by Cole Coonce


There are shuttles that ping-pong from our resort hotel on Waikiki to the memorial at Pearl Harbor. Even though the federal government is paying for Pamela Palmer’s rented Mustang convertible, we take a bus to Pearl Harbor.

There is a short film about the attack, replete with cinema verite 16-millimeter footage taken from the deck of the Japanese aircraft carrier on the morning of the aerial attack. It is very spooky and moving. Half of the audience in the darkened theater are Japanese tourists, the rest Americans.

We take a boat out to the deck of USS Arizona, which is a tomb for one thousand or so sailors who died in the attack, by bullets, drowning, or by fire.

Over a half a century later, motor oil still seeps out of the engine room and sticks to the surface of the sea, creating an eerie viscous film that defiantly drifts out of the bay and into the mother ocean.

A Hawaiian girl throws a flower from the deck, and hits the seeping motor oil dead on.

“They shouldn’t have snuck up on us like that,” she says. The Japanese tourists click shutters, smoke cigarettes and pretend not to understand.-30-

Sex & Travel & Vestiges of Metallic Fragments, The Cole Coonce Reader Vol. 1

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