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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.

Saturday, September 3, 2011



But the wager of our finitude, /Each a custodian of our own/ Demise, is a more bearable freight. / Till then—/...Let all the world wait. --- From “Saturnalia” by Maryam Monalisa Gharavi, Quarttsiluni, 09-02-11 

There are no steel bars here constricting enough
to fence me in-- I am already there, my own
gaoler, and, if I am not mindful, my own hangman. 

How long will it take before all discarded days
turn into ghouls on an unforgiving watch
for the quickest demolition of my soul? Not long? 

I put up my sandbags to stem floodtides of despair,
but these become the dams ready to burst
upon me, drowning me in whirlpools of loneliness. 

Why should anyone even chatter about faint hope,
when even that is as fragile as a desert mirage?
I have bricked-up chambers of routine. What habits? 

When pushed against walls, I fight back with feral
outrage; when stabbed with lies and betrayal,
should I not twist the blades deeper with the twin? 

A fool’s lex talionis does not work half as well here,
I do better with a limp shrug, a Judas-kiss,
I flutter with the wind wherever it blows. Whenever. 

I would not call a spade a shovel, nor flatter idiots
with obfuscating euphemistic euphuisms, (sic)
no one bleeds for maladies like mentally challenged. 

Too little life left for these misplaced kindness, too;
too much lifetime wasted on prancing shadows
posturing as the real deal. The one true deal is here. 

A silent revelry marks this mute’s free incarceration:
I am true to myself. I have an affair with myself.
I need not even wait. A crapshoot world can. I won’t. 

Would not the aggrieved root of this cold, cold heart
know when waiting is enough? Either way,
enveloped like these lines, there is no exit, no escape.

---Albert B. Casuga


Maryam Monalisa Gharavi said...

I'm uncharacteristically without words. Thank you.


Thank you for a powerful prompt in your poem. Looking forward to more. Bravo, Maryam.