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Long Before I Had Joined The Military
(February/'47 / Connecticut, USA)

Long Before I Had Joined The Military

Poem By Lawrence S. Pertillar

It was nearing the end of boot camp.
Eight weeks of basic training was nearing an end,
And my training instructor called me out of the ranks...
To say this to me,
'Horse'...a nickname he had given to me.
His name was Sargeant Russell.

Sgt Russell said to me,
'Horse, every time I've asked you to do ten laps,
You would do one more.
When I ask you to do thirty push ups,
You do thirty five.
And when your bunk is perfectly made,
After I've bounced a quarter on it...
To then rip the bed apart to shout, 'Do-it-again'
You do...
As if nothing at all is bothering you.
You want me to take you for granted!
Don't you?
You want me to believe you are a fool.
I am wise to you.
Now shut up and file your ass back in line! '

Oh...
I had not said one word.
The guys listening had expected me to.
I was all of eighteen then.
And the only thing that was on my mind,
Was to pass basic training.
Those who didn't...
Went A.W.O.L....away without leave.
I wasn't about to go anywhere.

And to this day,
I think about those comments made,
By Sgt Russell.
'You want me to take you for granted.
You want me to think you are a fool,
Don't you? '

And I thought as I still do...
He knew me too well.
He knew if he demanded I'd wear stilettos shoes,
Adorned with a red dress and a blond wig...
I would still be a better man than he thought I was.

You see...
My mama was my very first drill instructor.
Sgt Russell hadn't had the opportunity to meet her,
To know how prepared I was...
Long before I joined the military.
And I was proud to be a 'mama's boy'.

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