Barracks Night

Jackie’s dresser kisses

the injured door

dented the night before

as stoned young stallions

strut the carpeted hall

like a fashion show runway

they pound on walls

beg shout and

sing Van Halen’s

everybody want some

everybody want some

I want some too

through the night

they wait in the latrine

and the ladies piss in a jar

Most women know what a wink, a whistle, or a lean-into at a bar means. My experience in the U.S. military in the 1980s was that little flirts carried more powerful innuendos. It was not like a subordinate could slap a pilot in uniform who grabbed their ass like a market melon as he walked along the bar. And surely her husband sitting next to her was not going to punch the officer out either. If he did, the husband would be the one in trouble, not the strutting captain. Plus, there is the game of unspoken payback.

Military-style video games intentionally touch emotional buttons in young people, especially males, and sell warfare. Players go into a fantasy world of saving the day, falling in love with the damsel in distress, and obtaining sexual rewards — booty. That is the essence of “Barracks Night.” The drunk airmen expect the insinuated messaging from other men and society, and believe women in the military are there to “service” and “reward” them for saving the world.

Chante Wolf (she/her) served 12 years active duty and 2 years inactive reserves in the U.S. Air Force. Her service includes deployment to Saudi Arabia for Desert Shield/Storm in 1991. Her war journal was published in The Veterans Book Project: Objects for Deployment.

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