Author's Bio.

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Mushroom Montoya circumnavigated the globe aboard the USS Trippe DE1075 after killing soldiers, woman and children in Viet Nam. Now, as a shaman, he heals the planet one person at a time. Mushroom Montoya has an active shamanic healing practice in Long Beach, California and he teaches at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Cal State Univ. Long Beach.

Friday, January 11, 2019


Would ye be knowing that I have a tattoo on my arm? 
It covers the original scar that emerged after I was spitting logs. A piece of metal shot off from the hammer so fast and furious it sheared through my shirt and lodged itself within my mighy bicep. 
Faith and Begorrah! It hurt!
The doctor used his scalpel to hunt for the shrapnel. He cut in, following the little bugger's pathway. He stopped when his blade reached the muscle tissue. "Leave it be," he said to me. "It'll work its way out, of its own volition, in a month or two." His words brought me no comfort. And the next words that he uttered made me even unhappier: "or it will encapsulate and take up permanent residence." 

It took its sweet time, as if it were no faster than a lazy slug. So, what else could I do but assume that after two long years, it had taken doctor's option number two? 

The scar was hideous, making onlookers recoil in revulsion. To remedy the situation, I sauntered down to the Long Beach Pike and found a tattoo parlor. The artist embedded a bird, beautifully concealing the scar. 

My tattoo was not even one year old when that lazy piece of steel immobilized my arm with a hellacious pain. The little bugger finally made its way to the surface of my bicep. My tattoo, which had been doing a fine job of obscuring the original scar, now has its own unfortunate scar. It got one hell of a tonsillectomy.   

Monday, December 24, 2018


Krack followed me as I trudged up to the Helo deck after we finished loading rounds of ammo into the MK42's magazine. We were tired from passing the seventy pound shells from sailor to sailor into the magazine beneath the cannon. The sun shone brightly up on deck an hour before sunset. The water rippled with the sun's diamond like reflection. We sat on the deck, just outside the hangar door admiring the sun's sparkling art work. A couple of guys were playing basketball inside. One of them asked us to play.

“I'd rather play on a court that doesn't have a constantly moving basket,” Krack said.

“Anticipating the speed of the ship's rocking is what makes shooting baskets such a challenge,” a player said and dribbled the ball in front of him a couple of times.

“How about you?” he asked, as he turned to face me. “If you're any good we could play two on one.”

“Nah. The gunfire from the choppers is too distracting,” I said. “I've got too many things on my mind.”

“I don't want to hear any bullshit whining out of you,” Krack said as he stood up and grabbed my arm. “We're stuck in this fuckin' war. It's going to continue whether we play basketball or not, and right now, you need to play because we will all be back on battle station in a couple of hours.”

Krack and I took off our shirts. He tossed me the ball and I dribbled until I was blocked. I passed the ball to him. He jumped and threw the ball, too far to the left of the basket, or so it seemed. The ship swayed and the ball swished through the basket.

“Tell me that wasn't the most beautiful shot you've ever seen,” Krack said.

We played for twenty minutes until one of the other guys had to leave to stand his watch. Krack and I stepped out of the hangar while putting our shirts back on our sweaty torsos. We resumed our previous positions, sitting just outside the hangar door. Looking west, over the hills beyond the battle, I watched the sun descend behind the hills.

“Look, Krack,” I said, punching him in the shoulder. “The sun is cloud painting again. God, that's a gorgeous sunset.”

“It’s weird that we can be out here on the water,” Krack said, “the war waging not more than two hundred yards off our port side and you stop everything to point out a gorgeous fuckin' sunset.”

“It's no weirder than playing basketball on a rocking ship while our five inch gun kills only God knows who.”

