Ring Nebula, 2500 light years away. Image by Hubble Telescope, 2013.

by Joe Balaz

If time is truly wun barometer

den most of dese current glitter pops
haven’t sniffed any kine of originality

since da Ice Age—

It seems like dat anyway.

Maybe da wandering riffs
and da primal urges back den

wuz enhanced by da politics
and da hallucinogens of da day.

It’s hard to say

cause it wuz almost as if wun magician
put someting in da drinking watah.

Screaming behind wun power cord
to wun crazed drumbeat and bass

da sustain of wun reaching lead guitar
would pierce da ethers

and send one
streaking into uncharted space.

It’s wun shame
to pine foa da good old days

cause musical nostalgia is so haunting

wen one listens to all da present notes
in wun reluctant surrender.

No one is saying
creative talent no can exist nowadays

but at times wen you hear
some of da new renditions and offerings

it makes you want to
turn your collar to da wind

cut off your ear
like Van Gogh

and den commit seppuku to end it all.


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, Juked, Otoliths, 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.