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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.

Sunday, May 22, 2011



…the air is full of questions. Sometimes/ I cannot bear to think past them, to pry them/ loose from their trellis of hope and doubt and fear.---From "Balm" by Luisa A. Igloria

Do you still keep the bladed questions
in your closet’s little fragrance drawer?

When you bolted them last, they were
struggling to break out as a conspiracy

of fearsome pain that could break you.
Why test your fearful heart once again?

Gather them like twigs, kindling sticks,
and burn them with the brittle promises.

Past days have no way of turning back,
they travel through dark one-way streets.

Only those bladed questions will return.
Will their cutting edge be blunted then?

Spare your balsam for the dead and dry
days: when they descend, you will need

your balm to salve the hurts that have
yet to come. Leave settings hammered.

---Albert B. Casuga

Poem Prompt: "Balm" by Luisa A. Igloria, Via Negativa, 05-21-11,

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