Monday, April 23, 2007

Back in college,

In 1991
when the Gulf War
had just started
it was close to exam time for me &
I remember
I had this sociology final
& the class
was dead boring

I could barely drag my ass into the room

where the professor would drone away
all the football goons staring at our T.A.
a tall blond grad student I was afraid to talk to
but I used to go to class anyway
’cause there was this gorgeous and feisty girl
I was dating who was MAJORING in sociology
& she was the only thing that kept me there

I couldn’t study a bit

not even when the final came
I stayed up for two (maybe three) nights in a row
thinking about I dunno what
staring into space thinking


here’s spoiled notstudying me in college
& guys my age are gonna go DIE
in the desert & I’m gonna sit here
mooning myself & messing around with women


& when I had to take the final
on 2 days with no sleep
I fell asleep during the test
& dreamed I was in tan fatigues
a soldier in the Gulf
so I finished my stupid multiple choice test
took a bus downtown to the

Marine Recruiting Office

& asked to speak with a hangdog-jowled officer
who sat me down & said

“The Marines will teach you about life
and how to be a man
and take care of yourself!”

& I, in my frenzy
of insomniac lucidity
asked a billion questions
about every detail


what do you do eat
what do you do talk about with the other MEN
when the shooting and bombing is over for the day
& what is the pay like
& other stuff

after a while

the guy looked at me
sadfaced, beaten
(& beaten) said


in the end,
The Marines is just like any other 9 to 5 job...”

but I finished the thought
in my head with

“except you have to kill
and maybe get killed.”

So I shook hands & walked out as 2 young kids
in heavy metal T-shirts were standing in front of another grayfaced
officer taking the Marine Oath

and I went back to college
to sleep.

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