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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, April 13, 2015

A SHRUG IN HIS MID-MORNING WALK



A SHRUG IN HIS MID-MORNING WALK


From the stupor of a languid walk, a wounded walk,
he recalls Via Dolorosa up the hill of skulls, a Golgotha
still echoing with a cacophony of voices: Crucify Him!
He steps on squiggled graffiti on the sprung trail: "Occupy".
On this quaint mid-morning of spring on Glen Erin trail,
he shrugs the lingering cold off: "Here is my empty heart.
Occupy it." He mutters: "All I need now is a little loving,
like the ditty says: A lil' lovin', a lil' lovin', just a lil' lovin."

He trips on the branches of a fallen tree, cut off clean
into a gaping stump marked starkly with an "X", ruddy
like an eye out of its socket. Why, they've cut the trees.
A good number of them, including those where he saw
the old graffiti of a stout-hearted lover: Will you marry me?
Forestry blames a disease, "Emerald Ash Borer-infested
trunks will be cut down, whittled, burned, carted off.
Stay clear off the work area." No love here at all. No love.

Mottled trees, dead still from winter will not grow buds.
Dead trees. Not unlike those 166 Syrian children starved
in the raids on Yarmouk, the 127 gunned-down youth
in the university halls of Kenya, the massacred innocents
in Connecticut, the raped and slain lasses in Boko's Nigeria,
the decapitated men as caricatures of holy men's wrath,
accidental martyrs condemned from minarets of muezzins
barking for more beheadings for that is good. Insha Allah.

Whistling like a lad in a dark alley, he prays: Be gentle.

---ALBERT B. CASUGA
Mississauga, April 12, 2015

 

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