Joe Balaz

Invalid's Hope


It’s so random

wat da invisible tentacles in your head
wrap around

in dose kine of moments.

Paul wuz suddenly wun kid
at da old Termite Palace

and he wuz dere foa da very first time
to watch wun football game

between Kaimuki and Kamehameha.

It wuz in da days
wen high school matchups on da gridiron

wuz da biggest sports shows in town.

UH wuzn’t as popular back den

cause dey played small colleges
like Humboldt State and Linfield.

Paul knew dat

cause his big braddah took him
to some of dose games too

at dat same run-down stadium.

Twelve years his senior

he wuz turning Paul’s eyes on
to da good fun of it all.

Just two braddahs
sitting on da wooden benches

enjoying da pigskin competition.

Aftah Paul got da phone call
dat nobody wants to get

dat cherished scene
wuz one of many glimpses

dat wen pass through his head
along wit wun new one—

Big braddah
wen just jump into da air

and he wen catch wun Hail Mary
in da end zone

in da last second of da game.

Paul wen somehow manage to smile
in da silent privacy of tears.


Termite Palace


Public high school in Hawaii.
Private high school in Hawaii.
Slang name for the old Honolulu Stadium
that used to stand in Hawaii.
University of Hawaii.

Joe Balaz writes in Hawaiian Islands Pidgin (Hawai'i Creole English) and in 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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