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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.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

THE BIG QUESTIONS, 14: GETTING BLANK BACK ( AM I FREE TO MAKE A MESS OF MY LIFE? WHOSE LIFE IS IT ANYWAY?)

Poem #14 in my poem-a-day National Poetry Month (NaPoMo, April 2013) responds to essential questions like "Am I Free to Make a Mess of my Life? Whose Life Is It Anyway?"

 



GETTING BLANK BACK



How efficiently convenient it would have been
if we were born with erasers in both hands:
ones which could quickly rub out anything
irrelevant or inutile to a life made in the stars.


Would one miss the struggle that colours days?
Would one etch a restful stroll under the palms?
How easily could a hammock be hung on walls
when weary of a senseless shift of acts, and rest?


The start and stress of little lives is enough
to wish for all-purpose equipment to work life
out just as we want it. Aren’t we our own masters?
Why let others outside mould our lives inside?


Are we not free to sculpt our haunches, paint our
portraits, pare our own earthen jars, exist as us
regardless of them? Why not use those erasers
to blank out every misstep, every dread, and live?


How conveniently efficient it would have been
had we been able to erase the ineffectual lines
that make us shadows instead of bright forms
exact on the blank sheet we were made to draw on.



---ALBERT B. CASUGA

* Inspired by a poem, "Removed, " written by Columbus, Ohio poet Hannah Stephenson  published in her poetry blog, The Storialist.

Erasing is not/not drawing,/ just moving/ around what/ you think you/ didn’t mean..../ We can’t get/ blank back,/ just as good as/new but not/ the same as/ before you drew.---From “Removed” by Hannah Stephenson, The Storialist, 06-19-12

 

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