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    Table of Contents

Craig Santos Perez

Jay Baza Pascua
Gualo’i i Hale’-mu!
A Descendant of Matåpang

Dr. Evelyn Flores
Full Stop
Listening to the Anthropologeists on NPR
Military Buildup/Guam Buildup/Talk Buildup

Don't Give the Chamorro a Cigarette Just Yet...

Charissa Manibusan Aguon
DISATENTO! (Disrespectful!)

Lehua M. Taitano
from Actions
from Actions
from Actions

Clarissa Mendiola
Phone Conversation with Dad
Puti Tai Nobio




Chamoru Poetry Feature

Edited by Craig Santos Perez


Craig Santos Perez, a native Chamoru originally from the Pacific island of Guahan (Guam), is the co-founder of Ala Press, co-editor of the anthology Chamoru Childhood (Achiote Press 2009), co-star of the poetry album Undercurrent (Hawai'i Dub Machine 2011), and the author of two poetry books: from unincorporated territory [hacha] (Tinfish Press, 2008) and from unincorporated territory [saina] (Omnidawn Publishing, 2010), winner of the 2011 PEN Center USA Literary Prize. He earned an MFA from the University of San Francisco, a Ford Foundation Diversity Fellowship, and is working towards his Ph.D. in Comparative Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor in the English Department at the University of Hawai‘i (Manoa), where he teaches creative writing and Pacific literature.




Jay Baza Pascua is an actor, a writer, Chamorro chanter – a storyteller. Jay’s storytelling started with his career in Guam’s media industry. He was an anchor and reporter, he wrote for both of Guam’s newspapers, and was an editor of a business journal. Jay told numerous news stories but a cultural and spiritual awakening sparked his passion for sharing stories of the Chamorro culture and people. His effort garnered publication of his stories and chants. Some of his chants and poems were made into video vignettes.  Jay’s chant “Fakmåta” or “Wake Up” was featured at several film festivals. 



Fa’uma yan Pontan hu gagaogao hamyo chachalåni i famaguon-miyu!
I humbly ask you Fu’una and Puntan to guide your children!

Ginen Pontan na gaige ham guini gi tano-ta. Ma nåhi ham i tataotao-niha!
Through Puntan we are here on our land. He gave us his body!

Fa’uma yan Pontan hu gagaogao hamyo chachalåni i famaguon-miyu!
I humbly ask you Fu’una and Puntan to guide your children!

Ginen Fa’uma na gaige ham guine gi tano-ta. Ma nåhi ham i lina’lå-ta!
Through Fu’una we are here on our land. She gave us our lives!

Fa’uma yan Pontan hu gagaogao hamyo chachalåni i famaguon-miyu!
I humbly ask you Fu’una and Puntan to guide your children!

Puengi yan ha’åni annok i famaguon Pontan yan i che’lu-nihan Fa’uma.
The children of Puntan and Fu’una can be seen night and day.

Fa’uma yan Pontan hu gagaogao hamyo chachalåni i famaguon-miyu!
I humbly ask you Fu’una and Puntan to guide your children!

Gi puengi i pilan i attadok-nihan Pontan … ha li’e i famaguon-niha.
The moon, during the evening, is the eye of Puntan … able to see his children.

Fa’uma yan Pontan hu gagaogao hamyo chachalåni i famaguon-miyu!
I humbly ask you Fu’una and Puntan to guide your children!

Gi ha’åni i atdao i attadok-nihan Pontan … ha li’e i famaguon-niha.
The sun, during the day, is the eye of Puntan … able to see his children.

Fa’uma yan Pontan hu gagaogao hamyo chachalåni i famaguon-miyu!
I humbly ask you Fu’una and Puntan to guide your children!

Yanggen gaige i Chamoli Matao taifinakpo i lina’lan Fa’uma.
Fu’una’s life is eternal as long as there are Chamorros.

Fa’uma yan Pontan hu gagaogao hamyo chachalåni i famaguon-miyu!
I humbly ask you Fu’una and Puntan to guide your children!

Yanggen gaige i tano taifinakpo i lina’lan Pontan.
Puntan’s life is eternal as long as the land remains.

Fa’uma yan Pontan hu gagaogao hamyo chachalåni i famaguon-miyu!
I humbly ask you Fu’una and Puntan to guide your children!

Gaige i fegge-ta gi tatalo-nihan Pontan. Na adahi hamyo.
Our footprints are on Puntan’s back. Be careful all of you.

Fa’uma yan Pontan hu gagaogao hamyo chachalåni i famaguon-miyu!
I humbly ask you Fu’una and Puntan to guide your children!

Munga piniti i tano sa puputi nu Pontan.  Na adahi hamyo.
Do not hurt the land because you are hurting Puntan. This is a warning to all of you.

