# 28:

To be in heaven
and not know you are in heaven
is one of life’s great tragedies.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




Sainthood


















The road to sainthood
is paved with sin.




~ by Russ Allison Loar
~ Photo by ?
© All Rights Reserved

# 179:

Criticism may be necessary,
but it’s more profound to construct
than criticize.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved





Alternate Endings





On center stage is a large, green chalkboard mounted on a wooden swivel frame. Standing stage right is geeky Lab Coat Man wearing a white lab coat with many pens in his pocket protector. He’s wearing oversized black oval glasses and holding a long wooden pointer. On stage left, next to the chalkboard, is a six-foot Toucan wearing a large striped tie. He has a giant yellow beak he uses rhythmically when he dances. A door is visible in the background.

The Italian song, "Zooma, Zooma"

{Music opens in new tab. Click original tab to return to text while music plays.}

starts up with a vamp, waiting for Lab Coat Man to begin his song. He begins to sing, pointing to the lyrics on the blackboard as he sings them in an Italian accent while Toucan dances gaily in place.

LAB COAT MAN: ♫ Take a toucan to a tie shop, buy a tie for toucan too. (Music vamps – Toucan dances) Take a toucan to a tie shop and he wear a tie like you. ♫

More vamping and Toucan dancing while the sound of loud knocking becomes apparent, as if from an adjacent wall or ceiling. It’s Angry Neighbor shouting muffled complaints that cannot be heard clearly.

LAB COAT MAN: ♫ Take a toucan to a pie shop, buy some pie for toucan too. (Music vamps, Toucan dances) Take a toucan to a pie shop and he eat some pie like you. ♫

More vamping and Toucan dancing while the sound of knocking grows louder and Angry Neighbor’s voice becomes more furious.

Lab Coat Man flips the blackboard over where the words of the chorus are written in large letters for the audience to sing along.

LAB COAT MAN: Everybody sing! ♫ Ay, yi, yi, toucan like a pizza pie. Ay, yi, yi, toucan like a pizza pie. Ay, yi, yi, toucan like a pizza pie. Ay, yi, yi — ♫

Suddenly, Angry Neighbor bursts through the door and points a gun at Toucan while the music abruptly slows down and stops with the sound of a needle scratching across the surface of a record.

ANGRY NEIGHBOR: I told you! No pets!

Angry Neighbor shoots Toucan with a gun that ejects a red flag upon which the word “Bang!” is written. Toucan grabs his chest, swoons and attempts to hold on to the blackboard, then collapses on the floor.

Lab Coat Man pulls out a gun from his pants pocket and shoots Angry Neighbor. His gun also ejects a red flag with the word “Bang!” written on it. Angry Neighbor grabs his chest as Toucan did and collapses behind Toucan.

The song, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” begins to play while Lab Coat Man bends over the dying Toucan.

LAB COAT MAN: (After mournful consideration of Toucan, holding his wing, looking into his eyes) You’re the last toucan Angry Neighbor will ever shoot—on this planet anyway!

TOUCAN: (Looking lovingly at Lab Coat man with raised head, then as he lowers his head, with his dying breath) Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!

LAB COAT MAN: (Standing up and turning toward the audience) Now, the alternate ending!

Lab Coat Man and Toucan resume their places while Angry Neighbor leaves the stage. The scene repeats. "Zooma, Zooma" begins to play.

LAB COAT MAN: ♫ Take a toucan to a tie shop, buy a tie for toucan too. (Music vamps, Toucan dances) Take a toucan to a tie shop and he wear a tie like you. ♫

More vamping and Toucan dancing while the sound of loud knocking becomes apparent, as if from an adjacent wall or ceiling. It’s Angry Neighbor shouting muffled complaints that cannot be heard clearly.

LAB COAT MAN: ♫ Take a toucan to a pie shop, buy some pie for toucan too. (Music vamps, Toucan dances) Take a toucan to a pie shop and he eat some pie like you. ♫

More vamping and Toucan dancing while the sound of knocking grows louder and Angry Neighbor’s voice becomes more furious.

Lab Coat Man flips the blackboard over where the words of the chorus are written in large letters for the audience to sing along.

