Journalism in Verse – EST. 2016


Water Is Life [AUDIO]

in Audio/Environment by



in solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all peoples protecting the waters of this earth

becuz our bodies are 60 percent water
becuz my wife labored for 24 hours through wave contractions
becuz our sweat is mostly water and salt
becuz she breathed and breathed and breathed
becuz our lungs are 80 percent water
becuz water broke forth from her body
becuz amniotic fluid is 90 percent water
becuz our daughter crowned like a coral island
becuz our blue planet is 70 percent water
becuz some say water came from an asteroid
becuz some say the ocean formed within the earth from the beginning
becuz water broke forth from shifting tectonic plates
becuz we say our gods created water
becuz no human has found a way to safely create water
becuz we wage war over gods and waters
becuz we sign the UN Convention on the Laws of the Sea
becuz 200 nautical miles from the this coastline is an exclusive economic zone
becuz only 3 percent of global water is fresh
becuz we can’t desalinate the entire ocean
becuz we proclaim water a human right
becuz we grant bodies of water rights to personhood
becuz my daughter loves playing in the ocean
becuz we will walk an average of four miles a day to gather clean water and carry it home
becuz my wife says the Hawaiian word for wealth, waiwai, comes from their word for water, wai
becuz corporations steal and bottle our waters
becuz sugar, pineapple, corn, soy, and gmo plantations divert our waters
becuz concentrated animal feeding operations consume our waters
becuz they use 660 gallons of water to make one hamburger
becuz pesticides, chemicals, oil, weapons, and waste poison our waters
becuz we say stop, you are hurting our ancestors
becuz they say we thought this was a wasteland
becuz we say stop, keep it in the ground
becuz they unearth bones and fossil fuels
becuz we say stop, water is sacred
becuz they say we thought water was a commodity
becuz we say stop the desecration
becuz they say we thought you were vanishing
becuz we call ourselves protectors and water warriors
becuz they call us savage and primitive
becuz we bring our feathers and lei and shells and canoes and totems
becuz they bring their bulldozers and drills and paid permits
becuz we bring our treaties and UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
becuz they bring their banks and politicians and lawyers
becuz we bring our songs and prayers and ceremonies
becuz they bring their barking dogs and private militia and national guard
becuz we bring all our relations and all our generations
becuz our blood is 90 percent water
becuz someday my daughter will ask me where the ocean ends
becuz we will point to the dilating horizon
becuz our eyes are 95 percent water
becuz we will tell her that the ocean has no end
becuz we will tell her that the ocean rises and is carried by the sky
becuz we will tell her that the ocean blesses the mountains with rain
becuz we will tell her that the rain feeds lakes and reservoirs
becuz we will tell her that the water flows into the Missouri River
becuz we will tell her that water connects us to our cousins at Standing Rock
becuz we will tell her about their sacred stone of a mother and child
becuz we will tell her that the Sioux are still there, breathing
becuz our hearts are 75 percent water
becuz i will whisper to her, while she is sleeping, hanom hanom hanom, my people’s word for
water, so that in her dreams water will call her home



Craig Santos Perez is a native Chamoru (Chamorro) from the Pacific Island of Guåhan/Guam. He is the co-founder of Ala Press and author of three collections of poetry, most recently from unincorporated territory [guma’]. He was the winner of the 2011 PEN Center USA Literary Award for Poetry. He is director of the Creative Writing program and an assistant professor of English at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa.

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