Fa’uma yan Pontan hu gagaogao hamyo chachalåni i famaguon-miyu!
I humbly ask you Fu’una and Puntan to guide your children!

Munga piniti i taotao-miyu sa puputi nu Fa’uma. Na adahi hamyo.
Do not hurt your people because you are hurting Fu’una. This is a warning to all of you.

Fa’uma yan Pontan hu gagaogao hamyo chachalåni i famaguon-miyu!
I humbly ask you Fu’una and Puntan to guide your children!

Tattiyi Fa’uma yan Pontan sa ginen siha na gaige ham guine gi tano-ta.
Follow Fu’una and Puntan for it is because of them that we are here on our land.

Fa’uma yan Pontan hu gagaogao hamyo chachalåni i famaguon-miyu!
I humbly ask you Fu’una and Puntan to guide your children!



Gualo’i i Hale’-mu!

A CHamoru chief … a Maga’låhi gathers his clan to plead for their allegiance. He pleads for them to keep their way of life at a time when Europeans used Guåhan to replenish their supplies on their way to the Philippines or Mexico. He is calling for them to not be influenced by “the shine from the metal” and to hold true to their way of life. This chant is a metaphor for CHamoru people to preserve, protect, promote, and perpetuate the CHamoru culture.


Gualo’i i hale’-mu!
(Cultivate your roots!)

Taotao-hu … ekongok yu … ti åbmam måtto i gi’lågu ti åbmam maleffa hao i lina’la-mu.
(My people … listen to me … as more foreigners arrive you may soon forget your way of life.)

Gualo’i i hale’-mu!
(Cultivate your roots!)

Taiguini … angocco yu … i lina’la-mu kulang i hale’n i tinanom, yanggen tåya hale’ måtai i tinanom.
(It is like this … trust me … your life is like the roots of a plant in the jungle, if there are no roots the plant will die.)

Gualo’i i hale’-mu!
(Cultivate your roots!)

I sinangån-mu … i checho’-mu … i manaina-mu … i tano-mu … kao hasso na ini guihi i hale’-mu … ini guihi i lina’la-mu?
(Your words … your work … your elders … your land … do you realize that these are your roots … this is your life?)

Gualo’i i hale’-mu!
(Cultivate your roots!)

Attan i famaguon-mu … attan i guinaya-mu … yanggen magåhet umaguiya maolek-niha hao mumu.
(Look at your children … look at the one you love … if you love them … then you must fight.)

Gualo’i i hale’-mu!
(Cultivate your roots!)

Munga ma fatåni i gi’lågu … munga ma tulaika i hinasso-mu … toktok i lina’la-mu, munga ma attan i låmlåm gi lulok.
(Do not give too much to the foreigners … do not change what you believe … embrace your way of life, do not gaze at the shine of the metal.)

Gualo’i i hale’-mu!
(Cultivate your roots!)

Gualo’i i hale’-mu … nu i famaguon-mu … nu i guinaiya-mu … yanggen måtai yu chule i  te’lang gi satnot-hu yan lå’la nu i mumu.
(Cultivate your roots … for your children … for your loved one … should I die take my shinbones and use it for the fight.)

Gualo’i i hale’-mu!
(Cultivate your roots!)

Hu sangåni hao ini … sa yanggen måtai yu munga ma sumeha … munga ma nåhi i gi’lågu i hale’-mu!
(I am saying this … because should I die do not be pushed back … do not give the foreigners your roots!)

Gualo’i i hale’-mu!
(Cultivate your roots!)

Gualo’i i hale’-mu!
(Cultivate your roots!)

Gualo’i i hale’-mu!
(Cultivate your roots!)



A Descendant of Matåpang

I am a descendant of Matåpang … the most notable chief … the Maga’låhi of Tumhom.

Instead of being revered as a great chief … his name in the contemporary Chamorro language now means silly.

You see, Father Luis de San Vitores was determined to bring God to the “Indios” of the Pacific.

Determined enough he disobeyed Matåpang’s order not to baptize his ailing child ... Matåpang retaliated by killing the missionary priest.

It was not that Matåpang defied the missionary’s spiritual relief but that San Vitores defied Matåpang’s cultural belief.

In so doing … this legendary chief ignited the flames that started a 30-year war between the Chamorros and the Spanish ... the embers of that fire continue to burn within the hearts of those who want Guam to be free from colonial rule. 

The blood which runs through my heart and courses through my veins with the little drop of my ancestors’ DNA rages inside of me.

Just as lava broke the surface of the ocean millions of years ago in a violent molten and steam explosion to create my home …  my thoughts, my soul, my words spill out onto a computer screen, onto paper, onto a canvass of grief searing those who read my message.

My inner thoughts are contained under the surface of a faux calm exterior much in the same way swirling ocean currents are hidden beneath warm inviting waters.

