Joe Balaz

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.  Some of his recent Pidgin writing has appeared in Rattle, JukedOtoliths, and Hawai’i Review, among others. Balaz is an avid supporter of Hawaiian Islands Pidgin writing in the expanding context of World Literature.  He presently lives in Cleveland, Ohio.




It’s nevah wat it is

wen you tink of wat it should be.



Da cast of timely characters

dat going appear before your eyes


got dere own ideas


as to how da soup in da big pot

going be cooked.



Everybody grabs da ladle

and dishes out wun daily bowl


dat changes its recipe

from one day to da next.



Some people slurp

and adah guys spoon it down like hungry pigs


while all the veggies, meat, and broth,

simmering on da communal stove


is constantly being added to

wit all kine new ingredients.



If you tink

you wuz going be wun master chef


dat wuz going impose your specific tastes

on wun public menu


den moa bettah you keep your seasonings

in your own private kitchen.



It’s nevah wat it is

wen you tink of wat it should be

cause wen people gaddah eat

dey going bring anyting and everyting to da table.

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