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Training Loss

Mehmet UCA

His name was Hasan,
He was from Pazarcik, Maras,
One hot and humid summer day,
His Dad got a telegram,
Your son is dead. Come and get him.

Just three weeks ago they had sent him with zurnas and drums,
Like all Hasans, and Huseyins, and Ali's
From that village
are sent to do their
country duty.

It is a tradition.
Boys do their military service, and only then they become man.
Only then their word is listened to.

His name was Hasan,
I met him when I was fifteen,

He was almost
too happy
    Singing songs with no end.
Eyes slight cross, but dark like a charcoal.
Almost like a loner, with a very warm heart to every one,
And great fear or respect to the system,

He did not play the Saz, like most of his villagers did,
But sang, and sang and sang all the time.

Older kids were rough on him.
Made fun most of the time,

The rumor was that he was married and had two kids.
In our high school, see,
this was unheard of, and illegal,

His name was Hasan,
He was grade school teacher
when he joined the army,
to do his
country duty,

He was spent during military training.

His was only three months
short duration,
and two years of teaching in a remote village

He never liked Gym. He could not run;
We did not know that he had hernia,

One very hot
summer day, he was forced to run, and run
And run,

Until he fell and could never stand again,

Drill sergeants were jealous of him.

He was there, for a short three months,
And they for twenty,

And were wondering, if a person of his belief,
should get by so easily.

They knew he couldn't run.
Maybe was just faking the hernia,

Was it? Worth the torture, or the fun,
To endanger Hasan's life,

But wait a minute,
Was he a human being like you and I,
if he had different beliefs,
"Or wasn't it really worth,
to teach him a lesson?
A big one maybe,
He may even see the truth and convert,
Order him to run."

One hot summer day, his Dad got the telegram,

Your son is dead. Come and get him.

The report said,
he told the neighbors
"training loss"

His wife and kids, while waiting to go to another village,
And be with him, for many years to come,

waited to get his body.

Hasan was dead.


"training loss"

© Mehmet N. Uca, March 1st, 2002, New York

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