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Jason Crane Posts

POEM: Virginia/Gaza


We move boxes and couches, beds and lamps.

We pause to eat pizza and drink lemonade.

The kids help or play or get tired.

As we near the end there are gunshots
in the nearby woods. Hunters, or target practice.

The next-to-the-youngest one
asks if they’re fireworks.

We all say yes.


They move with nothing, to nowhere.

They keep their hands raised as they walk
but the soldiers shoot anyway.

There is gunfire everywhere.
There are explosions everywhere.

Flares set fire to the night
so the soldiers can keep shooting.

The next-to-the-youngest one
digs her baby brother out of the rubble.

/ / /

2 December 2023
Charlottesville VA

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I’m Coming Out Today


I’m bi.

It’s such a monumental thing for me to be able to type those two words. Over the past six weeks or so, I’ve been working through all this with two friends, initially, and then a couple other folks. But I didn’t start thinking about it a month ago. I started in 1993.

Back then, my friend Christian came out to me, and we started hanging out all the time, going to gay and lesbian clubs in Rochester, NY. I often found myself being attracted to genderqueer folks, although I didn’t have that term back then. I didn’t really know about bi identities either. The places we went were always “gay” or “lesbian.” I knew I wasn’t gay, and I knew I was a cis man (again, without that term being available), so lesbian was off the table. So I just assumed I was straight and an ally. I covered my car in pride stickers and wore a triangle pendant every day and dressed in cute overalls and followed Ani DiFranco on tour and was TOTALLY STRAIGHT.

Throughout my 20s and 30s I stayed connected to the queer community in various ways. I always wished I was part of it, but I never really thought I belonged in a real way. I danced outside Stonewall on the night same-sex marriage was legalized in New York. I wore “legalize gay” and “straight but not narrow” shirts. I went to rallies and marches and protests. A friend called me a “classic lesbian” and I thought it was the best compliment I’d ever received.

In my 40s I married a non-binary trans person and still said I was straight, even though I was just as into them when they presented as masculine.

Since moving to Charlottesville I’ve had some conversations that have finally caused me to really examine this part of myself. My friends Chaundra and Christian have helped me think about what it could mean to accept this identity, while also both saying they already thought I was bi, even if I didn’t. In Christian’s case, she’s thought that for 30 years. Another friend told me that someone we both know said in 2002 that they thought I was bi. So I guess I’m the last to know. ?

(Note 1: While typing this I’m also reminded that I listened to Depeche Mode in the 80s and thought David Gahan was super hot when he danced. Gosh I’m slow.)

(Note 2: After reading the initial draft of this, my cousin Lynne told me that I came out to her 30 years ago. Apparently I then bi-erased myself.)

As I’ve thought about this I’ve noticed some fascinating effects. For one thing, imagining myself as bi and queer has made me feel at home in my body in a way that’s never been true before. So many things about the way I move and carry myself and express myself just feel “right” if I see them through this new lens.

And as I’ve started to step back into an activist role, and thus to meet people in Charlottesville, I’ve had some chances to allow people to identify me as part of the queer community, so I’ve done that and it’s been wonderful.

I still have a lot of new territory to cover. I know it won’t all be easy, but right now I’m filled with a whole new kind of joy.

My name is Jason and I’m bi.

Nice to meet you.

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POEM: The Stages Of Watering A Dead Plant

The Stages Of Watering A Dead Plant

The first step is to not admit defeat.
Even as green turns to brown
and the leaves curl inward,
you must cling to delusion.

The soil will accept the water,
at least for a while.
It will join you in looking away

as you fill half a teacup at the kitchen sink
and upend it into the pot.

After a few days, though, the embarrassed soil
will release its burden onto the dish below.

This is the crucial moment,
as you dutifully carry the dish back to the sink,
then open the curtains
to bathe the corpse in light.

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25 November 2023
Charlottesville VA

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POEM: Palestine Corner

Palestine Corner

One is a beekeeper.
One is barefoot.
One is from the Bay Area.
One is Kuwaiti.
One is a daycare worker.
One is from Iraq.
One is a boxer.
One is a nurse.
One is a newbie.
One is an old head.
One is a singer.
One is a guitarist.
One is trans.
One is bi.
One is a dad.
One is a mom.
One brings coffee.
One brings honey.
Cold mornings.
Rainy mornings.
They hold signs.
The cars pass.

/ / /

22 November 2023
Charlottesville VA

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Back in Tucson

I’m back in Tucson and today I went to my favorite restaurant.

In October 1994, I moved to Tucson to work at my family’s restaurant. Shortly after I got here, I got hired to play in the band of Ismael Barajas. We played latin dance music of various kinds. In 1995 we got hired to play in the courtyard between El Charro and the newly constructed ¡Toma! bar. The courtyard would be packed with dancers.

