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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.

Sunday, May 4, 2014



“I will have the last dance with you.”---She promised Him. He waited. She waited. In his dotage, he forgot to ask her. Aiee, que lastima. It is late.
1. His Mud Dance Monologue
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 insatiable, 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.

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

2. Her Tired Salon

If I begged you to stay, /if I begged you to take me away? What then? /But I don’t. ---From "Tremolo" by Luisa A. Igloria

It is the dance not the dancer that we enjoy,
don’t we? Take this tremolo that we sing
under our breaths— shall we run off?
Will you take me away? Beg me. Beg me.

But you won’t. Never did. Or will. Will you?
There would be no need for that now—
time has run out on us. The music ends
when lights also fade in our tired salon.

Still, the faltering notes of what we want
to say but can’t—or won’t---becomes
the stuttering messages lost with the wind
and are faint echoes in an empty salon.

If we can stop the flight of these desires,
would we hold on to them and not be scared?

Revised 05-05-14

*Thanks to Norfolk VA Fil-Am poet Luisa A. Igloria whose poetry lines prompted me to create, when my writing was blocked by "senior moments". Maraming Salamat, adingko.

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