Rigorous
Volume Two, Issue 2



Joe Balaz


Moke Rebellion

Da mokes
wuz tinking about wun rebellion.


Dey wuz lining up in front of da big picture window
wit huge clubs and wun battering ram.

Da big picture corporates wuz getting all worried
wondering wat all da fuss wuz about.


Too bad dey nevah put up steel bars
in front of dere glass vista view

raddah den tiki bars behind it.


So now da brownies like rumble

cause dey not da ignorant natives
labeled wit wun slang

from da old country red, white, and blue.


Wen da first British sailors
arrived in da islands

dey gave wun nickname
to da Hawaiians.


Dose average sea blokes
wen look from dere tall mast boats

and dey wen call da locals “mokes.”


Da disparaging name wen stick

and future generations
in da contemporary sense
wen forget da original meaning

which meant donkey
or very stupid person.


Seems dat da seeds of racism
wen go way back

even to da point of early visitors
displaying it on somebody else’s turf.


It must be so empowering
to view yourself as someting moa superior.

It’s dat manifest destiny ting.

It works really good
wen you’re on da side dats doing da plundering.


So now we come to da present
and da mokes like vent dere frustration

and smash in da big picture window.


Den dey like focus on da glass ceiling
and take care of dat too

before dey head foa da glass walls
and bring down da entire glass house.


Glass, glass, everywheah
and someting is on da brink.


Da mokes
stay tinking about wun rebellion.


Now dat da tension stay all ramped up

everybody gaddah wondah
if da long standing native repression

is actually shatter proof.




Da Visitors Got da Message

It’s not like
dey nevah heard wun Creole before.


Two months ago

dey wuz in New Orleans
during da pro football season

and wuz exposed to da popular chant,

“Who dat say
dey going beat dem Saints?

Who dat? Who dat?”



Most likely

dey wen broke da mouth
on Cajun shrimp and gumbo too

so dey wuzn’t totally confused

wen wun local waiter
wen playfully joke wit dem

in suggesting how to eat poi.


“No scared ’um, brah,
geev ’um.

3 fingah da buggah
and trow away da spoon.”


Da happy couple from Iowa
looked so cute at da hotel luau

wit dere carnation leis
and dere servings of Hawaiian food.


Yes, it’s very romantic
to be married in paradise

and it’s so quaint

to hear all da catering natives
talking wit wun funny kine language.


At least da tourist industry

wen subdue da Pidgin speakers
into being such nice facilitators.


Dat wen change fast dough

wen da newlyweds wen leave
dere Waikiki parking garage

to drive to Haunama Bay
foa do some snorkeling.


Trying to beat da traffic light
da excited husband from Des Moines

wen lurch out into Kalakaua Avenue

and almost hit da car
of wun braddah dat wuz out cruising.


Da Kaimuki resident
wen roll down his window

and he wen shout at da driver—


“You stupid dumb ass haole!
You dunno how foa drive or wat!?

Fricken babooze!
Go back to wheah you came from!”


Someting tells me
da visitors got da message.



babooze              Idiot; fool.
haole                   Caucasian.


Joe Balaz: "I have Hawaiian ancestry and I write in Hawaiian Islands Pidgin (Hawai'i Creole English) and in American English. I edited Ho'omanoa: An Anthology of Contemporary Hawaiian Literature. Some of my recent Pidgin writing has appeared in Otoliths, Unlikely Stories Mark V, Rattle, and Tuck Magazine, among others. I am an avid supporter of Hawaiian Islands Pidgin writing in the expanding context of World Literature. I presently live in Cleveland, Ohio."




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