My photo
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.

Friday, June 13, 2014


Matthew Francis Casuga, 17, Grandchild #3
Matthew Francis with two friends from St. Joseph's Catholic Secondary School. No, they do not play football.


(For Matthew, Grandchild # 3, On His Football Debut)

Was it a random number, Matthew?
Or did you choose to call attention
to your grandmother’s 68th birthday?
Why not the next naughty number?

She peered through her Leica camera
but could not see you nor make you out
among those sweaty gnashing giants
who could have been the drooling babies
not so long ago. She yelped out a gasp
of delighted surprise when she espied you
on the zoom: How do you zoom on his face?
Zoom in on, I lisped a feigned idiot’s shrug.

From afar, she could still see a puling boy
who could not even throw a ball. She yelled:
Omigod, look at him barrel through that lad
blocking his run! He would hurt the boy
or get himself broken! It sounded like a sob.

I could not help but look for the mayhem
I came to watch his football debut for:
Who will dare bump him? My little boy,
all bulked up, war-primed, brute strong,
could throw a  pigskin to God knows where.
Oooh yes, pitch the first blocking body, too.
“Bloody idiot”, he would snap a growl, a snarl,
really. But if he were within hearing distance,
she would upbraid him: Matthew Francis,
language! He would snicker but curl away.

She watched him through tear-stained lenses,
and stifled a cry: My little boy.  A big man now.
Strange. At sixty-eight, I, too, felt old and weak.

Revised, o6-13-2014

09-21-11: When he was 14, Matthew Francis Casuga, third eldest grandchild, was an instant choice by a drooling coach when he applied for his high school’ s football team. A little while ago, he was just our little boy who would weep at the sight of a fly on his arm.



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