When at home, sitting in the stillness of the night, with the gualafon or full moon in site, I hear my ancestor’s haunting whisper in the wind as it blows through coconut palm leaves.

He questions me … are you letting go of what is rightfully yours? Are you allowing who you are to slip away? So … I answer … “Saina-hu, ahe. Ti bai maleffa.”  … “Ancestor, no. I will not forget.”

The island warrior inside me loudly leaps from behind i hålom tåno – the silent jungle of emotions as I take my words …yiyok på’tu – sling stones in my hands every time I step upon a stage and hurl it into a crowd … hoping that it pierces the minds of those who hear me.

If that is not enough … hu låla’ i sinangan manaina-hu … I use the words of my ancestors … I use it as Matåpang used a tokcha – a human shinbone spear. I thrust with all my might past flesh and bone into the heart, into the soul of those secretly wanting to hear my message.

I do not aim to hurt or kill … I act as a kakåna … a shaman … I aim to amte … to cure … with amot … with medicine … cure an illness … an evil aniti … a spirit … that is not from here … matentago … indentured servitude … slavery … continues to threaten i tano-ta … our land.  

I hold my breath … like an ancestor who held his breath underwater for more than just mere seconds … for more than just mere fun … but to obtain sustenance from the ocean … I wait for sustenance – acknowledgement of my message. It is my survival … it is the survival of all of us who call ourselves Chamorro.

However, this illness … is strong … sometimes I wonder if what I do will even help to cure one person … just as many of the kakåna ancestors wondered if they could cure the illnesses brought here by iron clad conquistadors.

So … when I am questioned about my beliefs or actions by my very own people … or when asked … “Why are you ‘matåpang’?” … I simply answer … I am not Matåpang … I am his descendant!



Biography of Dr. Evelyn Flores

Dr. Evelyn Flores teaches Pacific Island Literature at the University of Guam.  She writes poetry as one way to examine her life as a Pacific Island woman and indigenous scholar. She has published three children's books based on Guam and completed the genealogy of a Chamoru family central to a crucial event in the Americanization of Guam. Currently, she’s working on two major projects, one, the first comprehensive anthology of indigenous Micronesian literature and the other a book documenting the experiences of Chamoru who risked their lives to protect six American navy men during World War II.




“Deal!” Pheena says.
The cards whir blinkering through the humid air
she plays them rippling like black and white pigeons
aces, jacks, menacing queens and glaring kings
humming looping foiling flapping flopping flickering across   summer’s waves

Pheena, the oldest of us,
sitting cross legged on the rumpled sheets of her bed
her legs pale and unshaved
her calculating eyes lowered
her black-rimmed glasses sliding halfway down
the oils of her pubescent nose

She’s framed hunched over
in the half summer lights
the half-life of our years
14, 10, 8
that mattered so much in those moments
but would blur later into an ugly mass
when we heard Pheena
had just gotten out of a federal prison in Texas
where she’d been sent to work off
the forged checks and embezzled winnings—
her husband dead,
shot dead by loan sharks—
she, put behind bars for gambling,

In those half lights of her louvered windows
she plays like a pro
while her mother yells
“Geddout here Hosepheena and clean up dis mess or you get it,   girl!”
Pheena doesn’t hear

“You ever play  blackjack before?
I’ll teach you.”

My already serious face
labors into furrowed brows
my mother’s voice loud in my head—
If I catch you playing cards, I’ll burn them!
They’ll take you to hell—
And you’ll get it too before you go there!”

“Teach us,” my older sister Rosie whispers rebelliously
“You?” Pheena asks tossing her head at me
I shake my head no—she shrugs
Rosie giggles nervously—“she’s a baby,” she says.
Pheena smiles like she’s a hundred years old.

Pheena was queen
she was our private pro
she won every time
she knew tricks
lizards scampered across the dusty ceiling
ants covered her can of coke
but she didn’t notice until she’d taken all the hands
razed each of us

“Wanna go look down our cistern?”
we snuck out past her mother
chopping passive onions in the faded kitchen
enough to make any girl of fourteen weep.

We stood at the edge on tiptoe
and stared down into the
dark water below
“A long ways down,” Pheena said.
she tipped her head cockily,
“But don’t worry--lucky for us, the monsters can’t get out.”

That night, I dreamt of monsters crawling out
over the edge into a kitchen of passive onions
and the sound of a knife going
Chop! Chop! Chop!
enough to make any girl of fourteen weep.


Full Stop

NPR is playing.  “All the nickels and dimes of your days.”
Outside a man in a t-shirt with large blue squares on it leads
his health walk with his belly while beside him a woman bounces,
her hips bounce, her breasts, her pony tail. The ocean wrinkles
in the distance.

