POEM: I’d like to teach the world

I’d like to teach the world

I’m under a tree like the Buddha
but only for 45 minutes
it’s my lunch break
also unlike Siddartha I’m in uniform
corporate logo over my heart
another on my sleeve
there’s a parking lot & a playground
carved into what used to be a field
heaven forbid kids should play in a field
I’m drinking a Coke so I should probably
shut the fuck up
if I live as long as my grandpa
I’ll make it till 2069
by which time the collapse will have started
maybe I ought to spend less time writing poems
& more time learning to grow food
we should teach the world to sing, sure
but a little farming wouldn’t hurt

///

Jason Crane
Bernel Road Park
Centre County, PA
3 September 2019

POEM: love at the Weis

love at the Weis

we had $16.14 in a Ziploc bag
when we braved the summer heat
to buy grocery store fried chicken

the display case was empty
but a nice young man in a baseball cap
offered to fix us up a batch of dark meat
if we could wait 20 minutes

so we walked down every aisle
holding hands, reading the names
on the bottles & boxes & jars & cans
telling stories about the jams
our grandmothers used or the price of nuts

I know I’m lucky every day
but sometimes when I’m standing
in the pet food aisle watching you laugh

I realize there’s no amount of money
we could ever have in our plastic bag
that would be worth more than
spending 20 minutes at the grocery store with you

///

Jason Crane

18 July 2019

State College PA

Book Review: I Can’t Believe It’s Not Buddha! by Bodhipaksa

I Can't Believe It's Not Buddha!: What Fake Buddha Quotes Can Teach Us About BuddhismI Can’t Believe It’s Not Buddha!: What Fake Buddha Quotes Can Teach Us About Buddhism by Bodhipaksa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun and fast read that is a real boon to anyone hoping to (a) figure out when things attributed to the Buddha are wrong, and (b) learn more about what the Buddha actually said (knowing, of course, that the first couple hundred years relied on oral transmission). Recommended.

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POEM: More than this

More than this

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.
—J. Krishnatmurti

Every time you say “but everybody has to—”
or “that’s just the way it—”
I know you don’t understand the point
I’m trying to make.
It’s OK. You’re not alone. Nobody else
does either. I’ve explained it
so many times to so many people.
As simply as I can put it, the idea is this:
Almost nobody would be doing
what they’re doing with their lives
if it weren’t for capitalism.
If we didn’t all have to work to survive,
to put food on the table,
to keep a roof over our heads,
to put gas in our cars to take us to work,
so we can work to survive, etc.
If we didn’t have to do all that,
we’d do other things.
We’d hike or read or paint or
make music or play touch football or
learn to knit or to cook or to juggle or
we’d spend time with our kids or
our parents or our lovers or our friends.
We’d make little communities where
folks watch out for one another.
We’d pool our resources. Stop driving
the planet & all life on it
over a cliff. We wouldn’t launch missiles or
make armies or have borders or
watch people starve or die of exposure
while food rots in the fields &
cities have thousands of empty houses.
People would still do bad things sometimes,
because that seems to be human nature or
the outcome of occasional bad wiring.
But in a world without so much scarcity;
without so many people living grinding lives;
a world without billionaires and millionaires
or aires of any kind; fewer people would feel
so trapped that their only choice is to steal or kill
or shoot up or put the barrel of gun in their mouth.
You can’t look at me with a straight face
& say this world is how it’s supposed to be.
You can’t look me in the eye
& tell me we couldn’t do better.
Every time you say “but everybody has to—”
or “that’s just the way it—”
you are explicitly accepting the boot on your neck,
the chain around your ankle,
the darkness on a limited horizon.
So that’s my point. I just don’t want to do it
anymore. It’s killing me. It’s killing all of us.
After 45 years I want off this hamster wheel.
I’m going to do everything in my power
to escape. To live the next 45 years (or 4 years or
4 months or whatever is coming to me) as freely
as I can. There is more to life than this. Because
“this” isn’t life at all.

/ / /

Jason Crane
2 June 2019
State College PA

Book Review: Uppity by Bill White

Uppity: My Untold Story About The Games People PlayUppity: My Untold Story About The Games People Play by Bill White
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A real page turner that highlights some of the lesser-covered parts of the game of baseball. While the racism that has plagued the game is certainly no secret, White’s first-hand account as a player, broadcaster and president of the National League puts a personal, human face on the changes baseball has made, and the distance it has yet to travel. This book was written by someone who is very confident, and who certainly seems to feel he rarely if ever made a mistake, but at the same time he made it through a four-decade career in a tough business as a black man, so some protective ego isn’t surprising. All in all, well worth reading.

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