Rigorous
Volume Two, Issue 4



Joe Balaz


All da Stars Fly in Circles

Dere’s wun old political cartoon
from back in da late 1800s

wheah Uncle Sam is teaching
wun classroom full of children.


In da front row
are da “troublemakers”

portrayed as da Philippines, Hawaii,
Puerto Rico, and Cuba.


He is standing dere before dem

and giving dem special indoctrination
to pay attention and stay in line.


So dis is da superior attitude
dat wuz expressed

wen Hawaii wuz acquired by da U.S.


Too bad da cartoon nevah show
his imperialist military

participating in da ovahtrow
of Queen Liliuokalani

and marching
down da streets of Honolulu.


Dats wat wen happen

and Uncle wen use dis power play
ovah and ovah before

wen he wen squash
all da indigenous nation tribes

on da North American continent.


So now years latah
Hawaii is wun popular vacationland

to all da visitors
dat really don’t know wat happened.


Dats why wen some of dem
act like da locals stay beneath dem

dey eidah get

wun verbal barrage
or some physical therapy.


Dere’s some deep seeded feelings heah
dat da malihinis have no awareness of.


Moa bettah
dey educate demselves about da islands

and keep dere arrogance in check
if dats da kine of people dey are

adahwise dey going be
like characters in wun cartoon

wen dey get wacked
by wun frying pan

and all da stars fly in circles
above dere ignorant heads.

malihini: Newcomer; visitor.
Queen Liliuokalani: Head of state when Hawaii’s government was overthrown.




Good for da Nene

It’s just like somebody
wen tell da malihini

dat you no can be in ‘Nalo
if you no wear wun malo.


Specifically speaking foa sure
but if you not like dem

den no go dance like da devil
on dere turf.


Embers dat may appear
to be frozen in wun ice cube

are still burning in its memory.


Still den da malihini like act up

and make wun scene
at Waimanalo Beach Park

wen he saw wun depiction
of wun Hawaiian flag on wun pole

wit da American flag flying beneath it.


Da artwork wuz on da guitar case
of wun local guy

hanging out
and playing music wit his friends.


Too bad dey all wuzn’t singing
Kaulana Na Pua

wen da visitor
wen interrupt dere jam session

wit his angry rant about patriotism
aftah he wen finish using da restroom.


Tactfully and strongly
da braddahs wen tell da guy

wat he could do wit his opinion

and he wen stomp off
and drive away in his rented car.


Oh, well,

wat may be good foa da nene
is not so good foa da gander.

Kaulana Na Pua: Famous protest song that was written when Hawaii was annexed by the U.S.
malihini: Newcomer; visitor.
malo: Native loincloth.
‘Nalo: Slang for the town of Waimanalo.
nene: Hawaiian goose.


Joe Balaz:: "I write in Hawaiian Islands Pidgin (Hawai'i Creole English) and in American English. Some of my recent Pidgin poems have appeared in Otoliths, Unlikely Stories Mark V, Tuck Magazine, and Angry Old Man, among others. I am an avid supporter of Hawaiian Islands Pidgin writing in the expanding context of World Literature. I presently live in Cleveland, Ohio."




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