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.

Friday, April 8, 2011


Created (and posted) twenty-seven minutes apart, these poems were prompted by Dave Bonta's Morning Porch post today. It further illustrates the collaborative poetry writing which I engage in to help celebrate National Poetry Writing Month in the United States and Canada.

Luisa A. Igloria's "Patterns" came in at 1:10 p.m. and mine (Contretemps)  came in at 1:37 p.m. Dave Bonta's prompt came in much earlier (11:19 a.m.) as it is his wont to write the meditative lines while he sips his morning coffee on his porch (metaphorical, too).

Seen from their angles, they seem poles apart as contextual expressions of the same prompt---read closely, Igloria's response would have been a logical answer to my "What Would Be Lost?" yesterday. The poet's take revolves around a pattern of leaving, coming back, and resolving battles into what would be as simple as the seasons (when they are part of a predictable pattern --- until they find themselves "screwed" up by life and nature's vagaries).

The persona in my response today sounds cavalier, while being contemptuous (if not contemptible) of these patterns. C'est la vie. and C'est la guerre to him are one and the same. Shut up already.

Where does the collaboration lie? The prompt. And what issues out of it, assuming the poets' hearts and brains are working. Sounds like a shrug, doesn't it?

Prompt: Despite the steady rain and continued cold, the first daffodils are out around the dog statue, limp yellow frocks sodden against the ground.---Dave Bonta, Morning Porch, 04-08-11 ( and "Patterns", Luisa Igloria's in (


So, when was the last time you curled up
and played daft possum to this here nostrum:
“Into each life, some rain must fall.”? Yup.
it’s cold outside, it’s where we all come from.

And there were torrential ones, violence
done on the hapless and clueless sons of…
But it was easier blaming deaf heavens,
Au courant to curse man’s absented love.

Blame the stone dog, too, it just stood by,
while the daffodils yelped: bring spring on,
let the sunshine in, do not let my buds die,
or leave limp frocks sodden on the ground.

Dang, if I know what this street is coming to,
let alone earth’s havoc on lives, a killing gung ho.

—Albert B. Casuga
Mississauga, ON 04-08-11


And when I come back, what should I choose if I could?
Marrow in a bone of wheat, sinew in a cicada the wind
plucks to life every seventeen years. You asked Why
do the same things keep happening to us? Imagine
the body at a way station: upholstered bench
on which strangers settle their shifting weight,
write furtive messages, phone numbers, complaints.
The frayed cord and the lining come undone in parts.
What does it exact, the wish for something simpler– one
green stalk, slender in the steady rain; not even to want
a sheath, limp yellow frock sodden against the ground.

~ Luisa A. Igloria
04 08 2011

Further collaboration could actually occur when one poet responds to the other's take, as I did to Luisa's The Beloved Asks when I wrote What Would Be Lost?

It is good limbering. To Luisa, it is devotional. The poem turns as the poet gyrates.

No comments: