My Words

Understanding the World through words

Tag: Boot Camp

Some Leave Home

Some leave home
for the first time
young, bright,
full of hope.

On that final bus ride
the path is unclear.

The yelling starts, accentuated
with haircuts that
shed nonconformity;

then
everything that reminds
us of ourselves is neatly
sealed in a box.

We’re issued government
clothing, given
government food and sleep
on government cots.

We are trained to act
like a unit, trained
to march in cadence,
trained to shoot straight.

Somewhere down the line,
we all start to feel
pride. All the pull-ups,
all the sweat, begins to
make a difference in
our stride.

By graduation day we
look sharp,
spit polished;

we’re ready
to take on the
world.

Off we go to our
destinations…

In the end—

some will
never make it
back home.

That final bus ride
remains unclear.

The Iwo Jima I Never Knew

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To the Iwo Jima I
never knew:

Standing guard
somewhere in
southern
California,

Holding my
rifle at
right shoulder
arms.

Two weeks into
boot camp
and I want to
run.

That busy highway
I saw from afar,
As I was checking
my perimeter,
I knew it led to
my backyard.

With spit-shined
boots my head
was ajar with
inconsolable
thoughts.

Wherever,
this journey
took me in camo
utilities, I made
an oath to see it
through.

I shot expert,
learned
to control
my fears.

Eventually,
I learned to be
a meritorious
Marine.

when I see
those tired
men raising
our colors
on that
God forsaken
Pacific Island,

with polish
gone from
their boots and
their spit-shine
drawn
with blood.

I knew they
didn’t run.

Their highways
led to different
fates and
unlike me, many
never
returned
home.