Poem: Recruit

By: Gary Beck


I considered the army
to escape the confines
of a ravaged city,
cowering in despair
from loss of industry.
My hope for a good job
evaporated quickly
and I was sick of listening
to the old guys reminisce
about how it used to be.

So I enlisted,
got through my training
without too much trouble,
though I never got used
to being yelled at,
then deployed to Iraq,
excited and afraid
of going into combat.
I got the shock of my life
when they called me ‘newbie’.

I tried to talk to the sarge,
but he said: “shut the eff up.”
I made a mistake and sulked,
so he gave me shit details
’til I learned to keep quiet.
My squad mates noticed the change
and taught me how to soldier.
We risked our lives every day
then went back to out tents
wondering every night
why no one at home seemed to care
that we were at war.


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