Self-Isolation Diaries #19

We’re leaning on the yellow cement pillars in front of the convenience store that keep drunk high school kids from driving through the store and killing everybody.

You’re drinking out of a paper bag and I wonder how long everybody will maintain the paper bag charade. Like, how long will it be in our culture that covering your drink in public is recommended? It feels like we’re on the cusp of change, at least in that regard.

“You know,” you’re saying, “If this mother-trucker just fell off the edge, and humans just started to bite the biscuit, man, just give me a lounge chair with an umbrella strapped to it, ya know?”

I didn’t know, really. I actually had no idea what you were talking about. But I loved you when you drank so I said sure. I said maybe that’s all any of us ever needs. A lawn chair with an umbrella strapped to it. And maybe the umbrella looks like a watermelon.

Across the parking lot, the sun is making a firm but timely exit and paints the sky a hard orange. Pink comes next, then black: the international flag of the evening, of drinking in a convenience store parking lot. A light on a timer clicks on behind us.

“Yeah man. Gimme that umbrella chair. And we can just watch the whole world lose at BINGO, you know?” You take another bag-drink and chase it with a bite of licorice. Fuckin’ B. I. N. G. O.

I think about how maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the brown bag isn’t on its way out, maybe it’s timeless and will exist until the end of humanity. Will visit our grave sites & leave flowers on our gravestones that read: “Died in their umbrella-lounge-chair thing. Died happy & shaded & mostly horizontal.”

Self -Isolation – Day 39: Finish 3 poems about love, do your taxes, fucking etc.

Self-Isolation Diaries #18

I’m standing in the kitchen, drunk,
eating packs of banana bread bear paws.

You enter, stage left, disgusted.
“What the fuck are you doing?” your face-mouth is saying.

“Whassa matter?” I say, spitting brown crumbs,
“Are we saving these for the KID’S SCHOOL LUNCHES!?”

“Get a hold of yourself,” you’re saying.

God you’re beautiful when you’re mad at me about eating bear paws.

Later, in the upstairs place of the house,
I lay exactly face-down on the floor beside the bed.

I want to know what it feels like to BE a bed.

I can hear your impatient sigh from above.
“You know, just because there’s a pandemic going on,
doesn’t give you free reign to act like a complete tard.”

“Hey man, you can’t say tard,” I say, my voice muffled.

You don’t reply, and we lay like that, in the quiet room.

The window is open slightly,
letting the evening’s birdsong fill the space where the talking use to.

These are the golden days.

Self-Isolation – Day 36: In which the entire country learns the joys of driveway drinking.

Self-Isolation Diaries #17

Trevor was stealing colt 45’s when he found out his dad had cancer.
His sister from Ottawa called, and blurted it through tears before hanging up.
A colt 45 dropped from waist height will break exactly 84% of the time.
The beer ran under the small convenience store shelving and emerged in the next aisle.

***

Uri ran the convenience store full time,
and got robbed at gun point part-time, on the side.
He unboxed penny candy and telephone minute cards,
and thought about the rent, and about his old job back home, as a brain surgeon.
(where he would get his secretary, part-time, on the side.)
He wondered how many of these cards would get stolen (exactly 18%)

***

Jessica ran out of minutes on her phone mid-proposal,
devastating both parties involved. He thought she hung up on him.
She swore loudly, and threw her phone at the sidewalk (72% chance of breaking).
The phone exploded, offering pieces of personal information in every direction.
She collapsed on the sidewalk sobbing.
She might have even said yes.

***

Glenn was a street sweeper with a winning lottery ticket,
that wouldn’t be drawn for three more days.
His father named him Glenn so that we would have the perfect name for street sweeping,
and when applying for the job, he had added under skills & assets “my name is Glenn.”
He wasn’t married, and had never kissed a girl,
though he thought the one crying on the sidewalk was awfully pretty.
(4% chance of a first date, 87% chance, three days from now.)

Self-Isolation – Day 33: Breathe dudes.

Self-Isolation Diaries #16

Outside everyday now,
dodging fines for waving.

We count the days by the dishwasher load,
by the craft, by the amount of times I sweep the kitchen.
We use hobbies to survive,
Making beer becomes a family event,
Writing something becomes an afternoon.
‘Baking’ is just a whole day in the calendar now.
Days measured by events rather than their numbers.
We bake cookies, we eat the cookies.

Adding: “Don’t get day-drunk” to the todo list,
Then pushing it back a day.

It’s harder to tell with the kids,
to see what’s happening in their heads.
How the wheels are turning,
and if this foolishness is jamming the gears at all.
They climb the trees, and start clubs
(I joined the ‘trik club’ which had a sign-up sheet,
and had me watch a kid swing on a branch for 10 minutes.)

