Photos in the Life of Cecilia - Guam's Indigenous Poet & Writer

Cecilia with Latte Stones
Rota Latte Monoliths
Weaving coconut fronds
Weaving with family and friends.

Kafe Mulinu ¹
Copyrighted © Nov 1997

Taste bitter.
Taste sweet.
We sit
coddling cups
of brown liquid
and yawn in awakening
for the hour is late.
as we drink in
the brew,
our feet hesitate to rest
on what they know
too well
to be
concrete poured thick
over compacted wetlands.

Venetian-blinded windows
encase us in
conditioned air
conditioned minds
and keep us from seeing
keep us from feeling
the surrounding sesonyan².

our beloved ancestors
Cries from the past
whirl in the present
are hurled at our presence
but only blow at us
like a whisper.

Our eyes perk
our heads tilt
as if to listen.
We are roused to remember
Their pain is our legacy.

We measure the weight
of our cup
grown heavy in our hands
that shake with fear
at Their memories.

We leave Them in Their pain
as we heave
and take,     yet
another numbing sip.

Ai, mohon yanggen siña ta hungok,
            yanggen siña ta nginge,
            yanggen siña ta li'e.

Mohon yanggen siña ta siente
na ti apman esta i ora,
siempre ti man manmatåtåchong hit     4
cups of brew,
that keeps us
in open-eyed slumber,
searching for answers.

that only leave us
sitting sipping
churning mixing
bitter with sweet.

About the poem "Kafe Mulinu" - An Analysis

The conventional approach in the study of history
has been to review the written record, oral
histories, photographs, art and scientific
records. This route has been taken in the study of
the history of Guam, but has not engaged the
interest of the grass roots community in the
dramatic way sensory awakening has.

Within and around the Chamoru community, there
is a vibrant interest in learning about Chamoru
by participating in singing, dancing,
carving, sailing, weaving, farming, cooking and
other creative arts. There is sensational
presence of the past in contemporary Chamoru

This poem reflects on this presence of the
Taotaomo'na and the struggle and urgency in
trying to understand a Chamoru past in the
context of modern-day Guam.


1. Ground coffee.

2. Wetlands.

3. Chamoru ancestors.

4. "If only we could hear,
              we could smell,
              we could see,

If only we could feel
that the hour is late,
we probably wouldn't be sitting ..."


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