026.1: Craig Santos Perez:: Postterrain III & Juan Malo Explains what a “Guam” Is & from all with ocean views 026

Craig Santos Perez’s work serves as a compelling introduction to this week’s theme: what is reclaimed after occupation, modernization, integration? Having just returned from a family trip in Hawaii, I found these poems wonderfully uncomfortable to read. They stick with you. They don’t ask, but rather demand, rereading. Experiencing Perez’s poems is much like hearing one’s voice replayed from a hidden and aged recording device: when it is played back, we are indicted by the content but intrigued by the rich textures in sound. Through verbal collage and appropriation, Perez shows that reclaiming is a reassembling of what has already been claimed.

In “Postterrain III”, the speaker associates cultural familiarity with a kind of anatomical and domestic prescription. This connectivity and fidelity, however, is also vulnerable to the “many” who “enter this house”; a new body is wanted, another map needed. The speaker wishes to throw off his postmodernism, to “say a word/and mean its depth”, to comprehend a past and present without bitterness, irony, or compromise.

But such a comprehension will forever elude Perez’s speakers. “Juan Malo”, a legendary Micronesian medicine man, won fifty gold pieces from Spanish doctors when he managed to “cure” an entire ward of the sick and dying. His secret? Juan Malo snuck into the ward and told the sick that he had a miraculous concoction that would heal them all. The concoction, however, required one of the patients—the sickest, of course—to be killed and his bones ground to dust. No wonder, then, that every patient in the room stood and walked out of the ward to prove they were better when Juan Malo returned, to the amazement of the Spanish doctors. Perez’s poem begs the uncomfortable question: could industry, imperial powers, and militarization be exacting the same kind of forced response from Guam? And if so, how does one separate economy from military, originality from foreignness, tourism from history?

Perez does not offer easy answers. Nor should he. A particular strength of his work is that it lacks simple dichotomies and straw men. The selection published here from “all with ocean views” exemplifies a gray area metaphorically and typographically. “all with ocean views” begins as a lament, a method for expressing grief upon the discovery of ancient human remains during the renovation of a tropical hotel. The poem marks the place in addition to the “resort villa and spa” which now also mark the place; the subsequent table of banquet rooms is the capitalistic registry of Guam’s history—chiefs are nothing other than blank markers to designate difference in sitting and standing capacity. But this effacement also brings to light another revelation, one that troubles identity as much as supports it: “how early people//lived perhaps where they came from//boxed shipped overseas”. Ryan Winet

Postterrain III

the ribcage of a house can never be pulled free from
its backbone
we stay in our rooms to believe what we’re told
sometimes I reach for you sometimes your movement
awakens me—
when i close my eyes
is that you walking away is that you waiting for ‘voice’
many enter this house
after breaking
narrative into… see what the house sees                light-
waves break
to learn a new body to carry the uncertain
dark into certain
the map of once living story

say a word
and mean its depth

say ‘myth’ and mean
‘no end’


Juan Malo Explains what a “Guam” Is

Guam is virtually nonexistent, just a little island, a little fly-speck in the Pacific, far, far away from everything. Guam is three and a half hours. Guam is a travel hub to other Micronesian Islands and America’s gateway to the West Pacific and Asia. Guam is one of the few remaining colonies of the world. Guam is a duty-free port. Guam is a United States citizen at birth. Guam is also part of the U.S. Postal System (“state” code: GU, ZIP code range: 96910-96932), mail to Guam from the U.S. mainland is considered domestic and no additional charges are required. Guam is inviting and on Myspace. Guam is generally receptive to the military expansion plan for the island. Guam is being made without the consent of Guam’s people. Guam is being revived as a pivot point in a sweeping realignment of US forces in the Pacific and Asia. Guam is situated along what the Chinese call the “second island chain” to which the communist military intends to project air and sea power in the foreseeable future. Guam is an instrumentality of the federal government. Guam is a compilation of testimonies presented to the United Nations. Guam is vulnerable to the tyranny of distance. Guam is strategically located close to several of the worlds most important sea lanes, such as the Strait of Malacca, through which some 50% of the world’s oil passes each year. Guam is causing some pilot rust to show through. Guam is using Twitter. Guam is to go into places with air conditioning. Guam is like visiting the four exotic corners of the globe. Guam is halfway around the world. Guam is nothing to most Americans. Guam is a small harmless creature the size of an earthworm. Guam is not as remote as you might think. Guam is a melting pot of Chamorro, Micronesian, American, and Asian cultures. Guam is called the land of the rosaries. Guam is one of the best Hotels. Guam is about to boom economically, and a good many of our young people are going to join the military. Guam is on Facebook. Guam is 671. Guam is narrow in the middle and why women were held in such high esteem in ancient Guam. Guam is jungle and sometimes there just aren’t any good landmarks. Guam is strictly business—and the business is to accelerate the military. Guam is like a mini Hawaii. Guam is normally on the spicier side. Guam is one of our most curious possessions. Guam is the punchline to so many Hollywood movie gags/jokes. Guam is being used to film 3 Hollywood Movies in the next few years. Guam is being upgraded by the Pentagon. Guam is being beefed up to better project power. Guam is the largest and most spectacular mall in all the western Pacific. Guam is not volcanically active. Guam is pretty scarce. Guam is not a Guam.


from all with ocean views

human remains found

during renovation of

okura hotel                               now the aurora

resort villa and spa this

discovery marks

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Banquet Room No. of Guests Size Stage Mic/Karaoke
(sitdown | standing) (sq.ft)
Chief Matapang 330 | 700 4950 YES Charge
Chief Aguan 75 | 150 1175 YES Charge
Chief Alu 75 | 150 1345 YES Charge
Chief Gadao 75 | 150 1175 YES Charge
Chief Kepuha 75 | 150 1265 YES Charge
Chief Hurao 75 | 150 1235 YES Charge

oldest best preserved

prehistoric burial

western pacific                         how early people

lived perhaps where they came from

boxed shipped overseas