12.2.05

Brain-washing a Poet To Become a United States Marine

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...Most didn’t know what a "rank" was. I sort of took my time because I was waiting for God to strike these poets of blasphemy down, but God didn’t bother. Instead, I was hit hard on the head by a pith helmet that belonged to Corporal Baker, as he yelled: "Move your goddamn mother-fucking ass, shitbird!"

The DIs arranged us in four lines according to height. Since I was only five feet, seven inches tall, a "feather merchant" in Marine Corps parlance, I ended up second from the end in the third rank.

"Tens-hut!" bellowed the corporal.

In five minutes I heard more profanity than I had heard in my entire life, and God did nothing about it! I was a Sunday school boy who had stumbled into hell!


"Platoon of fucking ducks," the sergeant roared. "Forward, march!"
We duck-walked until we came to rows of Quonset huts.
"Ducks, sound off!" the sergeant yelled.
"Quack! You fucking shitbirds," the corporal drawled. "Quack!"
Our quacking resounded against the corrugated metal of the Quonset huts. I wondered what hell I had gotten myself into, especially since the Marine Corps looked on individualism with disdain. I was one stubborn sonofabitch who would just have to learn to play their game. Since I always smiled at the wrong time, it was going to be interesting...

William White ~Brain-washing a Poet To Become a United States Marine, from: the Arkansas Literary Forum

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