Friday, September 30, 2011


Warrior Writers Chicago is in week 3 of a 6-week residency at a local community art space called Mess Hall. The theme of this week's workshops is "indoctrination." During this workshop, facilitators ask veterans to reflect on their training in the military. What values did you learn to adopt? What changes did you undergo during training? What did you begin to believe that you hadn’t believed before training? How did your time away affect your life, family, community?

Here is mine:


We did jumping jacks until we called them side-straddle hops.
We walked with ruck sacks on our backs until we called it humping.
We accepted punishment until we called it discipline.
We shouted cries for death until we called it singing.
We fired guns until we called them weapons.
We shot at plastic people until we called them “enemy.”
We studied myths until we called them realities.
We trained to oppress populations until we called it liberating them.
We said awful things about stomping babies until we called them jokes.
We did the wrong things until we called them right.
We instilled and lived in fear until we called it love.
We called it all something else until we believed it.

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