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.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


Now, back to the writing desk for more love songs and the like. Love songs, you say? They are always difficult to write, but we try. :) Here's love in twilight years.

"Let us go then, you and I,/ When the evening is spread out against the sky/ Like a patient etherised upon a table;/ Let us go..."---T.S. Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock


You are learning/ to call to what you love, to see it returning.---Hannah Stephenson, “You Can do It”, The Storialist

When the going is good, I would like to go
quickly and quietly like the kettle’s whistle
at tea time, hunched over a writing desk
daring to write that still unwritten song:

The one that gets arrested in my dry throat
when I sing you to sleep, and you could not
or would not, afraid you would find me gone
in the morning, like most mornings we had
before we grew too old to stay longer in bed,
snuggling, counting the rings on the phone
before the children, now the grandchildren,
would put the intruder down and wonder
how we are waddling along, bum knees on
your right and mine on the left. Would you
want us to buy your croissants today? What
about the bok choy, and the other greens?

This is as good as it gets, cold keys to pound
on, little words, cathedrals of thought,
wind on the pane, a houseful of memories,
quiet pictures to talk to on the walls, tunes
tinkling on the piano sans rhyme or reason
except to dust the keys off from imagined
dirt stuck by sticky children’s fingers who
raid the shelves of uneaten brittle cookies
and marmalade. Aiee, cochino, por Dios!*

She would wail in her pained stentorian
dirge, mourning over violated piano keys
that remain untouched, unplayed, silenced
perhaps when arthritic fingers coupled
rheumatic knees, backs that recall pangs
of Calvary, and those kaleidoscopic visions
of ghostly shadows peopling porch walls,
bouncing, dancing, trembling like puppets
on a string, undefined, indefinable, strangers
come to visit us, and we do not know their
names. When the going is good, I will go
quickly and quietly, humming that song
I said I will write for you before I go.

--- Albert B. Casuga

*God, how filthy!


Hannah Stephenson said...

I love those Prufrock lines.

I like the balance (or tension?) between "When the going is good" and "This is as good as it gets." Both are true.


Thanks for the usual close read, Hannah. Yes, I still suckle on the T. S. Eliot "teats"---:))) We do work on these tensions; you have used them well yourself.

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