Monday, April 28, 2014

It's National Poetry Month, so here's my poem about loving indigenous hair

Ancient Chamoru
Hair saved the people from death
Mine just clogs the drain.


Oh? You don't know the reference to the womenfolk who sacrificed their locks to, you know, only rescue their people and their lands from imminent doom at the teeth of a sea monster? You should check it out.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Wow! Time flies (and other obvious, trite observations)

People like Miget are crazy and/or powered by a tenacious sense of intestinal fortitude that enables them to chug along and write write write for public consumption. Me, clearly... I have neither the discipline nor the crazy-head.

In the past three years, some stuff happened along the way, namely:
  • Everyone got pregnant. Everyone. EVERYONE. You think I'm exaggerating? I know where to buy cheap baby clothes sets, can extol on diaper sizes (one of the major lessons learned on Guam is that diapers come in different sizes!), and can do a pretty mean estimation of how big in circumference the baby mama's gut (sorry, glorious woman oven) is. All this while touching an actual baby literally like three times, thank goodness.
  • My hair got long. 
  • My neck got sunspots.
  • The youths are into these things called the Tumblr and Snapchat and Vine. Also, instead of being a beacon of hope, they have become a source of frustration and despair as I tolerate their laziness/lack of gumption... therefore meaning that I got super old.
  • iPad is also now a youths thing, which basically means that whenever I go to a restaurant I'm assaulted by about 50 iPads simultaneously playing "Frozen" but at different start points.
  • The parental units decided to ship out, also desde Sanlågu, and are en route. More specifically, in da vill, down da block, within easy "stopping by distance and just to check up on you and make sure you're not doing anything to remotely embarrass us like not do regular yard maintenance." 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Malak na Puti'on Tåsi--Dedicated to those lost at sea, again

A few days after I offered up my mistake-riddled "Reinen I Langet, I Piti'on Tåsi," I realized that my favorite Chamoru hymn (and the only one I know gi kirason-hu) used metaphors of the ocean. I initially heard it at the first funeral I ever attended on island as an adult--for someone else who the sea took too soon, a fisherman.

It seems strange to me, upon reflection, that all of the Chamorus I know, myself included, automatically ask for permission when visiting the jungle--but do nothing similar when going in the water. Perhaps I haven't been here long enough or been around the right people (those people who bleed saltwater, they're there so much) to learn the proper way, or perhaps it's the guellas yan guellos who prefer the land, or perhaps we've taken our relationship with the sea for granted. Either way(s), it seems a shame to neither approach nature with humility nor awe.



Ma'lak na puti'on tåsi chachalåni i batko-ku
Radiant star of the sea, guide my boat
su'on mo'na gi tano'-hu u fåtto lalakse
[That] smoothly propels towards my land
Li'e' guini Maria i piligru na senlåhyan
Behold here Maria the numerous perils
Ya un tailaye i sahyan yanggen ti un gigiha.
And a cruel table if you do not lead the way.

Ma'lak na puti'on tåsi chachalåni i batko-ku
Radiant star of the sea, guide my boat
su'on mo'na gi tano-hu u fåtto lalakse
[That] smoothly propels towards my land
I ma'udai na taotao ha fa'poposgue i tasi
[Håfa kumekilek-ña i fino' Inglis, håfa i sihetu--i taotao pat i batko pat i piti'on tåsi?]
The boater leaves the sea
Yan i nanan mina'åse' chumochoma' i chaochao.
And most holy mother forbade rough waters.

Ma'lak na puti'on tåsi chachalåni i batko-ku
su'on mo'na gi tano'-hu ya u fåtto lalakse.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Reinan I Langet, I Piti'on Tasi--Dedicated to those lost at sea

(Icon by Liliana Dumitru. You can also find her work here.)

The sea took two away.

