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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.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

THE CLOTH STAINER: A PROTEST POEM

Am reposting this poem prompted by the hapless lives of child laborers in Bangladesh so the rest of the world could sport clothes like unrepentant dandies. In light of the recent disaster where hundreds of garment workers perished in the rubbles of a building housing five garment factories, this should call attention to their plight.





THE CLOTH STAINER

Two of her ten children drowned in that river

retrieving rolls of cloth grabbed by current
swollen by monsoon rains; rescuers found
them upstream near the Bay wrapped snugly
in the newly coloured sheets as if they simply
stole sleep and took a nap when they could. 
 
When the Giant Tiger supplier from the city
asked for his stained raw materials that day,
he found the old woman starting to colour some
new rolls all over again. He said he would not
wait, and paid another gaunt stainer, bundled
his purchase, and threw it hurriedly into his truck.
 
Laundry day today. The shirt I am throwing into
the hamper, could it be from that roll in Bangladesh?

 

--- ALBERT B. CASUGA

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