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.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014



Mudfish between fingers, rice stalks...
whipped by whistling monsoon wind
on our thin backs, rain-pelted faces:
you cannot look back at them in anger.

But you do. You have lost them forever.
You can never be there again. Forever.
You will go back to the old schoolyard,
but you will not find the desk you carved

her name on, hearts, initials, arrows,
all gone from sandpapered desk tops,
dark paint covering the deepest cuts
like healed cankers, mended wounds,

scars of the rawest longing for the girl
who had the longest hair, wiliest smile,
cleverest excuses for going home late,
“O, we cleaned the blackboards and all.”

Are the moss-gowned shore boulders
still there? The rocks in whose crevices
you buried secret vows to always be there
for each other in this place, this town?

That tamarind tree in whose branches
your kite got caught, rended bamboo
ribs cracked you wept over until she
stilled your quivering shoulders in her

arms, is it still there between the hills
you named after her, body parts you
were too scared to call were like hers?
Does the tree still bear its tangy fruit?

There will be more questions. Will you
find the answers you need to go home?
You will even ask the trees, if you must,
but even they will no longer talk to you.

---Albert B. Casuga

No comments: