These are the landscapes of abandonment:
towns and roadways shattered, office blocks
reduced to rubble, a few rusting hulks
in memoriam industry: a smelting plant,
a derrick half-melted by the atomic blast,
twisted remnants of trucks jackknifed
on desert roads. Fuck all’s survived
that justifies itself. The sky’s overcast
and everything has the pallor of ash
or graveyard dirt. Currency is whatever
can be eaten, drank or bartered.
Books, music, film: things of the past.
There’s only this: the buzz-rip of a chainsaw,
the scream of an engine revved too hard,
the metallic snick of a cartridge
racked into a pump-action shotgun. Law
in this bone-dry hinterland is determined
by who has the most ammo, or access
to fuel. Because nothing says post-apocalypse –
nothing presents a more unifying thread
in these kind of films – than the notion
that petroleum is still available, that
oil is to be had, and precision turned parts
just lie around as if an automotive ocean
had discharged the flotsam of quad-bike/
dune-buggy hybrids decked out with
the accoutrements of the gun-ship
or armoured car. This is what the future’s like:
a closed-down, half-demolished industrial estate
repurposed as arena. Chose your weapon:
crowbar, wrench, knife, length of chain, gun.
Tonight’s entertainment: oil, blood and hate.
Neil Fulwood was born in Nottingham, where he still lives and works. He has two poetry collections with Shoestring Press: No Avoiding It and Can’t Take Me Anywhere. He also co-edited the Alan Sillitoe tribute volume, More Raw Material.
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