Joe Balaz

Six Hawaiian Islands Pidgin Pieces


Da topic wuz extraterrestrials.

John— “I taught we finished talking about dis yesterday? Nobody is trying to contact us.
Radio waves are wun regulah part of da electromagnetic spectrum, along wit tings
like visible light (infrared, microwave, x-rays, etcetera), and detectable as such.
It’s not like we receiving radio broadcasts from aliens— And speaking of microwaves
I got some leftovahs to heat up.”

Kaleo— “I like my leftovahs cold. It depends on wat it is of course. I’ve nevah been much
foa heating someting back up.”

Gerald— “I love leftovah cold pizza in da morning. I wondah if aliens eat dis stuff too?”

Kaleo— “You nevah know. Dere’s wun unknown object in wun nearby galaxy dat started sending out radio waves. Da emission no look like anyting seen before. Maybe we should ask dem.”

John started rolling his eyes.

Gerald— “Unreal, brah. I can hear da beeps. And I also heard anadah story dat said dat it would take wun spaceship someting like seven million years to reach earth from da nearest star wit possible planets.”

Kaleo— “Dere you go. Dey left wen we wuz apes, and now dey stay among us! Heah comes da black monolith! Stanley Kubrick wuz right!”

John— “You guys are nuts. I already told you wat radio waves wuz wen we started dis conversation again. As far as 2001: A Space Odyssey goes, Arthur C. Clarke had someting to do wit it too. It’s just science fiction. You guys are wacked. Next ting you going tell me is dat da aliens made Stonehenge and da pyramids.”

Gerald— “Not only dat. Dey made da Aztec, Mayan, and Incan temples too. Dey wen infiltrate inside human bodies and made all da ancient mysteries dat modern man no can figure out. Den dey wen fly back to dere planet.”

Kaleo— “Maybe through wun black hole to da adah side of da universal fabric.”

John— “You guys are ridiculous.”

Gerald— “I no tink so, brah. All of us is just wun experiment. Wun cosmic ant farm foa da aliens to study.”

John— “Like I said, ridiculous. You guys theorize like wun couple of baboons.”

Kaleo— “At least we expand on da theories, brah. Imagination is wun amazing ting.”

Gerald— “Yeah, and since you mentioned it, da aliens wen put initial intelligence
into chimpanzees rather den baboons to get human evolution off and running.”

John— “Dats da stupidest ting I evah heard. Alien induced intelligence in chimpanzees. Den why did dey have to infiltrate human bodies latah?”

Gerald— “Dey had to keep helping us out along da way.”

Kaleo— “I could have used dat kine of help wit my latest tax returns.”

John— “Okay, dats it! Enough of dis dumb ass comedy routine! I can see dat both of you
have deteriorated even further den you usually do. It’s now my duty to digress from dis
silliness— Anybody up foa some ping pong in da recreation room?”

John eyeballed his two old friends in da retirement home.

Kaleo laughed and said— “Shoots! We go play.”

Gerald wuz smiling at John who used to be wun science teacher, and he just had to pull da thread wun last time—

“Sounds good to me. Den we can make believe dat da little white ball is wun alien satellite.”


Foa Jeremy C. Higa
finding wun reason to be negative

wuz about as easy
as finding wun Mormon in Laie.

It wuzn’t because
he wuz Okinawan eidah.

All dat stereotypical racism crap
wuz from his grandparents generation

wen da Japanees
looked down on da Okinawans

because dey wuz hairy
and intellectually inferior.

Jeremy wuz wun smart guy.

It wuz just unfortunate
dat he wuz wun “pessimist.”

Imagine him at wun motivational seminar
sitting in da audience
listening to and commenting on
wun highly optimistic speaker—

“Aah, waste time. Dat stupid stuff not going work.”

—Jeremy C. Higa in wun nutshell.

It wuzn’t like he had wun bad life growing up.

He wuz just wun moody guy
dat liked to be by himself.

And I no tink having wun common last name
had anyting to do wit his disposition—
Higa wuz just like Smith in Okinawan.

Dats just da way he wuz.

It’s hard to know
how he got his prophet of doom complex.

He wen “blossom” little bit
wen he got oldah dough.

Wen he wen show up
foa wun pickup basketball game wit da guys

Ronald wen kid,

“Eh, heah comes Jeremy. I gaddah go
stick wun heroin needle in my arm
and go jump off of wun bridge.”

I just laughed
and I knew it wuzn’t dat bad.

I would simply have to heah,

“I no can dribble like you guys
and I kannot shoot dat good.”

Da negative monotone
wuz all too familiar.

Dats why it wuz amazing
wen Jeremy got married to Nalani.

