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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, May 7, 2013


Love Poem Series #10. This is it. The last of the love poems. Is love most nearly itself when it ceases to matter? T. S. Eliot asked that in one of his poems. I’d say yes, and rush to hide.



How about we try for some joy?—From “In a Hotel Lobby, Near Midnight”, Luisa A. Igloria

Mud as fire extinguisher? Bloody overkill, I say.
Douse it with a spit of brandy and gin chaser,
and off to a cabin at the edge of the woods! Huh.

“How about we try some joy”? A blowhard’s line.
How about a walk in the woods, mud and all,
and answer old questions left unanswered:

Is love most nearly itself when it ceases to matter?
What is need that it remains unsatiated, unmet,
when lovers seek ardour to brim beyond fulfillment?

Ah, let’s slosh away in the mud where mud is,
and we might yet find a balm for this burning ember
we carry around like raw marks singed in our palms.

What joy is there where union is not communion?
What need is there for glowing embers flaming out
of buckets? I would rather we danced in this muck

of mud and find our freed fears become the dance,
our only dance, before the stroke of midnight,
before the convulsions of laughter turn to pain.

—Albert B. Casuga


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