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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.

Thursday, July 21, 2011



Real stories tonight, she says, not/made-up. Like what I did, summers when /I was her age: ---From “Real” by Luisa A. Igloria 

(For Chloe and Louis)

1. Then

Something about a canopy of stars
and the darkness among the pines
must turn them into giggling elves
traipsing among the  lantern flies.
Bugs with lit tailpipes, he calls them.
She stifles a guffaw, shushes him:
you will wake the hungry bear up.
Would you want to wake up inside
his swirling stomach? He whispers
under the tangled sheet: tell me more
stories, real ones this time. About
how you and abuela stopped a bus
while crossing the street, and she
gave the yelling driver her fat finger.

2. Now

Here we are, imp of a brother grown
beyond those yarns. Will you tell
your own boy---raucously laughing
all by himself in his dimly lit tent---
the same grandmother stories?
“Once upon a time,” will not do it,
they grow quickly beyond that.
Why not lull him instead with one
of grandfather’s  hammock songs?
“When you talk to these trees,
they will always answer you: Close
your eyes tightly, we will sing to you.”
Here we are, imp of a sister, plotting
lullabies by campfire, when sons beg: 

Will you tell us real grandma stories?

---Albert B. Casuga


Hannah Stephenson said...

I love this one (the last line especially resonates with me).

I once had a maddening discussion with my mom (I think I was 3) about Barbie. I kept demanding, "I know she's A Barbie, but what's her REAL name?" (I think I thought Barbie was a species?)


Thanks, Hannah. Any tidbit of story about or by grandma is gospel for this old chap. Yes, children do have their own idea of what is "real". Those two (Chloe and Louis) prevailed on their Dad to stop by a Fair on their way home from a visit with their other gramps in Ottawa. Hours overdue home, they will have a giggle when they tell their anxious Mom--now, that was real. (Chloe cannot abide Barbie being dressed up; she strips her bare when she plays with the hapless specie.) (:--}