i used to (c. 2016)

I published this poem in 2016, on or around the time of the presidential election. I distinctly remember wrestling with an unusually ominous feeling about the future. I composed this piece to give a voice to that raw, subconscious trepidation.

It feels so eerie now, all things considered. Almost like an accidental, cosmic warning. Minus the toilet paper hoarding.

xx, a.

i used to watch those shows

survivalist documentaries

aging caucasian male

stocking his bunker

with canned meat

lining his helmet

in tin foil

the apocolyptic rambling’s

society’s unraveling

i used to smile

at that

misguided man

and his

foolish preparations

radioactive anticipations

i’d say

“do gas masks

come in

rose colored


if the end

is nigh

i still

want to

look good.”

as he’s counting

hollow points and

gathering rain water

i used to imagine

him kissing

the galvanized steel

of the hatch

he’s welding

from trailer siding


“keep us safe, my queen”

and it used to

make me giggle

but now

in this

political climate

 a nightmare

is pending

and i

am without shelter

so maybe he

knew something

i didn’t

a.duncan, 2016

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Amor et melle et felle est fecundissimus || Love is rich with both honey and venom

22 thoughts on “i used to (c. 2016)

    1. Humans have been worried about and reacting to the idea of a doomsday/apocalypse/reckoning as long as there have been humans! We see examples of this in Aztec culture, ancient Greece, revelations in the Bible, the writings of Nostradamus, etc. But yes the shows I reference here came into popularity (Preppers in partciular) in 2012 and 13. My poem is explaining how I watched them then and thought they were kind of silly. It wasn’t until Trump was elected, I began to wonder if those people were wiser than I to prepare for the end days. 😂 There’s a slight touch of satire in this poem (at my own expense), but it’s also slightly prophetic considering the chaos from COVID and our current feeling of the unknown.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m a prepper. However, my prep might be different than most. I’ve stockpiled Shiraz, Parmigiano Reggiano, guitar strings, and boxer shorts. If this is the end of the world, I’m going out drunk, happy and comfortable. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  1. So prophetic, I feel like you wrote this gazing at your crystal ball, wearing hooped earrings, a luxurious shawl, and a pack of tarot cards on the table.

    “do gas masks
    come in
    rose colored

    I mean, do they???!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You have the prophecy in your heart and the power that is within you. Your poem is my favorite and does relate so much right here right now.

    I dedicate this new song by Nine Inch Nails called: Together. He released two album by surprise. It is referred by many as the covid-19 apocalypse and where we are right now. I love it. Hope you enjoy it as well.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I am so fond of the distortion on this track and the strangely hollow drum. The instrumentation seems itself a voice …. of despondency. Of resolve. The progression is relentless and aptly so. The machine keeps churning, after all. I was so taken with the lines:

        Well they’ve got to kill what we’ve found Well they’ve got to hate what we fear
        Well they’ve got to make it go away
        Well they’ve got to make it disappear

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, very eerie, haunting, and yet hopeful of good things to look forward to ahead.

        Trent Reznor surprised his fans with 2 incredible instrumentation of good music and the music we need right now. 🙂

        I was going to send you ‘We’re in this together now’ song. I figured you’d catch on and the lyrics feel relatable right now. 🙂

        Glad you enjoyed the song.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh wow!! The sheer volume of brilliance embedded in this poem! As everyone has said, prophetic, and just I don’t even have the words anymore. Your words seems to burn in the absence of everything, their flare leaps and jumps, warning and directing such meaning. So amazing!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lol. It’s the cutest thing in the world when people think Trump is the fascist, in today’s world. I swear, I just wanna pinch the cheeks of every insignificant person who says that. They’ll look even cuter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As much as I appreciate your little foray into chauvinist factitiousness, sir, I must process that you missed the point of this piece entirely. It’s important that you learn not to judge art purely by its pallete nor books by their cover. The graffiti image was intentionally controversial. The poem itself is not a direct criticism of the little-dick umpalumpa-hue nepotist but rather a reflection on the rose colored glasses that so many wore leading into a difficult period of American history. It’s a criticism of myself on many levels, for believing in the fairytale of the American Dream. You are well within your rights to disagree with any and all sentiments expressed therein. But please reconsider entering an arena of conversation if you lack the intellectual faculties to do so respectfully and successfully. 😘

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree with you that the American Dream is indeed a fairytale. On my blog, you will find a near 1,000 romantic poems.

        I find it of importance to illustrate through each poem that I write, that love is not a fairytale, either. Some little Leftist who believes that a politician or some other “pretend caregiver” should be catering to each of his or her citizens, despite not knowing that politics is meant for the stone-cold, is weaker than shit.

        In the same way that the American Dream is a fairytale, so is love. It must be understood of love that it is a bumpy road, though many fools will believe it should be smooth sailing all the way through.

        Not even just to me, love is always a process of learning. It involves clear understanding of where one is going, despite the waves being fierce.

        Oh, and if you’re describing the hippies… yes, they are useless. Just rejects who lived for 2 decades while an empire was being built under their feet. They say that Rome wasn’t built in a single day. Though, I say, “It wasn’t built by procrastinators who smoke weed.”


  5. I’ll start over…

    There’s a saying I like, “Our worst nightmares haunt us where we feel safest. At home.”

    A utopia. Safety. Love. None of these realms hold anything besides remembrance, both of what we have, and of what we lack. Though, to that latter, there will always be something we are missing. However, it is only this way when such safety is never with the risk of being in someone’s arms.

    If you speak of an apocalypse, I’ll speak of utopia. If you speak of Hell, I’ll speak of Heaven. If you speak of hatred, I’ll speak of love. Those who commit to “safety” will believe in Hell, itself.

    I am not pessimistic, though this poem reflects dualities… somewhat. Like Victor Hugo wrote in Les Miserables, “Better an intelligent Hell, than a stupid paradise.”

    What people expect of Heaven to be pulled down from the sky upon Earth, will make Hell. Such will only be the missiles of Atom bombs that rain from such a realm, called “paradise”. It will be modern day Sodom and Gomorrah. Humans deserve a purge when they are wrapped in a politician’s arms.

    Human leadership is only meant to guide, until the next moment. It is not meant to halt humanity to a standstill, until we never realize what might come.

    For what might come, rains down from a place we said “does not exist”.


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