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Poetry

DRAFT INDUCTION DAY, 1969

Howard Faerstein

Because I had no plan to run for President
& was not yet a felon
I walked into Fort Hamilton armed
with drugs & a therapist's letter.
Ed was there, scratching his thighs furiously,
blood pooling beneath the legs of the stool
& I watched Johnny strip down,
peanut butter spread about his cheeks,
even in the valley of his hole. 

I failed the physical's every test
& by the end how exhausted I was
by the boys waiting to kill, longing to die,
gathered around to copy my answers even as I told them
every one was wrong.
 
Then the news I was "fit as a fiddle"
but had to return next morning to see the shrink.
Nothing of what I recounted made a bit of difference--
homo, junkie, opposed to the imperial conflict--
but when I explained how I cured myself of syphillis
while living in a California commune
by cutting the tip of my penis into four symmetrical parts 
he hesitated then said It's against my better judgement but I'm giving you
I leaped off the chair in great joy,
grabbing the paper,
            a 4F
& headed for the discharge desk where I was jeered & scowled at
& hand-in-hand with Johnny
I skipped out on the pavement of Shore Parkway,
scows plying the Narrows,
carriers taking the boys from Sunset Park & Bed-Stuy
to Chu Lai, to Hua Ky.

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