My Words

Understanding the World through words

Aloha Shirt—fashion with a Utiliatarian disposition.

Nothing says, “free spirited, rest easy, and relaxation like a 100% RAYON aloha shirt.”
Yea, we all know that Aloha Shirts get a bad rap from millennial ran rant fashion bloggers. They wouldn’t know a good time or a classy shirt, if it bit them in the ass!
Aloha Shirts are not just for that 50’s guy having existential youth problems, though it’s ok if you are. Do a Google search “Aloha Shirt Fashion” and you’ll see that the quintessential feel good shirt is making a serious fashion comeback.

Listen, Montgomery Cliff, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, and Al Pacino all rocked an Aloha Shirt; and if these American icons of manhood wore them, then why shouldn’t I?

Here’s a little Aloha shirt history taken from Hawaianshirtdude.com

“After World War II, many servicemen returned to the United States from Asia and the Pacific islands with aloha shirts that had been made in Hawaii since the 1930s. Tourists began flocking to Hawaii in the 1950s as faster airplanes allowed for easier travel and the former U.S. territory became a state in 1959. Alfred Shaheen, a textile manufacturer, revolutionized the garment industry in postwar Hawaii by designing, printing and producing aloha shirts and other ready-to-wear items under one roof. The tropical-print shirts for men and sundresses for women became standard and sometimes tacky souvenirs for travelers, but Shaheen raised the garments to the level of high fashion with artistic prints, high-grade materials and quality construction. Elvis Presley wore a Shaheen-designed red aloha shirt featured on the album cover for the Blue Hawaii film soundtrack in 1961.”

Back to the Aloha shirt:
The colors speak of sandy white beaches.
Mai Tai’s and Rum and coke with a lime twist.
Soft warm tropical wind blowing through palm trees.
A relaxing night out with your significant other.

If you’re a millennial, don’t listen to your peers, a Hawaiian shirt will make you look good and feel classy!
When I was stationed in Okinawa, we Marines would rock bright Hawaiian shirts,
Gel our high and tights, put on some nice slacks or shorts and hit the town, looking for a little adventure. On paydays we’d go to a little joint in Naha that served tropical drinks and had that South Pacific TIKI feel. I’d have a couple of Fog Cutters and a nice dinner with my pals and then hit the road, pretending to be tourist. Those were the good ole days, when deployment overseas was relaxing. Some of us even got dates, which made our little outings that much more enjoyable.

Today, I was thinking about it being Fall, but as soon as I stepped into my car, all thoughts of Fall weather; chilled blowing winds and colorful leaves left my mind. It was 93 degrees and no clouds in sight! We are experiencing a second summer. So I ran upstairs, tore off my Fall clothes, put on my flip-flops and tank top; searched desperately for my sunglasses and threw on my Tiki shirt. In California there’s no excuse to not look and feel relaxed. We live in a perpetual ‘Friday is Hawaiian shirt’ climate. Yes, sadly enough, I sometimes feel that my sweaters are hanging in my closet collecting dust; but, that only lasts a moment, when I realize that the sun is out and I can go to the beach! There’s so much more that can be accomplished with a sunny day and sunglasses.

My quest, the reason why I was stepping outdoors in the first place, was so that I could get last minute ingredients for supper. I went straight to the poultry section to cool off, the air conditioning in the meat section of the grocery store felt amazing. That’s when I saw a rather large man wearing a Hawaiian shirt too. I thought to myself, Hawaiian shirts are the moo-moos for men. You can hide a lot of extra weight under a loose fitting floral print tropical shirt. Remember, Frank Sinatra in, From Here To Eternity hiding a fifth of Whiskey under his Hawaiian shirt? It was remarkable, you couldn’t see it. I felt euphoric, I light went on in my head, what better piece of fashion to hide extra weight, Liquor, or a 9mm hand gun than a lovely 100 % rayon tropical shirt? Its fashion with a utilitarian disposition, a true BauHaus moment went off in my noggin—Beauty follows function! The Aloha shirt is not only beautiful but it’s functional. If there’s anything praise worthy coming from our 50th State it’s the Aloha Shirt, well, also the little hula dolls that sway on our dashboards too.