A spray of birds rises from the green grass. A girl
sways by, the motion of her hips softly draped
in brown cashmere and her long brown hair flowing down her back
like a river reaching for some ocean, like  palm fronds
swaying over coconut fruited hips—

A man, grey-headed and portly, walking for his health
cannot control his head as it spins around further and further   attempting
to follow the sway of the girl’s hips,
her long, thin legs balancing  jauntily on stiletto heels
pierce the grass as she crosses.
The grey-haired man’s head is still turning,
against the forward surge of his aging body, his gaze drags him backward
toward longing, longing, longing,
in the twist of his head, all there—
the longing—
time, life, death.

“That face, that face, that wonderful face it shines it glows all over the place and how I love to watch it change expression.” 

He can only look so long.
And then she’s gone and he—

“Never will these eyes behold a sight that could replace that face,   that face, that face.”


Listening to the Anthropologeists on NPR


As they speak
their voices run like cars
over bumps in the road
Their confidence unnerving
gathers like a wave
roaring, carrying flailing arms and legs out to sea
terrifying in their articulate/ness
They bask
in their right-use-ness.

Behind the rise and fall of their tenor
stands the formidable alacrity of the scholar
like a cat springing from roof to roof
They delight in leaving the earth-bound

Their voices rise and fall
as the undulations of a sea change
to their moods.

Only those who have arrived
could laugh so comfortably.


Listening to the Anthropologeists-Discourse/Intercourse/Of Course/Off Course
Her voice, the talk show host’s, is encouraging,
admiring, adoring but restrained
She stops short of undressing the answers
After all, making love on the radio
is not what NPR does normally
except through discourse
that is permitted
even encouraged.
in the teasing tension
sways, pushes and penetrations
of the voice
Imagine that
Only anthropologeists could pull it off


Listening to the Anthropologeists—Birth/Death
More alarming than World War II
to us here who have become
accustomed to invasions,
they are an invasion.
As they talk, their rutting carves out
hearts, bleeding, and strands them
with something worse than nothing,
a foreboding
a heavy lump in the chest
Nothing of exquisite emptiness about it.
Their act of procreation
Go out and replenish the earth
is someone’s undoing
who is destroyed in the
interstices of their intercourse.

The mastery of their talk
about the different sites
that they have
so easily stolen from someone’s history
with panache, they’ve
raptured someone’s parents,
someone’s infanthood
from someone’s memory.

Listening to the Anthropologeists—Ironies
I am now who you always wanted me to be
who you imagined I should be
and now, ironically, you know
more about me than I do.
To you, my identity is food for thought.

You drink my blood
and eat my flesh
in the sticky sweetness
of your longing
You have conquered me
into an artifact, petrified thing
documentable, measureable,
Now, you can teach me
what I once used to be
used to me
used to be.


Listening to the Anthropologists—Spectacle
Where have I heard the rise and fall of your voices before?
As I’ve entered a room
your gaze morphs me into a beetle
turning its head,
waving its antennae,
reading the subtle pheromones in the wind
undergoing intense surveillance

from those with rolled-up
newspapers, whose swat is only
a reality away.

She is trying
You said
in her inarticulate way
to express amnesiac losses
that which she has forgotten

Expectantly you wait to see
what the Native can do
cup of Espresso half-raised
well-manicured nails
clipped and resting
I’ve heard those voices over patés
and mini beef Wellingtons

I’ve heard the mispronounciations
matlinos, matijas, mestiza, metis


Listening to the Anthropologeists—Talking back
My ancestors left their belongings behind
not for you to find
but because you had found them
with your small pox and measles
and your venerable venereal
and your benevolent wars
and the crosses planted
on empty beaches
their naivete wondering
at your naivete


Listening to the Anthropologeists—Los Isles de Ladrones
I have been taught in your schools
sat at your desks
now I talk as you talk
gaze as you gaze.
This is betrayal
that power to help
has been turned to hurt instead

You give me real space
and serious consideration
only if I keep my place
and remember what I’ve learned
from your history books.
about talking

Listening to the Anthropologeists—Art as Triumph
Indiana Jones’s theme plays in the background
as the show ends
His euphoria fills the room
an aphrodisiac
meant to seduce
Above the sound of weeping
for those bleeding, sweating, wrestling ancestors,
who have disappeared into
stone and stick and carvings on the wall of a cave
Artwork is safer than the real.
After all,
art never talks back
never balks,
never spits in your face
never raises a machete over your head

Art only stands
to be examined and discussed
the artifact partially exposed in the dirt
the names that house the detritus of the past.

This is the anthropologeists’ victory.
This, that is beyond comprehension.

Escape through Soaring
I escape,
surrounded by my people,
our own music soaring,
mounting in the clanging  of our children’s uplifted
bare, brown arm—a fist
that clenches their ancestors’ anger
into paper and black gouges
against petrified wood.


