by Dolly Juhlin



His khakis looked like blackies,

His clothes never did come clean.

T'was a sin to wash his watch cap,

He liked its oily sheen.


His red rag was his hankie,

And used for so much more,

It doubled as a bandage,

When he scraped his knuckles sore.


Scrunched down in the bilges,

Crawling on his knees,

Music to his failing ears,

Was hearing turbines scream,


He hated wearing dress whites,

They really cramped his style,

A royal pain to get dressed up,

Uncomfy all the while.


His uniform was tattered,

His name tag never plumb,

All he ever cared about,

Was hearing engines hum.


His hands were full of bruises,

His nails were rimmed in black,

Young snipes thought he was like a God,

He kept them all on track.


Spilled coffee mixed with fuel oil,

Got wiped off on his pants,

"Shit" and "damn" were much used words,

One he never spoke was "can't."


Polish didn't stick at all,

To his boots all soaked in grease,

He mostly was in disarray.

Crawling on his hands and knees.


He never noticed rips and tears,

In his uniform of the day,

More important issues filled his mind,

When the ship was underway.


When other sailors dreamed at night,

About their favorite wench,

He dreamt of engine overhauls,

Or finding his missing wrench.


When his CO gave the orders,

For the ship to leave the dock,

Putting the engines on the line,

Invariably choked him up.


The engine room was his castle,

He reigned there king supreme,

With all ship shape & in its place,

His eyes would twinkle and gleam.


His second favorite place to be,

With his coffee and a smoke,

Was standing on the fantail,

Watching waves his engines broke,


His pride was in his rating,

Not the way he dressed,

Kept his engines running great,

Didn't care about the rest.


He respected most traditions,

In an old-fashioned, disheveled way,

Ladies were "Ma'am", his CO was "Sir,"

And nobody got in his way.


Fuel oil was his eau d'cologne,

Engines were his specialty,

A prouder guy you'll never find,

This MK from Hooligan's Navy.

- 2/17/98 -


*MKC - Machinery Technician Chief

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