LAB COAT MAN: Everybody sing! ♫ Ay, yi, yi, toucan like a pizza pie. Ay, yi, yi, toucan like a pizza pie. Ay, yi, yi, toucan like a pizza pie. Ay, yi, yi — ♫

Suddenly, Angry Neighbor bursts through the door and the music abruptly slows down and stops with the sound of a needle scratching across the surface of a record.

ANGRY NEIGHBOR: You’re having a party and I wasn’t invited?

LAB COAT MAN: Why of course you’re invited. The party hasn’t started yet. We were just rehearsing!

There’s a loud knocking at the door. Lab Coat Man opens the door and Pizza Delivery Boy enters.

PIZZA DELIVERY BOY: One extra-large banana pizza to go!

Lab Coat Man, Toucan and Angry Neighbor all look at one another for a moment, then burst out laughing while the “Zooma, Zooma” vamp begins again. They all sing the chorus together.

LAB COAT MAN: Come on everybody! Sing along!

All begin to sing, while singing offstage actors costumed as slices of pizza wearing ties dance onto the stage, tossing slices of pizza to the audience.

EVERYONE SINGS AND CLAPS: ♫ Ay, yi, yi, I like a pizza pie. Ay, yi, yi, Toucan like a pizza pie. Ay, yi, yi, I like a pizza pie. Ay, yi, yi, Toucan like a pizza pie. Ay, yi, yi, I like a pizza pie. Ay, yi, yi, Toucan like a pizza pie. Ay, yi, yi, I like a pizza pie. Ay, yi, yi, Toucan like a pizza pie. ♫

Singing continues until audience enthusiasm begins to wane as actors leave the stage. Then the music is abruptly slowed and stopped as before with the sound of a needle scratching across the surface of a record. Angry Neighbor pulls out a machine gun.

ANGRY NEIGHBOR: Wait a minute! I told you no pets!

Angry Neighbor shoots Lab Coat Man and Toucan in a barrage of fire. Their bodies shake as they are riddled with bullets, then crumple to the ground. Angry Neighbor surveys the carnage, then blows smoke from the barrel of his machine gun, grabs a piece of pizza and exits through the door.




Curtain



~ by Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 111:

I am skeptical of any advice
that contains the words: “You must . . .”



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved





I Slapped My Father, Hard



















I  slapped my father hard, a clean open-fisted slap that sent his bifocals skidding across the kitchen floor.


It was the culmination of my accumulated rage against that man. It was a reaffirmation of the difference between us, of the vow I’d made to never, ever become anything at all like him. It was complete rejection, without hesitation.

It was a vow often repeated but first intoned when I was eight years old, the morning after The Dream. It was a dream that would both instruct and haunt me for the rest of my life. In The Dream, I saw my parents as I’d often seen them late in the evening, from behind a canvas shade pulled down to cover the glass-paneled door that separated my tiny bedroom from the family room where they spent their evenings watching television. My makeshift bedroom was originally a den. Although their house was built by an architect, it was not designed for two children. I was the second child.

By curling the edge of the shade back a bit with my thumb and forefinger, I could watch television shows that were on past my bedtime, and I could watch my parents. I discovered my mother smoked. She had never, ever smoked in front of me or my older sister, and especially not in front of her parents who lived next door, who would have been horrified. I also saw my parents drink. Sometimes they filled the house with strangers who talked loud and drank and talked louder and drank more and filled the house with smoke and loud frightening laughter surrounding and invading my tiny dark room.

My parents acted gracious and kind when observed by others, but alone at home they were troubled and angry. I was often jolted out of sleep in the middle of the night by the sobbing and screaming of my mother, by the angry accusations shouted by my father. I knew this meant I would be severely disciplined the next day for the smallest transgression. I would be hit. It might be a slap across the face, a spanking or repeated blows during the frenzy of unharnessed rage.

I spent most of my younger years assuming guilt, wondering why I was such a bad child, deserving of so much punishment. But as I grew older, I developed a growing awareness that I was not really the cause of their anger, just the excuse.


THE DREAM:

I was standing next to the glass-paneled door in the dark of my room and pulled back the shade just enough to see my parents turning off the television. They began pulling at their hair. Finally, with great effort, pulling off the masks of their human faces, revealing their true faces, the faces of wolves. After removing their clothing they were fully transformed into wild and frightening fur-covered beasts. They snarled and snickered, malevolently amused at their deception, walking on four legs toward their bedroom and out of my sight.

