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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, September 8, 2011



Stories help, /especially those we’ve heard before./They come from us, a chorus. We call/them back when we need them, memorize/their numbers and phonemes, the way they/like to leave us. This book belongs to/you, every day you forget it more. ---From “Storytime” by Hannah Stephenson, The Storialist, 09-06-11

Do you remember the last story she told you
before you asked for another “real story this time?” 

You don’t, because you have stopped listening
to stories that start with “once upon a time.”  

There is no time. There are only anxious times,
and lonely times, and sleepless times. No more. 

Remember how gently she would say “enough”?
No more. It did not mean the end of those stories, 

but that she, too, had to catch the same trip you
were trying to get on, that shut-eye choo-choo. 

Remember? She had to be at work extra early,
the new boss was in town. She needed the job. 

You would not want to listen to breadline yarns,
would you? Once upon a time, there was hunger 

in the cities, the jobless and homeless fathers
and mothers queued for rice and dried beans, 

the canned sardines gone, there were only stories
of how fast  stray dogs and cats disappeared, 

and reappeared in chewable cuts on makeshift
tables in the woods.  Remember how tenderly 

she prayed that you would wake up and find
that all your wishes have come true? Remember? 

That story book belonged to her, then to you,
but everyday you leaf through it, you forget it more. 

---Albert B. Casuga

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