The Brooklyn Rail

MAR 2017

All Issues
MAR 2017 Issue

New Year’s Eve & Day in the Anthropocene


December 31, 2016

I take a hot shower to cleanse my body of the year’s stank and grind.
After, I wipe the steam from the mirror, put on “Fuck 2016” plastic glasses, take a naked selfie,
            and post it on Facebook (privacy setting: “Only Me”). 
O David Bowie!
I play “Under Pressure” on my Youtube app, raise my smartphone in praise, and dance battle
            death’s twerk.
O artist formerly known as Prince!
I play “Purple Rain” and dance battle death’s weather anomalies.
O Muhammad Ali!
I shadowbox falling butterflies and collapsing bees.
O Carrie Fisher!
If we must drown in rising sea levels, may we drown in moonlight, strangled by Princess
            Leia’s bra #wishfuldrinking
I fall to my knees and weep at the crossroads of celebrity culture, social media, and late-
Desperately I open my Facebook app because I want to like something in this world.
Friends I’ve never met IRL post pictures of black eyed peas, noodles, grapes, pomegranates,
            roast pork, cooked greens, lentils, and cake.
I like all their posts for good luck and universal basic income.
Then I share a meme that juxtaposes a picture of an extravagant feast somewhere with a
            picture of refugee children eating bread crumbs somewhere else.
No one likes it.
Then I bite on the clickbait headline: “This is the official poem of 2016.”
The poem ends with the figure of a realtor chirping about the “good bones” of the world.
The realtor reminds me of Whitman, who tried to sell us America as the “Greatest Poem.”
“FUK NAH,” I write on the foggy mirror with my middle finger.
If America be a poem, it be a supremacist epic writ in enslaved ink, genocidal grammar, and
            predatory prosody. 
I resolve to write subversive odes to hope, odes to magic, odes to the fetish of the new.
O George Michael!
I play “Faith” and dance battle into my xmas-themed pjs.
Suddenly there comes a tapping at the bathroom door.
I open the door and my 2.5-year old daughter is standing there in matching xmas-themed pjs.
A toddler in America has shot somebody with a legal firearm every week in 2016. 
She grabs my hand and leads me to the living room, where the rest of the family is watching
            live New Year’s Eve shows on television: Ryan Seacrest, Anderson Cooper, Kathy
            Griffin #NYEsowhite
O Mariah Carey!
Sorry not sorry for putting a curse on you after you named your dog “Guam,” and paraded
            him on American talk shows.
(Confession: I, too, lip-sync my poetry performances because I just can’t hit those high lyric
            notes like i used to.)
As midnight approaches, I blow bubbles because my daughter loves bubbles.
She reaches with excited hands.
But she doesn’t poke them; instead, she kisses each bubble so they pop on her lips.
It’s sooo cute that I forget the cheap champagne,
the predictable countdown,
the ball dropping,
the global detonations.

January 1, 2017

Fuck sunrise hikes.
I resolve to sleep in.
When I wake, I open my Facebook app and share a meme that juxtaposes a picture of
            fireworks somewhere with a picture of war somewhere else.
Then I share a news article about the first baby born on American soil in 2017: Kylie Ray,
            who emerged 9 seconds after midnight at Guam Memorial Hospital!
Guam is usually a loser in the Colonial Games, but we always win the first baby born in the
            new year competition because we are a day ahead of the rest of America.
Then I share a meme that juxtaposes a picture of a NYE celebration somewhere and a picture
            of 20,000 dead sea creatures washing ashore somewhere else.
For a moment, I remember Oscar Grant.
O America!
Fuck your fuckboy Trump. Fuck his “#MAGA.” Fuck his American flag emojis.
January 20th is fast approaching, comrades! R U ready? Have you chosen your outfit for
            the inauguration day protest?
I drink unfair trade coffee and read A Beginners Guide to Optimism.
Bored, I turn on the television and watch American football.
At the Vikings-Bears game, two activists rappel from the stadium rafters and unfurl a
            banner: “US Bank: DIVEST #NoDAPL.”
At no point is the game interrupted. 
At no point is my body exercised or dieted. 
At no point is my life detoxed or plastic free.
At no point is my internet addiction controlled or meaningful social relations nurtured.
At no point is my household or finances organized.
At no point is climate change combatted.
Fuck sunset hikes.
Fuck the new year’s known knowns.
Fuck the new year’s known unknowns.
Fuck the new year’s unknown unknowns.
Fuck the Spring 2017 syllabi.
All day I worry about my grandparents, which in turn makes me worry about nuclear war.
All day I eat countless chicken wings.
My daughter, who has been coloring, finally takes a nap.
My wife trims her wild toddler hair into cute bangs.
This is her first haircut, so we save her hair in a plastic ziploc bag.
This ziploc bag and my “Fuck 2016” plastic glasses will never degrade.
Biodegradable, I resolve to nap.
In my dream, an Uber picks me up at the crossroads of precarity, the sharing economy, and
The driver turns to me and says: “We all have separate, unequal futures.”
Then we speed away from the metropolis and enter a native reserve named, “Prophecy.”
We stop alongside the poisoned river and its companion pipeline.
I ask the water: “Will the world end this year?”
A one-eyed GM salmon floats to the surface and whispers: “The world already ended.”
I wake, am woke, sweaty.  
I feverishly write a poem with my daughter’s crayons in her coloring book.
The poem is titled, “Good Chicken Bones,” subtitled: “The Unofficial Poem of 2017.”
The poem ends with me, as a father-figure, trying to sell you, reader as child-figure, the
I compare myself to “any decent geologist” walking you through a vast landfill, chirping on
about good chicken bones: “These bones could be soup,
right? You could make this soup delicious.”



Craig Santos Perez

Craig Santos Perez is a native Chamorro from the Pacific Island of Guam. He is the author of three books, most recently from unincorporated territory [guma’], which received an American Book Award 2015. He is an associate professor in the English department at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAR 2017

All Issues