My Words

Understanding the World through words

Tag: Marines

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.

7 Point 62×39-poem

If love were bullets,
I’d be an AK.
You can throw it
in the mud and
it will still shoot.
The 7 point 62×39
shreds shit apart.
If love doesn’t kill
it leaves you maimed.

Devil Dogs

  

Old Corps

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Gung-ho

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Some Leave Home

Some leave home
for the first time
young, bright,
full of hope.

On that final bus ride
the path is unclear.

The yelling starts, accentuated
with haircuts that
shed nonconformity;

then
everything that reminds
us of ourselves is neatly
sealed in a box.

We’re issued government
clothing, given
government food and sleep
on government cots.

We are trained to act
like a unit, trained
to march in cadence,
trained to shoot straight.

Somewhere down the line,
we all start to feel
pride. All the pull-ups,
all the sweat, begins to
make a difference in
our stride.

By graduation day we
look sharp,
spit polished;

we’re ready
to take on the
world.

Off we go to our
destinations…

In the end—

some will
never make it
back home.

That final bus ride
remains unclear.

The Joker

I’ve been recently railroaded,
Mercilessly berated over a few more dollars my family needed.

Due to the economy and seemingly endless Middle East Petro Wars:
So many of us small business men, are being left un-hinged like a broken door someone angrily kicked in.

We fight over a few extra dollars like hungry raving dogs.

Ever since that plane flew into the Twin Towers and was caught by someone’s timely video recorder—

Whose grotesque imagery left this country visually shaken like cancer no amount of Chemo can cure.

The scenes of fire and explosions—men throwing themselves out of high-rise buildings trying to escape the inevitable.

Little did we know, that the inevitable has since become our perpetual sun.

Kudos to Heath Ledger and his superb portrayal of Batman’s nemesis, the Joker:

That devilish fiend, who introduces
“a little bit of Chaos”
into Gotham’s dark metropolis.

I have to say, that little line, perfectly sums up our current travails, it’s become our country’s collective—gnashing of our teeth.

Those militant men who hijacked the 9-11 planes, with simple box-cutter knives, they represent the Jokers of our troubled times:

“They just want to see the world burn.” Exactly like Batman’s butler told Bruce Wayne. No rhyme or reason at all, they just want to see things blow up and burn.

Thus here we are: economically shaken, trigger happy patrol-men with AR-15’s, shooting first and asking question later.

I thought I’d never see us descend into a third-world country like atmosphere. With gas prices massively inflated; constant bankruptcies, thousands of people left destitute and hungry—while the bloated tycoons of Wall Street gloat over a glass of imported Chardonnay and Beluga caviar in their Hampton beach-side homes.

With one Allah Akbar our glorious Nation was left in total disarray. Reeling like a drunkard who has seriously lost his way.

Off to war go our troops, as IED’s blow them up and make them fly like odd looking blood-bathed kites that gravity viciously pulls down with all it’s might. all captured magnificently, edited for our viewing pleasure, on the nightly news.

I wonder what it must feel like to be a mom seeing her beloved son, whom she lovingly birthed, nourished and fed, fly with twisted metal in a macabre flash-bang of a roadside bomb?

All for what? Oil? Ha!

No one I know has benefitted from that except; Exxon’s CEO’s, their shrewd investment bankers, and fat hedge fund managers.

The trickle down economy has somehow gotten a clogged artery and is in need of an emergency bypass, while the doctor’s on an extended vacation somewhere in Cancun.

Leaving our servicemen, who’ve bled and left limbs on those dirty desert roads:
killing themselves in suicide escapades no one wants to talk about—it’s worse than a medieval plague, a silent killer swept under the proverbial,
“carpet of denial.”

Even our constitution since that god forsaken day has been slowly eroding—we blame Allah for our patriot act, and the spectacle of al-Jazira beheadings?

Really? As far as I know Allah hasn’t sent one Marine Expeditionary Unit to Afghanistan or Iraq.

Though someone’s sure as heck, sent them to Fallujah to die fighting insurgents in Close Quarter Combat.

Woes me, all I see is The joker laughing when he demands to make that important cell phone call:

Seems we cannot come to grips with the chaos left by the ashes that descended on that fateful September day in 2001—
when the president emphatically said, this is our, “Nation’s wake up call!”