Military Buildup/Guam Buildup/Talk Buildup


In this frenzied buildup of talk,
Unmitigated construction of  “official stories”

It’s easy to make wrong seem right
and right seem wrong

To confuse even the most informed among us with “facts”
and “stats” that missile through the air
and hit targeted bunkers of belief
without saying also that there’s green grass around those bunkers
and rich, black dirt, and a couple outstretched under trees not far   away
him twirling his fingers through her hair

 In these looming edifices of converse
Labyrinthine, spiderwebs of thought

It’s easy to make pain seem like pleasure
and pleasure seem a pain

To confuse even the most astute among us with “projections”
and “calculations” and “specifications ”
realignments that plunge through the clouds
from bombers just so far up
and explode in mountain villages of terrorist traditions and   culture and language
without acknowledging that there were, yes, children running
between the thatched houses of that village, barefoot,
hollering out to each other between wooden staircases
with little black dogs trotting  beside them
and there were fishermen in the bay below
throwing their nets into a blue pool surfeit with fish

It’s easy to make the lie seem the truth
and the truth the lie

To confound even the most upright with
 “proposed action” and “mitigation”
“sustainability” and “action analysis”
that lie concealed, grenades of promise,
in these mined fields of cornfed confidence and hope
in the American dream
waiting to blow up hapless insurgents
without stating that some of these casualties will be young   laughing girls carrying
their books in backpacks slung across their shoulders
and clear-eyed boys pushing and shoving with dust swirling around   their
NewBalance shoes while their teacher in bitter green blazer stands
alert like an earth dane guarding the school door.



Michael Lujan Bevacqua is an instructor in Guam History and English Composition at the University of Guam. He is a visual artist, an activist and a writer whose poetry has appeared in the anthologies The Space Between: Negotiating Culture, Identity and Place in the Pacific, Storyboard: A Journal of Pacific  Imagery and Achote Seeds. He manages numerous websites and blogs, including his personal blog No Rest for the Awake – Minagahet Chamorro, through which he writes about peace, art, race and decolonization and was the official blogger for Guam at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.



Gi i mas homhom na påtten i puenge
I nanå-ta yan I tatå-ta siha manmapuno’,
Manmasakke ginnen Hita.

Siña un hungok i minilalak i hagga’-ñiha
Gi i pineddong i ichan.
I minengmong i kerason-ñiha,
Pumopoddong taiguihi i estreyas ginnen i langhet.
I puengge yan i halom tano’, i sagan-ñiha på’go.

Guihi gi i hale’ yan i hagon siha ni’ muna’chochocho i anti-ta,
Ya siña ma oppe i finaisen-ta siha put i tano’-ta.
Kuestion-ta pot håyi hit? Yan ginnen månu hit magi?

Si nanå-ta yan Si tatå-ta na gaige giya siha i respuesta.
Siha umalådu i edda’, ma tanom i trengko siha, mameska i tasi.
Siha muna’i hit ni’ i hagga’ ni’ malalågo’ kulang saddok siha gi   halom i tahtaotao-ta siha.

Ginnen i mas homhon na påtten i puengge yan i tano’
Manotohge siha, kesnuda, yan manmana’atan gi entre i trengko   siha,
Huyong giya Hita.
Manmannangga, Manmanhahasso.
Sina un li’e i lagun-niha i kinalamten i tasi,
I kinekuyong tasi



Don’t Give the Chamorro a Cigarette Just Yet…

In my readings of Guam’s history from the Spanish period to the present day, there always seems to be this one image that captures and dictates my imagining and imagination.

When I read our history, I always get this scene of Chamorros, standing before a firing squad, often blindfolded, each with an unlit cigarette in their mouths, just on the edge of non-existence.

Go through Spanish accounts and you’ll see discussions about Chamorros by priests and governors as if they don’t exist, or as if they are on the verge of oblivion.Read governors’ reports or medical articles from the American period and you get the same impression, Chamorros are dirty little impure creatures who without America and the English language would just drop dead and cease to be.

The intensity of this image became so ingrained in my ideas that I began to think of Guam’s history in terms of Chamorros being given metaphorical cigarettes of death.

Questions and scenarios began to pop into my head

Did the Spanish introduce tobacco to Guam just to give Chamorros that first whiff of genocide and extinction just before they nearly wiped them out?

After those wars, when some sources say all the Chamorro men were dead, and boatloads of Filipinos came to marry Chamorro women, thereby giving eager scholars the best evidence of Chamorro non-existence. Did these Filipinos hand cigarettes to their new brides as wedding gifts?

And what about the benevolent Americans who we tend to think of as the liberators of our culture?

Did they flick cigarettes at Chamorro farmers as they called them “niggers” or wrote articles that said, without civilizing and the destruction of their culture, they’ll just dissipate from history?

