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Author: Jason Crane

POEM: The still small voice

The still small voice
(for Fr. Edgar Holden)

A lotus tattoo & a statue of the Buddha;
I turn halfway to look down the road behind me.
Flinching from the name of God like a slapped child,
I yearn for the gentle mysticism of Merton,
for a life among flagstones & evensong.
There are burrs on my clothing & scratches on my skin
from running through fields to evade my pursuers.
At night I hear the still small voice:
“How’re you going to make your way in the world
when you weren’t cut out for working?”
Twenty years ago I took a monk to a quiet spot
in the Sonoran Desert, left him there with his brothers
to bathe in the sunset & silence. I drove back to town
wondering whether I should have stayed there with them.

/ / /

Jason Crane
2 April 2020
Tucson, AZ

Note: The two lines in quotation marks are from Warren Zevon’s song “The French Inhaler.”

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POEM: The Lord’s Prayer (Revised)

The Lord’s Prayer (Revised)

Our Father, who art in heaven,
are you there or not?
Thy kingdom has seen better days,
& if this is thy will then you’ve got
some ‘splaining to do, Lucy.
Give us a break, wouldja?
A bunch of old gray suits are trying
to steal our daily bread.
Maybe we can’t live by bread alone,
but without it we’re toast, if you’ll
forgive the pun. Also forgive us
our trespasses & our shoplifting
& our “missed” rent payments.
Lead us not into temptation, for we are
sorely tempted to string up these motherf—
excuse me, Lord, bad guys.
For thine is the kingdom & the power &
the glory & whatnot, but we might need
to take matters into our own hands for a while.
Amen.

/ / /

Jason Crane
27 March 2020
Tucson, AZ

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POEM: might as well jump

might as well jump

red to dead, red to donor
black to donor, black to metal
a rare cold rain beating down
turn the key; nothing
he cleans pools, he says, drenched
turn it again; nothing
the Catholic in me apologizes
maybe if I put this here instead?
turn the key; life!
the rain, if anything, strengthens

/ / /

Jason Crane
18 March 2020
Tucson, AZ

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POEM: The Covid-19 Blues

The Covid-19 Blues

less than a buck in my bank account
not much food in the fridge
not many brains in the White House
the orange man, he don’t care a smidge

too many people still partying
too few people at home
too many rich men in Washington
passing too few bills in the dome

it’s time we looked out for each other
it’s time that we did for ourselves
it’s time that we stopped hoarding TP
and food from the grocery shelves

it’s time that we aid one another
do it the mutual way
keep going that way forever
on a move to a sunnier day

the thing that I’ve seen in this crisis
the thing that is giving me hope
is that all of our rules are just fictions
we don’t really need them to cope

we don’t have to keep paying landlords
we don’t have to scrape and to bow
we can come together as comrades
we can make a better world now

/ / /

Jason Crane
17 March 2020
Tucson, AZ

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POEM: For McCoy Tyner

[McCoy Tyner at the 2013 Detroit Jazz Festival. Photo: Jason Crane.]

For McCoy Tyner

McCoy Tyner died today.
He was 81.
Honestly that surprised me;
I’d thought he was older.
Aren’t all masters ancient?
Or maybe timeless. Ageless.
Achieve a certain level of fluency
& you pass beyond the reach of the clock’s hands,
slip through Death’s grasping arms.
Now all four are gone: John, then Jimmy,
Elvin next, now McCoy.
A baby born tomorrow will never have
breathed the air at the same time
as any member of Coltrane’s classic quartet.
I wasn’t born when Trane died.
I was two when Jimmy left us.
Once I shook Elvin’s hand.
Another time I heard McCoy play.
McCoy Tyner died today.
He was 81.

/ / /

Jason Crane
7 March 2020
Tucson, AZ

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