"Lomilomi Da Buggah" and "You Need Wun Angle"

Lomilomi Da Buggah

Kennedy Chang

wuz named
aftah wun famous president.

Like his namesake
he wuz wun good talker

and he could dish out da charisma.

Dere wuz someting about him dough
dat wuz kinnah sneaky.


His old high school friend Marcus
suspected it early on

and he had him down pat.


I’ll tell you about Kennedy—

Ask not wat da buggah
can do foa you

but foa wat you can do
foa da buggah.

Dat Pake
could massage da scales off of wun dragon.

Shifty too, brah.”


Granted he wuz wun intelligent dude
and he did quite well at Iolani

but you wonder
why his moral compass

wuzn’t inherited from his parents.


Dey wen work hard
to put him on solid ground

and now he stay sinking
in his own quicksand.


Aftah college
and his degree in economics

you would have taught
dat he would harness his potential

and work hard foa da legal tender.


Dats why

wen he wuz caught
in wun investment scam

preying on old people
and emptying out dere savings

all da relatives wen freak.


Da golden boy
trimmed in red foa good luck

wen turn out to be
wun common thief.


Wen his old friend Marcus
wen find out

all he could say wuz—

You give Kennedy wun opening
and he going lomilomi da buggah

and all da rules
going fly out da window.”


Dats pretty much wat he did

and dats how
da fortune cookie wen crumble.


You Need Wun Angle

You need wun angle
in dis big round world

full of deceitful jive
and unscrupulous characters.


Dey stay looking at you
in da smoke filled parlor

trumped up on bourbon and beer.


Salivating like ruthless wolves
dere eyes and ears perk up

wen dey see you
next to da green baize

on da elevated rectangle.


Da predators are tinking
it’s time foa wun feast

unaware dat dey going get fleeced. 


Stroke dat cue stick
like wun spear

and send da money ball
into da side pocket

to rattle
and ring in da cash.


Hustling da hustlers
and stringing pelts on your shoulders

is bettah den getting striped naked
and kicked out into da street.



you look like you stay wearing
wun wild coat

wit all of dat harvested fur
hanging off of your bold frame.


It takes wun angle
in dis big round world

calculated and victorious
wit wun convincing geometry.



brah     Bro; brother.

buggah     A person, especially a male; the word can also refer to an animal, place or thing.

Iolani     Elite prep school.

lomilomi     Massage, to massage; to work a situation to one’s advantage.

Pake     Chinese. In Hawai'i addressing a person's ethnic roots directly and openly is cultural and not looked upon as derogatory. Hawaiian Islands Pidgin evolved out of the interaction of many different races that had to exist together in close proximity.



Joe Balaz writes in Hawaiian Islands Pidgin (Hawai'i Creole English). He is the author of Pidgin Eye, a collection of poetry. The book was featured by NBC News for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month in 2019. Balaz presently lives in Cleveland, Ohio. Joe recommends Shriners Hospitals for Children — Honolulu.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 - 13:00