Or what about the American desperate, urgent almost pathological need to destroy the Chamorro language? They burnt books, they beat children, they fined people the wages of an entire month if a child so much as uttered a single Chamorro word.

Did they force open the mouths of these children, extinguish their sizzling and smoking cigarettes on the tongues of these children, and then demand that they smoke that same cigarette?

And how could we ever forget the war? When the Navy abandoned Guam in 1941 to the Japanese, leaving Chamorros the victims of empires and their inevitable conflicts. Did they leave behind crateloads of American brand cigarettes as well as the tune to Uncle Sam Won’t You Please Come Back to Guam?

Then there was the bombing, which was so sporadic and so careless it destroyed most of the villages of the island, and left unknown numbers of Chamorros dead, to be remembered as less than collateral damage. Did they drop bomb-loads of cigarettes from planes as they flew overhead?

As Marines landed on the beaches and discovered crowds of jubilant Chamorros, and gave eager young boys and girls candy bars, gum, and yes infamous cigarettes, they were often heard to exclaim, “You mean people live here?” or “I can’t believe anyone could have survived that bombing!”

And how could we ever forget the post war years. When the military thought it strategically important enough to steal almost every piece of land north of Inalahan. I remember hearing stories about farmers who were forced to give up their lands, or tricked into giving them up, and then died broken tragic deaths with little to offer their children. Their despair nothing more than tears in the pounding, requiem-sounding torrential downpour of war. Did Naval officers, in spotless and neatly pressed uniforms put cigarettes into the mouths of these men, and then their children, their wives, before they stole their land?

Even to this day, the extinction agenda is not complete.

In articles, in conversations, the discourse on cultural destruction persists. Chamorros themselves have taken up this habit, and begin to doubt their own existences, sometimes puffing the first whiff of death from that last cigarette as they board a Continental flight away from Guam, both in body and spirit.

Even I am sometimes offered that final metaphoric smoke.
By scholars reciting historical scholars.

Or by older Chamorros who are tired of GovGuam corruption or buying food for family gatherings, or thinking about how much easier life would be if their parents were in Saint Dominic’s.

Or by young Chamorros, some of which have never left Guam, who write poetry about snow in the voice of Brittney Spears and know more about Lord of the Rings Characters than their own grandparents.

But everytime the deadly addiction, the extinction affliction is   offered.
Meaning someone is telling me it’s almost my time to go.
To go and meet my ancestors in whatever museum or tourist attraction houses the souls of lost and dead cultures.
My response is always the same,
I don’t smoke, and I’m not going anywhere.



You will not be able to ignore it che’lu
This time you will not be able to blame it all on Anghet
You will not be able to change channels
And watch Fear Factor, Rev TV of Salamat Po Guam because
The Revolution will not be televised

The revolution will not be televised, nor will it be advertised
It will not be sponsored by the Good Guys at Moylan’s or the ;better guys at AK.
It will not be something easily explained by radio callers
Whether they be Positively Local, Definitively Settler, or Surprisingly Coconut
It will not be cornered by the Calvos and explained by Sabrina Salas Matanane
After the story about the incoming B-52’s or 1000’s of Marines careening towards to
Guam, and how we should be economically energized and not terrorized.
Jon Anderson will have no TT anecdotes about it
and Chris Barnett won’t malafunkshun it because the revolution will not be televised

The revolution will not be televised or editorialized
It will not be something canabilized with two inches here two inches there
Dubious headlines everywhere
Lee Weber will not edit it
Joe Murphy will not put it in his pipe and smoke it
Nor dream about it, or tell others the wonders and blunders of it.
There will be no letters to the editor quoting scriptures or denying its constitutionality
And there will be no American flag inserts saying these three colors just don’t run
As the revolution will not be editorialized

The revolution will not be televised or politicized
It will not play the same old gayu games
And promise you that same old talonan things.
The revolution will not wave at you as you drive by on Marine Drive
And seduce you with its hardworking eyes.
It will not be territorial or popular, and not encourage you with maolek blue.
The revolution will not put marang salaman po after its speeches to get more Filipino votes in the next election because the revolution will not be politicized

The revolution will not be televised, not be theorized
It will not be something GCC or UOG friendly.
There will be no books at Bestseller offering to help you lose something in 90 days
Or Rachel Ray helping you cook the revolution of your way.
Ron McNinch will not survey it
and will not poll people about their revolution of choice.
There will be no WASC review report demanding accountability demanding autonomy
And no beachcombing carpetbaggers will proclaim their own terminal authority
Over the histories, the laws, the thinking of those for whom they see nothing but corrupt and corrupting inferiority
The revolution will not be colonized

