“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 got bad teeth
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, I wasn’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 extremely interesting
dat I wuz wun poet
dat wuz invited to give wun poetry 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 wasn’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 poetry reading.”

I smiled and 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.

~ Joe Balaz

Joe Balaz is a well known writer of Hawaiian Islands Pidgin (Hawai’i Creole English). He also writes in American-English and creates visual concrete poetry and composes music-poetry. Some of his Pidgin works such as “Junior Like Be Wun Rastah,” “Pidlit 101,” “Da History of Pigeon,” and “Da Mainland to Me,” are viewed and studied as classics in the genre. Balaz also recorded Electric Laulau (1998), an innovative and groundbreaking cd of his Pidgin literature set to music. In 2005 Balaz moved to northeast Ohio and presently lives in the Greater Cleveland area.

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