My Dark Existence

I go to sleep and wake
to a steady drip
and wonder
if it’s radioactive
or pure and clear,
like the streams I once knew.
Above ground, no fresh water remains:
no trace of rain
or cloud
or sky.
There is just the twilight of this cave,
the weak rays
that find their way
through fissures in the ceiling,
a distant sun revealing
itself to me
in this underground shelter,
bouncing helter-skelter
to the maze below.
Damp steals everything
unless I shut it up tight,
but even the cans I stacked so neatly
have rusted;
the labels peeled off long ago
and every day’s a surprise.
I would give it all just to see the sun rise,
to swim in the ocean,
cleanse my filthy skin
that I must live in
all alone until I too have vaporised.

Kim M. Russell, 17th September 2019

Image result for Underground cave in the UK Pinterest

My response to Imaginary Garden with Real Toads Out of Standard: Gimme (fallout) shelter

Izy is back for an Out of Standard, when we dig into the farthest reaches of our imagination to create something unexpected. She reminds is that a fallout shelter is a building or other structure designed to protect people from radioactive fallout after a nuclear explosion. Our challenge is to imagine we are living alone in a fallout shelter and write a new poem that encompasses the daily routine. We need to consider why we are living there; the size of the shelter; what food we have stocked there; and what sort of routines we have decided to skip.

28 thoughts on “My Dark Existence

  1. When we envisage the possible future we must wonder why we have been so stupid as to get to such a state by being greedy, careless, cruel and unsympathetic to other humans, and living things on this planet out of such desire for profit alone that gives us no future.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, you’re (the poet) alive but living isn’t easy nor guaranteed. I lived the surprise menus because the rusty food can’s labels were off. No wonder people were jumping out from windows during the market crash of 1929.
    Oh yes, we are ready with water, and batteries for three days or longer. Gas in the cars too. Tropical storm just off our Texas Gulf Coast headed our way.

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  3. I remember when there were fallout shelters everywhere. Perhaos we were mire optimistic about our chances for survival in thise days. I don’t think I would have the fortitude to face that situation alone. (K)

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      1. Three apartments ago I lived in a building that still had one–or it still had the sign for one anyway. I kind of doubt it was stocked with anything. I think we know now that a shelter will not save us.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Right! the wondering if the water we drink is even clean, that the canned food will actually be safe to eat… Our will to survive just amazes me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Robert Macfarlane’s new book Underland spends all of its time down under, spelunking mostly through underground caverns and the underworld soul. Caves are claustrophobic spaces, of great solitude and psychic density — the speaker here is safely trapped, tortured by the knowledge she can’t go out and doesn’t know how long she can remain. Dense and drafty and dark response to the challenge — perfect!

    Liked by 1 person

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