The revolution will not be televised, not be supersized.
The revolution will not be something you can buy at Ross, or get at blue light cost
It is not just red rice, kelaguan uhang, or popcorn with Tobacco sauce.
It doesn’t come with Coke and it doesn’t fit on a fiesta plate.
The revolution will not make you gof sinexy, cure your jafjaf, or make fragrant your fa’fa’
The revolution will not force you to be where America’s empire begins
Or where Japan’s golf courses and Gerry Yingling’s credit card debt ends.
You won’t need a credit card, or be charged for the tin foil to cover your balutan
As the revolution will not be economized

The revolution will not be televised, blownback or militarized
There will be no more physical ordnance buried in people’s lands
And no more patrionizing propaganda buried in people’s minds
The revolution will not get you cheaper cases of chicken or increased commissary privileges.
It will not make freedomless flags feel more comfortable in your hands
Or make uniforms fit more snugly around your mind.
The revolution will not deny racism or exploitation
And not create histories about landfalls of destiny
But instead publicize the racism and evils of American hegemony.
The revolution will not be subsidized by construction contracts or the race of Senator Inouye or Congressman Burton
It will not be laid waste to by daisy cut budgets or Medicare spending limits
Instead it will be sustained by deep memories that refuse to die
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be televised and will not polarize based on blood or color
It will not make your skin lighter
It will not make your skin darker
It will not test your blood the way Hitler or Uncle Sam would of done
It will not hate some and love others based on their time of naturalization
Or incept date of their compacts of free association.
But the revolution will help some find comfort, find strength, find power
In their connections to the land and to each other
Allow some to discover the sovereignty that can be found in solidarity
The revolution will take and remake this consciousness that doesn’t need to be televised
But does need to be revolutionized
The revolution will not be haolified
The revolution will not be haolified

Cha-mu pumupuni este che’lu

Sa’ i revolution ti pau mahaolify



Charissa Manibusan Aguonis from the beautiful southern village of Talofofo, Guam. She is a senior at the University of Guam seeking a Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences concentrating in, ‘Society, Ethics & Human Behavior. She is also a member of the Ginen I Hila I Maga’ Taotao Siha (From the Tongues of a Noble People) Association; a group whose mission is to perpetuate the CHamoru language and culture through storytelling. She represented Guam as part of the Literary Arts delegation at the 10th Festival of the Pacific Arts held in American Samoa in August 2008.




DISATENTO! (Disrespectful!)

Haaaah!? Whut yew set?
Yew tink am wrung!
Mai on dawder? ansah meh bak?
Ai burf’d yew-ai fet yew- ai cloft yew- ai howse yew!
Ai tetch yew RISPECK en disis wa’ ai  ge’?
Disis wa’ ai ge’?!
Yew kits naw-adai tink yew sooo SHMATT!
kus yew goh tew da kAAH-LETS?
Tink yew no’ EVAH-REE-TING?!
Sigi mo’na! Goooh!
Dren mai blut owtef yew-ven!
Dren mai blut owtef yew-ven!
Yew foget weh yew kam fram!
Nevah! Eba! Eba! en mai ho’ lyfe
dew ai kweschun mai  muddah!
Bat yew! Awl yew fansi engrish wurts!
Don mek yew bedah!
YEW foga’ haah tew LISSEN!
Foga’ yew Muddah!





Do not bury these bones in the corners of your mind!
These bones once held hearts that pumped blood
In to veins
underneath flesh
of foremothers, fathers,
sisters, brothers,
of lovers
and of children
Do not bury these bones in the corners of your mind!
These bones once fished, once hunted
once lead warriors into battle
once laughed, once smiled, once cried
between earth and sky.
Uncover! Unearth!
so that these aching bones might rest
keep your feet towards the rising tide
from these bones,
fashion spears and pierce hearts

Sell Out

You are all cordially invited to attend
a snooty masquerade!
Come take in the majestic tapestry
Dance to enthralling melodies
Get drunk off the wine of futility!
Chomp- Chomp the fruit of gluttony
And sing a song of sophistry!
But when the bewitching ball is done,
masks unveil to show true face!
Don’t be shocked to find
the moon ate the sun
while you were swaying
in an hollow space!




Lehua M. Taitano, a native Chamoru from Yigo, Guahån (Guam), has spent her lifetime residing either in the mountains or by the sea. She is a graduate of The University of Montana’s M.F.A. Creative Writing Program and author of the Merriam-Frontier Award-winning chapbook appalachiapacific. Her first book, A Bell Made of Stones, is forthcoming from TinFish Press. Her poetry, essays, and Pushcart Prize-nominated fiction have appeared in Versal, dislocate, Nano Fiction, and Tinfish Journal, among others. She also has work forthcoming from Witness, USO’s on Freeways: Anthology of Pacific Island Writers in/from the U.S., Micronesia Anthology: Indigenous Writers of Micronesia, and Transpacific Poetics.


from Actions
for Dylan

Have mercy on a creature who does not yet know your face.

