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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.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A DIALOGUE ON RAIN DANCES AND MOSS (Conversations with Stick Series #l6)

We even have rain dances, Stick, to pray for rain.
But we still have our little deserts despite that.
The Hopi have it, the Navajo, the Igolots. The lot.
Mayans, Aztecs, and all the prayers they have got.
In the old country, tots still sing that song while
they halloo in the rain, bathing naked in the rain.
“I’m singing in the rain, just singing in the rain.
I’m happy in the rain, just happy in the rain…”
Why can’t I recall those Gene Kelly lyrics? Dang!
Oh, to feel that downpour on my face again!
In Ranchipur, they un-learned rain-prayers.
Monsoon scares even the farmers and fishermen.
Grade schoolers have even learned another ditty:
“Rain, Rain, go away, come again another day.”
Schoolhouses float in floods brought by monsoon
rains from Indonesia to China. Now Australia.
It’s summer at last, but does it have to be humid?
Poor chap over there has a dour face. He gazes
at his garden, at the portion given to all that moss,
looks back at stunted buds on his rotting trellises.
Like a sad farmer who has lost a crop. Like a sad
father who needed the money to send a kid to school.
“Into each life, some rain must fall…a rolling stone
gathers no moss,” my roused errant friend snapped.
Tracing a searing Gobi in that man’s countenance,
I grabbed its scruff and mumbled: Shut up, Stick!
—Albert B. Casuga

Prompt: The steady rain of 6 a.m. gives way to sticky heat by 10. I stand gazing like a sad father at the portion of my garden given over to moss.---Dave Bonta, The Morning Porch, 06-22-11

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