First Day


of Zero Week, before we got Basic Training,

they woke us early – much too much early,

for teenaged boys unused to the AM,

at five o’clock in the morning.


That was the time – Intolerable Time! –

teenaged boys were conditioned

to ending their day in a slow recline;

but now, topsy turvey’s beginning.


Awake to a breakfast – the worst of its kind;

one that your Mom wouldn’t serve

to the least of her enemy that she could find.

But that’s where the taxpayer’s

dollars all go.


Then, back up to Quarters to make up the beds,

which should have been done first thing, instead,

or so, that Drill Corporal said.


Distracted by racket we heard from outside,

eveyone glean to the window side.

Dumplin’s or something in green gunny sacks

trying to walk in straight lines, attacked

by giant green meanies in Smokie Bear hats,

screaming and yelling at every sad sack.


No terms of endearment nor kindness we hear,

but verbal lacerations, from Smokie the Bear.


  Oh Mother!  Dear Mother

  Where art thou now?

  Yer boy’s in the Hell Hole

  But wants to git out!


“Roll Out!   Let’s Go!  

Fall out to the Front!

I want four rows of Shitheads.

So Break Out the Lead!”


We fall into lines, the best that we can,

for the Drill Corporal – no Smokie Bear, yet.

He yells at a few, as he’s walking past:


“How would you like a size Seven up your Ass?”


And deep from the back, back in the back,

comes the retort, quickoff, slight of hand,

from some red-haired fella who looks like

Yosemite Sam:


“ ‘n how’d you like a size eight, up’n yor’n?”


A silence befell us, which loomed to a pall.

We waited so patiently, for the next boot

to fall.




©2013, Marvin Loyd Welborn

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