Joe Balaz

Five Hawaiian Islands Pidgin Poems


Dere's wun crystal ball
in da Ala Wai Canal

stuck in da mud
undahneath wun school of tilapia.

It's part of da strange story
dat Chinky Barbarosa wen spin.

Like wun gypsy on magic mushrooms
he looked inside dat glass globe

and wrote down wat he saw.

In wun high-rise in Waikiki

wun infinite being
wit three heads and six hands

holding wun gun, his faddah,
and wun piece of toast

looked outside da window
at da golf course below

and saw wun naked wahine
on top of wun blue rhinoceros
eating wun apple.

All of dis wuz interesting

but I taught da poetic twist
of da Holy Trinity
wuz just too weird

and I told Chinky so.

He got offended

so he made da gun
shoot da faddah

and den he ate
da piece of toast.

I had to remind him
dat he wuz only wun character

wun figment of my creation

using my keyboard
to fill up my white space

but he nevah like listen.

I even suggested
dat wun giant serpent

might be better
den wun blue rhinoceros

but he just blew dat off.

He gave me a lot of lip

and told me dat he could do
watevah he wanted to.

But wen he made da rhino
take wun crap on my shoes

while da naked wahine
gave me da middle fingah

I had enough—

I highlighted his story
hit delete

and da rebellion wuz ovah.

No moa tilapia
no moa Barbarosa

and no moa crystal ball
stuck in da mud.


It may be easier
to fill da whole ocean into wun circus tent

den to explain
why da acrobat does wat it does.

It's in da act and da nature of it
dat thrills da eyes and liberates da heart

in da joy of fascination.

You no can bottle da moment
and dere's no sense to analyze

da jumping dolphin in flight
high above da watah.

     Da pen moves
     across da page

     and da sea spray flies
     beneath da big top.

"Wat did you mean by dat?"
"At wat angle did it leave da watah?"
"Wat do dese passages mean?"
"Wat wuz da height of its apex?"

Da dolphin falls back into da sea
entering in wun rush

as oxygen bubbles float up
and burst upon da surface.

Yield to da muse
rather den da explanation

and da mind will fly wit fins
to da voice of da ringmaster.


She got wun big head
like wun Torvosaurus

same kine appetite too.

I made wun run for it
and hid in da reeds
on da riverbank.

It wuz right next
to da coffee machine
and da watah coolah.

Parting da leaves
I looked down da aisle

and sprinted back to my desk—

I just missed her

but dere wuz huge teeth marks
all ovah da table top.

Dere wuz also wun email message
on my computer dat I read earlier—

it said:

"I will tear you to pieces
you blabbering little twerp!"

It's all in da science
of relationships I taught

and gossip really isn't gossip
in da information driven world.

I guess dis reasoning doesn't apply.

Wat she wuz saying wuz

wen wun female dino
wines and dines
it's nobody's business

even dough it may include
half of da studs
in da office tar pit.

I contend
dat you can't fault
wun paleontologist foa digging up bones.

I tell myself dis

knowing dat wun mouth
full of razor sharp daggers

is now on da rampage.

her prehistoric secrets

is like inviting my extinction
to take place

at da upcoming company picnic.


I'm just wun babooze
wit wun kazoo

and I played it
like it wuz Gabriel's trumpet.

Wen I blew dat milestone note

someting wen happen
and someting wen end.

I used to play
wun cool saxophone
foa her soul and mine

but now
flower to wilting flower

I'm simply buzzing
like wun dying bee

on my vibrating plastic toy.

Oscillating dissolution
like wun dark remembrance

is singing on da membrane.

I don't like losing
and I don't like being lonely

while da walls around me
are playing air violins

but dere it is.

I'm just wun babooze
wit wun kazoo

humming on da mouthpiece
da revelation of wun fool.


3 pigs
3 blind mice
3 stooges

"3 moa dollahs to my elephant."

Da pachyderm line
is da wish I make

wen I shell out my money.

I got it from my grand nephew—

he wanted to sponsor wun elephant
in wun animal reserve.

Foa 50 bucks
he could contribute to its care

so he began to do
all da odd jobs
dat little boys do.

"3 moa dollahs to my elephant,"
is wat he said

wen he proposed
to rake leaves in da backyard.

I laughed
and dose words stuck

becoming da mantra to my own dream.

"3 moa dollars to my elephant,"
is wat I say to myself

wen I hand my weekly bet
to da cashier

intoxicated wit desire.

Like wun pig
wanting it all

like wun blind mouse
reaching in da dark

like wun stooge
believing it will happen

I buy da little slip of paper

wit jackpot odds
of 1 in 250 million.

"3 moa dollahs to my elephant"

pink and fat
flying up deah in da sky.

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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