Poem-a-Day - "Message to My Sistah" by Joe Balaz

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May 2, 2022 

Message to My Sistah

Joe Balaz

I just did
wat I talked about doing

wen we wuz visiting
on da smartphone.

 

You told me

wat you wuz eating 
foa breakfast da adah day

and it kinnah inspired me.

 

Da last time
I ate French Toast

wuz wen I wuz living
in Hawaiʻi years ago.

 

So I wen actually
make some dis morning

and I topped 
da tasty slices off 

wit some kinamona
and some Ohio maple syrup.

 

I’m eating right now

while I’m tinking 
about you

and looking at wun picture
of our parents 

on my living room tabletop.

 

It’s just like

I’m in da yellow kitchen
up in Wahiawa Heights

at da old house.

 

Da hoʻomanaʻo is ʻono.

Da French Toast
is pretty good too.

Copyright © 2022 by Joe Balaz. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 2, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

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“The idea for this poem came from an actual phone call that I had with my sister. I presently live in Cleveland, Ohio, and she lives in Wahiawa, on the island of O’ahu in Hawai’i. Within our long conversation I asked her what she had for breakfast. My verbal response to her answer essentially set the stage for the poem. A short time after the phone call I wrote the poem.”
Joe Balaz

Joe Balaz writes in both Hawaiian Islands Pidgin (HIP) and in American English. The author of Pidgin Eye (Ala Press, 2019), he presently lives in Cleveland.
Pidgin Eye
(Ala Press, 2019)

“Eating Together” by Li-Young Lee
read more
“French Toast” by Cammy Thomas
read more

Thanks to Brandy Nālani McDougall, author of The Salt-Wind: Ka Makani Pa‘Akai (Kuleana ‘Oiwi Press, 2008), who curated Poem-a-Day for this month’s weekdays. Listen to a Q&A about McDougall’s curatorial approach and find out more about our guest editors for the year
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