Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Vieques: Personal Memories

This is my world-famous published poem that appeared in the March '99 Leatherneck: Magazine of the Marines. I got ten bucks for it, so now I'm a pro. Ha!

Island Memories

Of all the places in the world
That I have ever seen,
None can match the splendor
Way down in the Caribbean.

From the bow ramp of an amtrac
Or a helicopter's side,
We were thrilled to exit still alive
From the death-defying ride.

With the skeeters and the cattle
Always at our beck and call,
We trained on field problems
In late summer and the fall.

From the jungle, swamps and sand dunes
Through Garcia's whitewashed gate,
We cried in pain and washed ourselves:
Cold showers were our fate.

At the slop chute known as Sweeney's,
Where we slurped Black Label down,
We sat high atop the tables
When it rained, or we would drown.

From the comm shack in the valley
To the chow hall oh so dear,
Messmen put Thanksgiving dinner
Upside down in our mess gear.

Not much to do while walking post
At the CP on the hill,
But I very well remember
Giving officers a thrill.

As they came out of the O club,
Singing drunkly past my post,
My finger let my bolt go.
It got quiet as a ghost.

At long last, or so it seemed,
We got a liberty call.
To Isabel Segunda on a six-by,
To try and have a ball.

Starched khakis and boondockers
Was the UD that we wore.
A good meal and real liquor,
We all were searching for.

All us snuffies made it back,
Some of us in trucks.
MP's brought back the others,
After they ran out of luck.

Then came the day for all of us
Which nothing else could beat.
We headed out to re-embark
Back on our gator fleet.

I see it plain as yesterday,
O'er thirty years and more,
When we were young, we had the luck
To grace Vieques' shore.