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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.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012



She held on to the shorter side of her skirt,
a Creole form of rainbow radiance raw on rays,
and took the proffered hand with a shy smile.

Her descent is uneventful save for all the eyes
riveted on her, the sole fare from an island shore
where fishermen glean enmeshed smelt
on day-long-heaved nets hitched to catamarans
docking light with empty baskets from a sea
that is now without fish or even fishermen.

To banter from ferry passengers tendered
ashore from cruising ocean liners, she mutters:
En Français, s’il vous plait. Non parle Anglais.

The boatswain gently cautions her to mind
the gangplank shuffle: Regardez ca!
On parle de vous, Madame.
Amused, she responds : Pourquoi pas ?
En fin, a quatre-vingts, gens remarquez!

They saw her looking away into that vast sea,
a half-smile cancelling a frown on her face,
quite like wishing away an unwanted memory.

Parlez-moi de votre voyage, mon cher,
the proffered hand asks past the gangplank.
En Anglais, mon ami: Et ees a long journée,
she says, pointing her cane rapier-like
to some lost horizon.
Un voyage solitaire.

She laughs weakly, whispering:
Alors, Monsieur, a la prochaine.
Bon chance!
She pulls her wind-blown skirt down and giggles.

--- Albert B. Casuga


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