Early 1977. I was stationed at NAS Pensacola, Florida. (Yes, I was Air Force, but the technical training for my specialty for all services was provided by the Navy.) A Marine from New York, who just went by Brock and I never knew his full name, sometimes recited his poems to me as we sat over drinks at the enlisted club.Brock was fascinating, rebellious and creative and slightly insane, but also very much a Marine. When the Marines drilled on base, their leader would sing out the cadence in a way that sounded almost like yodelling. I used to nag Brock to yodel for me, when we walked back to the dorms, but he never would. For years…well, 27, to be exact…I remembered a bit of one of Brock’s poems. A waitress, saying wistfully, “I wish that I were beautiful…” And on impulse, I plugged what I could recall into google and discovered: Harry Chapin Lyrics :: A Better Place To Be. Brock didn’t write those poems he recited. And I don’t like the song.
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