POEM: 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

POEM: ex post facto

ex post facto

it took him years
to understand what happened

how she was always ready
to withdraw her love from her ungrateful child

is this the thanks I get?
is this how you repay me?

he hadn’t realized
everything was a transaction

another item in a ledger
carefully tallied, always in the red

how owed before his first breath
she was there, waiting to collect

/ / /

Jason Crane
7 November 2019
State College PA

POEM: Moby-Dick in the break room

Moby-Dick in the break room

because otherwise it’s a round Formica table
& the clicks and beeps from the alarm system
& the vending machines
a slowly shrinking horizon of possibility
& the monstrous white shape of the future

I read to remember myself
(a boss walks by, says, “Call me Ishmael”)
Melville was in his late 20s & early 30s
as he was writing his Great(est?) American Novel
luckily Alan Rickman was 42 when he played Hans Gruber
so there’s hope for me yet


Jason Crane
4 November 2019
State College PA

POEM: Walnut Spring

Walnut Spring

it’s a black gravel path
      through a lovely wood
why does it remind me
      of an oil spill?
could be the sound of a plane
      overhead or
the distant artificial surf
      of the interstate
even what we try to protect
      we end up destroying
we can’t preserve an island of forest
      in an ocean of asphalt
perhaps what’s needed at first
      is more destruction
fewer cute wooden bridges over
      barely flowing streams
more horizons lit by the fires
      of burning cities
one acre of wetland can store
      a million gallons of water
how many bottles is that?


Jason Crane
23 October 2019
State College PA

POEM: pocket knife

pocket knife

when I was young
        I planned out how to kill him
        if he ever hit me again

when I got older
        I tried to forgive
        if not forget

when I became a father
        the wind blew his ember into
        my dry kindling; it caught

when I went home
        the past chased me, yelling,
        into their newly remodeled kitchen

when I drove away
        I cut all ties using
        the knife I always keep in my pocket


Jason Crane
21 October 2019
State College PA

POEM: window bird

window bird

in the morning,
bold action!

in the afternoon,
quiet contemplation

in the nighttime,
deepest sadness

a sparrow sings knowingly
outside my window

/ / /

Jason Crane
17 October 2019
State College PA