somebody got bit by wun shark again.


Ooooh—  Big time news story!


Eidah dey dead

or dey just got away wit wun bad bite.



Shocking, eh?—   Humans—

Swim out into da deep watah

wheah anyting could happen.



No get me wrong

I not telling you foa get paranoid—


I just letting you know

dat wats lurking dere in da depths

is not likely to be found

in your neighborhood swimming pool.



Brah, wen you go into da ocean

and dere’s dis creature

as big as your car

wit razor sharp teeth

and wun aggressive appetite


you just might be breakfast,

dinner, or lunch.




if you like dangle your legs and feet

from wun surfboard

and look like wun turtle


or go free styling

in murky watah


go for it—

Just know dat you are not alone.




you flash wun shaka sign

to da horizon


as you look out ovah

da surface of da watah

undahneath da light blue sky.



If anyting

because of dat gesture


you can have comfort

in believing dat da gods,

God, fate, or watevah,


going keep your number

from coming up


in da big fish wit teeth lottery.








First time on wun horse

and it turned out to be


“Lucky” da mustang.



I went on da airplane

wit my wife foa visit friends


and while we wuz deah

we took wun horse ride

in da mountains


on da old Oregon Trail

above Ashland

right next to California—


Nice up dere, brah.



Da guide wuz happy

to see us too


because it wuz wun slow day

and we wuz da only customers.



Aftah wun brief orientation


I wen learn

da basic horse handling jazz


and den we wuz off!

Da three of us—


Da guide wuz in da lead

my wife wuz in da middle

and I wuz behind da both of dem

                                       wit Lucky.



Relaxing being on wun horse—


you let da buggah

do all da walking


and den you check out

all of da scenery.


And I wuz wun fast learner too—


I make ‘um trot

slow down

da whole deal.



On our first break

da guide wen ask me


“how are you doing with Lucky?”

—“would you like to change horses?”


I told her

“Nah, I’m doing alright.”

“Lucky’s cool.”


So we started off again

and da guide looked over her shoulder

and said


“well, just let me know

if you want to change horses later.”


I wuz tinking


“Wats up, lady,

I no see anyting wrong wit my horse.”



So back on da trail we went—


moa trees, moa valleys,

moa fields,

and den wunada break.



Dis time da guide tell me


“Oh, we are almost at the end

                               of the ride

and there’s this little stream

that we have to cross— ”


“Lucky doesn’t like water

so he might do a little jump.”


“Are you okay with that?”


I must have been tinking

like wun confident male

because I told her,


“Yeah, no problem.”



So in a couple of minutes

we approached da stream

and I wuz tinking


“you gaddah be kidding me”—

—it wasn’t dat wide, it wuz kinnah shallow,

and grass wuz growing in da watah.


Plus, da inclines on both sides of da stream

wasn’t dat deep.



I watched as da guide’s horse went down

and plodded through da grass in da watah

followed by my wife on her horse.


Both of dem

went up on da slight rise of da opposite bank

and turned around to watch me cross.



Dats wen Lucky did his ting—


It wuz like somebody shoved wun rocket

undah his tail


because he wen take off in wun quick gallop

and wen launch himself

like wun steeple horse on cocaine

ovah da little stream to da adah side!—


Amazing I wen stay in da saddle!



My wife wuz impressed—

“Wow, you should have seen how high you got!”


I wuz tinking


“Yeah, right, I wuz deah,

I saw it from da ground up…”



First time on wun horse, brah,


and da buggah

turns out to be da leaping version

of da late great Secretariat.







As da story wuz told to me


dere wuz supposed to be

wunadah boy

in between my two oldah braddahs.


Maybe it wuz bad luck

or just being in da wrong place

                       at da wrong time


but da only reason

I stay tinking dese taughts right now


is because dats how wuz—

                 dats why I’m heah.



Circumstantial fate—

Dats wat da practical people call it.


Adah people explain it away

                  as da will of God

or da random alignment of da stars.



Watevah it is

dat boy nevah make wun baby’s first cry


and because of dat

I did.



It’s like watching

wun movie in watah colors


to try and visualize da memory

dat my maddah related to me.


It’s da same way now

everytime I ponder it.



My faddah had a lot of hobbies

and wun of dem wuz bee keeping.


Da hives wuz in da backyard—


Da family dog

wuz in da backyard too


on wun leash

attached to wun pole.




I tink it wuz my oldah braddah


wen just finish giving da dog wun bath.



Foa some unknown reason


maybe because of how da wet dog

wen smell wit da soap or something li’dat


all da bees in da hives

wen suddenly swarm out


and started attacking da dog.



Da poor animal

wuz howling in pain


because da bees

wuz stinging ‘um like crazy.



My pregnant maddah

wen rush out of da house


to try let da dog loose

so da bees wouldn’t kill ‘um


but she wen slip

wen she wuz grabbing da lease

because da dog wuz jumping and tugging


and she fell down

on her stomach.



Da dog

wuz stung so many times


dat da ting wen die anyway.



My maddah told me

latah on at da hospital


dey wen bring wun little body

to da bed wheah she wuz at


and showed it to her—

it wuz wun boy.


She wen miscarry

because of da fall.



So dis is wen

I wax philosophical


everytime I tink of it—


it’s like

whoevah dat baby wuz going to be


he wen take da hit

so I could be heah.



I wuz still born, brah,


even dough I wuz da menopause baby

                              and da odds wuz long


in da process of all da tings dat can happen

                                             I wuz still born—


I wen fill in dat space


wen da cosmic dice

wen eventually roll my way.




X’s & O’s



My wife like be wun X

but I like be wun O—



I not trying foa tackle anybody

I not doing wun end run

I not catching wun pass from wunadah wahine—


I just tinking about da x’s and da o’s.





it’s all about perspective


da many plays in my head

written out on wun chalkboard

full of x’s and o’s.



My wife like be wun X

but I like be wun O


x’s and o’s, brah,

it’s all strategy anyway—


Red light right

green light left.


Go shallow

go deep


but just be careful

wat you say


and how you say it.



Even wun team

dressed in white

wit shiny gold helmets


can fumble da ball away.



My wife like be wun X

but I like be wun O


x’s and o’s, brah,

turning into seconds

on da scoreboard clock


as game time disappears

and delivers da outcome.







© Joe Balaz


Bio:  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.