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.

Thursday, January 23, 2014




“But what have I, but what have I, my friend,/ To give you, what can you receive from me?/ Only the friendship and the sympathy/ Of one about to reach her journey’s end.”

---T. S. Eliot, “Portrait of a Lady”


How often does she get up nights

looking for the leftover dried fish?

She wakes up hungry these days,

roused by carousing cats, mating

with puling sounds she snickers

about when her knees do not hurt.


Dawn cracks by the time she rests

her face on the laced tabled cloth

her ilustrado* family had given

her as a wedding gift, embroidered

by her abuela: the way to a man’s

heart is through his stomach.


Or some such bromide she must

have lived by, however often she

promised to leave the philanderer

on her now cold bed till he freezes

over, but he went on to die ahead

in a seedy motel locked ardently

in the armpit of a snoring querida.


With grand aplomb, she buried him

decently, and her neighbours said:

Like a lady, she stood by her man.


She wakes up nights now looking

for a misplaced cellphone, its use

scarcely learned, no, not mastered,

but handy anyway when she calls

her next-of-kin across-god-knows

what-oceans asking for his where

abouts,he is not home yet’, and she

feels like eating some hot dimsum

from that dark Ka-Yang panciteria

where families gather on Sundays.


---Albert B. Casuga


*ilustrado -- well-educated


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