Survival Tips for the Pending Apocalypse by Shawn Pavey








Know this: you can survive
on a diet of red beans and rice indefinitely.
Just stock the basement with cases of Texas
Pete Hot Sauce. Plant cabbage and carrots now
for cole slaw because you can’t descend
into full-blown goddamned savagery just yet.
Let some of that garden go to seed and store it all
in a cool, dry space for next year. Load up the larder
with as much white vinegar, vegetable oil,
and black peppercorns as it can hold
because you just can’t trust mayonnaise.
You can crack a peppercorn with a hammer
if the peppermill gives out. Oh.
Stock up on hammers.

Acquire a rooster and some hens
for the back yard and fence that fucker off
high and tight. Don’t be cheap with
the razor wire, which can be found at any
black site CIA prison or bad neighborhood
title loan shop for next to nothing. Chicken
is good, man, even when the rest of the world ain’t.

Lay in as much cracked corn animal feed
as you can find because chickens got to eat, too,
but save some for yourself.
In a pinch, you can boil and eat that, too.

Stock up on ten penny nails and hundred-dollar bourbon:
nails to fix the shit you know will break
and bourbon to fix the shit you can’t.

Get used to drinking hundred-dollar bourbon.



Shawn Pavey has delivered newspapers, mowed lawns, bagged groceries, cut meat, laid sewer pipe, bussed tables, washed dishes, roofed houses, crunched numbers, rented cars, worked in hotels, worn an apron at Kinko’s, and been paid to write everything from résumés to music reviews. Currently, he earns a living as a Technical Recruiter in Mission, KS where he lives with his fiancée and three worthless but adorable cats. He is the author of Talking to Shadows (2008, Main Street Rag Press) and Nobody Steals the Towels From a Motel 6 (2015, Spartan Press), Co-founder and former Associate Editor of The Main Street Rag Literary Journal, and a former board member and officer of The Writers Place, a Kansas City-based literary non-profit. His poems, essays, and journalism appear in a variety of national and regional publications. He’s hosted poetry readings in bars, coffee shops, haunted houses, bookstores, libraries, front porches, seedy motel rooms, and abandoned warehouses. A graduate of the University of North Carolina’s Undergraduate Honors Creative Writing Program, he likes his Tom Waits loud, his bourbon single barrel, and his basketball Carolina Blue.


6 Responses to “Survival Tips for the Pending Apocalypse by Shawn Pavey”

  1. donalmahoney1 Says:

    Quite a poem because not only is it well written it applies to the world and the United States today politically, spiritually and materially whatever one’s point of view. A frightening time.

  2. John Jacob Dinkleheimerschmidtski, aka Richard Ellison Says:

    Bourbon does fix all that other things can’t fix….Especially an a post apocalyptic time.

  3. priscampbell Says:

    I like this much!

  4. I have a hard time drinking a whole barrel by myself.

  5. So well said, though I’ll be stocking my wine cellar.

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