to J. K. Kauanui
In the middle of Waikiki, among the crowds from Akron and Sendai,
are two wooden painted figures, a hula dancer and a old 'ukulele player,
the only Hawaiians to be seen, as the hotel workers come and go
twenty feet underground, through the tunnels assigned to workers in
A Native Hawaiian truck driver on the edge of the hotel driveway is scolded for taking his shirt off, while tourists walk by in g-strings.
I come out of a gay disco feeling like the last Hawaiian when some locals say to each other, What a pity,
as they watch me. And I say to myself, Whatever, I'm Samoan.
My brother used to tell women he's Hawaiian.
I met a Malaysian hula performance artist
who made a career on being Hawaiian in L.A.
I met a Pilipino hula dancer in Minneapolis
who asked me for advice on being Polynesian.
I dated a Native Hawaiian guy who only admitted he was Puerto Rican.
I have been in valleys in Ko'olauloa that remind me of valleys in Lealataua,
where Native Hawaiians mow their lawns and keep the gravesites clear.
I've been knee deep in the lo'i and I've known a few Kanaka.
I don't know where any of us is going.
But I know I'm not Hawaiian.
Taulapapa Mcmullin, 2001