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Category: Tucson

POEM: Digging Bill Evans

Digging Bill Evans

I was 21, driving a used car,
no money in the bank, a job
as a waiter in my uncle’s restaurant
awaiting me in the desert.
I moved into a studio apartment:
a bed, a small sofa, a scuffed old
round table from the restaurant.
I had my stereo from back east;
the library across the street
had CDs. I’d sign them out
then sit on the floor, head
between the speakers, trying to
find my way into the music.
Now I have a 20-year-old son.
I can’t afford a studio apartment.
I don’t have a job waiting for me.
I’m still trying to find my way
into whatever story the music is telling.

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21 November 2022
State College PA

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haiku: 22 January 2021

watch cattle grazing
feel my heartbeat start to slow
: a morning lesson

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22 January 2021
Catalina AZ

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POEM: Revenge!

Revenge!

Mingus! Dolphy!
Elderly people doing yoga!
Park pavilions full of
downward dogs & the upper class.
The Buick owners realigning their chakras
before heading off to brunch.
Everyone has a dog or else no one does.
There’s ozone in the air but the sun is out.
Where’s the promised thunder?
The desert is a dirty liar.
The bass clarinet will have to do.

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21 January 2021
Oro Valley, AZ

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POEM: Today was the last time

Today was the last time

I’ve learned that my shell is too fragile
to hold up under the weight
of what might have been.
Like the man said, you can’t go home again.
Had I known I’d be running so hard
I would have stayed in better shape.
And probably not worn Crocs.
I’ll leave this key on the counter.
It no longer unlocks anything.

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19 January 2021
Tucson, AZ

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haiku: 16 January 2021

sunshine, wild horses
“you’ll for sure poop in your van”
: Ironwood Forest

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16 January 2021
Ironwood Forest National Monument
Arizona

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haiku: 15 January 2021

January sun
wild birds call in the distance
on a rock in space

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15 January 2021
Ironwood Forest National Monument
Arizona

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POEM: Oasis

Oasis

It’s such a cliché even Looney Tunes covered it:
the desperate man in the desert, crawling toward water.
In the cartoon he usually dives into the pond
to find only sand where he sought salvation.
Me, I’ll be driving a minivan to the water’s edge,
and I’m fairly certain it’s actually there. At least
as certain as we can be of anything in these times.
At some point you have to ask yourself why you move.
What possible promise could await over the horizon?
Does forty degrees of longitude matter that much?
I’ll be the judge of that, says the little voice in my head.
I don’t trust that voice any further than I could throw it,
which is no distance at all if past is any kind of prologue.
“Go east, middle-aged man” doesn’t have the same ring to it
as the other, more famous phrase, but what the hell.
YOLO and whatnot. The tank is full, the nose is pointed
toward the rising sun. I have nothing to lose but my chains.
And probably some engine parts I can’t identify.
Save me a spot on the dunes.

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Jason Crane
25 October 2020
Tucson, AZ

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SONG: “At The Circle K”

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An ode to life in a red state.

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POEM: 40 days & 40 nights

40 days & 40 nights

‘e’s nuts I tells ya
carries two unloaded 6-
shooters everywhere ‘e goes
wears spurs (like an old western
gunslinger) on his New Balance 410s
why just the other day I saw ‘im
down to the Circle K
juggling 3 Fruit Punch Gatorades
(mask & gloves on the whole time)
until the manager come out
from the little room in the back
said ‘e had to get going or
the cops’d be called
‘e left but not before putting
2 of the Gatorades back neatly
in the cooler
we have to have rules, ‘e said
& buying the other one
‘e unscrewed the cap, stepped
through the door into the desert sun
spilled a little in the parking lot & said
pouring one out for my home

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Jason Crane
10 May 2020
Tucson, AZ

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POEM: Friday afternoon, outside our apartment

Friday afternoon, outside our apartment

little guy:
fins on helmet
training wheels

at a certain age
those’ll get you
where you need to go

old guy:
baseball cap
walker

at a certain age
there’s no hurry
to get there

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Jason Crane
17 April 2020
Tucson AZ

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POEM: might as well jump

might as well jump

red to dead, red to donor
black to donor, black to metal
a rare cold rain beating down
turn the key; nothing
he cleans pools, he says, drenched
turn it again; nothing
the Catholic in me apologizes
maybe if I put this here instead?
turn the key; life!
the rain, if anything, strengthens

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Jason Crane
18 March 2020
Tucson, AZ

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HAIBUN: Un dia en Tucson

Un dia en Tucson

A coyote, or maybe a chicken, calls into the nearness as the sky lightens in the puddles from last night’s rain. Half-tame dogs hunt among the cholla & saguaro in the shadow of the cross. Saint Anthony, pray for us. [South Tucson, El Super] Tapatío Doritos! El Indio: two tamales: shredded beef, enchilada style. Served with rice & silky smooth frijoles refritos. Driving back through Oro Valley to Catalina with leopard-print mountains out the passenger window & a rainbow in the rear view. Hey baby, ¿qué pasó?

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Jason Crane
12 February 2020
Catalina, Arizona

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