My photo
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, June 25, 2012


Photo by Jongjong Espanto, San Fernando City, La Union, Philippines


(For My Hometown, San Fernando)

"La muerte no llega con la vejez, sino con el olvido."---Gabriel Garcia Marquez*


How much do I remember of your bay?
What sunsets have faded in my mind?
I scour a gray horizon, and I see gloom.

Yet I am not ready to surrender my hold
on those sundowns I must have hoarded
as time for me to catch you from a perch,

a hillock choked by blazing arbol de fuego,
lining the road down like flamenco dancers
as you feigned fear of descent and I, your

emboldened caballero, held you tightly,
surely, wherever I could snuggle close
to smell the whiff of dried sweat on you.


We will climb that hill again, won’t we?
There is a misplaced pagoda up there now,
a lookout we would have claimed our nook

When you were but a ticklish sweetheart
of a flirt, and I a wild-eyed swain waiting
for some summer breeze to blow your skirt

off your glistening legs moistened by heat
that became your lame excuse to giggle
as you shook my hands off your bare back:

O, they are sticky, you protested coyly then,
but when was the last time we laughed like
innocent lovers hiding from vile mongers

fearful that we could not wrap each other
into trembling arms as we rolled on grass
under the ancient acacia guarding the hill?


I remember. I remember. How could we
have ignored the fury within us? A brave
heart will not forget, will it? Would it?

Here I am, back on the hill, looking at the bay,
answering my own murmured questions. You
would not have remembered anything, anyway.

---Albert B. Casuga

*Death does not arrive with old age, but with oblivion.



Hannah Stephenson said...

What a question---does a brave heart forget or remember? I'm not sure which it is.

I was talking with a writer recently, and we were saying that we both can remember things from when we were very young, very vividly. Maybe writers (and artists) have really strong memories.


If Garcia Marquez is right, then we hope we have strong memories; death arrives with oblivion. Your poem today Plus One asks riveting questions likewise. Guess what? I will attempt to answer them in today's birthing. (Poets are old souls, Hannah---hence, the long long memories spanning dimensions.) (:--)] That makes you and I venerable?