user control,

Enriched personal data collection,
Upgraded monetization cloud,
The steady trespass of technology
Past all those surrendered boundaries,
Now removed,
In return for improved functionality
And security.

The new version.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Out In The World

Out in the world,
At last.
How does it fit?
How does it taste?
You fully-fledged member of the race.

What will you do?
And why?
Will it matter?
Will you die?
Will you live?
What will you give?
What have you lost?
How much will all of this cost?
And how will you pay
Without giving too much away?

Out in the world,
At last.
So many questions.
Must you answer them all?
Perhaps one at a time?
Before you walk
Must you crawl?

Oh never mind,
Just plunge ahead.
Take a chance.
Do the dance.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Only Money

Money matters
So little,
You have discovered
At last,
Now that you are older
And have enough to get by,
Forgetting how many die
From want of a few things
Only money can buy.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

This Politician

The solemn occasion,
The honored dead,
The grief of a nation assembled in memoriam.

The earnest words,
The inspired speech delivered by this politician,
A showcase of compassion
Cleverly constructed by his speechwriters
To magnify his public image.

O the tortured expressions of sorrow.
Yes, he feels our pain,
Yes, he casts his humanity out upon our weary nation,
A nation so desperately in need of a leader.

This politician presents himself,
Offers himself,
This humble servant of the people,
This shepherd,
Eager to employ the suffering of a nation
To his own ends.

Those skeptics among us,
Aware of his grandiose disingenuousness,
Can not,
Will not forget how many lies he has spoken,
Winning so many earnest hearts and minds
With such sanctimonious deceit.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

On Moonlit Freeway

On moonlit freeway
I see the weariness in your eyes,
A few stray strands of hair
Around your face
Illuminated against the black
Inside your car.

It is late.

We who work overtime are driving home
In silent, anonymous autonomy.
Though I’ve seen you a thousand times before
In full fluorescent sun,
Numbed by office decor and decorum,
Tonight in my rearview mirror
I see the phosphorescence of your truer self,
Your innocence.

It is the innocence of the oppressed
Who, after overtime is through,
Have nothing disingenuous left.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Something Sleeps

Ordinary life,
A blessing really,
For those of us who have it.


Something sleeps in ordinariness.

~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved