Today’s sonnet is kind of ridiculous for one big reason: it’s about a video game. Specifically Fallout 4, which is why I’m publishing it now: since Fallout 76 was announced last week, now is as good a time as any to publish this poem.
This was written as part of the November 2016 Poem a Day challenge. The prompt was “phobia.” It was two days before the Presidential election. The next day I was leaving for Boston for a conference. I had spent at least a month at that point exploring the ruined, irradiated wastes of Boston in Fallout 4, and given the volatility of that election cycle, I was NOT looking forward to being in a city with a political history. If Hillary won, I figured I’d probably be okay; Boston would have more partying in the streets than riots. If Trump won, which was still at that point unthinkable, well, who knows what would happen. Add to that images of bombed-out historical sites flooding my mind, and, well, out came this poem.
In the end, things turned out okay, at least in terms of my physical safety. Wednesday night, after the election, my colleagues and I dined on oysters and listened to sirens heading toward the Boston Commons a few blocks away. On Friday morning the Commons was still littered with “Still with her” signs and other political debris. But no bombs fell in Boston, and I was able to return home to enjoy my dystopian video game once more.
Originally written November 6, 2018
“Crawl out through the fallout” starts the song.
A post-apocalyptic wasteland needs a theme
A brutal lyric for a life not long
A chorus for a world with broken seams,
Where supermutants clash with feral ghouls
And people mistake Fenway for a town
And bullets are more precious than fine jewels
And Bunker Hill’s again a battleground.
It’s just a game, of course. I know this well
But it is set in Boston, where I’ll be.
It should be safe, but you can never tell
Just what sort of exciting history
Will be made on the eighth, or the way
The world will turn on this election day.
Note: today’s photo comes from Fallout 4. Please don’t sue.