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DISCHARGING
Back from Islands Group, posted
to No. 1 Port Depot pending
disembarkation leave and/or discharge,
not allowed off station until medically
checked out, along with foreign currencies.
The usual questionnaire, Have you ever
suffered from epilepsy, concussion, nocturnal
enuresis, to all (48 items) of which
you answered No. The 48th asked about
venereal disease. Orderlies took the form,
struck out the last No, then wrote in Denied.
A jar to piddle in, a compact cardboard box.
That was for crapping into just in case
you carried hookworm or the like
prohibited imports. Produce, or else.
It didn’t pay to trade with blokes in strife.
Freud wrote of little kids offering mums
their love gift, somewhere else
linked constipation to accreting capital,
retentiveness to building interest rates?
Exchange, exchange:
I gave the Air force my small crate of shit.
They won out on the deal. They gave me
what I thought was my discharge,
found later wasn’t so,
only another posting, to Reserve Class C.
My little cardboard box not good for much,
scraped out, used up, might yet be used again.
J Force. Malaya, and Korea. I lived at risk.
I’m still at risk. I haven’t been discharged.
U2, and Cuba. working up to Star Wars,
so much shit, you might as well be ash.
                                                                      20. 8. 85
Editor's note
Discharging : first publication; further details of KS’ war experience; J Force. Malaya, and Korea : Japan, Malaya and Korea were places New Zealand troops were sent in 1950s; U2, and Cuba incidents which strained American/Russian relations during the Cold War; the U2 incident involved a spy plane shot down by the Russians in 1960; Star Wars: refers not to the film but to the way the new inventions of the space programme led to developments in modern weapons
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