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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.

Monday, May 27, 2013


For Lolo Candro (Don Alejandro F. Casuga+)
Calling it a day at the old Mercado,
do you remember me running to you
snivelling at the tail end of every race?
Kin of all sizes and wile would beat me
to all the coins in your trouser pockets
where you kept them as gold for the best,

really, the most agile and the fastest
hands, the greedy and the needy, but you
said you knew I was simply the slowest.

So you had the small pesetas for them,
but you always saved the peso de plata
for me near your heart: your chestpockets.

For Lolo Jose (Don Jose Buenaventura+)
I would look at your fingers, abuelo, if you
were here crouched by my easel, my paint,
my oil, my bastidores. They are my fingers.
We hardly knew you, save that illustrados
from the city would look for you if they
needed the latest design in haberdashery.

Don Jose, make my shoulders look broad,
Don Jose, I need to appear commanding;
Don Jose, please look away from my wife.

Swarthy as your Basque roots, your eyes
blaze beyond your gaze; an artisan by day,
an artist and lover, abuelo de mis sueños.

--- Albert B. Casuga

*Culled from "Poesias Para Los Muertos" posted 11-01-11 to highlight two great influences on my art and my other life as a politician and academic: my maternal grandfather, Jose Buenaventura, and paternal grandfather, Alejandro F. Casuga. The etches are how I remember them in my mind's eye.

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