Behind double
on the fifth floor

cabinets the university’s corner
of poetry

curled COUGAR in a jar

before I broke
the lock.

Unclassified, he
in simplest preservation
is fetal

hovering like a
spine furred.

Of course one thinks
the pine perch,

purr the sound
of stones tumbling

One thinks
fang sink.




The library
has shelved it:           



A period piece,
a baubling




We had thoughts,
Puma concolor
and I:


            I have visions of your rest.


            Beneath ridge tree cupped in grass.


            We’ll splinter the jar, bathe you in creek water—


            Wrap you in lightest muslin

Yes, and sage—          

            Yes, white sage, yes. And orange star buds and leaves and—


            And these words, too, in my griefscrawl?


Stone tumble.
             Stone tumble.
                        Stone tumble.
                                     Stone tumble.




from Actions

Retrace the Landscape. Where You Have Sieved Earth for Stones or Scent Alone. Walk it if You Are Able.

We stalk the patch of grass. Swish and swingle. Tunnels curl between bunches below the breathless hill. We avoid participle, no –ing because it passive-fies, makes a quality of have, not the have itself. I don’t ask permission, though at day’s end it is not as simple as mine notmine. I eye the exposure in berms that speaks bobsled, skeleton. A creature shapes its way. You stab at the vole’s futility, say look at its conspicuousness, its foolish filet of earth, its obvious scramble! It digs with its hands, shares kinship blindness. Trust me. It feels the hem of wind on its back, the lightshaft prick. It senses hawkclaw, coyote stamp. It perseveres in its must. Before you spoke vole, I dubbed the hills behind the house Mouse Trap. Simple drab ignorance. (All scampering is not the same.) What trappings droppings graying can. What censures down mounds to the epicenter shrine, what humming magic transforms fur to fur, scamper to tunnel and dig dig dig. What chimera presto! voilà! transmogrifies mouse to vole? We climb, glean, retrieve some loss across ridge rife, across bone bleach. Look! the double car garage edges the grass. The sink and dip, the rise. I claim it. Mine. As does the dog. She pisses on barbed wire, effulgent gush on twist caught with hair, earth, the ruff of your shirt. We claim all we see, don’t see the dog is dying. Liver the size of a punch. After the sun, in the kitchen—pronunciation, movement, women’s solace. A firm bamboo roll gathering density’s bundle. We dip our fingers in the water bowl for absolution before we press the rice. If I had a cloak I would bundle grasses. Let the fed be continually fed. I want comfort, a deer mattress, a heart stuffed with trample.



from Actions


Speak father father father father father father, until the story   surfaces of your unravel.

algebra always
between us

i did it right
once correct

in the factor field
all thistle
i spied the single
clover pressed it
between my knees

my imitations mingling
his four (triangled tulip canted, planted)
his nine (six’s shadow reversed in a pool placid)

his carpenter's pencil
never scrawled

i swayed and plied while
he calculated

slantways the bucknife thumbjamb
peeled the driest scent
(yellow-edged woodcurl)

sheaves fluttered to graph paper
a heap soon
scooped a tinder
pile huddle

mercurochrome stains a scab
the way sunspots maim
a mole

his mottled palm
on my shoulder,
the thumbnail a hammered

conferred little
but heat




Clarissa Mendiola is a Chamoru woman who was raised in California. Through segmented essays and poetry, her work explores ideas of cultural identity and ethnic purity via memory, myth, oral and written history, and the ways in which all of these things work toward or against the overarching question – what does it mean to be Chamoru? She has an MFA in Writing from California College of Arts and currently lives in San Francisco where she thinks, writes, and dreams about Guahan.





every puff of sand
a victory a moment
won your carapace
written in half centimeters
and hard human years


there is no sanctuary for your bony shell slung
around our necks your tender meat
at the end of a fiesta table

transference of years and sea
fill your clutch in hundreds

my watchful human gaze
what is the product
of our mediation

how to find a circle’s exit
point thin spot of shell

at sunrise only the sound of
softly flapping fins
and my cheering

falagu! falagu! ñangu!

holding now the metaphor
of your unlikely survival.




Phone Conversation with Dad

what is the word


          go          run          swim


laughing you dig
deep cannot recall
last opportunity to put
air to language sounding

your throat-

from some center red
earth and body the many borrowed
utterances deny claim

chanting at the top
of your range in
loaned decibels too.



Puti Tai Nobio

cutting a rose for you today     its fat bloom and mediocre beauty     i consider instead bougainvillea     supported delicacy firm with silk     ripened inconspicuous    burst of leaf petals     your rose love a mouth     full of betel darkened buds    fashion of preservation     the shocked outsider     all those rotting descriptions    and blackened teeth     drawing savage indecency     i imagine the rose     an imported darling     gift of civilized beauty seduced young women    measuring their value against     its bruised flesh shedding on a window sill