SEAL’s tell-all haiku wins ship’s poetry slam
SEAL Team 5-7-5 fights to victory
SEAL candidates recite US poet Laureate Ada Limon’s “The Endlessness”.
NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY, BAHRAIN - A SEAL squad member embarked upon the USS Lake Erie (CG 70) won accolades and raised eyebrows with a poem that both tugs at human heartstrings and possibly discloses national security information.
As part of the Aegis cruiser’s first “Siegfried Sassoon Poetry Slam,” Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Zohar Perez of the ship’s SEAL anti-piracy squad took first place among several entries for his haiku:
“Darkest of deserts
The order came from the Prez
Tears streak my camp”
“It chokes you up,” said Commander Mickey Jervis, commanding officer of the Lake Erie. “The imagery is powerful, poignant and he dimed-out the entire chain of command up to the President in three lines.”
Security officials view the poem through a more critical lens. A 5th Fleet security manager stated that any description of sensitive operations needs proper clearance, “even if it is incredible, eye-watering, snot-blowing prose.”
Cdr. Jervis is elated with the poetry slam's success, despite any nationally embarrassing security issues.
“We had solid entries from every division on the ship and judging was tough,” Jervis said. As an example, he offered the second place entry, “Autumn of a Surface Warfare Officer,” from Lt. Chelsea Glover:
I don't sleep, ever
My life is eternal hell
And also ship stuff
“The exhaustion there, the isolation, fear of collisions, you can just feel it,” Jervis said, holding up his hands and snapping his fingers.
Jervis explained that the idea for the event occurred to him after hearing how Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama complimented aircraft carrier crews for finding time in their hectic, overworked days to recite poetry.
“That’s typical of the carrier mafia getting all the Congressional attention,” Jervis said. “I was not about to let other ships reap all those kudos. They already get the big budgets and movies.” Jervis decided to hold a poetry competition to “grab some of that senatorial spotlight and prove we can be as woke as any carrier.”
“Hell yeah,” echoed slam-winner CPO Perez, “SEALs will be woke as fuck if that’s what it takes for self-promotion in today’s world. Watch and learn, assholes.”
Perez added, “Writing and performing that haiku allowed me to deal with repressed feelings from operations. I feel better now.” Perez said that on the night after the poetry slam, his SEAL squad conducted a successful anti-piracy operation “because we were in a good place emotionally and spiritually, you know?”
Jervis notes that soon after the announcement of the poetry slam, the Lake Erie crew’s efficiency and morale took a remarkable upward turn.
Based on the success of the poetry slam, Jervis intends to schedule more artistic outlets to continue increasing ship efficiency.
He also plans to invite Senator Tuberville to visit the Lake Erie. “We may need to get original with planning woke activities, so we’d love the benefit of Tuberville’s military experience to know how they interact with military readiness and operations.”
Gray Sea Liu contributed to this inspirational report
Bull Winkle is a graduate of the Vidal Sassoon School of Poetry