"Blood Stripes": Poetry by an Enlisted Marine Corps Human Intelligence Operative in Iraq and Afghanistan. With a Q/A On The Military (Marine Corps) Experience in Academia and/or Writing & Publishing as Adjunct, Part Time, or Contingent Faculty
My creative work arises from my time enlisted in the US Marine Corps as an Arabic Translator and Interrogator from 2004-2008. The project tells a different story than Brian Turner’s (Here Bullet) or Phil Klay’s (Redeployment). This is, largely, because both these gentlemen were officers, commanders of force elements, and though they did serve on the front lines, their lives were not spent kicking doors open and clearing houses like the grunts I knew and served with. The project’s scope is to present an unsimplified, unbleached poetic account of the Iraq war, certain combat experiences, and the dull winnowing of the 99% of the time spent not in combat. It seeks to offer the complicated reality of combat experiences as opposed to the sanitized narratives in Turner and to some extent Klay. It seeks to capture the affective intensity of daily operations in the Iraqi War—for the first time from an enlisted marine’s perspective— and creates the impression of the experience that still lingers with me: It is both the best, worst experience once can have in life and is also the worst, good experience of one can endure.
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