Thirteen Ways of Looking at TheBus

Gizelle Gajelonia was born in the Philippines and raised in Wahiawa, Hawai‘i. She is a 2004 graduate of Leilehua High School (go Mules!). She earned her BA in English with Highest Honors from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa in 2009.


Thirteen Ways of Looking at TheBus
By Gizelle Gajelonia • 2010 • $12
Design by Sumet (Ben) Viwatmanitsakul


In Thirteen Ways of Looking at TheBus, Gizelle Gajelonia discovers her muse in Honolulu’s TheBus mass transit system. She takes seriously (in this seriously funny chapbook) the notion of routes—routes through Hawai‘i’s history and geography, routes through American poetry, routes through languages spoken in Hawai‘i. Many of the pieces parody canonical poems by T.S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, Hart Crane, Elizabeth Bishop, John Ashbery, and Eric Chock. Out of her parodies come marvelous revisions. Among the figures included in Gajelonia’s revised canon are Hawai‘i’s last queen, Lili‘uokalani, Filipina nurses, and an honor’s thesis writer very like the author who dreams of Columbia University.

from “He Do Da Kine In Voices”:
(The Waste Land – T.S. Eliot)

Real Unreal City
Under the gray vog of a winterless dawn,
A crowd flowed over Waikīkī Beach, so many,
I had always thought Hawai‘i had fucked so many.
The mindless pimps, with their eyes fixed on the Other,
Walked up the strip and down King Kalākaua Street,
To where Dog The Bounty Hunter kept the city safe
With prayer, Beth’s breasts, and pepper spray.
There I saw one I knew
(my uncle’s friend’s brother’s calabash cousin),
And stopped her yelling: Eh, Aunty!
What time the number 4 bus coming?”


Read more about Gajelonia’s work on the TinFish Editor’s Blog.

Janna Plant has written a review of Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Bus at Tarpaulin Sky.

Watch a video working with Gajelonia’s work by Marianne Yandoc and Deanthony Nachampasak.