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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, May 30, 2011

MORNING TEA BANTER (Conversations with Stick Series #5)

…what /do they know of warnings and misfortune?/ Leaf of the cherry, red heart, organ of fire: /…I name you as if I could thread your bones;/ I name you not knowing your mystery.---From “Night-leaf Tarot” by Luisa A. Igloria
That dream of some rain in the dead of night,
what do you make of it, Stick? I ask my errant
escort leaning on the porch wall at tea time.
“Huh? What rain? Who is in pain?” It blustered.
More riddles than secrets fly with the wind:
the mystique lurks in strewn cherry blossoms.
Like tea leaves in divining cups at the temple,
the petals now pell-mell on the pavement beg
for a name to pin her will-o’-the-wisp down.
Where, in what undiscovered country, would
she find the luring shadow of her vision?
Or is it a yearning these leaves could not see?
“A tea-leaf? Did you see the absconding thief?”
A roused Stick, rocked from wooden stupor,
growled. I swirled the tea leaves down the pot,
and poured a steaming spot into my empty cup,
straining to see through its roiled and rippled
surface if the redheart leaf bodes fortune or grief.
—Albert B. Casuga

Poem Prompt: "Night-leaf Tarot" by Luisa A. Igloria, Via Negativa, 05-27-11,

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