Zero Week




Zero Week of Basic Training,

a week that doesn’t exist.

An extra week tacked on afore;

I asked once,  was told,  “don’t exist.”


One extra week to justify staples,

hardware, software, and “stuff.”


And the boys of the club, they’re barely adults –

Poseurs that still dream as children.


Like Ricky Thorne, who sees himself standing,

when the 10 weeks of training are up;

he’s at the front door of his home,

in somewhere, California.


Outside the house, it’s raining and stormy,

and he’s wearing his paraphernalia:

It’s the kind they assign to all of the troops,

the Class As  they issue in the army.


And he walks up and knocks

on the door of the house,

the house that belongs to his mother.


But I’ve seen this before!

in some black and white movie,

and the Victor Mature is the actor.



the mind of immature.

And besides, it won’t rain in California.





And then as the night falls,

out come the cat calls,

and the sounds of mischievous prattle.


A pillow fight breaks out

from a penchant for battle.

It’s the machismos clout

that marks a man’s mettle,

as it has ever since they were little.


And the screams and the yells,

and the peels of high laughter,

bring out the Drill Corporal

to check on the matter.


The lights flick on, and the doors fly open.

Only feathers are seen floating after.


    “Knock it OFF, Recruits!

    Get back to Bed!  

    Stop acting as if you were Children!”


He flips off the lights,

but leaves the door open.

His footfall is all

that is heard in the thrall.

It’s the wake of the Drill Corporal.





And there falls a silence – 

a heavy loud lull!


Then Bob Diaz of El Paso

lets loose a great yell:


    “Drill Corporal!

    Front and Center!

    When an Enlisted Man calls,

    You Jump!”


Then it falls into Hush!

as the sentry re-enters.

And all that was heard 

was the ‘Thump!’


of the whump of Bob Diaz,

in Zero Week, Basic –

  All of which

    never happened

      at all.







Revised 2 May 2013

©2013, Marvin Loyd Welborn


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