The next morning I vowed I would never give in to these wild beasts, these devourers. I would fight them. I would defend myself. I knew their secret.




~ by Russ Allison Loar
~ Artwork by Kevin Hensels
© All Rights Reserved

# 164:

There is no greater gift
than the gift of a new day,
along with the health, sanity
and freedom to make use of it.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




Lights




















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





~ by Russ Allison Loar
~ Photograph by Julie A. King
© All Rights Reserved

# 67:

If you want help from the angels,
you must listen very carefully,
for they speak softer than sound.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




Poetry Class


“Nothing beats an 18-year-old pair of hips.”

It’s from a poem. Her poem. That blond-haired girl in my college creative writing class, reading her poem out loud, a poem about her love of sex, of having sex, preferably with lean 18-year-old boys at the zenith of their sexual energies.


Within a few days of her recitation I noticed she began coming to class with the professor, a man not quite twice her age who evidently was quite willing to submit his hips to her critical assessment. 

Yes, they had definitely paired off, but unfortunately, the academic quarter came to an end before she had a chance to construct a poem about this new sexual experience.

But why should I let that fact limit my own imagination?

You Are Not My Daddy



Yes, you are not my daddy.
Yes, you are not my boyfriend.
Yes,
Yes,
Yes.

Oh my God,
Yes!

~ © Blond-haired College Girl

There’s nothing like a college education to expand one’s imagination.


© All Rights Reserved

# 23:

Too much work strips everyday life
of love and serendipitous happenstance,
oh yeah!



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




Poetry























I Remove The Stone

In these later years I sometimes despair
When thought returns to unburdened times,
When moist-eyed remembrance,
Sorted from care,
Makes longing for such pleasant fiction
A stone in the heart.

