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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, September 12, 2011


(Remembering 9/11, New York, the United States of America)


Death gets more credit/ than it deserves. / It is we who, wherever/ the bomb lands, draw/a bull’s-eye. /…& while predators rest, / to stretch bold as shadows/toward whatever they/or the wind happen/to have dropped. ---From “Death Angels” by Dave Bonta, Via Negativa, 09-10-11

After many a summer dies the swan.
That is not easy to forget as a title
or a even as a farewell line, its gentle
glide on the mouth making it tender.

Every death should all be soft and kind,
as we were made to degrade gracefully.
Unsporting to slaughter the innocent
as ransoms of avenging angels, angry

for Allah and their oil wells, deranged
saints suckled in a jihad’s bitter taste.
Tremulous echoes of names called out
from the hollowed depths of a hallowed

Ground Zero is pungent prayer enough
to remember quartered limbs, shattered
lives that cannot be buried with the dead
though dead they have always remained

through these angry years of carnage
by vengeful sons bound to exact pounds
of flesh out of the putrid carrions littered
still in abandoned desert meccas. Gobi

of all gobis, these are even colder grounds
where no fountains flow, nor flowers grow.
These are golgothas not far from the old
hill of skulls that cried for forgiveness

but heirs to the crusade cannot, will not
give, though muezzins sing themselves
hoarse at their minarets for peace. Army
chaplains still stay bivouacked to pray

for our boys to win back the killing fields
from those who dared bring a scoundrel
of hell into the heart of freedom land
with a mission to spit on money lenders.

From those smoothened granite surfaces
bearing the perished names cut to shine
on lambent ground, dare we ask if death
has truly lost its sting? Will the Tree die, too?

---Albert B. Casuga 09-11-11

Please click on the image to zoom in on the text.

Please click on the scanned text to zoom in. This is how I would have wanted my previously posted poem, "An Unhealing Wound" (09-09-11) to appear on the page. Blog, however, cannot accommodate the layout. Its ideographic aspiration might have concretized the experience of those crumbling twin towers in terms of the columns of verse. Poetry is not only a painting with words, it can always --- like the Chinese and Japanese ideographs --- define a picture for the limned word in these page layouts.

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