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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, February 18, 2012




This is my daily trial, grave/ failure through omission: how do I sip water //or coffee or broth, pass fruit or bread sweetened/ with butter through my mouth, without tasting/ the salt of her hunger’s quiet reprimand? ---from “Provision” by Luisa A. Igloria, Via Negativa, 02-17-12

How often does she get up nights
looking for the leftover dried fish?
She wakes up hungry these days,
roused by carousing cats, mating
with puling sounds she snickers
about when her knees do not hurt. 

Dawn cracks by the time she rests
her face on the laced tabled cloth
her ilustrado* family had given
her as a wedding gift, embroidered
by her abuela: the way to a man’s
heart is through his stomach. 

Or some such bromide she must
have lived by, however often she
promised to leave the philanderer
on her now cold bed till he freezes
over, but he went on to die ahead
in a seedy motel locked ardently
in the armpit of a snoring querida. 

With grand aplomb, she buried him
decently, and her neighbours said:
Like a lady, she stood by her man. 

She wakes up nights now looking
for a misplaced cellphone, its use
scarcely learned, no, not mastered,
but handy anyway when she calls
her next-of-kin across-god-knows
what-oceans asking for his where
abouts, he is not home yet, and she
feels like eating some hot dimsum
from that dark Ka-Yang panciteria
where families gather on Sundays.

---Albert B. Casuga

 *ilustrado -- well-educated

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