Marine Corps Emblem Tattoo Poem

The Tattoo

By: Gerald F. Merna and Dean A. Smith

Over waffles and coffee in the Reston VA Diner one morning
Two friends recalled Marine memories, and an idea came aborning
In common they shared their deep love of the Corps
And each lamented they failed a tattoo to score
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Each said to the other they “always wanted a tattoo”
Of Eagle, Globe and Anchor, with service dates too
Allowing the Emblem was among overlooked needs,
After years of Corps’ service, performing honorable deeds.
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Both agreed they’d go get one (with a slight hint of bluff?)
Firmly determined that they still “had the right stuff.”
So to Leesburg they traveled, with nary a blink
To Loudoun’s only tattoo parlor, appropriately named “Insane Ink”
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The apparent age difference between these proud Marines
Mattered not because they had parallel dreams
So waivers and fees accomplished, Jerry would be first to explore
The needle’s irritating flow and its motors grating score
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“How’s it feel” thoughtfully inquired the younger Dean
Upon seeing slight grimaces from the older Marine
“Not as bad as I thought, but I could do with a ‘Bud,”
Was the answer from Jerry showing a few droplets of blood.
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Almost two hours later, a gold-colored Emblem appeared
Then the artist ensured Jerry’s forearm was surgically cleared
Dean snapped a few pictures to record this event
So both could show later how much this really meant
The new Emblem in color loomed bright and clear
With inscribed years of service, and “Dot Forever” for his Spouse so dear
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USMC 19471968
“Now it’s your turn,” the artist matter-of-factly did announce
And pointed to Dean who entered, though not with a bounce.
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A name for his forearm was first, an arm so large for one word
But its five letters spelled out a fine name to be heard
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The name “B E C C A” emerged in amorous ink
The light of Dean’s life, of her and Son Nick he does lovingly think
Now for the hard part, the needle on calf
“Stretch out on this bench” said the artist with a laugh.
But as long as it was, the bench was no prize
Because our man Dean is not of average size
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It was Jerry’s turn to watch, taking pictures as well
While Dean endured his two hours of hell
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While a radio played mindlessly (with some heavy metal band)
Dean’s Marine Emblem took form, and looked just grand
Displaying the Camp David logo, his earned choice of brand
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Both men’s art was bandaged; they were no worse for the fray
And Dean and Jerry headed home, their new tattoos to display
But their dreams were accomplished, and they both did endure
And forever possess the Emblem worn only by Marines of the Corps
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Gerald F. Merna
Dean A. Smith

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