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Jason Crane Posts

POEM: Move To California, Call Your Ex, Become A Banker

Move To California, Call Your Ex, Become A Banker

Maybe you just haven’t found the right job.
Maybe you just haven’t found the right person.
Maybe you just haven’t found the right place.
Maybe you just don’t fit anywhere in this
round, round world and no amount of sanding down
the rough edges will ever, ever change that.
Oh look! The Great British Bake Off is on!

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25 May 2022
Pittsfield MA

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(Re-post) POEM: this changes nothing

A friend asked this morning if I’d repost this poem from 2011, written after a mass shooting. In the 11 years since I wrote it, it’s never been proven wrong.

this changes nothing

you know that, don’t you?
in a few days we’ll go back to our coma
back to our flat-screen televisions
our high-definition getaways
six people? nowhere near enough
at this point, we’d need rivers of blood
flowing past the grocery store
submerging the church pews
to even catch our attention for more
than a 24-hour news cycle
for shock value I could start listing
the daily death tolls
of those without health care
or the number of children who go to bed
hungry or abused each night
right here, in the richest…
but you know the story
or choose not to know it
for less shock value
(because who really cares about them?)
I could tell you how many civilians
were killed today in Iraq or Afghanistan
or Gaza or Pakistan or Yemen
by us or by our allies or with our weapons
but what’s the use?
a new season of your favorite show
will start soon and you’ll plop down
on your couch with some popcorn
or a nice plate of nachos
and go back to sleep
in a few weeks you’ll have to
Google this date to figure out
what this poem is about
and in another few weeks after that
so will I

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haiku: 24 May 2022

sparrows in the trash
breeze moves the bushes
my towel is nearly dry

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24 May 2022
Pittsfield MA

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haiku: 23 May 2022

“I don’t care if you’re
black, white, green, yellow or purple”
red flag

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23 May 2022
Pittsfield MA

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Happy arrival day!

It’s been 108 years since Sun Ra arrived from Saturn. Not sure where to start with his massive discography? Try this one:

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haiku: 21 May 2022

pooping at
Price Chopper to
Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love”

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21 May 2022
Pittsfield MA

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POEM: The Danger

The Danger

The danger of recording
your life on video and audio
is that you can be cleaning out
a cloud drive and come across
the face and voice and laugh and shape
of the person who broke your heart
and it still pierces your center
and yet you still know … the thing you know.

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20 May 2022
Pittsfield MA

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My unintentionally secret podcast

A couple years ago a pal in the UK asked me to make a podcast explaining Buddhism for young-ish listeners. This podcast was to be used in UK school programs on general religion. I made a series of 3-minute podcast episodes giving my responses to the study questions my pal sent me, and published all that at I think it’s kinda fun. You can listen to the whole series in 33 minutes, so check it out and let me know if I should make more of these.

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Reading Shion Miura

This morning I sat in my van outside work crying the good kind of tears – the tears brought out by a gorgeous novel. I can count on one hand the books that have made me cry. This morning’s offering was The Great Passage, a novel by Japanese author Shion Miura, translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter. It’s the third novel by the pair I’ve read in the last week, and each has been a gem of humanity and compassion and insight.

The Great Passage is about a small team of people putting together a new Japanese dictionary. The book takes place over the course of 15 years and follows the ups and down in the lives of the team members, primarily centered around Majime, the head of the dictionary department. Does that sound like the description of a book that could bring you to tears? But there’s something about the way Miura find the souls of her characters. The writing is never overwrought. It’s simple and beautiful, allowing the actions and words of the humans in the stories to carry the weight.

My introduction to Miura came about a week ago, when a website randomly recommended her book The Easy Life In Kamusari. I’d never heard of Miura or the novel, but for some reason I decided to read it. It’s the story of a high school student from Yokohama (where I once lived) who, upon graduation, gets sent by his parents to the countryside to work for a small forestry company. He doesn’t want to be there and knows nothing about the work, but over time he’s won over by the quiet beauty of the area and its people.

I then read the sequel, Kamusari Tales Told At Night, a series of vignettes told by the same character about the deepening of his relationship with the remote mountain area in which he finds himself, and the mystical beliefs of the people who live there.

I can’t recommend these books highly enough. Miura is brilliant, and Carpenter’s translations are masterful. In particular, her work in The Great Passage is so impressive, being as it’s a book about the Japanese language and Carpenter must make it intelligible to English-language readers while retaining the under-the-microscope look at Japanese that is the hallmark of the book. Quite the achievement.

Find yourself a copy of one of these and slip into a world of small details and real human emotions.  

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