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, July 13, 2018

NAVY TYPEWRITER



I used to write letters on the USS Truxtun's typewriter in CIC (Command Information Center)when we were in the Tonkin Gulf. CIC was the ship’s brain. Radiomen, Sonarmen, and others fed information to the officers, who used the information to strategize and make decisions. It was restricted space. I really had no business being in CIC. However, no one ever asked me what I was writing or why I was in there. 
I had typing paper, but no eraser. Ships are in constant motion, rocking and rolling over the swells. Therefore, when I typed, typos were common. When I did a typo on the first letter of a word, I would stop and try to figure out what word I could use that started with that letter. Sometimes my letters went in directions I had not originally intended.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Recurring Happiness



Happiness is temporary
And it can be recurring.
When my fellow shipmates and I
Circumnavigated the globe,
We saw boys and girls,
Barefoot, and boney,
Wearing unwashed,
Threadbare
T-shirts,
And shorts,
In Olongapo,
Karachi,
Mombasa,
And Moputo.
Their faces beamed joy
When we invited them to play
With a Frisbee
Or to toss a ball.
Their condition,
Raggedy as it was,
Didn’t diminish
The glee,
That made them free
Of poverty
For that short time.
Their laughing squeals,
And their radiating faces
Have followed me
All the way to this moment
Bringing me
A recurring happiness.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

July 4th Of Every Year


July Fourth
Of Every Year
Brings back Viet Nam,
And the bombs,
And gut wrenching,
Teeth clenching,
Feelings of war,
Of death,
Of the constant vigilance,
And the sorrow.
Yes, the sorrow for all
The dead and the maimed.
The sorrow for all the mothers
And all the fathers
Who buried their children
When they came home
In flag draped coffins
And body bags.
The sorrow that I came home
And they didn’t.
Every Year,
When the sky lights up,
And the booms punch
Hard and deep,
As they wrap their
Boney fingers around my throat,
And squeeze that lump,
Forcing tears
From the beep inside
To leak out
And sting.
Every year,
Every damn year
The booms take me back
To the ship’s alarm,
“General Quarters!
General Quarters!”
The flairs light up the jungle
Men yell and scream
Choppers whop, whop
Over the trees,
Shooting lines
Of glowing bullets
At men and boys below.
Our ship fires
Boom! Boom! Boom!
I pray,
“Please protect our men.
Please protect our ship.
Please let me awaken,
Awaken from this nightmare.”
July Fourth
Blasts me back
To Viet Nam
Every damn year.


Friday, June 8, 2018

White Flares


This is an excerpt from Viet Nam Body Count, Chapter 21
...Barry plopped next to me, while I sat on the deck with my back against the Helo hangar. I stared westward to the beach and hills that had beckoned us to relax earlier in the day and saw streams of light that preceded automatic gun fire. “Wow! Did you see that?” I whispered excitedly.
“Yup,” he replied, “Those are tracers. Every fifth round in those rifles glows red hot and allows the soldiers to see where they’re shooting.”
Fascinated by the scene before me, I replied, “I know that. But it looks like a ray gun from a science fiction movie, especially when they shoot from the helicopters.”
We sat cross legged on the deck, our backs against the bulkhead, watching the black jungle light up like a college football field at night. The white flares effectively removed the night's black curtain defense, exposing human targets on both sides. I worried that the tracers were exposing our guys to the enemy.
“It really pisses me off knowing that we are mere pawns in Reardon's game of 'Who can make Captain first',” I said, staring out at the illuminated jungle. “He doesn't care if he exposes us like the flares do, so long as he reaches his ... ”
Boom! We both jumped up.
“What the fuck was that?” Barry yelled.
We’d been hit. We ran to the safety lines, leaned over and searched the side of the ship for damage. Seeing none, I looked up towards the bridge and saw Captain Reardon's silhouette, in the moonlight, tossing something over the side of the ship. Another Boom!
Barry shook his head and said, “It's the fuckin captain playing warrior with his percussion grenades. He claims that he’s making sure that no unseen Viet Cong divers put explosives under the ship. But he’s just fucking around with his toys. Maybe, ya’ll ought to go up to the captain and offer to teach him how to draw naked ladies instead of playing with grenades.”
“Oh how I wish I could, Barry,” I said as we sat back down. “Maybe he would see life differently.”
“I bet he never took an art class and never drew naked ladies,” he said. “An art class might’ve made him more like a real human being, respecting the beauty of life.”
“His ambition has blinded him from beauty,” I said. “Now he only sees body count numbers. And that scares me more than those guns firing in that jungle.”...

Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day


Memorial Day brings memories
And grief
For the families of our service members
Who never came home.
Their deaths
Sting and hurt
Their parents
Each and every day
I honor those families
Today, especially today.
I went to my cousin’s funeral.
She was a week shy of 93.
We buried her
Next to her son’s grave.
He died in Viet Nam.
I stood where I stood
So many years ago,
At his gravesite service.
Memories of our own son’s funeral
On the Long Beach Naval Station’s chapel
Enveloped me with sadness.
I could still hear the bagpipes
Playing Amazing Grace.
Parents and family members suffer
Every single day
The loss of their children,
Our service men and women,
More keenly, 
And forever.
Today, I honor them, as well.