POEM: in response to Morrissey

in response to Morrissey

I was looking for a job, and then I found a job
And heaven knows I’m miserable now
— The Smiths, “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now”

we do it anyway
          clocking in
          punching out
          eating a sandwich
                    at the desk
we do it because the money
lets us live in comfort
          the knickknacks & trinkets
          the gewgaws & tchotchkes
at the center of this world is a hollow place
holding the hopes we used to have
          before we were civilized
          before we learned under the feet of those
          who were stamped and labeled before us
we were created not in the image of a god
but in the likeness of this world
          with our own hollow places
          stuffed full of coulds and mights
          surrounded by the hard shell of ought
and yet:
          there is a field nearby
          & a rock with one sharp edge
          against which to smash a shell

/ / /

Jason Crane
8 February 2017
State College, PA

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POEM: secret handshake (for Owen)

secret handshake
for Owen

“buy me a milk tea”
you say
after we speak
the same words
at the same time
it’s our shorthand
a shared acknowledgement
that we know one another
like no one else knows us
we even have
a secret handshake:
it ends with index fingers
pointed as if to say
“I choose you from
all the others”
at night we dip our gyoza
into the sauce you made
lift the steaming rice
from the bowls into
our mouths
kiss with the taste
of soy sauce
on our tongues
& thank the stars
or the gods
or just dumb luck
that this is the life
we’re living

/ / /

Jason Crane
5 February 2017
State College PA

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Which side are you on?

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A conversation about anarchism

A conversation between activists about the basic concepts of anarchism. From the 23 January 2017 edition of The Morning Mixtape on 98.7 The FREQ.

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Violence

Your iPhone exists because people work in degraded conditions to make it. Same for all the clothes I’m wearing. Same for a lot of the food I eat. I have gas for the car I drive because of violence perpetrated by armies and rulers (including those of my own country) to secure the necessary oil, no matter where it’s found or under whose land. The cheap products we’re all able to buy in the big box stores that litter our landscape are the result of dangerous working conditions and poor pay and lack of health care and long hours that directly harm workers and their families. Generally speaking, most of us choose to ignore most of this violence, despite our direct or indirect involvement in it and the ease with which it is possible to discover the facts. Moreover, the idea that violence is never the correct path belies a history filled with instances when it was the only sane path. It’s true that smarter decisions in history might have prevented the rise of Hitler or the rise of nations or whatever, but once World War II was happening and the Holocaust was being perpetrated, there was no moral choice but to use force to stop those crimes from happening. Similarly, would we suggest to a domestic abuse victim that she not, if the opportunity presents itself, use force to save herself or her children from an abuser? Of course not. The idea that everyone can be engaged with is, in my recent experience, primarily put forth by people upon whom violence is not visited. The same people who are, like me, complicit in the system I outlined at the beginning. We need to be more careful about our language, and about an uninformed commitment to “nonviolence” at the cost of liberation. Finally, as I mentioned over the weekend, “nonviolence,” in the way MLK or Gandhi used it, generally meant provoking an overwhelming show of violence by the other side in the hope that the sickened populace would force the state to act. To call this the absence of violence is dangerous. There is a real world out there, and we can’t change it without first being honest about what’s happening.

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VIDEO: Heroes & Solidarity

A few thoughts on heroes, movement building, and how much we need one another.

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