Shamed by my childish discontent,
My sophisticated selfishness,
I hear my breathing,
I see this world,
I remove the stone.

~~~

I n poetry, the writing is the thing that comes last.




~ by Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




# 269:

You can't put a website on a bookshelf.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




My Revelation




















For me, this existence, "This," is eternity.

The kingdom of heaven, and hell, and everything else in-between is at hand. Right here. Right now.

Whatever is past and whatever may come, This moment is all about how far along I am as an eternal soul, an eternal being, an eternal something or another, names and labels being limited as they are.

This is my revelation.

So many of us believe heaven is somewhere else, a reward for a life well-spent, our ethereal home where there will be no more strife and struggle.

But what if we died and awoke in heaven and it was a place just like Earth, where we inhabited physical bodies and had to put our spirituality to the test in a physical world of human interaction and social evolution? We might very well doubt we had entered the kingdom of God.

For me, entering the kingdom of God is about awakening, seeing what has always been here. And for me, hell is also here. Wherever there is the possibility of heaven, there is the possibility of hell. It has something to do with free will.

This is my revelation.

I do not know where I will be after my body dies. Perhaps “I” and “where” will no longer apply. Nevertheless, today, I am in heaven. I cannot imagine a more heavenly miracle than the persistence of life, hope and love on this planet, here among the uninhabitable planets of our solar system. I cannot imagine a more heavenly miracle than the birth of a child.

Here in heaven, you put a small seed into the ground and it comes back flowers.




~ By Russ Allison Loar
~ Photograph by Maxine (aka: maxxximpact)
© All Rights Reserved

# 35:

Home is a place in the heart.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 96:

God is another name for the will to live.


~ 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.





~ by Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




# 78:

Most artists are starving,
if not for money,
if not for love,
if not for transcendence,
then at least for attention.

It’s hunger that propels them.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




Imagine Your Life





If you are not living the life you imagined,
imagine the life you are living.





~ Text & artwork by Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 138:

Now that we have infinite choices of information to ingest in this technological age, there are few, if any, predictable paths to self-identity, to self-realization. Now, each of us can carve out a distinctly original, distinctly personal path to being and becoming. Now that we have these tools, we should be increasingly skeptical of those who would prescribe the course of our lives.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




I Knew A Young Man


















I knew a young man
Who drank warm water
Right from the faucet,
From his cupped hand.

Everything he did,
An act of defiance,
An act of strength,
His way through the world.

They sent him to the war
And he didn’t last a week.





~ Poem and photograph by Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 75:

You may call it fiction,
but if you drop a large novel
on your foot,
your toe will hurt.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




One Cup Of Coffee















S o many of us are struggling,
Tormented by work and money,
Dysfunctional families,
Disease and decadence,
Political injustice,
Weather,
Inertia.

Yet each morning,
After only one cup of coffee,
I am glad to be alive
One more day.




~ Russ Allison Loar
~ Artwork by Christian René aka runnerfrog
© All Rights Reserved

# 36:

Hate is a disease of the heart.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




Baboon-ed!




















M ethinks
These be baboon-ed days.
For want of suck this curv-ed fruit I entreat.




~ by Russ Allison Loar
~ Photo from Mongabay.com
© All Rights Reserved

# 5:

I will make a better memory than a man.


~ 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.



~ text and photo by 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 flat grassy space.

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



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved


# 217:

I’ve always wondered what it’s really like
to be me.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

At The Circus









W hat was I thinking?

Too eager to accept a dare? Afraid to back down?

How absurd it all seems now, about to step out on this wire so incredibly high above the crowd.








~ by Russ Allison Loar
~ Artwork by Jolantasketch
© All Rights Reserved

# 200:

Time is fleeting
and there is so much to study and learn.
I am sorely tempted to let the laundry go.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




How Far?





















How far is infinity from here?





~ Text & artwork by Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 242:

We are living in a test tube of reality.
It’s an experiment.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




The Other Virus



Trump has a virus.

I do not refer to the coronavirus. This other virus is far more deadly. 

The notion that the erratic course of the Trump presidency is the result of a localized infection centered mostly in the White House, aided and abetted by compliant media outlets and servile politicians, was further dispelled by the anarchistic minions who stormed the U.S. Capitol bearing Trump flags and assorted MAGA accessories.

Talk about a pandemic!

The virus that infected and elected Trump has spread to every nook and cranny of the Republic.  It is a pandemic of willful ignorance, spread by those who believe their certainty inoculates them against rational examination.

Yet even the impermeable Trumplings of America are but a subset of a global pandemic of authoritarianism whose existence depends on the strangling of truth and the obedience of ignorance.

In how many countries has democracy been overtaken by authoritarianism? Too many. Who can stop and reverse this advance of totalitarianism? The United States of America comes to mind. Despite the best efforts of Trump, his minions and his compliant political apologists, our recent elections do indeed seem like a turning point, a turn away from the abyss of another Trump administration and a restoration of sanity.

But let us never forget the names of those who defended the evil untruths of the Trump administration that have torn our citizenry apart.

Sanity, leadership, character and conscience: These virtues are not Republican or Democrat virtues. They are human virtues that must guide the course of our nation. May we defend them against the evil, soulless intentions of those who would subvert our Democracy.

May we call out the defenders of ignorance. May we demand educated, knowledgeable leaders in all walks of life to speak out against tyrannies both small and large. And may the freedom-loving people of the world once again look to the United States of America as an example, not of chaos, but of enlightened governance.

The great work lies ahead. The great work calls us. We must answer.


    What happens in America happens to the rest of the world.
     ~ Maria Ressa, Filipino journalist, author and dissident


# 238:

You ask why a merciful God
would allow such cruelty in this world.

Don't blame God for what people do.
Hell is mostly man (and woman) made.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Under The Bed


















I  remember seeing a white, colonial building fronted with columns on the day I was left at the orphanage.

At least this memory was always in my mind, but knowing how insatiably curious I’ve always been about my biological parents, my biological circumstances, I knew that I may simply have been filling in the blanks of the great mystery that was my first two years of life. After all, I have absolutely no memory of the mother I’d lived with more than a year.

One day in my early twenties I returned to the Children’s Home Society, the first time since being left for adoption. I’d phoned a social worker who agreed to meet with me, to tell me some basic “non-identifying” information about my parents. As I approached the address, the building came into view. It looked exactly as I’d remembered: A white building, colonial style, columns and all.

I don’t remember the foster family I lived with for the next six months and I don’t remember being taken to the home of my new parents. Many years later, my grandmother, who lived next door, told me that for the first few months of my adoption, every time the doorbell rang I’d run and hide under my bed. It took me a long time to shake that fear, and even now I still get the urge once in a while to hide under the bed.