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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 6, 2011



Endless malls that have no exits
should be our closest look at hell:
too many nice-to-haves too little
time, no cash nor credit cards—
no unemployment cheques nor
bank debits, only foreclosure notes.

But what’s so nasty about Hades
with air-conditioned corridors?
That knock-off Louis Vitton purse,
or that Burberry bag slaved over
by starving waifs in Bangladesh,
you can do without—but in this
heat, in this beastly humid heat,
why does it matter if there is No Exit
from an endless mall air-cooled
by the taxes paid from mortgaged
homes that will soon become houses
grabbed by money-lenders and realtors?

Here, where lilac leaves hang limply
at the end of a dead dry day, I dream
of an endless mall that has no exit.
Like that homeless tramp snoozing
his hunger (or hangover) away near
MacDonald’s, I hope I never wake up.

—Albert B. Casuga

Prompt: Humid, yet still so dry that the lilac leaves hang limply. In my last dream before waking, I couldn’t find the exit from an endless mall.---Dave Bonta, The Morning Porch, 08-05-11

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