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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, May 29, 2011

A SCENT IN THE DARK (Conversations with Stick Series #4)

The last time we bantered about smells or scents,
Stick, I gave up on scents, the smell of knowing.
Everything I have loved and lost come back to me
like haunting odours, like those scented mothballs
under clothes Father left that I could not, would not,
move from attic chests I am wont to open when lost
between worlds of the child who would pipe down
from fearsome anxieties and the man-child’s anger:
“I know you hear me, Father, when familiar scents
break out of drawers, and I am your little boy again:
I run through the hills in pursuit of the wayward
kites you shaped for me from those bamboo slats
cut from groves of shoots we would gather and boil,
and oh, how the aroma bridges our unwanted space,
your scent pulling me into arms I know I’ve missed,
into rhythms of lullabies on the mountain hammocks!
I cherish these as urgently as that boy who runs to you
at sundown for a quick toss in the air only fathers can do.”
I know and keep these memories as long as I could,
Stick. I know them, hoard them, mostly from their smell.
—Albert B. Casuga

Poem Prompt: “Redolence” by Luisa A. Igloria, Via Negativa, 05-25-11,

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