POEM: BOOM

BOOM

I’m in one of those relationships where
talking happens, but doesn’t need to
right now Owen is asleep on the couch upstairs
I’m in the basement futzing
Owen’s sleeping energy fills the whole house
it makes me feel safe, even though I can’t
see them or hear them or touch them
you know that thing where you can tell
there’s a TV on in the house even if
the sound is off? it’s like that
Owen is broadcasting a silent message
I’M HERE EVERYTHING IS OK
of course “everything” isn’t OK
but the thing about being in this pairing
is that even the things that aren’t OK
seem likely to be OK in the end
it’s been a long time since I’ve felt this way
how old was I when we got together?
42, I think. in which case I went 42 years
without ever feeling like everything
would work out … then boom, Owen.

/ / /

Jason Crane
15 September 2019
State College PA
but not for much longer

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

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

POEM: Eat At Joe’s

Eat At Joe’s

we slept in the back of our
        Honda Fit across the road
        from a swanky bed & breakfast

a ridge across the middle of the car
        kept either of us from sleeping soundly
        while birds with laser guns warred in the trees

I don’t wear underwear & I’m too overweight
        to change in the car so at one point
        I was naked on the gravel at Parsons Marsh

we started on the road trip with -$100
        in the bank and $100 in my pocket
        enough for gas, one meal at the Heritage

& then some bread, cheese & pepperoni
        to eat on a blanket in the car
        faces lit from time to time by passing headlights

in the morning we ate omelets at Joe’s Diner
        the one from the Rockwell painting with the cop
        & the kid who should have been allowed to escape

there was a signed photo of John Williams on the wall
        which reminded me that I first saw Star Wars
        at a drive-in not too far from here

now: a coffee shop eavesdropping on the locals
        picking out the ones we want to befriend
        when we finally escape PA & move here

///

Jason Crane
10 May 2019
Lenox, MA

Note: It turns out I wrote a poem with this same title back in 2012.

POEM: regrets

regrets

while breathing in & breathing out
I picture myself on my deathbed
tearful family surrounding me
*
it’s just a few years from now
which is so disappointing
I waited & waited until I was free
but I was never free
*
I treated my life like a prison sentence
waiting for a red parole stamp
to mark the beginning of the happy phase
*
I thought my argument to the board
was convincing but I never quite got over
always ending the day with a slow march
back to my cell
*
what does it mean to be unhappy
from the moment you’re born till the very end?
*
back in the present I return to the breath
again and again back to the breath
I feel it deep in my gut
but the anchor slips and I’m adrift again
*
in four-and-one-half years I’ll be 50

///

Jason Crane
29 April 2019
State Motherfucking College PA