Sunday, June 15, 2014

Rhino Beetle Infested Coconut Trees

I trongkon niyok, i trongkon lina'la para i taotao gi i Tasin Pasifiku. Anggen manbetde yan manggaila'la' este na trongko, manggaila'la' yan mabrabu lokkue' i Chamorro siha. Lao anggen un atan este na trongko siha pa'go gi isla-ta, ti manbrabrabu, mismo manmalalangu.

Across Facebook for months I've seen posts lamenting the state of Guam's coconut trees. The rhino beetle has infested the island and is slowly destroying this essential island trees from within. Asan Beach, a site that 70 years ago was obliterated in the American re-invasion of the island during I Tiempon Chapones, has become synonymous with scattered coconut trees as much as military relics. Earlier this year, the Department of Agriculture began cutting down trees there that were infested with the rhino beetle. As I kept reading these updates a particular image kept popping into my head. I wrote about it on my own Facebook:
I want to translate "Fake Plastic Trees" by Radiohead into Chamorro and change all the lyrics to be about rhino beetle infested coconut trees burning in agony on our beaches. Don't know why, but that image keeps popping into my head when I hear the song.

It took me about a week but I eventually was able to write up my own lyrics to "Fake Plastic Trees" which I retitled "Rhino Beetle Infested Coconut Trees." The lyrics in Chamorros are meant to be sung/spoken to the tune of the original Radiohead song, and I even wrote up some lyrics, which when translated to English sound very "Radioheadish." 

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Rhino Beetle Infested Coconut Trees

Tenhos i tano’ på’go’
I asu hulo’ i lago’
Manlamas i trongkon niyok siha

The land is angry today
The smoke above is the tears
The rotten coconut trees

Manlaolaolao i trongko siha
Mambaibaila gi guaifi-ta
Ya katbon Chaife i setbe-ña

The trees are shaking
They are dancing in our fire
And coal for Chaife is all they are good for now

Tumånges gui’
Tumånges yu’
I nina’i
Lastima gui’

She cried
I cried
The gift
Is wasted

Tinifok betde kalulot
Kimåson, påguan yan taikulot
Paladan siha mayililok

Green woven fingers
Charred, smelly and colorless
Crumpled scars

Hafa eståba i lina’la’
På’go mina’la’et gi hila’
Lao ti kannu’on dinagi siha

What was once life
Now is the bitterness on the tongue
Because you can’t eat lies

Tumånges gui’
Tumånges yu’
Esta taibali
Ti ta li’e’

She cried
I cried
It’s already useless
We didn’t see

I gefes i tano’-mu
Ha boyok i isao-mu
Kao un hungok i kasao-ña?

The lungs of your land
They spit out your sins
Can you hear her gasps?

Tumaohan i guafi-ña
Inigong-ña, kao un komprende?
Taiåmot i tinaigue-ña

The fires rises
Her moans, do you understand them?
There is no cure for her absence

Tumånges gui’
Tumånges yu’
Ta sedi gui’
Ti ta adadahi

She cried
I cried
We let it
We didn’t watch out

Anggen manli’e’ hao, hafa un cho’cho’gue?

If you can see, what are you doing?

Anggen mañiente hao, hafa un kekegoggue?

If you can feel, what are you trying to save?

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