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Morning Coffee-Poem

I wake up,
stretch and yawn.
It’s dark outside.
I can hear distant
cars already whizzing by.
I force myself to get out of bed
like Lazarus’
suddenly interrupted
eternal sleep.

I fumble downstairs,
steadied by the
smooth banister.
I fill the tea kettle
with cold tap water
click the gas burner
on high
and patiently wait.

The whistle startles my
morning thoughts
I turn them both off
counter clockwise.
The dry coffee grounds
anticipate their
steaming hot libation.

The aroma of morning pierces
the shroud of dawn’s darkness
As I pour the ancient concoction
into my mug.

The hot liquid
rises to the top.
It’s mesmerizing.
An aesthetic contrast
between two opposing colors
Black coffee and white cup.
I add milk,
sugar,
and stir
the liquid turns
to caramel—its
ready to partake, so
I raise it to my lips
close my eyes
and swallow.

Like Glue—Poem

My wife is a rock
She works so hard to make ends meet.

Her concern is for our safety
to make sure we’re not faltering,
emotionally, financially, morally.
When she’s troubled she calls me
on the phone;
If there’s good news,
I’m the first one she shares it with.
I reciprocate her affection,
with flowers, poems, and tender touches.

We’re best friends.
Our most important trait is
communicating.
Let me clarify:
No marriage is without bumps.
It’s not always love, love, love.
We bicker over many things.
Sometimes it’s trivial, even though
It always seems “important” at the time.

Yet, we never give up on each other,
instead we compromise:
we say, “I’m sorry.”
and try to rectify our behavior.
It’s a marital dance—
a passionate tango
at times its jolting,
often times its smooth.
a relationship between
two strong-willed humans,
works only
if there’s commitment:
love and sacrifice,
and plenty of laughter
which acts like glue.

What Is Youth? Poem

What is youth?

Life moves quickly.
Moments elapse into
songs that helps me reminisce;
but, it’s fleeting—
like clouds on a sunny day,
the ones that disappear
into the blue infinite
depth.
That same depth that
circumnavigates our
magnificent earth.
I hold onto my thoughts like picture albums,
as I stand with skinned knees
and a happy smile.
Little did I know
like the cumulus shade that
skips through the pregnant sky.
That the sun I love would not stop counting my days.
Where did my youth go?
It’s the same sky, sun, and Earth;
but now my joints ache
and my smile is etched
by a life filled with plenty of
happiness and
twice the hardships;
a little older,
a bit wiser.
I’m toughened by tragic loss.
I wish I could be young again.
I wish I could go out and play;
to be back by dusk without care
as I sit down with my family,
while laughingly
recounting my escapades.

Youth is a warm familiar blanket I rest under.
Youth is the memory of days gone by that I cherish
like a baby Lark cherishes its mother’s cozy nest.

Sharpened And Oiled-Poem

Got myself a Barlow.
Who knows where it’s been?
I found her unkept,
rusted,
marked by neglect—

A forgotten scrap of metal,
left in a tool-box
that’d become a crypt.

I recall the history—

A trusted companion of
West-ward seeking pioneers
and American boys.

I set out to clean,
and polish
so that it
could be put
back to work.

My “sure-enough” Barlow,
sharpened and oiled,
cuts again.

EDC—Every Day Carry

I carry my soul on my back,
I carry the memory of my father’s untimely death.
I carry the love of my children’s laugh.
I carry the weight of my next rent that’s due.
I carry the moves made to Texas, Oregon, Kentucky, and Georgia, then making my way back.
I carry the memory of good times and hard times.
I carry the manifold wrinkles of age under my eyes.
I carry the reality of what’s wrong with this world.
So I sharpen my knives slowly methodically—each stroke wet stone soaked with fears.
The memory of brothers-in-arms lost overseas, burdens laden with tears—
Everyday I carry things.
Everyday a new burden is laid on my scared back.

