Joe Balaz

Two Hawaiian Islands Pidgin Poems


Sitting on wun frozen horse
going round and round

Wendall wen reach
foa wun golden ring

stuck in wun bull’s nose.

Spinning like wun top

it wuz wun big time party
rushing to da moon

wit all da streaking stars
flying by.

Nirvana exists
and Wendall wen feel it

temporarily anyway.

He must have been dosing
wen da glass pipe wen break

wen da horns and hooves
wen trample him into da ground

and fling him from da merry-go-round.

Now Wendall get bugs
crawling undah his skin

and he’s watching
little mouse people

fall out of da ceiling.

Da devil is in da retails

wen dey cook up
all of dose cold pills—

ovah da counter
and into da lab

wit wun mad scientist
pulling wun crystal rabbit

outtah wun hat.

Now because of dat
Wendall no moa teeth

he no moa job
he no moa house

he no moa tent on da beach.

Wun batu ranger
is always in danger—

pretty soon
he not going have wun heartbeat.

Wen dat finally comes around

pray dat Wendall sees
anadah golden ring

floating in da air
like wun halo.


“Haven’t I seen you heah before?
I tink you had hair dough—
you look different wit wun shaved head.”

I wuz tinking

                “I don’t tink so lady,
                I just got off da plane…”

but I answered in wun sarcastic tone anyway—

                “Yeah, I heard Alexander
                wuz tinking about invading Persia

                so I cut my hair real short to join up.”

I wuz expecting wun weird look
but she laughed and said,

                “You’re funny.”

Funny, maybe,
but I’m also moody and I’m tired from my long trip
so wat else does she want to know?

Before I could digest dat taught
she quickly added,

                “And I get it too,
                shaved head so da enemy
                can’t grab your hair in battle—

                Do I look like da enemy to you?”

My cognitive brain lit up!
I wuz tinking

                “Holy crap! Wun intelligent woman.
                Watch out!”

I just had to chuckle
and I sounded as if I wuz almost apologizing—

                “Dats kinnah witty.
                You know, sorry foa being so snappy.

                I wuzn’t brushing you off
                or anyting li’dat.”

She knew adahwise and said,

                “Dats okay, I wuz just making conversation.”

Dat prompted me to instantly ask her—

                “So, wat are you doing heah?”

As it wuz
Dolores popped into da little Kaimuki bar
to have wun quick drink
before she hooked up wit her girlfriends to go dancing.

She lived right up da road on Sierra Drive
and her braddah wuz da bartender
of da family business

so da Black Russian dat she ordered
wuz on da house.

She worked at First Hawaiian Bank
not dat far from heah

and found it interesting
dat I wuz wun writer
dat wuz invited to give wun reading
dat evening at da University of Hawaii.

She also asked me if da Vodka Collins
I wuz drinking
helped to prepare me foa my presentation.

I told her dat it couldn’t hurt
but it would probably wear off by den.

But wat she really found fascinating
wuz da fact dat I lived in Ohio
foa da last twelve years

and dat dis wuz da first time I wuz back.

“How did you end up in Ohio?”
she asked.

I answered,

“I married wun woman from Cleveland—
wun of da many mistakes in my life.”

—she let out wit wun big laugh
and her braddah did too.

Wun biggah laugh followed
wen she found out da town I lived in—


I had to explain dat I wuzn’t kidding.
It wuz wun town in Summit County
between Northfield and Twinsburg.

Aftah talking story foa awhile
we both left da bar at da same time
and just outside da door
on Waialae Avenue she told me,

“It wuz so nice talking to you.
Good luck wit your reading tonight.”

I smiled and I told her

“Tanks.    It wuz nice talking to you too.
Have fun dancing and take care.”

Wat a cool diversion
or digression
or watevah da case might be.

I walked around da corner
to my rented car

and reached
into my pocket foa my keys

wit anadah story already written
inside my bolo head.


bolo head

Crystal methamphetamine.
Bald head; shaved head.

Joe Balaz has composed works in American-English, Hawaiian Islands Pidgin English, music-poetry, and visual concrete poetry.

He was born and raised in the town of Wahiawa on the island of O'ahu in Hawai'i. He is presently living in Ohio.
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