Joe Balaz



Brian got wun big dimple
like wun inverted pimple

right in da middle
of his chin.

It made him self-conscious
but I not going say anyting

even dough my eyes
stare at it

wen he not looking.

In our circle of friends

dey call him Kirk Douglas
behind his back

but he dunno dat.

At wun crazy house party we had
wen everybody got drunk

Albert wen pull wun mean prank
on Brian

wen he wen pass out
on da couch.

He wen fill in da dimple
wit some soft putty

and put wun adhesive bandage ovah it.

Den he wen write wun note
foa Brian dat said,

You just had surgery, brah—
Everyting going be okay.

Albert wen tape da message
to da front of Brian’s tee shirt

on top of his chest.

Remembah da old movie Spartacus

wen dat gladiator
wen shove da head of his trainer

into wun big pot of soup
to drown da buggah

because da guy
was always mean to him.

It wuz nutting like dat

but if you take wun good look
at Albert today

you going see

dat he stay walking around
wit wun limp

and he get wun big black eye.

In da movie
Kirk Douglas wuz just acting

wen he wen dish out
some big time payback.

In regards to Albert dough

he wen find out
dat Brian wuzn’t pretending.


From wat I remembah

I got da two of dem
wen I went to wun carnival.

Looking through da wire
of da framed enclosure

I saw all da fluffy baby chicks
in wun big yellow mass

huddled all togettah

in da middle of wun pen
warmed by plenty lightbulbs.

I wuz about four-years old

so it wuz wun big deal
to take two of dose buggahs home

and make dem my pets.

Unlike people
chickens grow pretty fast

and as dey got oldah

dey wen eventually
turn into white Leghorn roosters

wit big kine bodies.

Wen dey wuz still juveniles dough
I played wit dem

and I used to lay dem on dere backs
and rub dere stomachs and chests.

One of dem wuz so mesmerized
dat da buggah would always fall asleep

so much so

dat on one occasion
I taught da ting wen die

until it wen “peep” its way back into life.

My oldah siblings
watching me freak out at first

had wun good laugh at dat.

Da biggah laugh wen come latah dough
and it still follows me around today.

In wun very short time
da roosters became full grown

and dey wuz kept in anadah coup
separate from da small Bantam chickens

dat my parents had.

Dose buggahs wuz good layers
wit dere brown colored eggs.

All da poultry had wun purpose

and I wen find out
dat my maddah had adah plans

foa da Leghorn roosters.

It wuz wun unreal surprise
wen I sat down at da dinner table

and she wen lift da lid
off of wun platter.

Somehow I knew right away
by da biggah bodies

dat dose wuz my former pets.

Needless to say
I nevah eat anyting dat night.

In da morning
I got solid confirmation too

wen da coup dat dey wuz in
wuz empty.

One of my oldah braddahs
likes to share da chicken stories

and he still tells ‘um to dis day.

I got to admit
dat foa family memories it’s kinnah funny

dough it wuzn’t too hilarious foa me
wen it happened.

Now dat we stay much oldah

at least we have anadah ting to laugh about
wen we talk on da phone long distance

as both of us take wun humorous view
at da long look back.


Dallas get DART

but it’s not da kine
dat you trow at wun bullseye.

San Francisco get BART
but I not talking Simpson.

Honolulu going get HART
but it’s already having cardiac problems.

To say dat taxpayers in da islands
got railroaded

is like saying
dat da ocean has plenty watah in it.

Da price tag of da coming
Honolulu Area Rapid Transit is soaring

and da project is way behind schedule.

Building da rail system
on wun per-capita basis

going end up being

da largest infrastructure fiasco
in da history of da United States

in wun place

dat also has da highest
per capita cost of living in da nation.

Da adah crazy ting
about da whole situation

is by da time da train
becomes operational

da buggah
not going make wun significant difference

wit da growing traffic congestion problem.

It’s just like wun racehorse being lame
before it even leaves da starting gate.

If you wuz against da rail system
in da first place

den you had some credible foresight.

If you wuz in favor of da ting

den please accept your certificate
of being wun humungous babooze.

Dallas get DART
San Francisco get BART

and now Honolulu going get HART
while all da city arteries stay clogging up.

babooze = stupid fool; idiot.

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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