Here’s the kicker, the irony of it all, we’re left without a Batman, a Dark Knight to save the day; our bat sign was blown to bits when that plane struck the towers on National TV,

and left a massive hole in our country’s heart.

Is ground zero in New York?
I think not,
The Joker seems to have everybody fooled,
ground zero has always been about
you and me, here, the right now, the joke’s been on the collective us.

Hot Pink Finger Nails

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How different are men
from women?

My darling lovely wife
in one conversation
we had,

was so enthusiastic
to describe, her newly
purchased nail polish.

It was a hot pink color
she’d just picked up.

The hue set her
fingers a’ fire.

She absolutely
loves pink.

I was awestruck
and grinning from
cheek to cheek,

as I listened to her
gush and squeal
over her aesthetic
choice of nail color.

On the one hand,
I was thinking about
how her newly
painted nails,

would look on
my olive
skinned back?

At least for a moment
that thought made me
shiver.

My next thought was
about that
M1 Carbine

I saw at
the pawn shop
near my home.

How balanced
it felt
in my hands
as I picked it up,

pulled the receiver
back and
let it ram forward
on its own.

While pretending it was
locked and loaded,

I wondered, if it seen
any action storming
the beaches at Anzio?

Or perhaps fighting with
The 1st Marine Division
in the Pacific island
of Peleliu?

All of this
was thought,
while I was
putting a bead on a
guitar across the shop.

For a moment that guitar
became my mortal enemy,
as I lined up the
rear and front sights
perfectly.

Standing there,
ram rod still,
with my pointer
finger lightly
caressing
the trigger,

I pulled it
gently back.

The action
was smooth.

The battle rifle
was well preserved
and oiled.

It would make a
fantastic addition
to my mental
gun collection.

Suddenly, I was
interrupted by
my wife’s voice.

“Honey, what do you think
of this hot pink?”
“Isn’t it lovely?”

I smiled, nodded
and said,
“ I love it.”

The Iwo Jima I Never Knew

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To the Iwo Jima I
never knew:

Standing guard
somewhere in
southern
California,

Holding my
rifle at
right shoulder
arms.

Two weeks into
boot camp
and I want to
run.

That busy highway
I saw from afar,
As I was checking
my perimeter,
I knew it led to
my backyard.

With spit-shined
boots my head
was ajar with
inconsolable
thoughts.

Wherever,
this journey
took me in camo
utilities, I made
an oath to see it
through.

I shot expert,
learned
to control
my fears.

Eventually,
I learned to be
a meritorious
Marine.

when I see
those tired
men raising
our colors
on that
God forsaken
Pacific Island,

with polish
gone from
their boots and
their spit-shine
drawn
with blood.

I knew they
didn’t run.

Their highways
led to different
fates and
unlike me, many
never
returned
home.

Guadalcanal

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I remember one day
I was called to
patch a garage.

With charm
I introduced my self,
“How do you do mam?”
as I shook her hand.

After the greetings
were said and done,
I was escorted through
her house.

On my way
to the garage
I saw an old photo
of a Marine on top
of her TV.

I mentioned that I’d
been a Marine too.
She told me her husband
had been in the War.
And, that he had passed
on.

“I’m sorry to hear
that” then I proceeded
to asked her,
“which campaign
did he fight in?”

she replied that
he fought on
Guadalcanal.

“I still have
some letters and
a chest he brought
home”

“Would you like
to see them?”
she said.

“Please” was
my reply.

I was
unbelievably
ecstatic to
touch them.

Letters from
the war.
Written by
a Marine
who had
fought on

the first
of many
Islands.

It was on
Guadalcanal
that
Marines had
turned back
the tide.

“This is the chest
he brought home”
she said.

It was a typical
Marine footlocker
painted in olive
green, with the
markings of the
Division he
fought with.

“You can have it
if you’d like”

“It’s just taking
up space”
she said.

“I’d love to have
It” and
“Thank you”
was my reply.

It means a
lot to me,
to own a
a piece of
American
history.

A Marine
footlocker
that’s been
on that bloody
Pacific island
in the sea.