You tink you wun kupuna by Joe Balaz



Wisdom is subjective.

Just because you got da wrinkles and da gray
no mean everyting is okay

wen you really have nutting to say.

You look like you stay holding court
expecting everyone to kiss your ring

but dey can see its simply made of glass
as you sit on your flimsy cardboard throne.

Da harlequin threads
dat your mind stay wearing

is moa den just wun obvious giveaway.

Age no can disguise
dat you are just wun jester

wun foolish wannabe
witout any gems or gold.

Moa bettah you keep your mouth shut

because da moa you talk
da moa da imaginary kingdom crumbles.

You tink you wun kupuna
but your crown is made of paper

and da polyester cape
draped ovah your shoulders

is full of timely holes.


kupuna – Ideally an experienced elder who gives worthwhile advice; old person


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.


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