The exchange of energy between the band and these dancers, who were just a few feet away, was intense. One of the greatest musical moments of my life happened in this courtyard, during a solo I was taking, when the big man who was the nephew of the band leader grabbed the brim of his hat while dancing and spun himself around, facing front again just as the band hit the next downbeat. It felt like we were levitating off the ground. The only problem with this gig was that in between sets they would feed us whatever we wanted, which meant that every week I would order a carne seca chimichanga elegante style , eat the whole thing, and then be so full that it was hard to play for the second set. I love this place and everything it represents.

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POEM: Vigil


We stand on the street corner
because we can’t turn our
bodies into shields.

We stand on the street corner
to force other people to look.

We stand on the street corner
clutching our paper signs
and our cardboard signs,

looking into the eyes
of the passing drivers,
hoping for recognition.

We stand on the street corner
with our fathers and our daughters,
with friends and strangers.

We stand on the street corner
for those whose streets run red
with blood and fire.

We stand on the street corner,
praying to awaken
from our collective nightmare,

to discover it was all a dream,
that we are safe in the arms of loved ones,
that all we hear are birds

and the laughter of children.

/ / /

7 November 2023
Charlottesville VA


A Better World Is Inevitable

In the midst of [waves arms] all of this, I’ve met some truly wonderful humans these past few weeks. People who are working to make the world a better place in real, tangible ways. Right where they live, and in places they’ll likely never visit. As has always been the case, the bad people count on us to despair in the face of the structures they’ve built and the atrocities, large and small, that those structures enable. And as has always been the case, we refuse to stop fighting. Because there is no alternative but to build a better world. I don’t mean this in some polyannish way. Things are awful. But we’re strong and we’re guided by love and rage and community and compassion and I really do believe we’ll win. We have to.

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POEM: Everybody Thinks It’s True

Everybody Thinks It’s True

If things were different,
if things were how I wanted them to be,
you’d have been the first one I told.

You could have celebrated with me,
given me some pointers,
loved all of me. Instead,

I’m sitting on the porch in the twilight
listening to Paul Simon sing
“Train In The Distance.”

In ten days I’ll be in Tucson.
Are you still there?
Are you there?
Are you?

/ / /

5 November 2023
Charlottesville VA

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POEM: Inconvenient


I was telling the truth
when I said
I would love you forever.

/ / /

15 October 2023
Charlottesville VA

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The dog is sleeping near the fireplace.
He’s been sleeping there for years.
A long time, really, for a dog.
He’s not dead. I checked.
He was just … overwhelmed?
It was all getting to be too much.
One day he nuzzled up against me
while I was sitting on the couch, reading.
I gave his head a pat and watched him
pad across the room to the braided rug.
He circled a few times, like he always does,
then settled in, paws crossed.
That was three, maybe four years ago.
I still use the living room, but I try to keep quiet.
No loud music, no sharp noises.
I fill his water bowl and food bowl every day.
Just in case.

/ / /

10 October 2023
Charlottesville VA

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POEM: I Skipped “Maya The Psychic”

I Skipped “Maya The Psychic”

I raced home to tell you about
the production of Hamlet I saw tonight.
You would have loved it, or at least
you’d have loved that I loved it,
back when that was how things were.
I listened to our playlist on the way home:
“Supersoaker” and “National Express”
and “Stronger” and “The Ballad of El Goodo.”
I skipped “Maya The Psychic.”
Not because it’s not a good song
but because it sounds more like you
than I can usually handle.
Same with Hozier, who has new music out
and we play it on my station
which means every day
I sit there and listen and his voice
is really your voice.
Anyway Hamlet was fabulous
but when I got home it was empty.

/ / /

1 October 2023
Charlottesville VA

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POEM: First Poem At A New Desk

First Poem At A New Desk

There’s an orange apron hanging
on a peg next to the sink, which is —
for no good reason other than that this
was never supposed to be an apartment —
in a closet.

I looked at it and imagined wearing it
as I make dinner for someone who’s
coming over for the first time.
On a date, I mean, but then I think:
If I didn’t do that, invite someone over
on a date, I mean, but instead stayed single,
perhaps you’d eventually come back.

I’m facing a blank grey concrete wall.
The desk came in a flat-pack box.
I assembled it with the included
Allen wrench, named after the
Allen Manufacturing Company
of Hartford, Connecticut,
the town where my father was born.

An Allen wrench is also called a hex key.
Will it, if properly applied, free me
from this curse?

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25 September 2023
Charlottesville VA

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POEM: Describing A Satellite

Describing A Satellite

For the Earth,
both hands in an arc.
A fist for the moon.
Gravity a rope,
unseen in the dark.

Palms up for the tides,
both high and low,
the hands raise and lower
as they ebb and flow.

The planet spins,
the pull taunts,
the moon is what
the water wants.

/ / /

20 September 2023
Charlottesville VA

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