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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.

Monday, May 7, 2012



Where does spirit live? Inside or outside/  Things remembered, made things, things unmade?/ What came first, the seabird’s cry or the soul?---Seamous Heaney, “A Small Fantasia for W.B.”.

This time, the graffitied trees.---Graffiti Poems

1.  Whippoorwill

Why weep over tired things?
What will happen will not.
What will not, will not. Slings?
Arrows to the heart will hurt,
Love cannot, it will not rot.
Like ripening berry, it’s fruit
On the vine and will not carry
That scent beyond this hill,
Or echo a plea for him to marry
Dread and hope and find it still
Inside your now ruptured heart.
Don’t bother waiting on the sill.
He will fly back. Will he depart?
Maybe, like the whippoorwill.

2. Coming Back

Take my heart, cup it there,
Keep it while it still beats here.
Take my soul, hold it here,
Inside or out, I shall not care.

He sings them now, out of need
But are you there to take heed?
Be gentle with me, you once said,
You have forgiven him, you did.

And yet, and yet, the cut is deep
Like a bedfellow won’t let sleep
Cuddle you. Hush, pitiful (bleep)!
Leave. You weren’t mine to keep.

He walks out into the dead night,
Sits on a bench, and dies. Outright.

3.  A Choir of Trees

Sing we now of star-crossed lovers
Who found our barks and covers

A papyrus of desires and a sad tale
They dare not tell, till all are stale

Spittle on the throat, all unspoken.
Shells of hurt that remain unbroken.

O, let the late spring breeze retell
Our stories, blow it abroad as well,

No need to keep this prickly burden:
A lover afraid of a child, nay children

Of wanton nights on tree-laden hills
Where an embrace or all that spills

Are tears of morning-afters to hedge,
Or simply water pooled under a bridge.

4.  Rage

Sing, sing, tra-la, tra-la. Sing sisters
Of the hill, of that tale of young lovers.
Sing, too, of the dread and the courage
Of things made then unmade. O rage

For all that is beautiful only for a while,
For all that is happy only for a while.
Wherever the wind blows, some stars
Must explode or burst like ugly scars.

Can nights be kinder to one who loves,
And loses? Can days mend like cloves
Cuts that have run deep from arrows
And slings of fortune or dark sorrows?

Sing we now of all the tall shadows
That have left us like treeless meadows?

---Albert B. Casuga

Photo by Jhoanna Cruz and Ricky de Ungria

*Song—short poem meant to be sung.

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