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So many people but still so lonely

So many people all lost in the flood

It used to be so distant

But I’m a part of it now

So many questions but so little answers

People just don’t know which way they’re going

It used to be a laughing matter

But I ain’t laughing now

The living conditions here, sometimes they get real tough

The food here is horrible and there’s never enough

The platoon sergeant’s axeman, he treats us real rough

This is the life I gotta lead now

Now I wasn’t born to be a fighter

I wasn’t cut out for that kind of work

But I had no choice in where I was going

Once a gunner, always a gunner! Why?!?

Now I wasn’t meant to fire a cannon

I wasn’t meant to shoot a gun

But I know I’ll walk out of here someday alive

And I’ll keep all the promises I made to you

I think of you near me as the nights get colder

I feel your fingers rubbing my sore shoulders

You’re such a sweetheart to this lonely soldier

What more could I ask for?

Oh baby be true, be true to me

A soldier boy needs all the love he can find

And I love you so much, and I need you so badly

Oh baby be true to me

Is this the way they teach us how to fight?

Is this the way they teach us to defend ourselves?

No, this is the way Sarge brings us to our knees

But one day soon he’ll be out of my life

Look at the bright side, they all say

But there ain’t no bright side to see today

My face is getting harder and my heart is getting worn

But before they know it, this boy’ll be gone

Life’s been good, I’m taking it real well

For someone that’s been hurt real bad by the system

But believe me when I tell you I’ll be crying on your shoulder

When I come home to you

You say the light is gone from my eyes when I come home for the weekend

And all that’s left is a dull glow

But by the time Sunday rolls around the sparkle is back

And one day soon it’ll be back for good

It doesn’t matter if I’m laughin’ or if I’m cryin’

‘Cause I can feel your heart beating next to mine

If I said I didn’t love you, you know I’d be lyin’

And you know I wouldn’t lie to you

Oh baby be true, be true to me

A soldier boy needs all the love he can find

And I love you so much, and I need you so badly

Oh baby be true to me

©2023 The Hesh Inc.

"Letter to His Girlfriend" - original AI art by The Hesh Inc.
His girlfriend reads the letter.

Basic training is an ordeal for any new army recruit, and so it was for me just like any other. Fortunately I had two means of staying sane throughout the nine weeks of basic: the first was my songwriting, and the second was my relationship with my girlfriend, who was "out there in the real world" while I was going through the meat grinder. Just the knowledge that she was out there gave me something to hold on to emotionally while I dealt with the grueling everyday reality of becoming a soldier.

I would go see her right away as soon as I would get off base on leave, even before going home. She came to my swearing-in ceremony at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, and once she even came up to Shavei Shomron, the civilian community that shared real estate with my base, for a weekend when I wasn't scheduled to go on leave. We'd also write each other, the old-fashioned way; being able to write her and vent my frustration was a real blessing, and receiving letters from her while I was on base was really a breath of fresh air and a message of hope that I would get through it all OK. She was really there for me at that difficult time in my life. Any soldier who has such a relationship is truly fortunate.

Musically, the song borrows a bit from Southside Johnny's "Take It Inside." Once I was out of the army and back in the US, I attempted to teach it to the band I had formed once I moved to the Jersey Shore, but somehow it never quite went the way I wanted it to and I dropped it from the list. However, a number of years later I repurposed the music, with new lyrics, for "Ellie's Song"—a song I wrote for my younger daughter. If I ever get around to recording my army songs, this, the original version, will definitely be included in the track list.

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