Joe Balaz


Way Up Deah

Jared’s maddah told him

dey wuzn’t on da top
but dey wuzn’t on da bottom eidah—

dats wat da family genealogy wen say.


One of da given names on da list
dat wuz handed down to her

wuz translated to mean
“Da highest point of da mahiole.”

Da average person in da village
not going have dat kine name.


So Jared wen find out
dat in old time Hawaii

his family wuz from da chiefly class
right undah da king.

Dey wuz nobles in da social strata.


Dat wuz cool to know
if you into nostalgia

cause everyting stay different now.


Jared wuz high in da air
wen he wuz tinking about dat

on da side of wun building
in Honolulu.


Working wit wun squeegee
and swinging on wun rope

he kept adah people’s
view of paradise nice and clean

washing windows
way up deah in da sky.



Joe Balaz writes in Hawaiian Islands Pidgin (Hawai’i Creole English) and American-English. He edited Ho’omanoa: An Anthology of Contemporary Hawaiian Literature. Balaz is an avid supporter of Hawaiian Islands Pidgin writing in the expanding context of World Literature. He presently lives in Ohio.