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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.

Monday, June 16, 2014


Grandchild #2, Daniel Anthony Casuga-Dy


(For Daniel Anthony Casuga-Dy, 21, Grandchild #2)


1. The Lolo’s Side Show

Protesting , “I am not a side show”, he ran off to his room
Half-naked in his kindergarten pants: I got him! A mantra
I will haunt him with all the rest of his best days. Dan Man.

Would I ask him to sing maybe? Dance? Say twinkle star?
I did, that one time I needed to see my little Danny Boy,
For that one joy grandfathers hunt for: a fishing buddy boy.

But no, he is not a side show. Not for a jig, nor for a song,
Not even for the call from those pipes from glen to glen:
He is not the little show. Not the unheard. Not merely seen.

No, not a little show. No, not the little show. The Big Show.
The littlest rebel did not take long to prove he’s got mettle:
Junior Senior High did he not work at cooking fries? So?

2. Making Up with His Ace Philo Essay

Homework is easy stuff. Home Work is the tough stuff:
Dad got the better of his worn-out ticker; I took an apron.
And wrote that essay which Mom rushed to my sulking Lolo:

“A Gift Outright” the Grand man called it on Father’s Day,
And I remembered Frost had that Inaugural Poem for JFK.
He must think it’s great then, (Mr. Simms called it my best),

The gramps I did not sing for, nor danced for as a “sideshow”
When I was that nude toddler he coaxed as his lump of joy,
Now this pubescent grandson he thought he still knew.

3.  The Essay as I Recall

Daniel’s essay is so like Daniel. Here is that puling little boy
who stormed out, when doted upon by this dimwitted dotard:
“I am not a sideshow, you know!” He was just a wee lad of two
or three then (not even in kindergarten?). Was he not then?

O he was voluble about things he thought he knew, he knew.
An impressive thesis: “One will never truly know whomsoever
we think we know.” (Or "one is forever lonely?"). Filosopo?
Not that kind of charlatan. He is the real thing. Philosopher.

4. The Big Show: A Prelude

Graduation day.  How he regales his audience of lovers.
He laughs, squints, flirts with the damsels, too. Handsome.
College education was a breeze after all. After the struggle.
Moving on, he said, work, graduate work, more capitalist
Ventures on his plate. He is the consummate host to relatives
Godmother, Abuelo, Abuela, Aunts, Dad Nash, Mom Nicole,
Cousins, nephews, nieces, the college and workplace gang,
His sister Diana Patricia, and, he whispered to Lolo: The girls.

He is not a sideshow, all right. I did not misread your essay,
Danny Boy. How little I knew you, mettle and all.  O Dan Man,
Before curtains fall on Lolo’s show, and dotage robs you
Of your victory, I must concede: You have become the Big Show.

Mississauga, June 16, 2014


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