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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.

Saturday, August 13, 2011



You are the kiss walking away/without so much as another glance.---From “Assassin’s Wake” by Luisa A. Igloria, Via Negativa, 08-10-11

When you find me, and I know you will,
but I would have withered in the search,
like these brittle leaves and broken twigs,
how would I hold you to your promise? 

Like those hungry ghosts in Yunnan,*
would you haunt these forests for a touch
of where my heart pounds, my breasts,
and growl your hunger away, satiated? 

You promised you would kiss each leaf,
each fallen twig, each broken branch
to find me. But what if you were the kiss
walking away and would not even glance?

---Albert B. Casuga

*The Chinese have entered the seventh month of the Lunar calendar, known as the Hungry Ghost month, which began July 31.This period is considered unlucky for many Chinese as they believe that the ghosts are allowed to return to the human realm as the Hell Gate opens throughout the month. While the Buddhists and Taoists prepare offerings for the homeless ghosts, a minority tribe in China has its own interesting celebration. The Yi people in Ejia town of Yunnan province, who are still single, will head to the streets for the Breast-Touching Festival (Monai Jie) on the 14th, 15th and 16th day of the month. On these days, the men are welcome to touch the women's breasts.

Legend has it that the festival began around the Sui Dynasty (AD 581 – 619) when most of the teenagers of the Yi tribe were forced into the army and died in war. The people then carried out prayers to commemorate the dead, and it happened that the ceremony was held in the seventh month. According to the wizards, the dead were in a state of unrest because they had not touched a woman before. And so, they wanted 10 "pure and untouched" ladies to accompany them in the afterworld. ---  (Jim Paredes, OurSocialBlogs)

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