Guam is considered the SPAM® capital of the world. On average, each Chamorro consumes 16 tins of SPAM® each year, which is more per capita than any country in the world. Headline: Guam Struggles to Find Its Roots From Beneath Growing Piles of SPAM®. Guam, Hawaii, and Saipan have the only McDonald's restaurants that feature SPAM® on the menu. I went to the "World's Largest K-Mart" in Guam and I was amazed at the SPAM® display…it was like a whole "Wall of SPAM®." SPAM® has a place not only in the stomachs of Guam's people, but in our hearts as well. Here SPAM® is considered a gourmet luxury and is often presented as a gift at birthdays, weddings, and funerals. Hormel even made a Hot and Spicy SPAM® especially formulated for Guam with Tabasco already added to it! A culinary legacy of American troops stationed in the Pacific during World War Two, the GIs noticed how much the people of Guam loved SPAM®, so they started to jokingly call it "Chamorro Steak." Not coincidentally, SPAM® is also popular in Hawaii, the Philippines, Okinawa, and Saipan, all places with a history of a U.S. military presence. In fact, SPAM® may have been responsible for Hitler's defeat. The Allies would not have won WWII without SPAM®. Plus, it's processed so I guess we can keep it forever right? Wow, I haven't seen this much SPAM® since I lived on Guam and the car dealership there started offering 50lb bags of rice and cases of SPAM® with every purchase. The end result can be found in the newspaper's obituary pages. In 2004, Public Health reported that heart disease was the leading cause of death on Guam, representing 33.7% of deaths. You can rub the entire block of SPAM®, along with the accompanying delicious gelatinous goo, onto wood furniture. The oils from the SPAM® moisturize the wood and give the furniture a nice luster. Plus, you'll have enough left over to polish some of your neighbors' furniture. You'll be like Santa Claus meets Mr. Clean. How did I miss hearing about the "In Honor of Guam's Liberation" SPAM®! I thought I had collected them all! But as I got older and tried to be "healthier" (whatever that means, haha), SPAM® faded from my consciousness. Then I met my future wife, who is Hawaiian, and SPAM® became part of my life again. Maybe the economic downturn will help people truly appreciate SPAM® instead of loathing it. SPAM® doesn't have to be unhealthy. I eat SPAM® on a regular basis and I'm not dead yet. Just switch to SPAM® Lite. In the devastating wake of Typhoon Omar, SPAM® arrived. Hormel Foods donated 40,000 cases of the belly-filling foodstuff to the Salvation Army's disaster relief effort. That's about six million SPAM®burgers! Despite rumors, SPAM® is NOT made of such odds and ends as hooves, ears, brains, native people, or whole baby pigs. SPAM® is for realz made of pork shoulder, ham, salt, water, sugar, and sodium nitrate, if you can belief it. The name itself stands for Specially Processed Army Meat, Salted Pork And More, Super Pink Artificial Meat, Squirrel Possum And Mouse, or Some People Are Missing. My uncle is the reigning Guam SPAM® king. He won the last SPAM® cook-off with his Spicy SPAM® meatballs. I will never forget the two-pound SPAM® bust of George Washington he made for Liberation Day, toasted crispy on the outside with raw egg yolk in the hollow center. The kids loved it! Only a fool would start a company in Guam that provides SPAM® protection. We don't want to be protected from SPAM® bots. For Xmas, I bought a SPAM® snow-globe featuring a can of SPAM® sitting on an island; turn it over and a typhoon swirls madly, unable to unseat SPAM® from its place of honor. I have a souvenir can I bought after seeing Monty Python's SPAM®ALOT on Broadway. It cost me $10 and is the most expensive SPAM® I've ever bought. I will never eat it.
Twinkle, Twinkle, Morning Star
in collaboration with my wife, Brandy Nālani McDougall
and our one-year old daughter, Kaikainaliʻi
kaikainaliʻi wakes from her late afternoon nap
and reaches for nālani with small open hands—
count how many papuan children
still reach for their disappeared parents—
using my iphone, i change my facebook profile picture
to a graphic of the morning star flag and share
an article about the grasberg mine— gaping open pit
count how many papuan children
are dying from copper poisoning each year—
kaikainaliʻi watches cartoons on our flat screen tv
while nālani and i watch an online documentary
about west papua #forgottenbirdofparadise
count how many papuan children have watched
their loved ones mounted and shot—
after we turn off the tv and close the laptop—
nālani reads to kaikainali'i a bedtime story:
"Twinkle, twinkle, small hōkū / Shining down on our canoe
Up above the sea so high, / Like a candle in the sky"
count how many papuan children have been extracted
to islamic boarding schools in jakarta—
"When the ocean waves are black, / When we feel like turning back,
Hōkū shines its little light, / Guiding us all through the night."
count how many papuan children are seeking refuge
across borders only to become forgotten refugees—
"Waves may fall or rise up high, / keep your eyes upon the sky,
Hōkū peeks out in between, / Shining out its steady beam."
count how many hashtags it will take to trend
bleeding black island bodies strip-mined by bullets
crushed into slurry by military boots pumped
through pipelines across poisoned rivers and treeless
lands, shipped overseas and enslaved by our technology—
papuan cousins, imagine someday
we can talk story, chew betelnut, and color
the soil with our spit as our children paint
their faces red and play #papuamerdeka
"Thunderclouds may push and shove. / Rain may pour from up above.
Never fear, our star is strong, / Burning bright the whole night long."