SPLINTERED PADDLE By Joe Balaz

SPLINTERED PADDLE

Wen da cop wen approach
da homeless guy in Chinatown

da man wen reach behind his back
and whip out wun canoe paddle.

Den he wen swing dat ting
and hit da officer in da head

knocking da buggah out right deah.

Latah on at da hospital

da emergency room staff
had to pull out all da splinters

before dey wen put in da stiches.

Dey also had to treat
wun broken arm

and wun bad knee sprain too

foa da adah cop dat wen fall
wen he wen try use his taser.

Da guy wit tattered pants
saw da move

so he wen reach down
and grab da pavement

to pull it up like wun carpet
undahneath da surprised officer’s feet.

Moa police came racing
down da street

wit all da sirens blaring.

Da destitute guy
wen just laugh at all da commotion

and den he wen melt like wun phantom
into da sidewalk.

Wen da cop wen approach
da homeless guy in Chinatown again

it wuz déjà vu part two

but it wuz unlike da dream
da guy just had

aftah he wuz awakened from wun nap.

“You know,

you lucky I not going arrest you again
like I did last time,

so pick up your backpack and leave.”

Da homeless guy
walked down da sidewalk and disappeared

just like da cop and da business owners
wanted him to.

By Joe Balaz

Biography:

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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