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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.

Sunday, April 17, 2011



Dear heart, at the wood’s edge, the blue-/ headed viroe repeats its only line. It isn’t true/ it has nothing to say— just as it isn’t true/ that sameness will not want to make us/ look again.---Luisa A. Igloria, "Letter to Sameness and Variation", Via Negativa, 04-16-11*

I am back, but I have nothing new to say,
nor anything that I can offer save myself.
Unchanged, undefined, unshackled, free.

There is no other way you would have me.
Would you rather I had lost my insouciance?
Would you have me speak only one language,

that of fear, and would not risk this loss again?
Sing only your song? Part my hair another way?
At the edge of the woods, I have mastered wiles.

You’d think I had changed and now just a shadow
of a broken man come home to lick old wounds
that were left unsalved, cankered when I lost you.

I am the same, and this sameness will make you
want to look again even if the thousand faces
that you behold are those from a shattered mirror.

—Albert B. Casuga

*Prompt:  This poem responds to "Letter to Sameness and Variation" by Luisa A. Igloria, and posted in the 04-16-11 Via Negativa post (
It is part of a series of collaborative poems where this poet responds to Igloria's response to Dave Bonta's Morning Porch prompt, these result in the creation of separately standing poems with re-drawn context and expanded nuances.

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