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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, February 23, 2012



If it were here and whole, the heart/ would think this was a nest. ---Luisa A. Igloria, Via Negativa, 02-22-12


Abuela*, dear soul and headstrong,
Asked me to bury her sitting down:

Must be where the limestones met
With the road, so I could take the bus. 

The bus to where? To meet with Jose
Who has been waiting all this time. 

When he left with the conquistador*
On the galleon, he would sew for them.

Even today was no different. She must
Answer her own questions. No one.

No one knows how long I waited.
There is a bench at the iglesia.* Ours.

We met there on a Misa de Gallo,*
He promised we would have Pascuas.*

As long as the pew was there. Burned.
They came, los barbaros *, burned it.

No one built the church again. No one.
I will not be buried there, hijo. Nunca.*

No lying down for me. Must be ready
to move when Jose will take me home.

She turned a hundred-three that day,
but reminded me to bury her sitting.

Lest I forget. If I kept my word, would
grandfather really have taken her home?

Would the bus have stopped for her,
terno, panuelo,* and all, quietly sitting?

On a stone grave among the limestones?
She would insist: It is my nest, Don Jose.

--- Albert B. Casuga

*Abuela – grandmother; conquistador – the Spanish colonizer; iglesia – church; Misa de Gallo – midnight mass; Pascuas – Christmases; los barbaros – the Japanese and American colonizers; Nunca – never. terna -- ball dress; panuelo -- mating scarf.

1 comment:

Marly said...

Interesting narrative, Albert--interesting relationship to the original trigger as well.