The last time I saw you, corroded
man of metal, manoeuvring your mortal
shell over tarmac, cyber sun sparked body
-work so blinding you didn’t see me
at the window sipping Irn Bru. Your brittle head
shadowed by your Panama, dipped dead-pan,
you looked like an Italian film
director shooting the scandalous
biopic of an unknown Nazi. My father,
forged by Stalin’s Holodomor,
man of steel with the ability
to change shape, become uniform,
less liable to crack
the annealing boy with a sword.
Such handsome cheek-bones.
They burned villages on the Western
Steppes belching black smoke
on the day paramilitary death squads
took photographs. I dreamed of you
behind the wheel of a red
Volkswagen Beetle your shame
-ful love of German engineering,
your welded lips breaking down,
reforming internal shapes under
pressure like Swarfiga green
jelly in a tub. You held out one
giant hand scarred by hundreds
of burns, carved deep,
never given a chance to heal
working fourteen hour shifts
at the foundry. Get on board, you said.
Words stuck in your throat
when they took your rotten teeth
out. You coughed blood and lies
into a white handkerchief,
pretended to hang yourself with a jump.
Freedom is a gift not for Everyman.
You were someone else in 1947,
metal pushed through a die.
In the aftermath of the Hawaii ‘whoops apocalypse’ fiasco, here are a few tips for surviving a nuclear war gleaned from the internet. (A good sense of humour, a vacuum cleaner and a four leaf clover are also essential):-
Thebest advice for surviving a nuclear bomb is to be somewhere else when it goes off. If that doesn’t work out for you then remember ‘duck and cover’.
Think of radiation as dust that can be consistently and carefully cleaned and disposed of. Twice daily vacuuming of house hold surfaces is recommended. Warning! Do not dry dust or sweep because this will cause dust, and potentially isotopes, to become airborne where they can settle onto surfaces or be inhaled. Feather-type dusters should especially be avoided. Internal Contamination is 20 to 100 times more harmful than external exposures. Run the air conditioner 12 hours a day on the re-circulation setting. Warning! Do not use fans or AC units to blow outside air into the house. Be sure to try and keep indoor air from becoming too dry.
Some careful kitchen habits:-
Keep your dinnerware in clean cabinets with doors, or place in containers such as Tupperware bins. Remove covers carefully so dust doesn’t land on clean surfaces. Rinse your cooking utensils with clean filtered water before use. The best filters use activated charcoal or reverse osmosis which are very effective against radioisotopes. Rinse the outside of food cans before opening them.
Survival Checklist:- Think of radiation as an invisible layer of dust on all surfaces that needs to be carefully cleaned away and managed.
Create an air tight seal in your home. Seal all external doors and windows. Duct tape is handy and comes in twenty seven different colours and patterns to match your décor. I recommend Penguin Invasion and zebra print for a modern funky look. The glow in the dark option will help you find your way around when the lights go out.
Aggressively clean off surfaces in your home without creating dust (wet wipes and water filled vacuums essential). Keep food in clean, sealed containers.
When you go outside, wear a set of coveralls, goggles and good quality dust masks to cover your mouth and nose. Shower every time you return from outdoors. Sleep at least two feet above the floor.
Carry young children while outdoors.
Fight fall-out with duct tape, mop, water filtered vacuum, sponge, paper towels, plastic bags, sturdy trash container, hand-held radiation detector.
Essential reading: Step-by Step Home Butchering, A Beginners Guide to Hunting, Self Defense for Dummies, DIY Burials.