I discovered a poem a few years ago, written by Dan Quisenberry. It’s a beautiful poem of baseball, entitled “Switch Hitter.” I related to it right away; albeit from a different perspective. I related to it from my experience in the Air Force.
Ever since I first read it I have wanted to “tweak it;” to bring it in line with my Air Force experience. However I have resisted as I haven’t wanted to “plagiarize” or disrespect Quisenberry’s work. Then I recalled comments from the ‘American Idol’ judges to certain contestants: “You took that song, and made it your own…” Ah, ha!
So, with a deep sense of respect and appreciation for Dan Quisenberry…
i miss strapping on the jet, so much
don’t miss it at all, a pain in the ass
i’ll miss the air force forever, an exotic mistress
burnt out, want nothing to do with it
it’s part of me, an extension of my very being
excise it, numbed, like i was never there
gave all of me to the squadron: head, heart, body, soul
gave nothing to it: nothing at all
the air force was clear, specific, focused
the air force was convoluted, political, consuming
learned so much
i yearn for the attention, leading a 4-ship across the field
it was all for show, empty stares with no passion
i want a patch that tells me who I belong to
they were all just silly logos of cats and darts and lightning
the engines scream; a song for my soul
i’m a mercenary who seeks serenity
i don’t need another word of it
i’m synonymous with it
i’ve seen enough, heard enough
i wonder if there’s an open jet today?