My photo
ALBERT B. CASUGA, a Philippine-born writer, lives in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, where he continues to write poetry, fiction, and criticism after his retirement from teaching and serving as an elected member of his region's school board. He was nominated to the Mississauga Arts Council Literary Awards in 2007. A graduate of the Royal and Pontifical University of St. Thomas (now University of Santo Tomas, Manila. Literature and English, magna cum laude), he taught English and Literature (Criticism, Theory, and Creative Writing) at the Philippines' De La Salle University and San Beda College. He has authored books of poetry, short stories, literary theory and criticism. He has won awards for his works in Canada, the U.S.A., and the Philippines. His latest work, A Theory of Echoes and Other Poems was published February 2009 by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House. His fiction and poetry were published by online literary journals Asia Writes and Coastal Poems recently. He was a Fellow at the 1972 Silliman University Writers Workshop, Philippines. As a journalist, he worked with the United Press International and wrote an art column for the defunct Philippines Herald.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


At the Union Station, Toronto

From a Notebook of a Vacation, August 1985, Montreal

Apparitions of these faces in the crowd,
Petals on a wet, black bough.
--Ezra Pound, Station in the Metro

Something about a journey requires
goodbyes to mean “Come home!”
The train ride runs only up to where
the heart seeks its last station: Come Home.
Tentative, the curt handwaves will also plead:
this distance-given right to know
must also mean, “you will always be welcome
to a portion of our lives – not all of it,
But a good part of it – so, come home.”
“Come home” are the eyes’ manner
of saying goodbye, the mouthed sounds
not half as eloquent; the quiver on the throat
is also an arrested cry – “come home.”
Going away is truly an endless returning.
You waved me away to begin life’s cycle
of leaving and returning, really love’s ritual.
You are my home, my children, my lover.
And yet, away from you, I always feel
this ache, this grip of fear:
Could I also plead goodbye to you one day,
But also mean, “Come home”?
This is one of those love poems that I found difficult to write. I would never want to go through that feeling again of having to say goodbye and not knowing how I would come back. Some time or the other, I would rather have said: Bring them home. But Come Home is a cry from one's heart; always the "lonely hunter."

Whispers at the Palais du Artes

Conversation with Don Pablo Ruiz Picásso

Su arte es el arte del mundo
Arte del sangre y de génio unico.
Senor Don Pablo, porque se preocupar
Con los ojos de las mujeres?

“Los, ojos, amigo, no pueden méntira.
Los ojos son las puertas del amor
Y las preguntas de infinidad.
Porque pregunta usted sobre la verdad?
La verdad es la sustancia de todos artes
Y de todos nuestros amores. La verdad
Es el arte de un niño. Estoy un niño, amigo
Y finalmente, con su permiso,
hacerse un niño viejo, un niño otra vez.
Si, un niño nuevo!”

With Rameses II

Bon jour, Monsieur Rameses,
And I presume, Mademoiselle Isis?
How lovely are these ashes.
The notes I kept about Picasso's exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal came in handy when I wrote a series of art articles for a Mississauga News Arts and Living supplement called SMILE in the 80s. I edited the supplement which had a brief life of four issues. A bedroom community had little need for it. Today, almost 40 years later, this community has a Living Arts Centre that has to beg and borrow to sustain it.
From this notebook, I also found some sketches of sights and scenes in Montreal and Acapulco where I spent two successive vacations to "win my wife back". At Acapulco, we stayed in a honeymoon suite overlooking the Quirinale where local divers would dive the "jump of death" into the swirling waves below from a cliff about 34 storeys above.
Writers' notebooks are booby traps.

From a Notebook of a Vacation, August 1985, Montreal

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