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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.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011



 (For Matthew, On His Football Debut)

Was it a random number, or did you choose to call
attention to grandmother’s sixty eighth birthday? 

She peered through her camera but could not see
you nor make you out among these  gnashing giants 

who could have been the drooling babies not so long
ago.  She lets out a gasp of delighted surprise  

when she espies you on the zoom. How do you
zoom in on his face? She asks; I plead ignorance 

with a dinosaur’s shrug.  From afar, she still sees
that little boy who could not even throw a ball. 

Omigod, look at him barrel through that lad blocking
his run! He would hurt the boy or get himself broken! 

I could not help but look for that’s what I came to
watch his football  debut for: Who will dare bump him? 

My little boy, all bulked up, war-primed, brute strong,
could throw that pigskin to Lord knows where, oh yes, 

pitch the first blocking body, too. Bloody idiot, he
would snap, but if he were  within hearing distance, she  

would upbraid him: Matthew Francis, your language!
She watches him through her tear-stained lenses,  

sighs, and stifles a cry: My little boy is a big man now.
At sixty-eight, myself, I felt suddenly old and weak.

---Albert B. Casuga

At 14, Matthew Francis Casuga, third eldest grandchild, was an instant choice by a drooling coach when he applied for his high school’ s football team. A little while ago, he was just our little boy who would weep at the sight of a fly on his arm.

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