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

New England Accent

I competed welding school (1972) at the San Diego Naval Base, and soon after, I received my orders to a new destroyer escort, U.S.S. Trippe DE1075, whose home port was Newport, Rhode Island. 
I flew to Providence, Rhode Island to report to my new ship. I took a local bus from the airport to Newport. Two women hopped on the bus and sat down in the seat in front of me. I leaned in as close as I dared. I didn't want to appear as if I were eavesdropping. I wasn't. I was trying to figure out what language they were speaking. It was English with a very heavy New England accent. 
After spending a year on that ship and going home for the first time, my mother said, "Stop talking like that, you sound funny." 
The accent had hopped on my tongue and followed me home. Most of my shipmates were from New England and had strong accents. 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Congress = Blessing or Curse?

January will bring a new Congress,
To our Nation’s capital.
Will the new "Blue" Congress
Be a blessing
Or a curse
For Veterans of the 
Viet Nam war?
Will they pass new laws
To help those of us
Who risked our lives,
Lost our limbs,
And Sacrificed our sanity?
Will they help the Vets of the
Blue Water Navy?

Will the new Congress
Honor their promises
To take care of the
Wounded Vets?
We are watching.
We voted them in.
Will the new Congress
Be like the previous one
That said they would
But chose to ignore us instead?
Will the new "Blue" Congress
Be a blessing o
Or a curse
For Navy Veterans?

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Dead In The Water

After we left Viet Nam
In autumn 1972,
I sat on the deck,
My back against the bulkhead
Of the helo hangar,
On the USS Trippe.
We sailed the Indian Ocean
Beyond the Gulf of Oman
Light blue skies above,
Dark blue ocean below,
Steady as she goes.
And then
An eerie quiet
A calm rocking
Swayed into a big
Interior alarms
People yelling,
“Dead in the water!
Dead in the water.”
I sat on the deck,
My back against the bulkhead
Of the helo hangar,
On the USS Trippe.
Enjoying the quiet,
Feeling the rocking,
Ignoring the commotion,
Imagining sailors of old
Floating on the swells
Of the Indian Ocean
When the wind
Took a nap
And the
And eerie quiet,
A calm rocking
That swayed into a big
Without the alarms
Just the swells,
Light blue skies above,
Dark blue ocean below.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Grande Island

Excerpt from Chapter Blue Damsels

I climbed down into the WWII landing craft that would transport me to Grande Island. I hadn't noticed Norman and Krack sitting with their backs against the rear bulkhead until I looked for a place to sit.
“Hey, Krack, I thought you were flying back to the states for your grandmother's funeral?”
“I can't get a flight out until the day after tomorrow. It looks like I'm stuck with you two.”
“Are you guys spending the night?” I asked.
“Ya betcha,” Norman said. “I need to sleep on solid ground without to sleep on solid ground without rocking and rolling and the constant hum of the ship's engines. How about you?”
“I intend to have the sun wake me up,” I said. Smiling widely I sat on the bare deck next to him. “Riding in this landing craft feels like were floating in a shoe box.”
“We are!” Krack said.
When we landed, we walked into the little restaurant that protruded from the hotel. I asked the old wrinkled faced lady who worked there for an ice cream cone.
“You sit,” she commanded, with a frown on her face.
Norman smiled at me and turned his palms up as he tilted his head. “Can you make that two?” he asked the grumpy lady.
She scowled at him and pointed to the table. We obeyed.
“I was hoping to get pistachio ice cream,” I said to Norman.
“Fat chance,” Krack said, “They probably only have one flavor, otherwise she would've asked you what you wanted.”
She had disappeared into the kitchen as the three of us waited for what seemed like a very long time. We chatted excitedly about joining the two other ships on an around the world cruise.
When she came out, she said, “Fifteen cent.”
We dug into our pockets. I pulled out a dollar and handed it to her.
She looked up at me and said, “No change. Fifteen cent.” while holding out her hand.
Norman and Krack both only had dollars. I handed the dollar back to her and told her it was for all three and that she could keep the change. Maintaining her scowl, she took the dollar and gave us our chocolate ice cream cones.
“I'll be glad when we...

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