POEM: Real

Real

I watch John Tchicai dance lightly
through the minefield of “supposed to.”
He’s far ahead but I can see him,
and though the way is full of danger,
I take one step—

/ / /

Jason Crane
12 December 2019
State College PA

POEM: Careful With That Gene, You Ax

Careful With That Gene, You Ax

This is what happens when you listen to
early Pink Floyd in the office with the volume
cranked way up. It’s almost closing time
& nearly everyone is gone. The guitar sounds
like a scream, or maybe the scream sounds
like a guitar. I let the music scream for me
because if my coworkers walked in & found me
on the desk shrieking they’d probably call someone official.
I’ve got 14,532 steps on my Fitbit today & not one of them
landed me anywhere good.
Beige. Everything is beige.
I love stories about the sea because at sea
you can look out to the horizon and it’s infinite.
You can’t do that with beige.
I’m making money for the Big Boss.
All things being equal, I’d rather put him on a rocket
& set the controls for the heart of the sun.

/ / /

Jason Crane
9 December 2019
State College PA

POEM: not all first-person poems are factual, he told the FBI agent

not all first-person poems are factual, he told the FBI agent

I am equivocal about violence
as I sip my English Breakfast.
I’m trying it without sugar
so it’s not as if I don’t take risks.
I’m grappling with years of lukewarm pacifism
pitted against the idea of protection.
I don’t have to make hard choices;
no cops are going to kick in my door;
no ICE agents will be waiting for me
when the school bell rings.
The other day I slashed the tires
of a deserving citizen with a dashboard swastika
using a knife I mostly wield on summer sausage
or tricky packages of batteries.
Luckily the rush of righteous endorphins
drowned out the Catholic-Buddhist twinge.
“Do unto others before they do it to you.”

/ / /

Jason Crane
3 December 2019
State College PA

POEM: I Got Me Babe

I Got Me Babe

Curled up before the fake fire,
wrapped up in a book about
the Great War
(wars not make one great),
I am myself.

I’ve spent minutes & hours & days
& years peering intently into
the 6 or so inches inside my skull.
It’s all in there, or so I’ve read.
Some days I think I can see me.

I see my face in my mind’s eye
& it looks just like me.
I run my fingertips over
the denim of my jeans
& feel like I’m supposed to feel.

Other days I sit at a metal desk
with fake wood on top,
entering data & answering phones
& helping things get from here to there.
Well, I say “I” but it isn’t me.

Whale Dave says you can be yourself
at the 7-Eleven. Or at the Pentagon.
Or in a shed on the Cape. Hmmm. Maybe.
I haven’t tried any of those spots yet,
but I’ve tried 40 or so different towns,

an equal number of jobs, and it’s only
occasionally, just every once in a while,
that I’m myself. Like on a Sunday afternoon
or a Wednesday morning.
Times like that.

My radio plays “I Got You Babe”
one morning, like the guy in the movie.
I reach over to shut it off but I can’t find it.
I open my eyes to see my bed
floating through space.

/ / /

Jason Crane
25 November 2019
State College PA

POEM: chorus

chorus

does a dog have Buddha nature?
is a cat a servant of God?
what is the light that shines
    through the universe?
where does the wind go
    as it blows from the sun?
deep in the farthest darkness
    a single light blinks
calling out I AM HERE
go far enough back & we were
    all one family
there beside a river in Botswana
go farther still & everything
    you’ve ever seen or heard or
    felt on the tip of your tongue
was a single point
    in an ocean of mystery
waiting to burst forth

hear the choir sing

/ / /

Jason Crane
9 November 2019
State College PA