April 8, 2015
Aloha Shirt Poem

For the one hundredth anniversary of the aloha shirt, men in the United States retired their three-piece suits and mothballed their tuxedos. Replacing them with vast Hawaiian canvases of cotton and rayon, vibrant with motley parrots and marlins leaping into orbit. Before the Fourth of July, Wall Street brokers were trading in a riot of orange and rose and jade. Baseball uniforms were replaced with Reyn Spooners. At the Pentagon the Army Chief of Staff oversaw the throes of the last war in a Tommy Bahama exclusive printed with Stealth bombers patrolling the Pacific. The lion of the Senate sported a new design at every vote and hearing. Soon only Halloween scarecrows were clad in polyester jackets, while teachers and detectives appeared at work in neon-dyed knockoffs with mismatched pockets. Of course, raises were awarded. Promotions granted. People began to praise each other. Blackwell relaxed. Men were opening doors for ladies again. Wristwatches became obsolete. Time elastic. The weekends bloomed with neighborhood luaus. By February, the President learned to play the ukulele, strumming original riffs for his State of the Union speech. Both chambers rose to applaud with a hibiscus ovation. Reminiscing about our deliverance now, we ask ourselves why our children seem so grim as they iron those hand-me-down white relics they salvaged from our attics.


–Michael Brockley (Delaware County)


Mike Brockley

Michael Brockley is a school psychologist who lives in Muncie. Several of his poems have appeared in Flying Island, The Tipton Poetry Journal, and So It Goes: The Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut’s Memorial Library. 

Indiana Humanities is celebrating National Poetry Month by sharing a poem from an Indiana poet every day in April (hand-selected by Indiana Poet Laureate George Kalamaras). Check in daily to see who is featured next!

Posted In: Poetry

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