Catfish McDaris


Soldier Blues


In the army it was all hurry up and wait

Wait ten meters apart from the next soldier

in the chow line or for the latrine so your

enemy would have a harder target to kill


Waiting for ammo for your weapon

for mail call

for your measly paycheck

on a three day pass


Waiting for your monthly cigarette and liquor rations

in formation to be inspected like livestock

for the guard duty list to be posted

for stripes


Waiting to call home and hoping your lover hasn’t

taken up with your best friend

Waiting for your nightmares of death to subside

Waiting for reentry back to the world

Praying for a job and not having to live under a bridge.

Catfish McDaris won the Thelonius Monk Award in 2015. He has recently been translated into Mandarin, French, Polish, Swedish, Arabic, Bengali, Spanish, Yoruba, Tagalog, and Esperanto. His 25 years of published material is in the Special Archives Collection at Marquette Univ. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Catfish is listed in Wikipedia. His ancestors are from the Aniwaya Clan of the Cherokee Nation and from County Cork, Ireland. He lives near

Milwaukee, Wisconsin.