Volume Three, Issue 3

Joe Balaz

Bold Hawaiians


All da brownie buggahs
going run amok!

Look at da many bold Hawaiians
dat stay quality worthy

doing all kine innovative tings
dat exploratory natives can do.

Up da ladder
and jump da rungs

like wun giant mo’o
wit big kine lungs

dat going take wun deep breath
and blow all da stereotypes away.

Kanaka Maoli
is reclaiming wun sweet spot

right in da middle of da Pacific
wheah dey always wuz.

Piece of da pie poke
and rich cream a la mode

wit wun cherry on top
dat going open da road

to watevah level of success
dat going come to be.

Grandpa and Tutu
stay all proud

as all da mo’opuna
stay shouting out loud

dat it’s pau hana
foa da downside

cause da arrow
is pointing skyward.

Nice to see
da confident chests stick out

and all da shoulders
strong and stout

as da islands
change foa da bettah

wen all da bold Hawaiians
do dere ting.

Kanaka Maoli: Native Hawaiians.
mo’o: Lizard
mo’opuna: Grandchildren.
pau hana: As slang it means “it’s all over.”
poke: Cut into pieces
tutu: Grandmother.

Barack on da Rock

I know you not da president anymoa

but it would be interesting to hear
wat you have to say

since you wen kinnah set
wun precedent

wen you wuz still in office.

Wat is sacred deah
is sacred heah

and since you grew up in Hawai’i

you would know all about
da local kine vibes.

No tell me Punahou
wen whitewash your consciousness.

I not saying anyting bad
but back in da day on da court

wen you wuz playing basketball
foa da Buff ‘n Blue

I hope Kamehameha

wen pound da hell
out of you guys.

Maybe you wuz different
in your formative years

so we not going hold dat against you.

Nowadays dough

you get wun big chance foa rebound
and try dunk foa us

by becoming
wun impressive community activist

and making
wun parallel to da Hawaiians

wit wat you said
about somebody else’s mountain.

Dat wuz pretty cool

how you wen help to rename
Mount McKinley to Denali

da name dat nearby Native Americans
in Alaska

have long since used.

You wen recognize
dat da name and da mountain

wuz sacred to dem.

So now
even dough you wun private citizen

we like you foa be helpful
and use your influence

to go further down da road.

Come on Barry,
make haole hari-kari,

and in regards to Hawai’i
no slide into Oreo cookie mode.

Try to remembah dose “Choom Gang” days
wit your high school clique

and go light up wun joint
wit Michelle

so you can meditate on da topic
and consolidate your resolve.

In your altered state

maybe wun giant psychedelic flock
of yellow talking birds

would fly into your mind

and convince you
to suggest to da powers dat be

dat maybe da disliked telescopes
on Mauna Kea

should be moved to da Canary Islands.

Dat mountain is sacred to us

just like Denali is
to our distant cousins on da continent.

you wen grow up on da rock—

Do da Kanaka Maoli
wun huge favor

and go trow wun big stone foa us.

choom: To smoke marijuana.
“Choom Gang”: High school clique of former President Barack Obama.
haole: Caucasian.
Kamehameha: Private high school in Hawai’i for children of Hawaiian ancestry.
Kanaka Maoli: Native Hawaiians.
Mauna Kea: Mountain on which some Native Hawaiians protest against existing and new construction of telescopes.
Punahou: Elite private school in Hawai’i founded by early missionaries.

Joe Balaz: "I have created works in American English and Hawaiian Islands Pidgin (Hawai'i Creole English). I presently live in Cleveland, Ohio, and I am the author of Pidgin Eye, which was chosen by NBC News as one of the best new books for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2019."

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