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Tag: Family

POEM: Valentine’s Day


Valentine’s Day

the shades are down though
the day is overcast
Josh White is singing
“House Of The Rising Sun”
warm vinyl suffusing the air
with honey-scented blues
one boy is on the couch
napping cat above him
the other at the computer
napping cat at his feet

this is a moment
to capture in amber
so its DNA can be extracted
years later when these boys
have boys of their own
in some far-off town
& I’m listening to Josh White
with two different cats
& my memories
to keep me company

/ / /

Jason Crane
14 February 2015
Oak Street

Bonus: Here’s Josh White singing “House Of The Rising Sun”


POEM: Christmas Eve, 2013


Christmas Eve, 2013

I’m sitting in my apartment, one lamp on,
watching old episodes of Doctor Who, from
the first year they made it in color. There’s
nobody here but me, because the boys are
at their grandmother’s house, and I’m not
allowed past the front door. And not even
that far, if she has her druthers. They’ll be
here soon, though, to take me to their house,
where we’ll play some games and wait
for the arrival of Santa Claus, in whom one
believes and one doesn’t. If you’d told me ten,
or even five, years ago that this year I’d be
cut off from my entire family (except for my
sister) and living alone in my least favorite place
on Earth, I’d have hoped you weren’t clairvoyant.
And although I’m much better at staying
in the moment than I used to be, there are some
moments you hope pass quickly. Still,
later tonight I’ll get to tuck my sons in,
pet their dog, lay my head down on a real bed.
And in the morning they’ll open their gifts,
we’ll laugh and we’ll hug. That’s what I’m waiting for,
as the clock ticks away the minutes on Christmas Eve.

24 December 2013
Oak Street

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POEM: American Fool


American Fool

It was the summer that John Cougar’s “Hurts So Good”
owned the airwaves. I remember it was playing
in Todd’s room when I got there. Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Our family’s last stand in our home state before
the final dissolution. Before we spread across the country
like dandelion seeds scattered by a strong wind.

It was also the summer of the Kinks’ “Lola,” introduced
to me by a Doctor Demento parody called “Yoda.”
“Y-O-D-A Yo-Da.” All three of those songs are bound up
in my memory like the sight of the sword Todd laid
on his bed, a gift from the grandfather we didn’t share.
The one who’d been an officer in the Knights of Columbus.

It was the last summer of trips to see Plymouth Rock
or the replica of the Mayflower. (“April showers bring
May flowers. What do May flowers bring? Pilgrims!”)
After that, seeing Todd meant a trip to Wisconsin.
It wasn’t the same. Even later when I moved to Arizona
where he lived, things had changed. Too much time.

It was the summer I came home from my grandparents’ place
round as a beach ball from all the Ring Dings I’d eaten,
sitting in front of the little TV in their den watching Star Blazers.
My parents made me run a mile a night until I was less round.
One of many clues I didn’t notice until three decades later.
By then the bullet had hit and passed through, leaving a scar.

21 December 2013
Oak Street

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POEM: my first night in Japan


my first night in Japan
(for the Inoue family)

I slept for twenty-four hours
at least that’s how I
remember it happening

then we had miso soup with
tiny clams in the bottom
of each wooden bowl

we were seated around
a dining room table
on regular chairs

all things I’d been told
not to expect to find
10,000 miles from home

it was my host mom, brother
two sisters and me;
obaasan ate in her own room

we brought her a tray, some
for her, some for the shrine
to her late husband

it was when we put our hands
together to remember him
that I fell in love with Japan

19 November 2013
Oak Street


Lincoln jailed my cousins


Today is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, which seems like a good time to mention that back during the Civil War, two of my cousins were jailed by Abraham Lincoln for sedition. You can read the entire story in the March 2006 issue of Flanders Family News. (This links to a PDF file. The story starts on Page 9.)


By the way, lest you interpret this the wrong way — I’m a big fan of Lincoln. But how could I pass up this story?

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POEM: Bookshelves


All our bookshelves were made by our fathers,
crafted by calloused hands from woods
soft or hard, fine-grained or no,
fashioned in damp basements or dusty barns
on Saturday afternoons while Black Magic Woman
or Love Me Do played on what used to be the nice radio.
The bookshelves are, like all fathers’ creations, imperfect,
slightly wider at the front,
fitting some books better than others.
In one, there is a pair of hearts carved,
delicate filigree surprising
from a splitter of logs, a man of the earth.
The bookshelves are a framework, intended
by our fathers to be filled with thoughts
of our own choosing, maybe with a gentle nudge
from a “doctor of books.”
But it is we who must encumber the wood
with our own words, we who must choose
which volumes to stack or lean,
we who receive the hard or soft legacy
cast in simple wood by complex men.

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Lights out, everybody!

Last night, Jen and the boys and I went to see some percussion ensembles from the Albany Youth Symphony Orchestra. The concert was at the Massry Center for the Arts at the College of St. Rose. The Massry Center is a brand new performance and rehearsal building with state-of-the-art facilities.

Unfortunately, it also has one major design flaw. The light switches that control every light in the auditorium are located about three feet up on the wall outside the auditorium, and the switches blink.

How do I know this? Because while the theater was filling up and the final ensemble was finishing its rehearsal, my two-year-old son, John, saw the pretty blinking light and pressed all the switches, turning off every light in the auditorium. Some people started leaving. My wife overheard one patron say, “They must not want us in there now.”

I saw what John had done and turned the lights back on. The rehearsal finished, and the rest of the show went off without a hitch. But some architect ought to be giving the college a refund for that part of the design. Or they should have a “no two-year-old boys” policy.

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Celebrating Bernie’s 6th Birthday

Here’s a slideshow of photos from this past weekend, when family from across NY and PA came to celebrate Bernie’s 6th birthday. (His actual birthday is today.)

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