Rumpus Original Poetry: Two Poems by Craig Santos Perez

By

 

 

 

ECL (English as a Colonial Language, an abecedarian)

American authorities
banned
Chamoru language to manifest
            destiny :
English enforced at the empire’s
frontier of “freedom.”
            Guåhan means “we
have,” but what is home-
island if silenced by the violent
jingoism of an unjust
            klepto-settler state—if
language is stolen from our living
mouths &
nouns reduced to nothing—if
            oceanic throats &
pasifika palates are pacified,
quiet like i halom tano’
            ravaged by brown tree
snakes who swallowed i
totot, sihek, åga…
            until ancestral
vowels & consonants, once avian
                        wild, now
xtirpated—
yielding to the colonial
zoo of endangered tongues.

 

 

The Zen of Spam

 

             ~

When you eat Spam,
what are you eating?

 

 

                                                                 ~

                                                    There is no path
                                                    To Spam.
                                                    Spam is the path.

 

 

             ~

What is the sound
of no Spam frying?

 

 

 

 

                                       ~

                          What is the true taste
                          of Spam?

 

 

 

                                                                       ~

                                                                 Spam is
                                                                 the absence
                                                                 of striving
                                                                 for Spam.

 

 

 

 

             ~

Does a poem
have Spam nature?

 

 

 

                                       ~

                          First there is Spam.
                          Then there is no Spam.
                          Then there is.

 

 

                                                                 ~

                                                     Is America Spam?

 

 

 

 

 

             ~

“Why aren’t you eating
Spam anymore?” you ask.

“I no longer see Spam
as outside,” I reply. “Why eat?”

***

Photograph of Craig Santos Perez by Hannah Ensor.


Craig Santos Perez is a native Chamoru poet from the Pacific Island of Guåhan (Guam) He is the author of four collection of poetry and the co-editor of five anthologies. He teaches in the English department at the University of Hawaiʻi, Manoa. More from this author →