Ronald wondered out loud,

“How you figure dat?
He end up wit wun nice sweet girl.”

Nalani wuz positive too.
High energy to Jeremy’s stick in da mud.

Dey wuz wun odd couple foa sure.

Her ting wuz she liked to go to Vegas.

It’s unbelievable dat she got Jeremy to go
wit her on one of her junkets
even if she had to listen to—

“Aah, waste time. I not going win anyway.”

Jeremy wuz true to form dough.
He lost at everyting he played.

I wen tease Nalani wen dey got back,

“Good ting he nevah hit wun jackpot.

He would have dropped dead from shock
and da buggah would have confirmed his luck.”

Nalani smiled
and joked as only wun married person could,

“I can only wish, Dennis.
Sometimes, I can only wish.”


Pono looked at his hand
and spread his fingahs like wun fan.

Den he wen stare into his palm
at all da lifelines and fronds.

Dere wuz wun stirring in da breeze

and coconut leaves
wuz bending and refraining.

Pono wuz on wun different island now

as big as wun baseball mound
inside wun blue diamond.

Da ocean wuz just beyond
all da nicely cut angles.

He could see da currents moving
but he couldn’t hear da sound

of all da people dat wuz circling around
in dere outriggah canoes.

Dey wuz calling like seabirds
looking almost like ghosts.

Outside da snow wuz falling

and wun squirrel
wuz jumping from wun branch.

Pono held his hand up to da light
coming in from da window

and it made wun fat silhouette
against wun calligraphy of bare trees.

Funny wat he wuz tinking about
wen he wuz tinking about home.


If da concept of being on top
or in da forefront captivates you

den bully foa you.

We simply adding
to wun ethereal cloud anyway.

I understand ego and drive
and da aerodynamics of ambition.

Keep in mind dough
dat everyone has wings

even wun little sparrow.

I can see plenty pilots
puffing out dere chests

and sputtering along
in dere vintage biplanes

attacking da blue
and taking it all so seriously.

Dats cool
cause da air up heah is fine

and wen I zip by
in my supersonic jet

I’ll wave and wish dem well.

I’m not being judgmental
or even inferring dat I’m above it all.
I’m just flying.

Notice how dese continuous lines
in da form of vapor trails

are being left behind in da journey.

It’s merely skywriting—
I hope you enjoy da read.


I don’t know how I got heah
but heah I am

counting how many pinto beans
I put into my potato soup.

Pinch penny mode—

So, dis is wat dey call
wun “fixed budget.”

Aftah da rent, electric bill,
phone bill, and food expenses,

I just cleah da monthly hurdle
by da skin of my okole.

Anyting else happen
I stay in da red.

Imagine wun anorexic Santa Claus
holding wun empty bag—

Dats me, braddah.

One foot from da grave

and anadah one from sleeping
on da sidewalk.

At least I got wun good dose of apathy
to get me through da day.

And too bad dese penny coins
wuzn’t golden doubloons instead—

Den I wouldn’t have to pinch myself
to remind me dat I still stay heah.


You tink Robert is weird?

Not even close.

Weird is molding tofu
into da shape of wun vagina

and tinking about tings
you can do wit it.

Go ask Gary about dat.

But dats anadah story
cause we talking about Robert.

Braddah stay forming new priorities
if you nevah notice.

If he had to spend six months alone
at wun research station in Antarctica

he could do it wit no sweat.

So, now you tinking he weird
or maybe turning gay

cause he nevah like check out da chick
dat you wuz trying to fix him up wit.

And no worry

I not going tell anybody
dats your cousin.

It would help dough
if she got her teeth fixed.

But if you ask me
I no tink she’s Robert’s type anyway.

He looking foa someting
all togettah different now.

I know you going have trouble
digesting dis taught

but Robert is just not interested
in one night fireworks anymoa.

He wants some consistency.
Look at him squinting at da morning sun—

Just like he imagining somebody.

Dat blazing ball ovah da horizon
is rising into wun new day.

Someting stay in da wings
I can tell you dat.

Twenty bucks I bet you

Robert going see her pretty soon
wen he least expects it.

She going pop out of da periphery
and into da light

and braddah nevah going be da same again.





Okay; certainly.

Town with a very large Mormon population.


Joe Balaz writes in Hawaiian Islands Pidgin (Hawai'i Creole English) and American-English. He edited Ho'omanoa: An Anthology of Contemporary Hawaiian Literature.

Balaz is an avid supporter of Hawaiian Islands Pidgin writing in the expanding context of World Literature. He presently lives in Ohio.

A very recent article / interview that specifically addresses Balaz' Pidgin writing can be found in Hawaiʻi Review.
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