In Craig Santos Perez’s second book [saina] from his From Unincorporated Territory poetic series, a line reads: ‘we belong to more than a map of remote scars’. At a literal level, ‘we’ in this line refers to the Chamorro people who are Indigenous to Guam, including Perez himself. But, if this ‘we’ is read in relation to the series’ ‘ecology’ as a whole, it becomes a much more expansive and inclusive pronoun, encompassing pasts, presents, and futures that gesture towards, but also beyond, the ‘new Oceania’ that Tongan writer and activist Epeli Hau‘ofa called for. In this chapter, Perez’s poetics of Guam are shown to create a distinctly modernist ecology that affirms Guam’s planetary connectivities and webs of influence (flowing inwards and outwards), while at the same time refusing to let representations of Guam (and those who identify as Chamorro) be contained (and/or reified) in a homogenising reduction of a globalised melting pot. This chapter calls this ecology modernist because it reads Perez’s poetics as embodying modernity as process, rather than holding on to notions of modernity as temporally and geopolitically Euro/US-centric.

Perez’s series works to show Indigenous Chamorro identities and landscapes, and indeed, Indigeneities worldwide, as not merely reactive but inextricably bound up in producing the modern. In addition, even though these poems encounter certain conditions (capitalism and globalisation) associated with specific modernities and modernisms, they also do not preclude the possibility of other modernities located outside systems of globalised capital. Repeated references to the commodification and reification of Guam throughout the series suggest that, for Perez, questions of Chamorro identity and modernity in Guam and around the world are not just entangled with histories of imperialism in the Pacific, but also with past, present, and future legacies of capitalism. Therefore, central to the mobile, flexible modernism that Perez’s poetics envision is an emphasis on adaptation (as a form of resistance) to, rather than incorporation of, particular global imperialist and capitalist conditions. In this way, his poems resist discourses that turn Guam (and other Oceanian spaces) into globalised property (through military, trade, tourism, etc.), while also challenging regionalising/ hyper-localising discourses that could (re)turn these spaces into isolated, static worlds.