Interview With Sgt. Davis, Kabul, 2012
“Am I sorry I enlisted? Hmm…”
The reporter waits as the sergeant takes
one long draw on a Lucky. She
exhales her answer in a cloud:
“At first, yeah. I mean, you’re
surrounded by big ole boo-rah boys,
they’re staring at your boobs. Little
whispers, lick their lips, high school shit.
“Faces like little boys opening
Christmas presents: “This one
is MINE!” Like I’m a thing, like
that chess piece? A pawn.
“Then the testosterone starts: A
shove at my shoulder, telling me
I don’t belong here. And that was
in Boot, in the States, you hear me?”
Sgt. Davis falls silent and takes
another drag. “I remember the
final attempt to break my pride.
Three against one: the showers.
“Taking turns, daring me to scream,
saying ‘Call your mama, little girl,’
and I don’t tell the sarge, ‘cause if
I do, they’re gonna do it again.
“Tried to bust me, but they were wrong.
My grandma raised me, she used to say
God only makes beauty; it’s people
make their own selves ugly.
“She’s in my dreams. We’ll be rocking
on the front porch, sipping coffee.”
Pause. A sip of bitter brown hot.
“Here’s the thing. I know they finally
figured out I got as much fire in the belly
as any of them punkass boys. Now I’m
their sergeant. They do what I say, and
women in my unit are safe, protected.
“Well, time to fire up my unit. We’re
outta here at oh-two-hundred, night raids.
One thing… I’m proud to serve, but what
we’re serving up here is bullshit, you hear?
“Write it down: BULL. SHIT. Women’s
life here, worse that anything I ever saw
back home, and we’re doing nothing that
won’t go back to the old ways.
“Nice talkin’ to ya.” She grins and extends
a knuckle-bruised, weathered hand. “Time to
kick some ass in the name of democracy and
Burger King, keep burqas off the women for a while.”
© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Sunday Whirl gave us a baker’s dozen. See the Wordle HERE and check out other poets! Also on the sidebar at my port in any storm, Poets United. PEACE, Amy
November 20, 2012 at 1:22 am
The ultimate in Wordle poems: I didn’t realise it was the Wordle until the end. You are so right about nothing useful being served by all those lives lost.
November 20, 2012 at 3:32 am
I’m with Viv on this one. I had no idea this was a Wordle until the end. Great write, Amy!
November 20, 2012 at 3:47 am
Clearly the problem is that once the troops are withdrawn any improvements that were made in the country will fast disappear. Our purpose there is not to bring democracy and equal rights, or to end opium growing, it is solely to dissuade the militant extremists from attacking our own countries in the future. We cannot make people love us, to them we are in the wrong. With regard to sexual abuse, that is definitely our problem.
November 20, 2012 at 3:51 am
excellent is all I can say
November 20, 2012 at 4:52 am
There’s a “guy” mentality, almost a “good old boy” regardless of geography, that I’ve NEVER understood, obviously stronger in the military. Yes, well stated (unfortunately) as usual, Amy.
November 20, 2012 at 9:33 am
Holy Cow! Amelita you never cease to amaze me. This timely and I fear all too true. The wordle words cleverly disguised in this, I agree with Viv and Misky. On a side note, I am heartsick over Gaza and Israel, all of those innocent women and children. The madness is escalating, when will it stop.
Sherry Blue Sky
November 20, 2012 at 10:09 am
Amy, this is BRILLIANT. I can see her. I wish they would put her, saying these words, on the six oclock news all over the world. Sigh. Is there any way to do that? Brilliant, kiddo. Says it all.
November 20, 2012 at 12:56 pm
i love her attitude and the snark at the end was perfect.
November 20, 2012 at 3:50 pm
You could have been talking to my niece. She was in Kabul. But she doesn’t smoke – not that I know of anyway. Everything imagined or real in that interview is true. I still can’t figure out how since women out number men, how ‘they’ got to be in charge. I like the sentence where you describe that people make their own ‘ugly’.
Thanks for visiting my combined short forms contribution for the Whirl.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
November 20, 2012 at 6:31 pm
Oh, Amy. Superb job. Superb. Thank you for writing it,
November 20, 2012 at 8:59 pm
Amy, this is STUNNING. Powerful and poignant and perfect. So.Well.Done.
November 20, 2012 at 9:12 pm
dang amy…she is a strong woman, that tells it like it is…dont ask the questions if you dont want the answer…ugh…and don’t tell cause they will do it again…nothing useful in lives lost…truth…
November 20, 2012 at 10:12 pm
Kick ass good, my sistah. That’s the side the recruiting ads don’t show. Wonderful poem, as always. love, Mosky
November 20, 2012 at 11:23 pm
Wow Amy, I felt this like a kick in the gut… this is great, amazing, powerful…. you are one very talented writer… I am in awe.
November 21, 2012 at 12:56 am
pretty neat, love the character shown here and the use of an interview format is really cool
November 21, 2012 at 1:05 am
I am amazed at how the dialogue carries the poem, tells the story and then how it is so revealing. I’m choking on the smoke. 😉
November 21, 2012 at 7:40 am
Strong write, Amy. Women were targeted this year in the election. I felt a punch to my soul. I love “she exhales her answer in a cloud,” and then her answer. Thanks for giving her voice, and for bringing dreams of her grandmother into the piece.
November 21, 2012 at 9:32 am
I like the interview format very much here, and the way it develops the theme so personally and rationally. Not to mention the impact of the feel of unvarnished truth.
November 21, 2012 at 10:01 am
Good to use the poet’s tool to tell a hard truith. She tells it like it is but I still can’t help wishing they were prosecuted.
November 21, 2012 at 11:51 am
A gut-level, down to earth write, Amy! Calling it just like it is. And it sometimes ain’t pretty.
November 22, 2012 at 6:32 am
Amazing write Amy of what is.
November 22, 2012 at 9:49 am
scary, true, and another one out of the park for you. jeez…how do you keep going back in there to drag it out? I’d have killed someone by now…♥
November 22, 2012 at 10:19 pm
this FEELS like a live interview! i have been increasingly depressed over the conditions women and girls are subjected to around the world and i’m sure you’re right ~ once our troops have left the area, women will be as restricted as they ever were.
powerful write, Amy!
November 24, 2012 at 12:47 am
That’s the real story? Gosh, this is one fighting spirited lady that can give those rowdies a hell of a time! Yes, Women would have to fight back to be respected or they get thumbed and bullied! Nicely Amy!
January 18, 2013 at 1:34 am
Thanks for showing me this poem, Amy. I’ve worked with service people and heard stories too. This is some write. Well done.