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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.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

AN UNCOMMON SENSE (Hammock Poems Series)


That humans need time, and the senses/with which to paddle through it/and navigate, and to get lost in the water’s/response as we push and kick.---From“Making Sense” by Hannah Stephenson, The Storialist.

It was a Rational Psychology 101 lecture,
and half of us were half asleep. De rigueur: 

Half of what I now recall about nothing
is that there is nothing in the mind  

that does not first exist in the senses.
Common sense.  Except that it is uncommon. 

Is it not special to find that goose pimples
are but the tell-tale signs of being touched? 

That time, you caressed my face when you saw
those letters I cut into that hapless branch. 

You did not need to say anything: your heart
did as it skipped a beat, my head on your chest. 

“Con amor duradero*,” completed the carving.
Your mute kiss said:  forever. I said: always. 

 Would our eyes have seen that same eternity
if they were all that we had to have and to hold? 

On sundowns like this, on my hammock hour,
I look back to those lost years, bleary eyed. 

My mind was right. Nothing lives forever.
Are our lives all a lump of dearly felt lies then? 

What we felt then die, and are strewn like limp
clocks in a Dali landscape, despite memories? 

Yet, during these precious hammock hours,
I’d rather have seen, felt, caressed, and kissed 

Every undulant shadow before me, danced
that light fandango with them, talked to them 

even if they did not hear me nor care to hold
me, until I fall asleep muttering still: Forever.

---Albert B. Casuga


*With lasting love. 

Photo by Bobby Ong Jr.

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