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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.

Friday, July 13, 2012

PRETEND (For Marie at the Pond)


For Marie at the Pond

No such thing/ as a stormless life. --- From “No One Mean Bone” by Hannah Stephenson, The Storialist

Let us play “pretend”, little one,
And see if you’d keep on wriggling
Out of my abuelo-hold*, a catcher’s
Claim on the whirlwind ball—

Pretend you were coming back
To the undredged pond, your leaf
Pool, a mud pool really with rocks
And trickling water from a pipe.

Pretend the years have gone quickly
Quite like that wild Derecho* storm.
No sense dallying on pure littleness,
Everything grows, as you will.

You will also fly the coop, would you?
Scour the land for peace and quiet.
And happiness, too. You will spend
More time escaping this old man’s

Anxious arms, trembling pair of arms
Wrapped around you, to catch you
If you fell into this murky compost
Pond, and protect you from yourself.

Wriggle out all you can, feisty Marie,
I will be there as long maybe as forever
Warding off all things violent, storms,
Too, even if there is no such thing

As a stormless life. I’ve been there
In its eye, but I have earned the right,
My child, to pretend that I could save
You from all the hurt that lurks here,

A pretend place to find make-believes
Come true, and would not hurt you,
Impatient as you are, ebullient as you
Are, running before you learned to walk.

*abuelo-hold – grandpa’s hold; *Derecho – the recent violent, straight wind storm that wrecked places in Washington, Virginia, and Ohio

---Albert B. Casuga

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