I stay all bright eye

in blue-collar radiance


mopping da floor

so da ting come sparkling clean.


Eh, look down

and see myself looking back up at me.


Just like wun mirror, brah.


Station to station enlightenment

seeing da scope of one’s being and all dat jazz.



Maybe I should get wun orange robe

to go wit my rubbah work boots.


Den I can monk out wit da philosophy.



And check out dis brush

dat I twirl around da porcelain oval—


I achieve cleanliness

just like wun confession aftah wun prayer.


Disinfecting da bowl is okay.


Dat lemon fresh smell is so universal

but I prefer da scent of sandalwood incense.



I gaddah go outside da building next

and walk around da sidewalk and da parking lot.


Wit every cigarette butt

I sweep into my dustpan


it makes me tink of all da smoke

dat wen spiral its way to heaven.



I spiral too, brah,

just as randomly wenevah I want to


cause now I stay speaking words of atonement

in da language of wun zephyr


floating ovah bones lying in wun desert

as if I wuz offering wun apology


to wun unrequited love

long since gone.



And take wun closah look at dat skull in the sand

being talked to.  It no can hear nutting.


Scorpions are crawling out of da sockets

cause dose romantic dreams wen disappear years ago.



I thought I could comprehend da missing wavelengths


but da visual remnants

dat I saw in da surrounding infinite grains


wuz just da tracks of wun sidewinder slithering away.


Da buggah wen open its mouth

and show me its fangs


and I wen faintly hear myself muttering

wun litany of regrets.



Parched lips dat once felt kisses

formed all da sentences it wanted to


hoping to explain someting

to wun unreceptive skeleton.



Dats wat you call wun cathartic rumination

in trying to make amends aftah da fact


and look, dere’s anadah cigarette butt in da desert


as wun circling hawk ovahhead is screeching

and ringing into my cellphone—



Da boss just told me 

he wants me to watah da plants in da atrium.


His call

snatched me out of my cerebral meanderings.



So now I gaddah get wun hose

in da equipment shed.



Latah on

if dere’s anadah fantasy to view


dat hose just might turn into wun talking snake


winding around wun banana trunk

in wun tropical garden by da food court.






Wen Bernard Virgilio

became wun chef


nobody knew

he wuz going write


wun best selling cook book.



He became da toast of Kunia


and his show

Filipino New Style Cuisine


wuz showed all ovah da country

on public television.



He always liked to cook


and good ting his family

had old recipes from his grandmaddah


cause Bernard

wen put ‘um all to good use


by mixing in his own innovations.



His beef adobo

wuz ono delicious


and his puto rice cake

would just melt in your mouth.



But da best ting he made

wuz actually wun soup dish


called Kilamanjaro Kalamungai.



People wuz confused dough

why he wen combine wun African name


wit his special soup

of kalamungai leaves.



Bernard wen explain


he wanted wun exotic name

foa his premier dish


and da famous mountain

represented wun high peak


and had wun catchy ring to it.



His good friend wen tell him

he should have called da soup


Kaala Kalamungai


cause dere wuz wun mountain

wit wun high peak


right deah in his own backyard

in Kunia


looking down at him.



Bernard wuz tinking big dough

like wun aspiring chef


way beyond Oahu 

and ovah da sea—


He knew he wuz going global

wit his puto and adobo


and his crŹme de le crŹme

Kilamanjaro Kalamungai.






Da old man wuz going try kill Harold

by walking in da park every day—


dat wuz his plan anyway.



Critical tinking

and da fountain of mental youth


wuz on his mind

wit all da steps he took.



He wuzn’t jealous of da debutant

or da young buck


laughing and sharing

wun ice cream cone


as dey sat on wun bench

and enjoyed da moment.


He just wanted da energy

of da neurons sparking in dere brains.



Because of dat

Harold wuz going pay


and deah wuz no way

dat buggah could hide in da crowd.



Da old man had wun hammer


and he wuz hiding behind

wun imaginary bush


in his prefrontal cortex.



He wuz going whack Harold

in da head


and leave him senseless


wen dat malicious thief

passed by—


mo’bettah kill da buggah now

wit wun preemptive strike


den lose all clarity latah.



It could be wun theory

but maybe it’s not


da notion dat physical fitness

may be essential


in maintaining

wun nimble brain as we age.



Being wun couch potato

wen you become elderly


might cause your cognitive ability 

to run in slow motion.




wen coin wun acronym


foa da phenomenon—




   hemispheric asymmetry reduction

   in older adults.



If it’s true


expect moa walking                                                                                                                      

and whacking to be going on


wen all dose smart seniors

start picking up da mallets.


© Joe Balaz