“No, I’m not on Twitter,” he tweeted

My blog is linked to my Twitter account, so when I post on my blog it appears on Twitter, my last remaining social media account. That said, I never check Twitter or see anyone’s comments. If you want to reach me, the best way is jason@jasoncrane.org. Thanks!

Posted in Random Musings | 1 Comment

Defending The Dreamers In DC

Yesterday I took the day off from work and joined a group from CASA for a trip to DC to visit the offices of 55 members of Congress. We were there to ask them to support the Dream Act, and to keep the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program intact.

The folks I traveled with were largely people who’d be directly impacted by the cancellation of these protections. These are hard-working people who either came here as kids, or whose own kids were born here, and are now at risk of losing their ability to work, go to school, or even remain in this country.

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We visited the office of Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania’s 8th congressional district. We asked to speak with him and were told he wasn’t available. We then asked to speak to his legislative director and were told he wasn’t there either. So we said we’d wait in the office until one of them showed up. Wouldn’t you know it, a few minutes later Joseph Knowles, the legislative director, appeared as if by magic from a back room. He of course “had a meeting to get to at 12:30,” but he took us into a side office so the CASA members could tell him their stories.

Knowles was clearly uncomfortable with being confronted, and he also seemed completely disconnected from the plight of the real human beings standing in front of him. “The congressman is aware of the situation and wants to seek a legislative solution,” he kept saying, sounding more like an answering machine message than someone who was face to face with people whose lives would be irrevocably harmed by the dissolution of DACA and TPS.

This, for me, was the most disconcerting part of the conversation. To be able to sit in front of your fellow human beings and display not an iota of compassion is beyond me. And that folks like Knowles are populating the offices of our elected representatives is an excellent indication of the failure of our system to produce compassionate results for the people who need them most.

Down the hall, meanwhile, the staff of Rep. Lloyd Smucker, “representing” PA’s 16th district, took one look at another group of CASA members and locked the door to their office. The members immediately began chanting and singing in the hallway, and we joined them when our visit with Knowles was finished. We marched in the hall until the Capitol Police showed up. We had already agreed not to risk arrest, so we left with them and headed outside to rally on the Capitol lawn.

Please contact your representative and urge her or him to support the DREAM Act and TPS with no strings attached. But do more than just call or email. Take several hours or a day and go visit a local office. Or head to DC and visit them there. And get your friends to go with you. If the promises of this country are to mean anything, we must stand in solidarity with the most vulnerable members of our society.

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POEM: remembering their names

remembering their names

it used to seem so important
all the names
what they thought
a heart, a thumb, a smile

now I see them in the store
like ghosts, like shadows
mostly they don’t notice me
which is good because

I can’t remember their names
how I know them
where we met
why it all mattered so much

the ship is a boat
smaller, perhaps more prone
to waves and wind
but containing only

what’s necessary for a good life
a few people who know
two whose names I gave
one who knows best

///

Jason Crane
20 September 2017
State College PA

Posted in Family, My poems, Poetry | Leave a comment

POEM: the bodhisattva of Naples, New York

the bodhisattva of Naples, New York
for Mary Cornish

They came with stories.
They came to a big barn
near a small town
on a spring day
still gripped
by the memory of winter.
They stood beneath
a thousand tiny lights,
huddled around a wood stove.
They laughed and cried
as they talked about her.
In the end what are we
but stories in other mouths,
laughter in country barns,
tears on the cheeks
of those who love us?

/ / /

Jason Crane
24 April 2017
State College, PA

In Buddhism, a bodhisattva is an enlightened being who forgoes nirvana and instead stays in this world to help others.

Posted in Buddhism, My poems, Poetry | 1 Comment

Remembering Travis Nixon

My friend Travis Nixon would have turned 44 today. This is part of his story. I hope you’ll listen.

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POEM: invasive species

invasive species

we planted it at the foot of some low hills
near a made-up border between two states
soon we moved it across that line
took it north, then west, then back east again
we tried to give it roots in new soil
but by that point, the damage was done
it hadn’t learned to reach deep into the earth
never figured out how to flourish in one place
like a Hollywood tumbleweed it rolled off-screen
passing by in the background of other people’s scenes
sometimes coming to rest, but not for long
for years we lost track of it, saw and heard nothing
until finally it came to rest in a valley
far from water, far from the home we’d tried to make
rocking back and forth in a wind only it could feel
but staying put, at least for the moment

/ / /

Jason Crane
11 April 2017
State College PA

Posted in Family, My poems, Nature, Poetry | 1 Comment