Changing The Tires-Poem

I have a tire that keeps losing air;
back left tire deflates on its own.
It sends an electrical signal to my
dash and it reminds me I have a flat.

I have to drive to the service station
ask the attendant to turn on the air pump.
I take off the black plastic valve cap,
pull on the air house and insert the air valve and press until I hear a hiss. The tire slowly inflates and when I’m done, I release the pressure, put the black plastic valve cover on and leave.

After a few days of this, I make a decision to contact tire replacement stores in my area. The tires are worn from the constant driving. I’m looking for the best deal. I’ve been:

Going to work.
Going to the grocery store.
Taking my kids to school.
Picking them up from school.
Going to see my dying brother-in-law
out of state numerous times.
Going out on dates movies.
Dinners, concerts.

The back tires are worn
from all the driving
rubber on pavement
day-in—day-out.

I find a set of tires for a good price.
I walk in and patiently wait.
The room is stifling, I’m sweating.
The men sitting are talking
about sports, carbon fiber bikes,
the Golden State Warriors recent loss.

I’m uncomfortable, the air is hot and stale with a strong stench of brand new rubber.
It’s over 100 degrees and miserable.

I walk outside, the cool breeze hits my face. I find solace in the shadow of a sidewalk tree. Those inconsequential trees some city landscape architect decided to plant. Today, that tree brings me relief from the rays of the central California sun.

I see my car being parked up front.
I go back in pay the cashier get my
keys and head back out towards my car. It has two shiny back tires and they even spritzed the front ones to match. Done.

Dads-poem

When you become a father
everything changes;
priorities, time management,
the distribution of finances.

There were many times were
buying diapers outweighed golfing.
let me think…
milk or beer?
I brought home milk instead.
Changing diapers,
sleepless nights,
sharing a bed with mom.

The hardest is trying to
have adult conversations
and being interrupted
with, “I need to pee.”

“Are we there yet.”
cleaning up throw up,
building bunk beds,
helping with homework.
Adult themed movies
or
The Incredibles?

How many times do I
have to watch this movie?
I just kept it inside
and memorized the lines.

Being a father makes you
a better version of oneself
and I haven’t even gotten
to the teen years.

“I love you dad.”
a sweet kiss and a hug
it makes it all worthwhile.

Lost In Campbell-poem

I remember walking home one day
I got lost
tangled in suburbia.
Houses, driveways, warm cement sidewalks,
sunny blue skies.
I’d walk this path before many times
from elementary school and back;
frightened.
“I must have taken a wrong turn.”
My eyes water
I still dream about it.
walking through familiar streets and alleyways.
The irony of being lost in my hometown
yet at the same time
coming home.

Dante’s Place-poem

 

I wonder if Dante’s poetic place
smack in the middle of purgatory,
(it’s where all poets go after death)
all the great ones find themselves there.
Even those who never had a book deal.

After a hearty breakfast
of Huevos Rancheros
and hot steamy cafe con leche
go fishing—

In that vast ocean of metaphors
where one finds small,
sometimes shadowy,
plump, and juicy enjambments
perfect for otherworldly poems.

Then after a nice lunch of
lamb meatballs on crunchy
Dutch bread topped off with
Belgium beer,

We take a walk in the garden of similes—
Where there are lush trees full of ripe fruit
like cherries ready to be plucked, joyfully
collected in our gilded baskets.

Dinner is roasted Chilean Sea Bass
marinated in garlic and cilantro
served with a delicate glass or two
of buttery California Chardonnay.

It’s during this time
Neither in heaven or hell,
that
we recite our daily poems
one-by-one
like grace is
said after
a lovely meal.