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Operation Memory Analysis

Author: poem of David Lehman Type: poem Views: 4

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We were smoking some of this knockout weed when

Operation Memory was announced. To his separate bed

Each soldier went, counting backwards from a hundred

With a needle in his arm. And there I was, in the middle

Of a recession, in the middle of a strange city, between jobs

And apartments and wives. Nobody told me the gun was loaded.

We'd been drinking since early afternoon. I was loaded.

The doctor made me recite my name, rank, and serial number when

I woke up, sweating, in my civvies. All my friends had jobs

As professional liars, and most had partners who were good in bed.

What did I have? Just this feeling of always being in the middle

Of things, and the luck of looking younger than fifty.

At dawn I returned to draft headquarters. I was eighteen

And counting backwards. The interviewer asked one loaded

Question after another, such as why I often read the middle

Of novels, ignoring their beginnings and their ends. when

Had I decided to volunteer for intelligence work? "In bed

With a broad," I answered, with locker-room bravado. The truth was, jobs

Were scarce, and working on Operation Memory was better than no job

At all. Unamused, the judge looked at his watch. It was 1970

By the time he spoke. Recommending clemency, he ordered me to go to bed

At noon and practice my disappearing act. Someone must have loaded

The harmless gun on the wall in Act I when

I was asleep. And there I was, without an alibi, in the middle

Of a journey down nameless, snow-covered streets, in the middle

Of a mystery--or a muddle. These were the jobs

That saved men's souls, or so I was told, but when

The orphans assembled for their annual reunion, ten

Years later, on the playing fields of Eton, each unloaded

A kit bag full of troubles, and smiled bravely, and went to bed.

Thanks to Operation Memory, each of us woke up in a different bed

Or coffin, with a different partner beside him, in the middle

Of a war that had never been declared. No one had time to load

His weapon or see to any of the dozen essential jobs

Preceding combat duty. And there I was, dodging bullets, merely one

In a million whose lucky number had come up. When

It happened, I was asleep in bed, and when I woke up,

It was over: I was 38, on the brink of middle age,

A succession of stupid jobs behind me, a loaded gun on my lap.


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I guess that to receive the personal loans from banks you must present a good motivation. Nevertheless, one time I have received a bank loan, just because I wanted to buy a bike.

| Posted on 2012-01-01 | by a guest

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