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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.

Thursday, March 27, 2014



(For Veronica, Ian and His Girl Friend at Treasure Island)


1. Scene 1

Her shriek was a heart stopper:
A giggling thief of a gusty breeze
Blew off her loosely held suncap,
Bounced it off a scorched pavement
Into the lazy glide of the lagoon
Circling the mocked-up pirate ship,
Tidily painted as one of the fares
Dotting the Sin City’s boulevard
(Not of broken dreams yet, ripped
Pockets maybe) of busy strangers
Agog over this melange of kitsch
And lord-knows what monuments
Of a catch-as-catch-can chance
Makes a mockery of gambling a life
For a peep at a pot at rainbow’s end
Or a naïve lust for a moment of joy,
A quicksilver dream no longer there.

2. Scene 2

Wordlessly, he climbed over the rope
Fencing off the pretend boardwalk,
Kicked off his worn rubber slippers,
Jimmied himself between the walls
Of the prop and the marina deck,
Gingerly lowering his thin, bare feet
Into the dark water, and with his toes
Pulled out old gal’s suncap (courtesy
Of Mercedes Benz but not the Benz
Of hats), now all royally drenched.
With a faint smile, wordlessly still,
He handed the dripping head gear,
Once her majestic top now gripped
By his toes, his wet sole as bottom end.

3. Scene 3

Thank you’s followed by tourist banter,
Granny asked: Where are you kids from?
Australia, he said rather curtly, little
For that broad continent down under.
Thank you, lad, her dotard of a husband
Dutifully chimed in. What’s your name?
He asked, icing his civilised gratitude.
The comely girl friend laughed stoutly,
Proud of her lad, who said, still sans smile:
IAN, as in I Am Nothing. Thank you, Ian,
Became the senior strollers’ a capella.

4. Scene 4

The lad might have been right, after all,
It seemed like nothing kind nor heroic
And gentle happened as the promenaders
Of Las Vegas Boulevard strutted on like
Blind roulettes and absently rolled off
The boardwalk rushing to lose their money
If not selves in a city where caps blown off
Grandmothers’ heads are not even a silly
Distraction, though gallantly retrieved
By lads called IAN (I am nothing) who turn
Out for these frolicking elders, a gentle,
Anonymous something, someone, from
Down Under. But You Are Something, IAN.

03-26-14, The Strip


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