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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.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

TWO POEMS: A DRY RATTLE (Conversations with Stick Series #6) and CHANGES (Series #7)

It’s the sparrow at break of dawn
that gets me started like a dry
rattle in my throat. Another day
in these darkened streets should
complete this test. How patient,
Stick, can I remain? Another day
and another dead body. Carrion
of wrath descending, we wail.

In Joplin*, survivors have learned
to lace their boots simply feeling
for the eyelets, like fearful men
who could only swear, before
they walk through another day
of groping for bodies who might
still stir. Quite like clumsy readers
of Braille, they won’t stop reading.
—Albert B. Casuga
*Joplin, Mo. where about 200 people were killed in the state's worst tornado disaster in half a century.

Poetic Prompt: A dry rattle in the pre-dawn dark: chipping sparrow. I lace up my boots, feeling for the eyelets like a clumsy reader of Braille. ---Dave Bonta, Morning Porch, 05-30-11


I can almost feel the tremor on its breast,
the young robin that has just landed
on the branch with its beak open. Was it
an interrupted repast it has fallen from?

Acts of god, our magistrates call it, have
a way of cutting things off from their rhythm:
witness the quick change that has brought
this warm air, and the quicker repulsion

that begs for winter back. Did the robin
fall off from its nest somehow when it parted
its beak for the day’s first meal? The wind
plays tricks, too, commingling with heat.

Blown off by wayward winds, its flapping
is futile against the violence on its wings.
That dead cherry tree will not be a refuge
from the rampage of funnels, would it?

Think about it, Stick, why would weather
changes be any wilder in our morning
porches, when a wrecked valley nearby
has still some of its rooftops spinning

in the air, and hands flailing for absent
anchors in floods swirling like giant
toilet flushes sucking lives into limbo?
Just asking, Stick. Changes are questions.

—Albert B. Casuga

Prompt: Another warm morning. I realize I like the dead cherry because it reminds me of winter. A young robin lands on a branch with its beak open. ---Dave Bonta, Morning Porch, 05-31-11

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