Buss Laugh

Buss Laugh / Buss Laugh
Lee Tonouchi, ed.
Bess Press, 2009
101 pages, $12.95

What’s Da Pidgin Guerilla been up to lately? Lee A. Tonouchi returns as editor of a collection entitled Buss Laugh, a compilation of established local writers, comedians and emerging poets. Tonouchi hopes that the reader will “Kick back, relax, and enjoy. Da poems not only going make you laugh, but going make you tink too.”

Especially fine is Kalei Wodehouse’s “Judgement Day” about a cougar dressed to the nines in the gym. The piece ends with “She waves me off with her hand / and tells me to get away. / She says I’m blocking THE VIEW. / I look puzzled, so she repeats / THE VIEW, / and points to herself.” Also hilarious is Lambert Lum’s “why do they bother going to a sushi restaurant?” The poem is made up of quotes like “I don’t like raw fish. Can I have my sashimi cooked?”

Not all the stand-up vignettes have punchlines. Like Tonouchi says, they make you tink.

Diane Darval-Almadova’s “Why Sista Couldn’t Fly Continental” concerns a woman whose name isn’t on an airline boarding list because her driver’s license doesn’t have her Hawaiian name. “I filled out the ticket form / with my Hawaiian name / because that’s who I am.” Derek Okabayashi’s “Parking in Kapahulu” delves into the increasingly prevalent problem of trying to find street parking in crowded neighborhoods that are beginning to resemble mainland metropolitan boroughs. “When I was young / I always dreamed of moving / to a big city like New York. / I never figured that the big city / would move / to me.”

Interspersed between the newcomers are such familiars as Joe Balaz, Ray Bumatai, Eric Chock, Juliet S. Kono (she’s everywhere this month!), Paul Ogata, Augie Tulba and Tonouchi himself, as well as a piece from the late Rap Reiplinger.

Fans of local humor, as well as local color, will want to check dis out.