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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.

Saturday, February 15, 2014



Come hither, anyway, hide your pain in the cup/ of my hands, find that reprieve from a judgment / of endlessly inchoate loving, and let your heart/ rest from its ceaseless running. Escape stops here. ---From "Go Then, So You Can Come Back"


My errands get simpler now: cut marks
On trees, branches, rocks, leaves, walls,
wherever I know you will wind your way
coming home. It is a long route back.

But you will find them like those prints
of fallen leaves mottling the lake girdling
bluffs we run to when we retrieve lost
memories that somehow remain clear:

we smell them, we touch them, we feel
them like waning fevers that stay warm
on our flushed faces. We will not forget.
We are condemned to remember. Always.

Would the cup of my palms nestle you?
Give you a nestling’s echoing chamber,
where you could trill all you want or can?

That wind behind the trees, would it pick
your notes up and let your song be whole
again, your refrains brave and true again?

Through these woods, troll like a stout
heart whose one crescendo is of gladness
that the day’s night must bring a sunrise

as bright as it is gentle when it presses
your cold back to a warm hug of home,
where you will fearlessly sing your song:

Fly with me to the swaying tree tops!
Reach out for me. I am back. I am home.


By the time I fill up to the brim,
I‘d have coughed up sediments
of crushed stones, jagged pebbles
and the craw-sticking bone chips
that remain from downstream
sieving for the one golden nugget
that was never there. I thirst still.

But the summers of our pine city
refuge have come and gone, too,
with our windy spaces, now left
as frozen wind tunnels when you
abandoned the cone-strewn trails
for your will-o’-the-wisp: a full
bowl of nectar laced with laughter.



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