Craig Santos Perez is the author of three books, most recently from unincorporated territory [guma’], which received the American Book Award in 2015. He teaches Pacific Literature, Eco-Poetry, and Creative Writing at the University of Hawaiʻi, Manoa.
Christmas in the Anthropocene, 2015
I’m dreaming of a fake Christmas,
just like the plastic trees made in China,
where factories glisten and workers miss
their distant children and villages.
May your labor protests be organized,
and may all your Christmases be paid.
I’m dreaming of an employed Christmas,
just like the temp jobs we all know,
where forklifts hiss and scanner guns whisper
the aisles and shelves of online orders.
May your picking volume targets be met,
and may all your Christmases be peak.
I’m dreaming of a black Christmas,
just like the boys we used to know,
where cops fire munitions and citizens petition
in the malls and streets of White America.
May your murderers be indicted,
and may all your Christmases be just.
I’m dreaming of a warm Christmas,
just like the ones we’ll all soon know,
where flood waters have risen and cities riven
by extreme storms and tornadoes.
May our Arctic ice sheets be frozen,
and may all our Christmases be safe.
Love Poem in a time of Climate Change (Sonnet XII)
after Pablo Neruda
Global woman, waxy apple, record heat,
thick smell of algae, burnt peat and sunset,
what rich nitrogen opens between your native trees?
What fossil fuels will a man tap with his drill?
Loving is a migration of butterflies and refugees,
with overcrowded boats and no milkweed:
loving is a clash of petro-states, two bodies
detonated by a single drone strike.
Kiss by kiss I walk across your scarred landscape,
your reservations, your border walls, your dam,
until our little extinctions transform into peak oil
and push through the narrow pipelines of our veins,
until we bloom wide, like water hyacinth, until we are
and we are more than a fracture in geologic time.
Great White Sharks