Joe Balaz


Da buggahs going be in da bushes
in da trees
and in da grass—

dey going be everywheah
wit dere tongues flicking in da air.

Invasion, brah,
and big time change.

It happened before—
as a mattah of fact
it’s just like da arrival of da mosquito.

Da old time island people
nevah heah buzzing in dere ears
until wun American whaling ship
came to Lahaina in 1826
wit wun contaminated watah supply.

Paradise instantly
became wun paradise to da mosquito
and tink about all da new bodies dey had to bite.

And not only dat
dose little blood suckers
wen affect all da native birds too
because dey carry stuff like avian malaria.

Nowadays scientists worry
dat da surviving native birds
high up on da slopes

going eventually be attacked
by cold tolerant mosquitoes
dat going mutate ovah time.

Dey tinking
dat da last native birds going become extinct.

Unreal, eh?
How you like dat foa wun nightmare?

But you know wat?—
dey no need worry about da mosquitoes, brah,

because native birds
or any adah kine birds
going be long gone
by da time dose tiny insects reach da mountaintops—

da new invaders going make sure of dat.

Dese guys are coming by air
on military transports from Guam
and slowly
dey are slithering off of da tarmac
and into da forest—

Say hello to da brown tree snake
and aloha to da mynah birds and doves.

It’s not gonna be wun party
wen all of our feathery friends are gone
and scaly serpents stay all ovah da place.

Wat a bummah!

Mosquitoes and snakes in paradise
like plagues in ancient Egypt—

Wheah in da world is Moses wen you need ‘um?


If you like dense urban living
you going love Kakaako Macho—

da future is on da doorstep, brah.

Yeeha! Buildings 700 feet tall!
Now da homeless
going have moa far to look up

while all da high makamakas wit bucks
going get 3 bedroom apartments
dat going be closer to da clouds.

Kakaako Macho—
solid like concrete
strong like steel

to da developers dat going cash in
slippery like wun eel.

Cowabunga, brah!

Let’s take da family on wun visit
and ride da new commuter train—

going be like Chicago
witout da wind

and you going be able to view
all da coconut tree murals

painted on da towering walls.

Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai,
say goodbye to da Hawaiian eye

dat could see mauka and makai.

Eh, look at da bird up dere
in da bright blue slits

inbetween da imposing
man-made gray—

da buggah is flying away.


Eh, all you local pig hunters
we gottah upgrade—

Rent wun tank from da National Guard
and blow da buggahs up on da ridge!

I telling you
in tight spots on wun trail
even wun bazooka is mo’bettah den wun pack of dogs.

If you like protect ferns
and put food on da table

we gottah use military tactics, brah,
like dose combat veterans in Georgia

looking through dere thermal-imaging scopes
to shoot wild pigs in da dark.

Blame it on Hernando de Soto
dat Spanish explorer
from da fourteeth century

wen some of his hogs wen escape
and dig out into da forest.

Now dose wild descendants
stay all ovah
Southeast America

rooting up farms
and people’s gardens.

In da Peach state
dey not fooling around—

dey hiring veterans
and sending in da infantry.

So, eh,
all you local boys
get out da shotguns
and da automatic weapons—

we gottah ambush
da buggahs

in wun coordinated
blitzkrieg attack!

Mega pig hunting
island style—

and pork chops

wit wun new
and improved purpose.


Stay coming old, brah—
pretty soon I going look like wun prune.

My eyes no can see
da young eyes looking at me

tinking I’m as burnt out
as wun sparkler
just before midnight
on New Year’s Eve.

True, I get wun long beard
and wun sickle

but da baby dats arriving
has no idea

how many words I have spoken
and how many new discoveries
are floating around in my head.

Stay coming old, brah,
but I can still read
da instrument panel

even dough da carburetor
ovah pressure

and da tires no roll as fast.

So moa bettah

I just focus on da pure vision
dat always wants to be.

Stay coming old, brah,
but da mind is still flashing

super charging da moment
like wun lightning bolt.


In Ohio
I live da culture of thieves
falling like leaves
in da northeastern breeze
next to wun big lake
dat looks like wun ocean.

No moa sound
except da voice of da haole
like wun hound
barking at da ground
even dough da rabbit not around.

I nevah run into dat hole
I stay floating in da sky
looking down on dog people
wit wun different kine eye—

maybe wun cat
high up in da tree
can see da same kine tings as me.

I stay right by da Chippewa Creek
dat flows into da Cuyahoga River
in wun town
dat might as well be called Whiteville.

Eh, dose Native American place names are cool
but wheah all dose indigenous guys stay?—

Look around, brah,
dey all floating beyond da madahland
just like me.

Joe Balaz is a well known writer of Hawaiian Islands Pidgin (Hawai’i Creole English). He also writes in American-English and creates visual concrete poetry and composes music-poetry.

Some of his Pidgin works such as “Junior Like Be Wun Rastah,” “Pidlit 101,” “Da History of Pigeon,” and “Da Mainland to Me” are viewed and studied as classics in the genre. Balaz also recorded Electric Laulau (1998), an innovative and groundbreaking cd of his Pidgin literature set to music. In 2005 Balaz moved to northeast Ohio and presently lives in the Greater Cleveland area.
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Blogger Willie Smith said...

Don't know if this comment will come across, because even though I'm not a robot, I can't read the two wiggly words I'm supposed to type to prove I'm not just a sack of nuts and bolts... anyway, just in case the bottle carrying this message reaches some uncertain shore: these poems are GREAT! The language and the rhythm potentiate the sentiment and the story. First I've had the privilege to read this genius: gonna keep my non-robotic eyes peeled for more!

10:02 AM  

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