We Were Almost Truckers

Fed up with our jobs
my sister and I
talk about becoming truckers.
Imagine the freedom of the open road,
seeing new places,
driving through the dark.
I wouldn’t drive animals
to a slaughterhouse she says.
I wouldn’t want to deliver
weapons or dangerous chemicals I say.
Everything can be a weapon she says.
Then she says nuclear waste
for me, that’s also a no.
I’d like to deliver books I say
but only to independent bookstores.
No chains.
Clothing she says
I wouldn’t mind clothing.
But not if it was made in a sweatshop.
I say and no fur coats. No way.

The list of won’t drives gets too long.
We abandon the plan.

Just Keep Stirring

In my grandparents’ kitchen
my grandmother is wearing her most-flowered apron.
She always wears an apron
even though she does not need to
she never spills anything on it.

My favourite uncle is leaning against the counter
beside the stove. He has finished his part.
He has mashed the potatoes
and put them in a bowl in the oven
beside the stack of plates
from my grandparents’ cold cupboards.

I am wearing a red and white checked apron
that I have already scattered with flour
while learning how to make a cheese sauce
that will go on the cauliflower.
Always use a wooden spoon she says.
Or a whisk, he says, if you’ve got one.
She says don’t stop stirring.
Maybe you need to turn up the heat a bit he says.
When am I supposed to add the cheese?
Not yet, she says, be patient.
We’ll let you know.
It will turn out fine
if you just keep stirring.

useful things I could be doing

useful things I could be doing
reading for my course
writing
running
blogging
making an excel spreadsheet
to keep track of submissions

instead I waste my time
scrolling through twitter

I print a photo of willie nelson
thanking snoop dogg for his Christmas sweater
it’s bright red, with the words smoke weed
above a marijuana leaf
decorated like a Christmas tree
it’s going on my fridge

I print a quote from Jane Austen
My hair was at least tidy, which was all my ambition.
it’s going on my fridge beside willie in his new red sweater

tomorrow I will try to finish the spreadsheet
and keep my hair tidy

At A&W

I stopped at A & W
all I wanted was three chicken strips
with barbecue sauce

but after asking if I wanted
to make it a combo
the man behind the counter
asked if I was a senior
I said no

he said because today seniors
get a free apple pie
I said no thanks

he said are you sure
a free apple pie
they’re fresh
I just made them this morning

instead of feeling old
I’m choosing to believe
that he just thought
I looked like I needed
an apple pie

Key to a Blue 1968 Volkswagen Beetle

I am in the ignition of your new car,
Your new-to-you car, I guess I should say.
I’m a bit surprised to still be in the ignition.
I thought after the car sputtered and quit you’d take me out and
hold me in your hand or put me in your pocket –
someplace warm and cozy.
I must say I’m a little chilly,
but I guess I shouldn’t complain.
You’ve got bigger issues.

I’m sorry the car quit.
You were so happy when you picked it up this morning,
after you paid the mechanic’s bill,
after the owners handed me over to you.
I wish I had the power to keep the car going, but I don’t.

You’re so attached to the car already.
You’ve already given her a name.
Frieda.
A ridiculous name for a car,
but I guess you’ll need to be comfortable with whimsy
to be this car’s owner.
This isn’t the last time you’ll be stuck at the side of the road,
wondering what to do.

Blame it on Gloria

Gloria’s pie may have caused the riot that destroyed the Bluebird Diner last fall;
her very tasty pies were furious
bursts of flavour, never still on the tongue.
That bone-bleak day in October she made
not a single pie, “I’m too blue to bake,”
she said, “instead I’m going to the sea
with my one true love, travelling by barge
down the river.” The couple later claimed
not to have seen the diner fire’s smoke.