Poetry from Joe Balaz



Plumeria Ikeda

wuz wun rambler and wun gambler.



Rather den just go Vegas

she kept on flying east


until she wen end up landing

by wun huge lake


dat looked as big as wun ocean.


In da city wit da Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

she suddenly found herself in Cleveland.


Wun old friend dat lived dere

wen recommend da downtown casino.


Plumeria wuz wun trailblazer


so she wen figure she go try someting new

to expand her expertise.



Her eclectic tastes

wuz just as unusual as her first name.


Da plumeria wuz wun flower

dat wuz most fragrant at night


in order to lure moths to pollinate it.


Da blossom had no nectar

and it simply fooled all da dumb bugs.



Plumeria’s name sure wen fit her

wen she became wun player.


She had wun unrelenting focus

and wun very deceptive poker face.



Looks like da trip is paying off


cause Plumeria just walked out da door

wit eighty thousand extra dollahs.



Like wun new age pioneer

appearing out of da Pacific


she wen discover dat da Rust Belt

wuz just as profitable as da desert.



Plumeria Ikeda is coming on da scene

and taking off like wun rocket.


Her talent is purely on da up and up.



Looks like Atlantic City

going be next.


Aftah dat

she just might be flying ovah anadah ocean.



No be surprised

to see her eyes


checking out all da new opportunities

in Monte Carlo.


* The Ninth Island       Slang in Hawaii for Las Vegas, Nevada.






If you wuz as radiant as da sun


some people would complain

dat you wuzn’t bright enough.



Hard to please

hard to appreciate


hard to see


all da many rays

streaming through da darkness.



An ancient Hawaiian

wouldn’t even question


da phenomenon of wun solar disc

moving across da sky.


Warmed by its presence

gratitude would surely abound.



Nowadays cynics criticize

each charged particle


emanating from da surface.



Knowledge is equated to light


but sometimes many

can stumble in da blackness.



So go ahead and beam



wit wun inner energy


dat going burst out

onto da waiting scene.




like wun small candle


and yet

as powerful as da raging sun.



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 Unlikely Stories Mark V, Otoliths, Tuck Magazine, and
Heavy Feather 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.