by Gil Fagiani
First time home since I enter P.M.C:
Mess Hall grease oozes out of my skin
creating a mountain chain of zits,
my hair is sheared down to my skull
like I had psycho-surgery,
and I've switched
from puffing a pack of Luckies a day
to two packs of Pall Malls.
Nobody's in the neighborhood.
my best buddy's already at war,
on sick leave in `Nam,
shot in the hand
at the Bay of Saigon
while painting the side of his boat.
I'm so tired from pre-dawn drills
and midnight push-up parties
that I sleep twelve hours a day.
My aunts resent me after
I refuse to be photographed in uniform.
I visit my ex-girlfriend in Danbury
who sings a duet with her fiancée
while he plays the piano
in front of her father and mother
who toast the smiling couple
with glasses of peppermint schnapps
while I hide in a cloud of cigarette smoke.
At night I go to a bar in Brewster
chasing shots of Henessey with ale
until carried out the side door
like a sack of empty beer bottles.
I heave myself through hedges
trip over tree roots
and pass out on Route 51
my legs straight and my arms out
roused by two uniformed cops
kicking me into consciousness.