Ida Yoshinaga has worked some crazy-ass jobs in tourism, fashion, television, law, education, journalism, feminism, and finance. But mostly, she's a recovering academic, the first in her immediate family to attend college, and three decades later, still inexplicably addicted to the university. She writes on colonialism and language in US-occupied Hawai'i, fantastic fiction and genre theory, and transmedial narratology in comics and film."

Labor Day Hawai`i 2011

Furlough Fridays, Furlough Fridays
Saved money for the people of Hawai`i:
Once a month, publicly funded, "lazy"
State workers were forced to take unpaid leave.
They said taxpayers heaved great sighs of relief—
Freed from the pricey burdens of community—
Schooling, social work, traffic safety,
Affordable housing, food and environmental
Regulation, and other jobs so easy
No doubt private firms could do 'em
(They said), practically for free.

Furlough Fridays—grand management experiment
By our ex Governor, a gift to Republicans
In states across the union. But her test was
Anti-union—which collectively organized
Government office clerks, schoolteachers,
And other public employees—in garbage,
Transportation, public health—could clearly
See. And fought. But my union, of college
Faculty, more white and male than brown
And yellow, in which we Asians and Hawaiians
Comprise a struggling minority, this
Collectivity of the brightest minds at the
State's flagship research university,
Got their comparatively sweet pay raises
Bargained with her, got divided & conquered
From their public union siblings—
Stayed silent when our janitors &
Secretaries & other campus colleagues were
Furloughed straight out of affordable lives.

Furlough Fridays: our mid-2000s gift from Hawai'i
To Wisconsin, Minnesota, other states with histories
Of strong labor struggles, teaching Republican leaders
That if you prime a group of elitist, self centered,
Racist public workers, you can keep cutting their
Budgets, make them beg for scraps, and not only
Will they say yes please may I have another, but
They are only to happy to repeat
Long colonial histories of racial dispossession,
Gender oppression, and I-got-mine greed.

Furlough Fridays!

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