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, February 17, 2011

RETURN MAIL: A Poem (After a Letter of Affliction*)

Photo by Bobby Ong Jr.

(After A Letter of Affliction)

I, an old man,/ a dull head among windy spaces.
--- T. S. Eliot, Gerontion

It’s noisy with the sound of trucks leaving
the stripped quarry like some la femme du nuit
looking spent in a small circle of melted sheets
not unlike this barricade of trees fencing me in
when I should be out among the cormorants
molesting errant crayfish on the breakwater
boulders, clamping them with the vise grip
of beak before dumping them back into
a cocktail of blackened pools and fetid algae,
my vaunted daiquiri or limey brew on my
long vacation by the sea.

Now you write to ask if it was not too late
to take this one? Porquoi pas?

For hearts frozen with regrets and hollow
memories, it is finally too late, mon amour,
because this thaw among sandpipers and gulls
is also the noise of quarry trucks cracking
the hard-earned quietude that has come
as an ebbtide when the crushing gulfstream
has cut the sandbars and left the stripped
quarry to cover sand holes rending flaccid
haunches and dying loins. It is too late.

Mississauga, Ont. 02-17-11

Poem triggered by these images
It’s in the 40s and noisy with the sound of trucks. Each tree stands in a small circle of melted ground like a bear balancing on a unicycle.---Dave Bonta, The Morning Porch, 02-11-11 (

* Luisa Igloria, Via Negativa (

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