I can't find any Chamoru prayers online dedicated to those who the ocean decided to claim. Perhaps because Santa Maria Kamalen is
the patron saint of Guåhan, no one prays to St. Brendan (Irish apostle who saw a giant sea monster) or St. Nicholas (yes, the Greek bishop on whom Santa Claus is based doubles as the patron of fishermen and prostitutes) for the specific purpose of protecting those who make their lives gi tasi.

But it turns out that
Stella Maris, or Our Lady, Star of the Sea, is the patroness for Catholic missions devoted to seafaring. Given the island's veneration of the Virgin, it would seem altogether appropriate--and culturally reassuring, no matter what one's spiritual persuasion may be--that some incarnation of Our Lady extends from the sandy floors to the waves on the reef.

And while I normally detest the metaphors associated with death, in this one hymn I do find some solace in the idea of "life's surge" (which I clumsily translated as "napun lina'la'"). My only hope is that the grieving families can, in time, find peace in theirs.

Translation of "Hail Queen of Heaven, the Ocean Star"

Abe, reinan i langet, i piti'on tåsi,
Chachalenen i lina'on gi papa',
I napun lina'la' ha matmos ham,
Na'såfu ham ginen i piligru yan i triniste.

Nanan si Jesus, i piti'on tåsi,
Tayuyuti i lina'on, tayuyuti para guahu.

I Bithen benikno yan sensiyu,
Manisao ham, ta fanaitai para hågu,
Na'håsso iyo-mu Lahi ni apåsi
I presiu iyo-ta isao.

Sen pura i Bithen, i piti'on tåsi,
Tayuyuti i inisao, tayuyuti para guahu.

Yan Guiya na gaige gui' i langet,
Una na Yu'os, tres na taotao,
Humale' i lina'la', i grasia, i guinaiya,
Mandimu ham para hågu.

Sen ma'lak reina, i piti'on tåsi,
Tayuyuti para i famaguon-mu, tayuyuti para guahu.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

JesusMariaJose--i essitan Chamoru

For the record: sometimes I had a hard time understanding my grandmother when I was younger due to her accent. In the past two years I finally parsed out her two favorite sayings: "Kalakas!" ("Disgusting!"--usually in reference to cats who would defecate in her garden, and poop in general) and "JesusMariaJose!" ("JesusMaryJoseph!"--as in the High Holy Familia--usually in reference to something unappealing, like, let's say, adulterous spouses and/or ugly hairstyles).

So this joke's out for iyo-ku Nanan Biha, yan todu i i man'amko ni umessitan. Got any more? I'd love to collect some, and I'm bugging my Saipanese che'lus to do the same.


Auntie Uncha heard strange sounds coming from her daughter's bedroom in the middle of the night, so she went to go check on her. To her shock, there was no daughter where she was supposed to be--namely, in bed and sleeping!

Ilek-ña si Auntie Uncha, "JesusMariaJose!"

From under the bed came a panicky voice, "GUAHU si Jesus! Månnge' si Maria yan si Jose?!"

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Felis nochebuena, felis pascua, felis navidad, tiempon minagof, etc. etc.

Ginen si Walter A. Manglona yan i man'amko giya Saipan. (Like the spaceships in his earlier video, I don't get why he would ask for a Maserati because Saipan has literally one road and the speed limit is 35, but whatever.) Umespiha yu' i kanta "Puengi Yu'os," lao ti siña gi Youtube.

Na'maolek i ha'ani-hamyo!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Two odes for a dead boonie dog

Never was boonie dog more persistent
Chasing cars he was sure quite consistent
He peed on my car
But did not wander far
For this dog's loyalty was infinite.


Guard dog ferocious I never did fear
On his left side a flippy flop ear
He sprawled in the street,
Humped all dogs in heat,
But no bark could I ever hold more dear.

(Photo lifted from Guam Animals In Need Facebook page. This dog is different than Woofie in that Woofie had significantly less fur, more of a limp, and generally liked to play dead when he wasn't being . . . dead. Damn I miss this dog.)