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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.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

  1. MY SUITE OF LOVE POEMS TODAY was prompted by Leonard Cohen's
  3. (For Leonard Cohen, RIP)
  4. ...
  5. “Ring the bells that can still ring/ Forget your perfect offering/ There is a crack in everything/ That's how the light gets in” ~ Leonard Cohen

  6. 1. Her Questions

  7. How far have you gone from all that you were,
    little chipped stone from a hidden tributary,
    little pebble that has yet to reach the bottom
    of the well to hear its thunk and come to rest?

  8. How far, indeed, that you must finally beg
    to be taken home? Where, what place, what
    troubled spaces have you been all these years?
    Bitter years, you say almost in descant candor.

  9. Take you home? But where do you belong?
    If I knew, if I could follow that map long
    faded in your doleful heart that has dogged
    every fickle chord from every pied piper—

  10. If I could find every pied-a-terre you’ve been
    that I might collect the shattered life pieces
    left of your gypsy heart so I could remould
    them to our heart’s desire, I would. I will.

  11. Take you home. Prop you up, start you up
    once again from whence you came, where
    your heart is not merely a sieve for sorrow
    or pain, but where it is a fortress of care.

  12. 2. His Ardent Offer as His Plea

  13. I am back, but I have nothing new to say,
    nor anything that I can offer save myself.
    Unchanged, undefined, unshackled, free.
    There is no other way you would have me.
  14. Would you rather I had lost my insouciance?
    Would you have me speak only one language,
    that of fear, and would not risk this loss again?
    Sing only your song? Part my hair another way?
  15. At the edge of the woods, I have mastered wiles.
    You’d think I had changed and now just a shadow
    of a broken man come home to lick old wounds
    that were left unsalved, cankered when I lost you.
  16. I am the same, and this sameness will make you
    want to look again even if the thousand faces
    that you behold are those from a shattered mirror
    through whose cracks some light must still slither.

  17. 3. Looking Back to Coming Home

  18. Trek back to the church belfry and be the deft
    hands of the carillonneur you wished you were
    when you were young, malleable, and oh, so free
    to dream, to laugh, to thumb your little nose

  19. at the carousing lads vaulting over rooftops
    to call your name, to sing your name like
    perching sparrows lined on some errant wires
    at sunset warbling: sweet-sweet, sweet-sweet!

  20. Take me back. Take me back. And we will retrace
    those letters carved on some saplings grown tall
    beyond our reach, and sing with carillon clangor
    those old evensongs, brave songs. Old love songs.

  21. We will outdo the bell choir master on the belfry,
    ring them all, sing them all, hum them all until
    sundown overtakes us and we hold our tremulous
    voices like our stuttered promises of coming home.