My photo
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, October 5, 2012



That I might smell, that I might see:
was a measure of how good my painting
would have to be before I kept or framed
it for a ready gift I did not need to wrap; 

or before I burned it with leftover oil like
the posturing madman I was more often
than not, when scented chiaroscuro was
a poem’s altered form as long stretches
of babbling babel plaguing my wordhouse.  

A dab of sienna would be mouldering
leaves, a worm’s dark squiggle in the dirt,
a shadow of a bird on rotting barn roof,
bundled twigs left askew on burnt grass:
always, always a riot of ruins on canvas.  

Why would the stump of a crumpled bell
tower find itself the fulcrum of colour
pasted, splashed, whirled into whorls
of pastel fading into a stray of gossamer
at the bastidor’s edges? How does it smell? 

Dark. Dark. Like a gaping eyeless socket,
the belfry where the bell hung is empty
save for a blackened rope whipped by wind
that must have driven the bats that have
long absconded, leaving their putrid dung.  

Dread. Dread. Like the threat of volcanic
mayhem, seen now from a distance
of quiet hues, a shadow upon a shadow,
a hurt poised by razor-edged memories
of other ruins, other woeful vanishings.  

On the tip of my ashen grey is sulphuric
stench that would always be redolent
of lacerating betrayals, carrion of love’s
cadavers forever embalmed, forever
alive, forever recent, endlessly rising
from ruins of ruins flooding my senses.

--- Albert B. Casuga


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