Everybody dreams all the time.
As if our minds are searching for a parking space that never opens up.
As if our minds can’t rest until we’re free to go to the beach.
I don’t want to go to the beach, I hate the fucking beach.
I want to be able to say no to going to the beach.
This is the normal we seek.

Self-Isolation – Day 31: Youtube videos about old Nintendo games.

Self-Isolation Diaries #15

You’d always tell me how many chimneys the building we were in had.
Like some sort of chimney rain man.
I never knew how to respond, or what exactly to do with the information.
I’d nod and say, “OK, thank you.”

The day we robbed the bank together
We felt the rush of a very bad idea being played out.
Our lack of preparation never slowed us down,
and we made off with our satchel filled with money.
Two blocks down the road it exploded
and we were left standing on the sidewalk, covered in blue ink
While the sirens came closer.

In jail we’d scheme about ways to escape.
About digging, or climbing, or bribing, or sneaking.
I would tell you all the time how quiet we would have to be.
How we would buy a boat and float to Mexico, or the Caribbean.
You’d think for a while, before telling me the jail had 8 chimneys.

Self-Isolation – Day One Million – The good isn’t actually that hard to find.

Self-Isolation Diaries #14

You’re the type of person who has a strong opinion on soups.
That’s opinion not onion.
Which is not to say you don’t have a strong opinion of onion soup.

You’d embrace late-season snow storms
Saying they were there to keep our entitlement in check.
I’d say nothing, slipping my boots on and silently refusing to clear the driveway.

And so we go back and forth like that
Having half-hearted opinions on things that don’t matter.
Me, clearing the snow off your car, and you making me soup.

Self-Isolation – Day 26: Finding it harder to find the good.

Self-Isolation Diaries #13

Premier Blaine Higgs & Education minister Dominic Hardy addressed the public today after wiping down microphones and adjusting face masks which required a notable amount of face touching. Both had a beer in hand, citing the official time to be: “5 o’clock somewhere.” Follow-up questions revealed that neither politician knew exactly what day it was.

Higgs, who recently went on record announcing NBs relatively low new cases of covid-19 earlier this week, announced that, yes, even the virus found NB to be not much more than a boring, drive-through province. The virus moved quickly through to Nova Scotia, though not before hitting a moose between Moncton & Sackville, and totally ruining the Chevy Cruze it rented in Quebec.

Dominic Cardy then took the stand saying that yes, he did, in fact, receive all my letters and calls asking if I could please homeschool my kids, and plans were being developed to assist me in the dream of becoming a substitute teacher. Cardy finished the address stating simply: “Remember guys, everybody passes because: virus.”

Self-Isolation – Day 25: What kind of jackhole virus kills John Prine?

Self-Isolation Diaries #12

When did getting old happen?
Seeing rain and worrying about water.
Seeing sun and worrying about burns.
Seeing soda and worrying about teeth. 

When did the north pole become scary?

when did teenagers become scary?

When did your back become terrible? 
(Your knees, your wrists, your ankles)
Skateboarding really was a bad idea.

When did you forget how to write?

When did silence replace laughter?

When did sweatpants become salvation?

When did we all become one icy driveway away from ruin?

When did skateboarding become a bad idea?

What happened to 2 am?
Did Irving just buy it, and now owns it?
It used to belong to the happy, tired faces of friends,
to music, to the dreamers.

Now all we have is a shitty dumb virus
and masks and clorox and death.
Fuck.

Self-Isolation – Day 24: But: there is no snow in my driveway.

Self-Isolation Diaries #11

“Do you think that wall just moved?”

“.. Do I.. think the wall moved?”

“Yes, that wall right there.”

“I do not.. think that wall moved.”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“I think that wall moved.”

“Jesus Christ, Jordan, go outside or something.”

Self-Isolation – Day 22 – In which I go outside.

Shmelf-Ismolshmation Smiaries #10

The day we went inside, a mother black bear died, three area codes away.
She was shot trying to see what the inside of an apple looks like,
or to be more truthful, what it tasted like, and let’s be truthful for a minute.

When we were younger we’d stand on the wood pile behind your house and look in through
the back window to watch your older brother and his girlfriend run their hands over each other.
Your older brother, who was missing three fingers from a chainsaw accident.

The day we went inside, a bridge collapsed in the neighboring county,
killing some homeless people sleeping underneath, and inconveniencing a half a dozen soccer moms.
The next day’s headline would read: “Bridge collapses, soccer practice cancelled.”

Months from now, we’ll laugh together, smoking cigarettes on the same aging wood pile.
We’ll count the stars overhead and blow smoke at them, while we smell the neighbor’s fresh cut grass,
like a mother black bear, sniffing apples from the outside-in.

Self-Isolation – Day 21: This desk is a dangerous machine.