Joe Balaz

Three Hawaiian Islands Pidgin Poems


Moving through da waves
wun ship wit four smokestacks

journeyed beneath
wun huge cigar flying in da sky.

Crossing da same ocean
in different kine ways

fate wen bring
wat fate wen bring

wit big kine letters
in headline newsprint.

Feminine indifference
long aftah da romantic moon

felt da wound
just below da waterline

while macho bluster

wen burst into wun aerial explosion
like wun blazing sun at high noon.

No can avert da merging disasters
and dere’s no sense to even ask why

wen ice sliced like wun razor
and flames danced in da devil’s eye.

Wun old friend
called da adah day

to ask me how tings wuz going.

He seemed to be very surprised
wen I told him

dat me and her wen end up
like da Hindenburg crashing into da Titanic

wit both of us sinking at da same time.

Dats da last ting he expected to hear
wen he wen visualize da graphic.


Da visual sermon went ovah everyone’s head.

Futility walked around in full daylight
holding wun lamp and searched everywheah.

Da only honest man in da village
ran and hid so he wouldn’t be found.

Concealment in dis case wuz appropriate—

No need to consummate da quest of wun sage
who filled his life wit da pursuit of phantoms.

Wun porous heart bled da intention
of dat hidden man who wuz dressed in black.

Accustomed to burying philosophy
in da context of wun final truth

one could mistake him foa being wun priest
if he wuzn’t just da undertaker.

Diogenes wuz seeking some kine of answer
looking foa honesty among humanity.

It must have been his mongrel spirit
dat moved him.

He stared into wun empty bowl

as wun canine chorus
whimpered and howled

to da minimal light of wun shrouded moon.

Not dat it even makes wun difference

cause any insight dat could evah be
will always yield to wun carcass in da fields.


Da so-called leaders
of da new creative revolution

took me undahground
into wun cavernous maze of midnight

all da while

espousing da latest wave
of influential shadow kings.

Dere adopted realm
of da avant-garde

promised to be filled
wit raw innovation

and highly unique characters.

it wuz no great surprise

dat dere dingy cafes
and sleazy coffee shops

offered mere mannequins

wit painted beards
and contrived philosophies

on anadah
leather and chain excursion.

Well, tings aren’t always
as dey appear to be—

I know
you’ve heard dat one before.

And I guess
my enhanced cynicism

wuz in knowing of wun hidden tunnel

wheah snakes perceive
wit crystal ball eyes

as street wise spiders
crawl on wun endless ceiling

and theorizing rodents

breed and flourish
wit originality.

So, maybe
I shouldn’t be too hard on dem—

It’s just dat
dey haven’t gone deep enough.

Foa in dat far reaching
subterranean design

wheah most prospectors
nevah choose to mine

dere is always ground
beneath da undahground.

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 Cleveland, Ohio.
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