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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.

Friday, September 30, 2011




Is it a kind of joy mingled with such/ wistfulness, a feeling of being taken up/ and embraced before goodbye? Who/are you? / ---From “Without Translation” by Luisa A. Igloria, Via Negativa, 09-28-11

You did not say it then, but I saw those unspoken
words in your hands, your eyes, your half-smile
when I bade you goodbye the night we would rather
forget but will always remember as our surest bind. 

You had the children with you; flying off to give me
space, and for the children, and for the best, and…
There is no best, I said, we will know when we need
each other again. Until then, find yourself. I will. 

Did you want to embrace me then but were afraid
I would not give it back? Did you hope I would say:
Stay, do not go. Let us try again. Let me try again.
I did, and that airport parting remains a nightmare. 

When I came back to you, did you want to say:
I forgive you; please forget that past; forgive me,
if you can. But we stood apart between the children
running to hug me. I saw that look, but did not know. 

I have been trying to come home since then. Did you?

--- Albert B. Casuga

Prompt: * Mamihlapinatapai   (sometimes spelled mamihlapinatapei)  is a word from the Yaghan language of Tierra del Fuego, listed in The Guinness Book of World Records as the “most succinct word”, and … one of the hardest words to translate. It refers to “a look shared by two people, each wishing that the other will offer something that they both desire but are unwilling to do.”  ---From “Without Translation” by Luisa A. Igloria, Via Negativa, 09-28-11

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